TheOptimizationIdiot - 1:43 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)
Sorry to push, but you have a lot of good inputs to stimulate some further thoughts and responses around here.
Thanks, I appreciate it.
I've been trying to "avoid the heated discussions", so it limits me occasionally. I do really appreciate the compliment though and I'll do my best to answer your question.
But if you were a brand, and you were getting free organics, wouldn't you be tempted to reduce your ad spend?
Not necessarily. It would really depend on testing results for me.
Here's why: I've read reports where ad spending increases organic rankings and clicks, and I've read reports where it causes clicks and organic rankings to drop, which tells me there's likely some impact from advertising based on titles and what's shown.
Working with the same "theory" as diberry, where user behavior influences rankings, I can see things "playing out" differently in different situations.
If you spend on AdWords and some people see your title/domain they might:
1.) Click on the ad and have a good experience, then want more information, see your result again, be "reassured", click on it and end the search.
2.) See it as an ad and move past it, but, when they get lower on the page there's already a familiarity with your name, so they might click the organic when it would have "just been another result" previously, and since I think user behavior is a signal, then the "positive behavior" in the organics could push the site higher organically. (Not many people do this, but I'm one who does and for some reason, I'm way more inclined to click on the second result from a site than the first. I know I'm odd and a bit off, but really if a site has two results on the page, I usually click the second one.)
3.) See the title in the ad, not think it was "right on" (maybe it's a synonym or not compelling to them) move past it to some others, find your title that's different in the organics (maybe it's an exact match or more compelling in some way) and click on it.
4.) See the title in the ad, not be convinced or compelled by it, see the same title in the organics and "just move on" to a different one.
5.) See your site in the ads, think "that's what I want", click on it, find some popup laden landing page, have a bad experience, click back, see your organic listing for a different page and not even bother to click, because the experience on the ad page wasn't pleasant.
Those are just some examples of how ads and clicks on those ads could impact organic behavior and organic rankings based on visitor behavior. Based on my experience, behavior is a factor in organic rankings, so I don't think it's as simple as "advertise more = better rankings = more visitors" and I don't think it's as simple as "limit spending due to organic rankings being high", because if testing showed ad spending increases organic clicks due to familiarity with a site / compelling title seen in an ad by N>1 to 1 when only in the organic results, then I would be likely be inclined to spend more on advertising.
I think diberry has a good point on behavior and I know I'm saying something a bit different, but I'm definitely thinking along the same lines and what the actual spend would be for me, would definitely depend on testing, because I think it can be either a positive or negative depending on the visitor responses to not only the ad, but the organic result on the same page as the ad is displayed.