Google Restricts Ads for Merchant Cash Advances

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Google’s quest to stamp out payday loan advertisements from its paid search results has caused collateral damage to merchant cash advances. That’s because the two-word term cash advance, often synonymous with payday loan, appears to now have a blanket restriction that blocks ads whenever that term is included in search, regardless of the words that come before it or after it.

A search for merchant cash advance returns no paid ads

Merchant cash advances, however, are commercial factoring transactions with no relation to payday or consumer finance.

A user on the deBanked forum first alerted me on October 5th and deBanked conducted tests from internet connections in two states to see if we could replicate the results. Below is a sample of our results:

Keyword Google Adwords Status
cash advance BLOCKED
merchant cash advance BLOCKED
business cash advance BLOCKED
business loan ACCEPTED
loans ACCEPTED
get a business loan ACCEPTED
loan for my business ACCEPTED
cash advance for my business BLOCKED
business loan companies ACCEPTED
merchant cash advance companies BLOCKED
factoring or business loans or credit cards ACCEPTED
factoring or business loans or merchant cash advances BLOCKED
loan from ondeck ACCEPTED
cash advance from ondeck BLOCKED
consolidate loans ACCEPTED
consolidate cash advances BLOCKED


No such block exists on rival search engine Bing.

Though Google has not said this, the mass removal of payday lending ads, once a massive source of revenue for them, is likely the result of government pressure. Over the last two years, federal regulators have begun targeting lead generation sites that direct users to lenders in a misleading manner.

Unless Google fixes the glitch that caused merchant cash advances to get wrapped up with consumer cash advances, the organic search results will experience a huge boost in value. Last month we reported that companies like OnDeck, Fundera, and Nerdwallet were winning the search engine optimization battle for several keywords including merchant cash advance. Absent any ads, those companies and several others will now benefit from a stream of free traffic and applicants for which their cost of acquisition will be zero dollars.

Perhaps little has been mentioned about this ban within the industry because the end result is FREE leads for those that rank well organically. Long live SEO!

Last modified: October 9, 2017
Sean Murray


Category: internet marketing, merchant cash advance, seo

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