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We started using adwords about a year and a half ago. At that time our ranking was "good" (just good, not great).
As we used AdWords, I noticed us slipping, after about 150K worth of AdWords payments, we decided to hold off for a bit...during this time, we dropped to 94th position (ouch!)
we stopped for 2 months, the site began to rise again...we actually began to get where we needed to be (page 1)...after about 3 weeks...
So...about a month ago...we startup AdWords again..and we begin to drop in the SERPS...again..
it's more than frustrating.... I have several sites, been doing SEO for about 8 years, and have great placement abilitys...however this site, is totally making me crazy...
1 - several MFA's pick us up, we get credit for the inbound links....are we being penalized due to the link from possibly a "bad neighborhood"?
2 - If G can keep you down in the natural serps you would "have" to keep on paying them to stay up there..it would make "money" sense to keep you down...
(I suppose there would be some class action if you could prove it was happening)
I can't make any reason out of this, at all...
I've called G, spoke with our rep...
that was zero help...not that I expected any real help in this area...
Any ideas or thoughts would help greatly...
thanks for letting me rant!
IF Google uses click-thru data in their ranking algorithm
AND IF your ads were "stealing" clicks from your natural listings
THEN PERHAPS that could be a way that Adwords could drop your rankings.
This hypothesis is testable. Pick your best keyword, make sure your next AdSense campaign never shows any ads for that keyword, and see if you drop again in the listings -- but not for that keyword.
So I believe Google's official stance on this. It would be suicide for them to establish some automated connection between the two.
There is an easy to make logical pitfall known as "post hoc ergo propter hoc" or "after this, therefore because of this". Establishing a cause and effect relationship takes more than that kind of temproal observation. And even with huge amounts of data, there's still a difference between correlated data and establishing true cause and effect.
However, if you have a theory about cause and effect in a given case then all it takes is one counter-example (where the other variables are controlled) to disprove that theory. When you manage large AdWords campaigns and also monitor natural listings for the same words, it quickly becomes clear that there is no correlation between AdWrods and the organic SERPs. So cause and effect is also ruled out.
The official word from Google is that there is no relationship between AdWords and the organic search results.
True, and probably this case is just an effect of random variation.
But, it certainly looks likely that searcher behavior is factored into rankings along with a great many factors. And searcher behavior certainly can be affected by ads that do or don't appear along with the natural listings. Since Google has no way, in the general case, of knowing whether website X with a natural listing is owned by the same person as website Y, with ads displaying on the same page with X's listing, it seems possible that there can be cases where AdWords can affect organic search results in ways that Google did not plan.
Ironically, the more effectively Google keeps AdWords data separate from the organic search ranking, the more likely it is that this unintended interaction is possible -- to prevent it, the ranking side would need to share data with the AdWords program!
When you query a certain combination of keywords, you see the site both as the #1 sponsored result (i.e., above the organic results), and at #1 in organic results.
This always puzzled me. That is to say, why they spend thousands of dollars while they are always at #1 in organic results.
The site is so "immune" to tweaks in algo that it always survived all updates, and maintained its top (#1) position. I monitor this site since last September, and always seen it at #1.
I do not know if it is against the TOS to post the query string. But if not, then I can post it as an evidence.
I do not know if it is against the TOS to post the query string.
Not the TOS [webmasterworld.com], selomelo, but it is against the Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com]. Each of our forums has a charter for policies that apply more locally. However, even without seeing the specific query, I can tell you that this is a relatively common practice.
...why they spend thousands of dollars while they are always at #1 in organic results.
Because, for some searches at least, the profit can be there. Sometimes having both listings produces much higher clicks than either one alone can give, or even the sum of the two. It's an interesting effect.
I have therefore sent this email to Google a few minutes ago. I'm looking forward to my automated reply!
Because my site is no longer in the natural search index, and I only intended AdWords to supplement regular search, I am canceling my account and will use use Yahoo and MSN instead.
I'm off to checkout the competition now.. I gotta get some traffic from somewhere!
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[edited by: tedster at 4:51 am (utc) on April 30, 2006]
Wow, snowweb, that takes guts.
Actually, we're not a big fish, so it's not such an enormous decision for us although, our feeling is that we would apply the same principle even if we were.
Let's see whether we drop out of Yahoo and MSN's index now! (shivers!)
The only time he will turn off adwords is when he can not keep up with the shipment of orders.
His return is less on the adwords purchases, but they still provide a respectable margin.
During peak periods, he will shut off the Adwords for a few weeks, and his positioning do not change