Abuse of the free listings network

This policy only applies to free listings. For Shopping ads policies, visit our main page here.

Our policy

Google wants free listings to be useful, varied, relevant and safe for customers, and so we’ve made some decisions about how we serve content on our network. As a result we don’t allow any of the following:

  • Malicious content
  • Sites that offer little unique value to customers and are focused primarily on traffic generation
  • Retailers who attempt to gain an unfair advantage in ranking
  • Retailers who attempt to bypass our review processes

All of our policies are crafted to protect a high quality user experience, and we’ve built enforcement systems and processes to prevent content that falls below these standards from being shown to customers. We take any attempts to trick or circumvent our review processes very seriously, so play fair.

Examples of what's not allowed

Malicious or unwanted software
Malicious software or “malware” that may harm or gain unauthorized access to a computer, device, or network
  • Examples: Computer viruses, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, keyloggers, dialers, spyware, rogue security software, and other malicious programs
 Listings that violate Google's Unwanted Software policy
  • Examples: Failing to be transparent about the functionality that the software provides or the full implications of installing the software, failing to include Terms of Service or an End User License Agreement, bundling software or applications without the user's knowledge, making system changes without the user's consent, making it difficult for users to disable or uninstall the software, failing to properly use publicly available Google APIs when interacting with Google services or products. See Google's Unwanted Software policy
Low-value content
Products that are designed for the primary purpose of showing ads or promotional content
  • Examples: Driving traffic (whether through “arbitrage” or otherwise) to destinations with more ads than original content, little or no original content, or excessive advertising
Sites that do not provide all customers a way to complete the purchase of a product
Content that is replicated from another source without adding value in the form of original content or additional functionality
  • Examples: Mirroring, framing, or scraping content from another source
Landing pages that are solely designed to send customers elsewhere
Gaining an unfair advantage
Using the Google network to gain an unfair traffic advantage in Shopping campaigns
  • Examples: Clicks or impressions generated by a retailer clicking on their own listings, automated clicking tools or traffic sources, robots, or other deceptive software; duplicate listings
Gaming the Google network
Engaging in practices that attempt to circumvent or interfere with Google’s systems and processes
  • Examples: Cloaking; use of dynamic DNS to switch page or product; manipulating product data or site content in order to bypass our automated system checks; restricting crawler access to your landing pages (learn more about Google web developer guidelines)

What you can do

Here's what you can do if your product is disapproved or if your Merchant Center account is impacted:

Product disapproval

Products that don't comply with our policies may be disapproved. When a product is disapproved, it won't be eligible to serve. If the product doesn't comply with our policies, it should be removed from your product data feed.

In some instances, you’ll see the option to request a review of a product that has been disapproved for policy violations. If you believe that your product was incorrectly disapproved and you would like to request a manual review, click Request Review in the 'Item Status' of your product page. Learn more about product disapprovals for free listings policy violations and requesting a review

Account disapproval

For most violations, we'll send you a warning email detailing the policy violation and give you 7 or 28 calendar days to fix your issue.

  1. Read our policies to learn what we don't allow.
  2. Update your website. If your listing leads to content that violates a policy, update your website to meet the requirements and be in compliance with our policies.
  3. Remove the violating products from your product data. You’ll receive an email with details about the violation. If you have products in your product data that violate the policy (or policies) you'll need to remove the offers from your feed.
  4. Update your product data in Merchant Center. If you created a schedule for automatic uploads, update your product data manually or wait for your product data to be automatically updated before requesting a review. Product data that you’ve uploaded as a test won’t go live and isn’t considered during account reviews.
  5. Request a review of your account.
    • If your account is still within the warning period, it will automatically be reviewed again at the end of the warning period. If the violating products are removed, you won't need to request an account review or take any additional action.
    • If your account is suspended and you've taken action to resolve the issue, request an account review.

Most accounts are reviewed within 3 business days, but it can take longer if a more complex review is needed. If we find that you've removed the violating products from your product data, we’ll remove the warning. In the case of account suspension, we'll approve your account so your products can start displaying again.

To ensure a safe and positive experience for customers, Google requires that retailers comply with all applicable laws and regulations in addition to our policies. It's important that you familiarize yourself with and keep up to date on these requirements for the place where your business operates, as well as any other places your listings are shown. When we find content that violates these requirements, we may block it from appearing. In cases of repeated or egregious violations, we may ban you from listing content with us.
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