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What is a Google Slap?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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The Google Slap is a term used unaffectionately by mainly small businesses that rely on AdWords accounts through Google to drum up business for their sites. AdWords for Google allows people to have their advertisements for their own businesses on pages with keywords or subjects that relate to their products. Normally people who hold AdWords accounts pay per each time someone clicks on their ad, usually at about $.05-.10 US Dollars (USD) per click.

However, if Google finds or determines that the page that potential customers visit when they click on the ad is not related, is poor in quality, or even loads too slowly, they may take punitive action in the form of a Google Slap. Basically, the Google Slap accomplishes several things at once. First, it drives up the price of your pay per click amount, sometimes asking as much as $10USD per click, which most small vendors cannot afford to pay. Second, they may reduce your page ranking (PR), which will automatically mean you have to pay more to have your ads featured through AdWords.

Google obviously has a right to determine which pages represent the greatest quality and most match to keywords, but in 2008, a round of Google Slap actions on small vendors took considerable toll, driving many companies out of business quickly. Many argued that their pages conformed to Google’s AdWords recommendations for pages, and yet they still receive very low PR rankings. This meant the enormously high pay per click fees were prohibitive, and comparable to banning certain vendors from using AdWords, though searches for information on these pages might still be revealed in a regular Google search, just not in ads.

When some companies receive a Google Slap, just about the only thing they can do is completely change their domain because it is very difficult to challenge Google on their ratings or assessment of pages. There are Internet horror stories on known pages, with excellent authoritative and original information being slapped, and being unable to recover. If you decide Google AdWords is for you, you should definitely read all information about what Google looks for to avoid receiving a Google Slap.

A few things that Google consistently appears to look for include original and significant content on landing pages (the page a person goes to when they click on your ad), transparent business dealings and upfront information about how you conduct business, and easy methods for searching your website from the landing page. To avoid a Google Slap you’ll want to not create a landing page that is just a table of contents and plenty of ads for other vendors, and you have to make sure your page conforms to any of Google’s Editorial Guidelines, too.

If you have received a Google Slap, it can be very difficult to fight this. Many website experts do recommend that you may want to discard your current domain name and start over, or look to other ways to generate traffic to your site. Some people use pay per click ads on alternate search engines, which can help increase business. In particular, companies like Yahoo may be better choices for running your ads, if you can’t get Google to change their opinion of your site.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a EasyTechJunkie contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon991071 — On May 24, 2015

Carol, I don't know if I was led here by providence or something but I'm a ClickBank Affiliate and was actively planning to promote Panic Away. I actually have the squeeze page setup and ready to go but I think I'll wait until this whole Google Slap nonsense has been resolved. (Sorry, but I don't want to jeopardize my Google account.)

Sadly, it seems Google is becoming a lot like PayPal now. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, there are tons of horror stories online about PayPal suddenly and without warning putting a hold on some of their users' funds.

By anon295938 — On Oct 09, 2012

I read your posts with interest. I have just had my online business effectively shutdown by the google slap. They provide no reasons for this and so, no way to argue the case.

The only way to 'fight it' is to start a new business, new computer, router, bank account, domains, etc., which costs time and money. I'd love to tell them to stick it but for now I need them, whereas, they couldn't care less.

Spending £10k a month on adwords may sound like a lot to small businesses, but to Google it's not even the breeze generated by a gnat farting.

By anon256868 — On Mar 23, 2012

Google is a bully, worse than Microsoft and apple ever were.

We have deleted all the revenue sharing adsense we used to have with them, and it used to bring in $5k a month from ads for them.

This will only stop when their account department wonders why their revenue has dropped through the floor.

By anon239156 — On Jan 07, 2012

I got banned for putting up a site that was a survey on a social issue, not a business at all. The ad focused on the generic name of the issue and offered a free eBook but the keywords were long tail keywords that focused on fairly technical words within the subject, and these names were repeated in the survey. Nonetheless, Google first degraded the keywords because they said they were not relevant to the ad, then banned me outright.

To me there are only two solutions:

1. Forget Adwords. I've now switched to Microsoft Adcenter. Not so fast a response but it's coming.

2. If they're truly a monopoly they need supervision. Get the anti-monopoly people after them.

By anon176609 — On May 16, 2011

Is there a Yahoo slap too? or did it only occur with google ads?

By anon164074 — On Mar 30, 2011

When Google started out, I loved them. Over the past two years I've liked them less and less, and really don't see them being a big player in the search game down the road.

Their AdWords system is problematic functionality at best. Take, for instance, that their own keyword research tool quotes prices for CPC campaigns, and then when you make a campaign, the quote is completely different. I'm not talking a few cents here either. Find any long tail keyword in the research tool, and Google will give you a 5 cent CPC quote. Go put that long tail keyword in a campaign, and then you find out you'll have to bid at least 70 cents just to get your ad ranked high enough to be displayed at the bottom of the list of ads.

They got caught with their foot in their mouth a while back, again, about manually manipulating search results as well. I have lost a lot of respect for Google, as have a ton of other people, especially business people.

Google thinks they can jerk around the business people if all of the consumers use their engine to search. Google will lose their lead in the search engine war. All the business people are just waiting for the next big thing to jump on the band wagon.

By anon154047 — On Feb 19, 2011

Just got done creating "acceptable" landing pages to get my account unterminated (hopefully). Had to edit groups of deleted campaigns! Basically, big G does not want affiliate sites, sites with Ads including their own Adsense, or directory sites. And they will close your account! I wanted my account back though as I will want them for some future services (of my own) I may sell.

By anon122011 — On Oct 26, 2010

Google created an aura of authority due to them being so well known and used, yet in reality, they, as a business, are successful simply because they are aggressive.

Unfortunately it's becoming a classic business model to act in this way, without an real way to counter even simple problems. Try phoning them and speaking to someone about a problem. You'll never reach anyone willing to deal with you. You are seen as insignificant. They'll wipe out your business in a second, but will refuse to tell you exactly what you are supposed to have done wrong.

They really have no competition. They know this and use it to their own advantage.

By anon95152 — On Jul 11, 2010

Carol, do all the following.

Get a new computer used only for adwords. no gmail or any google properties installed.

New ip hosting; new domain; new content for the site; a new credit card; new address the credit card is linked to; search out alternative sources of traffic.

Avoid: Affiliate only lender sites. some may slip through the cracks, but will get caught sooner or later.

Avoid dubious info product offers found in CPA networks and clickbank. It gets the account banned if google finds the experience is bad for customer.

Build a site that gives users exactly what they want.


By nobreather — On May 22, 2010

The problem with a Google Slap is that they can be so drastic. For example, entire business models can get wiped out overnight with little advance notice.

If the advertiser is a small advertiser who uses AdWords sparingly, then a Google Slap is not a big deal... but larger organizations with multiple employees often cannot cope with drastic changes that are implemented overnight.

By anon40229 — On Aug 06, 2009

This is something I have been learning the hard way. Is there any info on how to actually beat the google slap? --Carol from Panic Away

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a EasyTechJunkie contributor, Tricia...
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