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AdWords vs Regular Search Results



10:42 pm on Feb 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I've recently started discovering that most of my AdWords ads tend to come up when I also get top ranking (or close to top) at the same time. This wasn't the case when I started, but apparently I've done a good enough job on the site, that my ranking is pretty good now. So now I'm wondering... Why even bother with the ads? Personally... When I search for stuff, I tend to go with the actual search results. Frankly, I've found that a good portion of the ads tend to be worthless, because they're so misguided and flat out wrong. This is what I always feared would turn people away from the ads... Poor ultimate results. And my hunch is that, that in fact has happened.

So now I'm wondering if it's worth doing the ads at all. I took my budget down quite a bit, just to kind of keep the campaign going enough to get the word out. But I don't get the impression it's actually producing sales very often.

I've always felt that AW is something I'm not suited for... It seems to be such a tedious and time consuming thing. I feel like I'd rather put that time into the actual site, thereby increasing ranking... or just spend the energy on making better products in the first place.


6:04 pm on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I've recently started discovering that most of my AdWords ads tend to come up when I also get top ranking

Are you saying that when you don't see your site performing in organic results, that also your ad is not showing up?

For checking results, you have to be sure you're not getting them based on your search history. Google tends to show you your sites way up compared to what other people see.
For this purpose I use AdWords Preview Tool (always logged out), plus I use proxy servers from time to time.

In regards of "to use or not" AdWords, your best bet is to test it. You would need proper tracking in place, and then you check your reports.
If you spent $100 on AdWords, and you made $150 or $200, would this work for you? It's simple as that.
AdWords ads always take a certain number of searchers and therefore you can't ignore it and think you'll have same amount of traffic without it.


9:05 pm on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

> I've found that a good portion of the ads tend to be worthless

And that's why you don't click on them. Most ads I see are poor and give me little incentive to click them.

But if you have good ads, people will click and you can have great results. Chicken and egg kind of thing.

> It seems to be such a tedious and time consuming thing.

Yes, it is. Few are well suited to do it. That's why you hear so many complain about it.

If you feel you're better at SEO, put your energies there. Stop the PPC or get someone else to do it.

By the way, if you are saying your site ranks higher when running ads, that's an illusion or coincidence. One has nothing to do with the other.


10:54 pm on Feb 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

No, what I was saying was that... when searching on typical keywords that people put in, when looking for those products... my site is #1 or at least first page on those. Then the ads also come up. Of course, that doesn't happen for every conceivable keyword/s, but it happens on a good portion of the most popular. And yes, that's using the test tool. So that's why I was thinking it's kind of redundant. I suppose I could always take out those keywords from the ads and go with less common stuff that the site doesn't rank well in. But seems like that would just lower the payoff.


8:43 am on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

As far as redundancy goes, it depends on the qualification of the search traffic and how goal-oriented your organic listing is. Adwords might cannibalise some of your organic traffic if driving traffic is your only goal, but it's almost certainly going to be more effective at targeting sales, for example, because you can target your ads effectively and make propositions that would be more difficult to make with your SERP listing. At that point it's just a decision as to whether increased conversion is worth the cost of running the ads.


2:08 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

dpd1 - there have been a few studies into the effect of 'cannibalisation' (where PPC ads appear alongside #1 natural listings) and actually it often seems the case that this actually helps drive MORE conversions. Here's just one example; [b2bm.biz ]

That said, if you're happy with the volume coming from organic alone, why not reduce your PPC coverage only to keywords you DON'T have good organic presence for? There will inevitably be hundreds if not thousands of keyword variations you are not optimised for organically that could bring you valuable traffic.

Of course, you mention that you find Adwords a chore & time consuming. Have you considered getting someone to manage your campaign for you?


4:16 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Before removing keywords from PPC just because you have a good organic ranking for those keywords, I'd carefully check to see whether the ad or the organic gets higher click rates and/or higher conversion rates. If you stop the PPC on those keywords that are bringing you good returns, you could be reducing your profits.


4:24 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Another tactic to consider is to set your position preferences or lower your bid for the term in question, so that your ad still appears for the search, but lower than your organic listing, maybe even on the second page.


11:11 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I periodically search on keywords (without clicking on anything or being logged in to Google), and if my site is coming up well for something I've got an ad for, I stop that ad. I look for things where my site does not rank well and buy ads for that. I do find that AdWords is a PIA with their ludicrous Quality Scuzz.


11:56 pm on Feb 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Dontcha think Google’s recent organic Title resculpting might be closely linked to this thread.

If you are ranking #1 organically for "keyword" you might decide to kill your Adword spend on "keyword"

Unless of course, no one clicked the modified Title that Google thoughtfully replaced


11:15 pm on Feb 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Well, there's always been the rumor that buying ads also gives your site better ranking. I have no idea if that's true or not. With the small budget I use on AW anyway, I guess it wouldn't hurt to keep paying, if that's the case.

Most of my best performing ads tend to be for keywords associated to content that's included on the site... not the products. So it's very hard to know how well those actually convert. ie: It could bring somebody there for the content... they make a mental note... then they come back at some other time to buy something. So I think I'm probably using it more as a sort of wide net to potentially draw new people in. Whether it's actually working or not is hard to tell.


1:23 am on Feb 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I keep buying ads for the same reason, dpd1. I also spend a minimal amount. I actually see more buyers come from a 1-inch classified ad I run in a magazine than I do from AdWords. But I figure the familiarity can't hurt.