Google has made an adjustment to the way it handles display URLs for AdWords ads. This is the URL that appears within the ad itself, that users see before they click on it. The adjustment is for sites that sit on shared or hosted domains.
The idea is to make it more clear to users exactly what they will be clicking on. On the Inside AdWords blog, Google's Miles Johnson explains, "Let's say I wanted to create an ad linking to this blog: http://adwords.blogspot.com. In the past, blogspot.com would have been an acceptable display URL. Because there are so many independent blogs hosted on http://blogspot.com however, we now require the display URL to reflect the specific blog reached upon clicking the ad– in this case: adwords.blogspot.com."
Google outlines its Display URL guidelines here. They include:
- Your display URL must accurately reflect the URL of the website you're advertising. It should match the domain of your landing page so that users will know which site they'll be taken to when they click on your ad.
- Where you have keyword URLs, these are considered to be your destination URLs, and the display URL must accurately reflect them.
- The display URLs within each ad group must have the same domain.
- The display URL field cannot be used as another line of ad text.
- Your display URL must include the domain extension, for example: .com, .net, or .org.
- If your actual destination URL link is too long to use as your display URL, use a shortened version (such as your homepage) that meets the character limit for this field.
- If hosted from a domain that provides service to many independent entities, include a domain and path sufficient to identify your company's site from all the other sites hosted by that domain.
Google will no longer accept ads that don't include the additional info in their display URLs. However, they will suggest a display URL in the rejection email they send.