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Buying AdWords does not improve your organic rankings

I don't know about you, but I've heard this many times, on and off this community. I must admit that I did not hear it from people who complained that their organic rankings have improved after opening an AdWords account.


Unfortunately, it was the other way around. I've usually heard it from people who tried AdWords, found out that it was not a good fit for them and decided to stop advertising. They then reported that once their ads were no longer showing, their organic positions went down as well. And though we've tried to explain it here the best we could, I thought it would be great if we could get confirmation from a Googler who knows a thing or two about organic rankings.


Therefore, when I got the chance to ask the gentleman in the video below if he could do this community a great service by busting the myth of an AdWords influence (be it positive or negative) on organic rankings, he smiled and told me that he's about to make me sad, because he already did that Smiley Happy.


I for one was not sad, as I have not seen this video before, so I googled it, found it and wanted to share it with those of you who have not seen it before:



Apart from that, there's also this statement from Google: https://www.google.com/competition/howgoogleadswork.html#section2


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. 


So why do people say that their rankings drop? Well, if you look at these reports (http://adwords.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/new-research-shows-that-88-of-ad-clicks.html and http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/08/studies-show-search-ads-drive-89.html) you'll see that when a search results page returns both ads AND organic results pointing to your website, the chances of you getting the click and having that content shared or linked to organically do indeed increase. And once your content becomes more popular and more people link to it, you will probably rank higher organically. But that is not a direct consequence of running an AdWords campaign, it is a consequence of your website / content becoming more popular. If you were able to achieve the same popularity via other channels (social media, TV advertising, flyers with QR codes and so on), you'd end up seeing the same effect.


Summing up:


  • running AdWords campaigns does not increase your organic rankings via a magic boost factor
  • stopping your AdWords campaigns does not lower your organic rakings


about Calin Sandici

I've turned my hobby (digital marketing & analytics) into a full time job in 2012, after working with Google Analytics and AdWords for several years. Previous jobs: web developer, software project manager, manager of a software development department & partner in a software development company. I love foreign languages and music, sports (when I get a chance) and challenges. Do you have an AdWords related question? Ask it and you shall receive the answer.

Mini-CM Community Manager
October 2013

Great article Calin. This addresses many frequently asked questions on the Community. 


Thanks for posting. 




Umair A
October 2013

Now my question is Which is better Organic SEO or Google Adword Smiley Happy Nice article . 

AdWiser Top Contributor
October 2013

My 2 cents? It's better to have both a good organic presence and a paid one, because when you hit both your "aggregated SERP CTR" increases a lot.


I've never been fond of "artificially" creating links or submitting articles or stuffing metatags / page elements (H1 ... H6 and so on) with targeted keywords, but then I never had to.


I'm a "SEO-compliance" advocate. And by that I mean that if you write content for your users it has to be both useful and easily findable. Which means you have to speak the language of your audience and structure your website / articles accordingly.


With respect to the "time-to-market" and targeting precision, I think that AdWords is, hands down, the best solution currently on the market. If all goes well, you can start in the morning with a few keywords and ads and be online in a matter of hours (you still want to be relevant, so you have to both choose your keywords and write your ads carefully) and only get relevant traffic, if you know what you're doing.


On the other hand, if you don't want to pay for each and every click, if you're not in a hurry, if you can use other channels as well in order to get some traffic to your website AND, most importantly, if there are no other advertisers stealing your SERP space for your relevant keywords, you may wait, for a while, before you launch an advertising campaign.


Although I've been involved in advertising for quite some time, I do understand the fact that some are simply averse to having to pay for all the irrelevant clicks that one might get (and after all every non-converting click is irrelevant, if we want to be radical).


But on the other hand, why not see that the glass is in fact half-full, not half-empty? Why not focus on the fact that if everything is done right, AdWords can bring advertisers profitable traffic? Why not pay 10 cents for clicks, on average, if they make 11?


I'm currently experimenting, with one of my larger clients, with all the available traffic we can get. We'll give it some time, analyze the results and decide which is going to stay, which is going to go and which is going to see larger or smaller budgets and bids.


But for me, it was never a question of "is it going to be SEO or AdWords", as some like to put it. it's rather a question of getting my hands (or my servers, actually) on all the profitable traffic that I can get. Organic or paid, direct or social, it does not matter.

October 2013

Woman Very Happy

Hitesh L
October 2013

Which is better?

Organic search or Adwords?

 Answer(what I feel)-Both,how?


Organic Search-It is always better as it builds a long term relation with internet which needs a lot of time and effort but less investment and good for the times when you don’t have investment to go for adwords/paid advertisements as search will get your business on the first page or top on the page.

Moreover it is good for us if our customers know the difference between the immediate projected brand(PPC) and gradual projected brand(SEO),most of the times people who know the difference like to go for the organic search results.


PPC-It is good for us if our customers are not internet savvy who are really do not care to differentiate between ads and search results.


Both-these are the two perspectives I personally see so I generally like both as PPC takes short time to get you business but SEO brings genuineness to your business.

Thank you Smiley Happy

stickleback Top Contributor
October 2013



This is not a choice we have to make - you can (and probably should) hasve both....


Great article Calin - you myth buster you!