In the last of our series on AdWords and pay-per-click ads, we address the common assumption that using Google AdWords raises your position in organic search listings and elevates rankings. A recent conversation on Manta Connect (a forum for small businesses) shows just how confusing this subject is. Google states that
To this day, we maintain a strict separation between our search business and our advertising business and we do not give any special treatment to Google advertisers.
In fact, Google has a video on YouTube that addresses this very question. So in answer to the specific question: No, using AdWords does not elevate organic search rankings in some magical way. However, in experience, some advertisers report that their ranking drop after stopping an AdWords campaign, while others report that their rankings increase by using them. In the AdWords community forum you’ll find a variety of ideas about why these changes happen, but the most credible come from a couple of reports.
How AdWords DO Affect Rankings
When your ads are a combination of mobile and Web, of the mobile ads, 88% of the clicks on mobile ads are “incremental to organic clicks” according to a study Google performed on mobile ads. That means that the clicks attributed to mobile ads are in addition to any clicks that came from consumers searching for your website listing directly. Therefore, when those mobile ads stopped, the number of people going to your website decreased, which affected your rankings.
In an earlier report, Google statisticians ran more that 400 studies to determine if “pausing” search ads resulted in a change in organic search traffic to specific sites. In that study, across all of the 446 advertiser accounts that they studied, organic “clicks” did not replace paused search ads 89% of the time. For those of you that are analytical or need the full scoop, you’ll find all of the research here, or you can watch a video here.
What this means to you is that when a search brings up both an organic listing and an ad, the chances of having one or the other convert increases both on mobile ads and Web ads. It is not, however, a direct consequence of your AdWords campaign since the same results could come from your blog content becoming more popular, or from an external ad campaign such as from Facebook or LinkedIn. In addition, the same results could come from using a QR code on a billboard, listing your website on flyers or brochures, running a television spot, direct mail, etc. So the effect of increased traffic, and therefore elevated rankings, come from your total marketing plan and not just one aspect, even AdWords.
Connect to How Customers Search
For small, niche or local businesses, current customers most likely search for you by name. In this case, your website, along with similar names, would appear on the first page of the search. A prospective customer, however, may search by your name if they’ve seen it, but most likely search by location and topic (cowboy boots dallas). In that case, your site may or may not show up depending on how much competition you have in your local area.
However, if your AdWords is set up for the most likely search keywords, both your ad and your listing on Google should show up in the same search. Being on the same search page more than once increases the likelihood that you’ll convert at least one to more visitors to your website increases.
The only way to know for sure if AdWords works for you is to try it. We create AdWords ads in a variety of sizes with many options for rotating content, giving you more chances to garner that “click.”
Let us help you get started on your AdWords campaign today.