It would seem that Google is unhappy with how some organisations (and individuals) are using grant money to purchase Adwords.

In an effort to encourage (or force) grant money spenders to act responsibly, there are some sweeping changes that have just taken effect.

These changes are effective immediately and include the following amendments:

  • The $2.00 bid limit cap has been removed on keywords as long as the campaigns those keywords are in are using the maximize conversions bid setting.
  • You can no longer bid on branded keywords that are not your own.

  • You can no longer have keywords with a quality score lower than two.

  • You can no longer use overly generic keywords.

  • You can no longer use single word keywords except for your own brand. There are a few exceptions in this Adwords exceptions list, and some other medical conditions.

  • Your campaigns (and account) must use relevant geographic targeting. You can no longer target the entire world to spend money for the sake of spending money.

  • All of your campaigns must have a minimum of two ad groups. Each ad group must have a minimum of two active ads.

  • All of your ads must have (at a minimum) two sitelink extensions at all times.

  • You need to ensure your account maintains a minimum of a 5% CTR. If this requirement is missed two months in a row then your account is suspended until you can prove to Google that you have made necessary changes to become compliant again.

A number of things to take note of, however, most of these make good sense.

If you are using grant money, then it makes sense that it should be used wisely, so nothing here is particularly controversial.

I am keen to hear from any grant money users, what strategies do you currently employ?