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Does Buying Google Adwords Help Your Rankings?

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?

Google AdWordsThe 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.

Need help improving your organic rankings? That’s what we do.

7 Comments
  1. Hi there, I have a website that my wife created on I web. Its taken a very long time to get on the google search, now after years, i’m on page 4! My old website that I created on adobe is on the first page? I would love to know if you can help me get on the first page next to my competitors. Is it possible for an I Web site to make it to the first page? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,

    Jeremia

    • Hi, Jeremia. There’s no reason your website shouldn’t be able to achieve first page rankings. I do see quite a number of SEO problems on your site, and notice you have no PageRank at Google. I would suggest you review a few categories in our blog as a starter: Links, Blogs, and Local Search. We’ve had success with a company very similar to your own, but working with soapstone instead of concrete. Great rankings are definitely possible for you.

  2. Top post Bill, i completely agree with you but people new to the net will believe that it does :) As i learnt the hard way and pumped ££££ into google adwords and my CTR was abismal :(

    Keep up the good work fella

    p.s Jeremia get some high quality backlinks :)

  3. Hi Bill,

    Google Page ranking is on the scale of 1-10. There are other providers like Moz who have page ranking on 1-100.
    When we stopped doing Adwords for just one month after a year of Adwords campaign, we observed that though our Google Page rank remained 2 the Moz rank decreased from 28 to 26.

    So I feel that the page rank is affected at fractional level if not on large scale. Please share your views.

    Rishikesh Somshetti

    • Hi, Richikesh,

      MozRank is not on a scale of 1-100, but on a scale of 0-10 with two decimal places. You may be confusing it with Domain Authority, which is on a 0-100 scale. There are so many factors that go into a Domain Authority score that I’d be reluctant to blame such a drop on whether or not AdWords is in play. I see fluctuations up and down by 1-2 all the time.

      Cheers!
      Bill

  4. I have been reading up about this, thanks for the post Bill. As I have done a few ads on adwords, compared to my organic search the bounce rate and page click through was just too bad for me to even believe that the clicks were even genuine. Even the timing of the clicks was fishy! Most (organic search) people stick around for four pages at least. I have an average time spent on my site at 0.00.05 or less via adwords! I have paused the whole thing, and am working on PR instead. The whole adwords thing is over complicated. I think deliberately.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Liv. That’s a shockingly high bounce rate on your AdWords. I don’t blame you for pausing your ads. I wonder if other readers have seen similar results?

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