Can Having an Adwords Campaign Benefit Your Organic Results?

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Published Mar 05, 2014 by SEOblog Editorial Team in SEO Tips & Resources
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Google Adwords is a popular online advertising platform that places various ads on Google’s search engine as users search for specific keywords. The advertisements appear at either the top, bottom, or side of search results after the user makes a specific query. Several factors determine the placement of the ad. The relevance of the keywords and the amount paid per click are both determining factors in the rankings of paid keywords. Google is the world’s premier search engine with millions of users per day. Because of this, Google Adwords is the company’s primary source of income. In 2012, Google’s total advertising revenue totaled 42.5 billion dollars.

Google offers three payment platforms for potential advertisers: cost-per-click (CPC), site-targeted advertising, and cost-per-mille (CPM). Cost-per-click is the most commonly used platform, as Google only charges the advertiser between a few cents and a few dollars for each individual click the advertisement receives. The cost-per-mille platform charges advertiser for every thousand impressions the ad makes. The site-targeted advertising platform places targeted images, banners, and media ads on specific sites. Ranging from local, national, to international distribution, Google Adwords is unanimously the most popular search engine advertising campaign on the Internet.

SEO, as you well know, is the systematic process of increasing visibility and traffic of a certain website using organic or natural methods, which makes the primary goal of search engine optimization is to increase the page rank of a certain website. SEO techniques vary depending on the website and the search engine being optimized for. Each search engine uses a different algorithm for ranking, so it is important to do proper research before altering the content of your website for SEO purposes. Search engine optimization involves the alteration of content and HTML code to increase relevance for specific keywords. Additionally, increasing the total number of backlinks and inbound links is another popular search engine optimization technique.

That being said, web analysts often speculate on the effectiveness of search engine optimization vs paid advertising generated by Google Adwords. Purists are firm in believing that the two techniques are completely independent and do not compliment each other. However, a small minority believes that including a Google Adwords campaign increases organic traffic generated by search queries. Truthfully, the organic traffic of a particular web page is completely separate from the traffic generated from Google Adwords.

There is a reason Google is the most popular search engine in the world.


If Google awarded more organic traffic and increased page rank for paying customers, competitors like Yahoo, Bing, and will gain considerable market share. Google does a good job at maintaining the integrity of its results by separating paid traffic from organic traffic. The executives at Google realize that seasoned users of search engines differentiate between paid advertising and organic search results. In fact, they often recognize the fact that the paid advertisements are not usually relevant to the keyword they are searching for because the advertiser paid a significant amount of money for the ad placement.

Why Adwords has no effect on organic traffic

A study conducted by Search Engine Journal proves that Google does not award organic traffic to paying customers. Using an app called Google Webmaster Tools, a comprehensive report was generated for pre-selected websites to prove where the majority of their traffic originated. The report concluded that websites with no Adwords campaigns generated traffic from organic clicks, or the total number of click-throughs on a website for a particular query. Organic traffic was also measured by organic click per query, which measured the total number of clicks divided by the total number of website appearances in search engine results pages. The report compared websites with Adwords campaigns to websites without paid advertising and concluded that an Adwords campaign has no effect on organic search results.

SEO vs AdWords

Website owners realize that visibility from search engines account for a significant amount of traffic. Web developers are often conflicted when devoted limited resources to either search engine optimization or paid traffic via Google Adwords. Effective SEO usually involves the use of a marketing firm. However, enlisting the help of a marketing firm is very expensive and not always 100% effective at increasing traffic.

For example, a reputable marketing firm may demand up to $2,000 per month for search engine optimization. By forgoing external marketing firms, web developers spend a significant amount of time on search engine optimization. While generating traffic is a priority, the time used for optimizing keywords and adding backlinks can be used on creating more relevant content and marketing on social media networks. The alternative to SEO is paying Google for traffic. The cost of Google Adwords varies on the specific keyword being paid for. Popular keywords will obviously cost a lot more than niche or longtail keywords. Before focusing on one specific traffic-generating technique, one must consider the products being sold at the particular website being promoted.


High-end products and services with significant markup such as jewelry, legal and financial services, cars, and home renovation may benefit from search engine optimization. Because the return on investment for expensive services and products are so high, minute increases in traffic due to search engine optimization is well worth the effort. For example, if a financial firm gets one click-through generated by SEO and charges $900 for their services, the company will still generate respectable revenue. The same cannot be said for low-end products like clothing and silverware. The volume of traffic needed to see the same return on investment is much greater and the time invested in search engine optimization may be considered wasteful. SEO techniques take a significant amount of time before the user sees an increase in traffic. In fact, many organic traffic campaigns take up to six months to see positive results.

An Adwords campaign takes a lot less time to see a return on investment. Increases in traffic can be seen in 24 hours. In addition to this, some keywords only cost a few cents per click, making it a financially viable option for small business owners. Optimally, both SEO and Google Adwords should be used simultaneously to generate results. While search engine optimization takes time to increase traffic, web developers can see an immediate return on their investment via Google Adwords. By the time the SEO campaign sees a return on investment, Google Adwords would have already increased visibility. The two techniques will eventually compliment each other and the web developer should see an exponential increase in website traffic.

Use WebMaster Tools for Traffic Analysis

Google offers a free program called Google Webmaster Tools to analyze the effectiveness of your website’s advertising campaign. Google Webmaster Tools allows users to see how much traffic is generated from each keyword. Using this tool, web developers can tweak their advertising campaign and stop spending money on keywords that don’t generate traffic. Conversely, undiscovered keywords can be optimized or paid for in order to increase traffic. The program is completely free to use and is a necessity for an effective website advertising campaign.

In conclusion, years of evidence and web page analysis have proven that a Google Adwords campaign has no effect on organic traffic. Google rightfully chooses to maintain the integrity of its search algorithm by not rewarding paying customers with higher page ranks. Because of this, paid advertising is completely separate and denoted by a yellow highlight banner. Small businesses benefit from the affordability of Google Adwords as opposed to hiring an external SEO marketing firm. Additionally, users will see faster results via Google Adwords as SEO takes time to materialize results. If your budget permits, it is recommended to use both of these traffic-generating techniques. While, Google Adwords benefits in the short term, the strength of effective search engine optimization cannot be underestimated. Websites ranked on the first page of Google obtain the status solely through SEO and often maintains the position on the first page for years. Because of this, SEO should not be ignored. The most profitable websites use both techniques: Adwords for short-term traffic and SEO for long term visibility.

Written by SEOblog Editorial Team

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The SEOblog editorial team is here to share up-to-date, relevant tips and resources, whether you're new to SEO or have been at it for years.

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