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Can Adwords actually harm organic rankings?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I am currently struggling to rank for a certain keyword, I just keep bouncing between #10 and page 2. On the other hand, I am also running an Adwords campaign for this keyword and it is doing really well.



10/10 quality score, 35% CTR, ~3min avg time on site as reported by GA for this landing page.



Very low CTR, ~ 1.5min avg time on site, very weak rankings, failing to compete against irrelevant results.


I am suspecting that Adwords is killing both my clickthrough rates and dwell times, as most people click on the Adwords ad before even seeing my organic result. Those who do click my organic result would probably leave my website once they realise they've just visited it.


I've been reading quite a lot of articles about whether Adwords has any effect on organic rankings and most people seem to be worried about pausing their ads because paid search could be part of the Google algo.


However, this is a whole different issue. User metrics as measured by Google could trick the algorithm into thinking that the website is bad quality if Adwords data is not taken into account - which I've seen people claiming to be a fact.


What should I do? Pause my Google ads? They are an important source of income, so I would rather not do that.



1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Can Adwords actually harm organic rankings?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
Hi Juan Pablo S,

AdWords has absolutely no effect on organic ranking. There is a hard division between the teams. To get better organic ranking, do the SEO work on the page. That's a bit out of the scope of this forum. Webmasters forum may be a better place for you to look for help on that.

When your organic listing is toward the top of the first page of SERP along with your ad, they tend to complement each other. If your organic listing is at the bottom of the page or on the second page, the ads will get the clicks. But the AdWords performance and QS are completely separate from organic pageRank.

Are you using the AdWords preview tool to check both ad placements and organic listings? If you do a number of searches on Google (with the same browser) and do not click on your own organic listing, Google will figure you're not interested in that site, and that pushes it down in pageRank. At the very least, use a browser in incognito mode so your search history does not affect the results you see.

AdWords scores your landing page based on usability. Organic search scores your page based on relevance. Your own search history can affect that relevance.

Best of Luck!

petebardo -- Deadhead doing AdWords

Re: Can Adwords actually harm organic rankings?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hello Pete, and thank you for your answer.

I am tracking my rankings with WMT, third party tools and searches using Incognito. The result is pretty clear: my site stays on #10 for a few days, then goes back to page 2, and so on. I am aware of how personalised search works and take the necessary steps to avoid being fooled by it.

My question is really simple. How would Google react to a low CTR and short dwell times?

There's no doubt my landing page is very relevant to the query as evidenced by the success of the Adwords campaign.

If Adwords and organic search are completely independent, then there's no doubt I should stop my campaign for a few weeks and see if things improve.

Re: Can Adwords actually harm organic rankings?

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 4
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
Low CTR effect organic ranking. Google consider your website/web page is not as useful as it should be. Fail to serve information when users search services/products, you are offering. Optimize your web pages which are really poor CTR. Add more information, Images in details so that your ranking up and people click on your link.

Hope this will help you.

Re: Can Adwords actually harm organic rankings?

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hello Virendra,


I know the SEO basics and I am pretty much aware that user metrics like the one I mentioned are taken into account by Google.


However, my question is really simple. Can low CTR and dwell times affect rankings when people bounce after clicking on my organic result AFTER having spent some time on my website accessing through my ad?


This is the situation that I am describing.


1. People search for "blue widgets"

2. There's an ad on top for that, and my organic result.

3. People click on the ad.

4. Stay on the website for 3min.

5. Go back.

6. Click on my organic result.

7. "I feel I've seen this before".

8. Bounce.


Could anyone please tell me whether the described situation could raise a red flag to Google?