Google Restrictions Explained: Why You Do Not Get Any Search Volume For Your Queries

Google Restrictions Explained: Why You Do Not Get Any Search Volume For Your Queries

Due to numerous requests that our support team was getting from our clients we thought it’s high time we have written an article about Google restrictions. Please, accept our sincere apologies if you have experienced any issues with getting the search volume recently.

You know that for some keywords you’re not getting any search volume either in Google Adwords Keyword Planner or through our APIs when you perform API calls. Why does it happen? Why are you or your clients not seeing any results for the requested keywords?

Google has clear Advertising Policies Help where they cover all of the rules on what counts as illegal, tricky, vague, adult and other types of content, products or services. While there are many obviously restricted things that you can be aware of such as

  • Drugs;
  • Adult content;
  • Counterfeit goods;
  • Political content, etc.

There are also plenty of not-so-obvious fields or details that you should know about.

Antique guns and Airsoft

Recently, a client was asking why doesn’t our API return any search volume for these two keywords antique guns and airsoft. Since we are getting our data directly from Google, we would like to make everything clear.

You may think that antique guns are just big boys toys and nothing is wrong with it. However, what Google thinks about it is that an antique gun is a weapon that can cause potential harm to a human, animal or other living beings.

While you as a US-based vendor should definitely have a C&R license that is issued by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to buy and sell antique guns, Google will surely take care of those who buy guns, well, until they don’t. Google does not show you any search volume for these keywords as well as no ads will be displayed. However, sometimes there is no correlation between search volume and a possibility to run ads which means that it’s all relative.

guns-google-ads

Speaking about Airsoft guns, they are counted as non-lethal weapons and require no license to use them. However, in France, for example, depending on the power of airsoft guns, people under 18 can buy them if they are under 0.08 joules in power. Airsoft guns under 2 joules are acceptable, if a gun is more powerful it puts the gun into the firearms category and requires a license.

The regulations are different from one country to another, and we assume that Google doesn’t want to involve themselves into any legal issues; this is why they do not display ads for Airsoft, paintball and other guns. But wait, just keep reading to see what we’ve found.

Bitcoin Wallet

Bitcoin wallet was another keyword that one of our clients was looking for and wanted to get search volume for. The task returned zero search volume results because not all of the bitcoins, satoshi, and other cryptocurrency offerings show search volume. Why? There is only one resource that can explain it. The complete information can be found in Google Advertising Policies documentation.

fin-products-google

The issue with all the digital currencies is that there may be a lot of fraudulent activities and schemes around them. A lot of unfair and tricky individuals or agencies may try to trick people out of their money. This may be the reason why Google does not display any ads or search volumes for these terms. Finally, here is an interesting part.

Rule #1: There are no rules

All these keywords and search volumes are relative. Now, the truth is that there are no comprehensive guidelines to describe all the inconsistencies and rule exceptions. What are we talking about? We have discovered some interesting facts as we dug into the topic of what search volume is and its correlation with the ads.

Rule #2: If you’ve followed the Google rules and failed to get your ad up and running then check the rule #1

You know that selling drugs such as marijuana is illegal in some countries, that’s right. But how about seeing the ad to buy some ganja in the UK from Google Shopping? Cannabis is illegal in the UK, however, Google is not always good at figuring out things. This ad will be there for some time until it’s spotted and blocked.

ganja-google-shop

Do you remember we have just talked about buying bitcoins and that it’s forbidden to trade any cryptocurrencies? Here is proof.

buy-bitcoins

Our API does not extract any search volume because it’s restricted by Google.

