The Myth That Just Won’t Die
I guess we’re all just too accustomed to unprincipled corporate greed, because this myth has persisted for years. Most recently it was asked at my local BNI meeting:
Does participating in Google’s Pay Per Click (PPC) program AdWords help your non-PPC rankings?
The corollary to that is the question:
Does Google punish sites that don’t pay them for PPC ads by lowering their rankings, thus encouraging participation in AdWords where Google makes money?
The answer is No. Always has been and always will. The simple reason is that doing this would reduce the relevance of Google’s main organic rankings. And once that happens, Yahoo, Bing, or another search engine will unseat them as the Big Dog of search.
More savvy searchers typically avoid the PPC ads because they understand the sponsored links up top aren’t there because they’re the most relevant match for your search. Those top ranking PPC links are there largely because the advertiser is willing to pay more than others for your click.
A blog post over at WSI said it well:
Doing Adwords does NOT directly help or effect rankings. Integrity in this area is a cornerstone of Google’s business. If this were violated it would damage Google beyond repair, not to mention a slew of legal actions. Google would never risk those consequences. Google has stated over and over that Adwords advertising will not affect rankings. I don’t always believe Google but….
I have been managing Adwords and doing search engine optimization for my clients for many years. I have managed every combination of clients that do or don’t do AdWords combined with SEO. There have also been cases where SEO clients stop doing AdWords, or start doing AdWords. I can say that I have never seen anything that indicated that Adwords affected rankings.
There are a number of reputable SEO research firms that study this issue and every one of them has come to the same conclusion: Adwords does not affect rankings.
My experience is completely in agreement with that assessment.
There’s a place for AdWords advertising, of course, and it’s true that if you show up in both the PPC and the organic results on the first page it super-validates you as a site searchers will want to click on first. But the AdWords itself has no impact on how highly you rank in the organic results.