Does your use of Google ads contribute to organic search rankings?

Does Google favor advertisers by giving those who use paid ads a ranking advantage in organic search results?

It is a subject that has been the subject of heated debate over the years.

Let’s take a look at why people think this is true and if Google Ads can really help you rank higher in organic search.

The claim: Google ads as a ranking factor

This stems from a persistent mistrust of Google the Mega Corporation. This suggests that if you spend money in one division (in this case Google Ads), you will get benefits in another (Search).

The proof for Google ads as a ranking factor

Every once in a while, an SEO professional will show up to share anecdotal evidence regarding declining rankings correlated with a Google Ads campaign (see an example in the next section).

But that’s exactly what it is – there’s no evidence of causation in there, and the anecdote plural isn’t a given.

In early 2021, a member of the search marketing community launched a series of tweets accusing Google of not only using ad campaign spend to influence organic search rankings, but also of trying to extort website owners. ‘business with this practice.


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In one, she wrote:

“I don’t know yet how to deal with the fact that Google just shakedown one of our clients. Essentially, they were told to spend more on paid ads in order to improve organic search * for their brand name. * “

As expected, chaos ensued. Those who believed in Google Ads / Organic rankings applauded for justification. SEO pros have raised their proverbial fists to the Twitter sky.

Google has deceived us again!

Others argued that it was not possible; that the intent of the sales representative’s message had been lost in the translation.

After being questioned, she insisted that it was not a communication issue and that the Google Ads sales rep even sent a written confirmation that increasing ad spend would improve organic rankings. of the brand.

Has Google been caught in the act, accepting money in exchange for a ranking?

Evidence Against Google Ads As A Ranking Factor

Google’s Danny Sullivan caught wind of the above conversation and clearly denied any connection between the two:

Google Ads Tweet by Danny Sullivan

This is not surprising, because Google has long argued that there is no connection between advertising and organic search.


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Matt Cutts dispelled this myth in a 2014 video, characterizing the continued insistence that Google Ads (AdWords, at the time) was in any way linked to organic search performance as part of conspiracy theories:

“… there are a lot of myths about SEO. So, one of the most important that we always hear is: “If you buy ads, you will rank higher on Google.” And then there is an opposing conspiracy theory which is, “If you don’t buy ads, you’ll rank higher on Google.”

And we kind of think we should bring these two conspiracy sides together and let them fight. And then whoever comes out of this room, we can just debunk this conspiracy theory. “

Another conspiracy theory, he said, was that Google is changing its algorithm to try to trick people into buying ads.

“We want to return great search results to users so that they are happy, so that they keep coming back. This is essentially it.

More recently, John Mueller broached the subject in a Google Office Hours Hangout.

One internet user said they noticed a drop in rank for a specific keyword when they started serving Google Ads, and their ranking returned when they stopped advertising.

Mueller explained:

“… These systems are completely separate on our side. Ranking in ads, ranking in search are completely separate systems and there is essentially no real connection there.

… So the ranking change you saw there seems to be something unrelated to ads.

Google Ads as a ranking factor: our verdict

Definitely not


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Google is a massive organization more than capable of separating these two divisions.

Additionally, allowing ad spend to influence organic rankings would surely lead to less useful results and poorer user experience. It would thwart anything Google is trying to do with search.

You can’t believe everything Google says.

But in this case, I think we would have seen a lot more real evidence over the past 20 years if you could just buy your way to the top of the organic search rankings through ads.

This one is clear: Google does not use Google Ads as a search ranking signal.

What’s more true on Google: Google’s search engine results page (SERP) layout clearly emphasizes ads (traditional text, Shopping, Hotels, etc.).

So while buying an ad isn’t a factor in organic search rankings, Google’s ads can absolutely impact your site’s visibility and placement on the SERPs.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita


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