Request Sample
{
    "status": "ok",
    "results_time": "0.0841 sec.",
    "results_count": 1,
    "results": [
        {
            "post_id": "your post_id parameter here",
            "task_id": 105219002,
            "status": "ok"
        }
    ]
}
Response Sample
{
    "status": "ok",
    "results_time": "0.1548 sec.",
    "results_count": 1,
    "results": [
        {
            "task_id": 104384760,
            "post_id": "your post_id parameter here",
            "status": "ok",
            "result": [
                {
                    "language": "en",
                    "loc_id": 2840,
                    "key": "buy bitcoin",
                    "cmp": null,
                    "cpc": null,
                    "sv": null,
                    "ms": null
                }
            ],
            "error": [
                {
                    "code": 404,
                    "message": "location=2840 language=en - Search volume data not found! Google doesn't have any data for the specified keyword(s) or the keyword(s) are related to inappropriate content for which data retrieving is limited."
                }
            ]
        }
    ]
}

But do not worry. Just add some more keywords, and you’ll be able to run ads regardless of Google Advertising Policies as well as you may see the search volume.

buy-bitcoins-credit-card

Here is what our API request shows for this keyword “buy bitcoins with credit card instantly no verification.”

Request Sample
{
    "status": "ok",
    "results_time": "0.7076 sec.",
    "results_count": 1,
    "results": [
        {
            "post_id": "your post_id parameter here",
            "task_id": 105202668,
            "status": "ok"
        }
    ]
}
Response Sample
{
    "status": "ok",
    "results_time": "0.0800 sec.",
    "results_count": 1,
    "results": [
        {
            "task_id": 105202668,
            "post_id": "your post_id parameter here",
            "status": "ok",
            "result": [
                {
                    "language": "en",
                    "loc_id": 2840,
                    "key": "buy bitcoins with credit card instantly no verification",
                    "cmp": 0.5714285714285714,
                    "cpc": 6.434487,
                    "sv": 210,
                    "ms": [
                        {
                            "year": 2018,
                            "month": 7,
                            "count": 210
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2018,
                            "month": 6,
                            "count": 210
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2018,
                            "month": 5,
                            "count": 210
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2018,
                            "month": 4,
                            "count": 170
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2018,
                            "month": 3,
                            "count": 170
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2018,
                            "month": 2,
                            "count": 140
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2018,
                            "month": 1,
                            "count": 260
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2017,
                            "month": 12,
                            "count": 480
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2017,
                            "month": 11,
                            "count": 260
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2017,
                            "month": 10,
                            "count": 260
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2017,
                            "month": 9,
                            "count": 260
                        },
                        {
                            "year": 2017,
                            "month": 8,
                            "count": 170
                        }
                    ]
                }
            ]
        }
    ]
}

Search Volume, Ads and User Intent

For the variety of tested queries on different topics, we assume that Google does not return any search volume because they heavily rely on user intent. Sometimes they fail to spot the intent and stick to their own guidelines, but sometimes they restrict search volume and ads displaying successfully.

If you have a business that concentrates on any of the products or services that are known to be restricted there is a cool trick to fix it. Just change the keyword to “mask” the intent.

For example, “bitcoin wallet” does not return any search volume while “blockchain bitcoin wallet” does. The latter speaks about more of a technology and can be considered as educational content rather than clear CTA to buy things.

Speaking of ads, you do not need any search volume to start running ads. If this is the first time you’re placing an ad, you should not choose any “shaky” keywords that can be declined for your ad campaign. What about the future ads? It’s up to you. There is a high chance Google will not care what you’re advertising about once you’ve built your reputation.

Conclusions

Sometimes it may be unclear why you can get search volume for some keywords, and you see zero results for others. The most reliable resource out there is Google Ad Policies which are constantly updated, and we can only get what we get. Apart from drugs, weapons and adult content, you can also experience some issues with a detox diet, forex and cryptocurrencies, etc. Bear in mind that Google may restrict this or that keyword data as they find a keyword questionable.

The best way to see the search volume and run “unrunnable” ads and is to play around with keywords and find the sweet spot between the educational content and buyer intent. For running ads, you do not need to know search volume which may or may not leave you blindfolded. However, by looking at the keywords from other perspective and testing some variations of them, you can find out the approximate search volume for the desired keywords even if it’s not shown.

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