Does AdWords influence Google’s organic ranking?
Although at first glance some may think so, the final answer is definitely no! The algorithms that affect ranking and those that influence AdWords are two totally separate things, so paying won’t affect the search network results.
But is it possible that the integration of these two tools will somehow affect users’ choices in the SERP?
Let’s start from certain data (even if a bit old):
A few years ago Google published an infographic that analyses the behaviour of users in the SERP where there are both AdWords ads and organic placements (you can find it here http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Q8xQsLi4KoY/T3IZz0a8qiI/AAAAAAAAACM/OQaBBtGbPvQ/s1600/page0001.jpg). In the first part is made an estimate of the results of clicks and impressions in the absence of organic results, in the second part, the one that I think is more important, shows how clicks on AdWords ads always increase traffic to the site.
Considering these assumptions, I want to present an analysis that highlights the traffic trend (in the image below) of a client who was already positioned for several keywords and who also had active PPC campaigns.
As you can see in the middle of the selected range there is a peak downwards, as the budget dedicated to Adwords has been halved and invested in other activities. From the graph it would seem that the only decreasing channels are “paid traffic” and “all users” (traffic directly related to paid traffic), but let’s analyse the two months before the budget decrease and the two months after.
These are the data from December 11 to February 11.
These are the ones from February 11 to April 11.
As you can see all the data are decreasing, page views are the ones that have suffered the biggest decrease, about 50% (which fully reflects the decrease in budget), up to about 10% of sessions and users from organic. As mentioned earlier, this does not mean that AdWords is a positioning factor, but simply that, in a more or less direct way, it positively influences the behaviour of users in the SERP.
In the months of February, March and mid-April (after which the campaigns were discontinued) sales dropped strangely, but analysing the data of the latter in the various channels there were no changes so high as to justify the decrease in sales of about 30%. In fact the conversions coming from AdWords were more or less the same (I left active only the campaigns that were converting more), email, social etc… the same thing, the only channel that had decreased a bit was the workforce, which could not be justified by the decrease in users described above.
We had missed something in the first analysis, so we started to verify the trend of indirect conversions from September to April…from February onwards there had been a drastic decrease in AdWords assisted conversion.
You should write an article dedicated only to this thing but, for the moment, it is enough to know that the cookies of the acquisition card are kept for 6 months, those of the multi-channel channeling between 1 and 90 days (but without changes are fixed at 30).
If, for example, a user clicks on an Adwords ad on February 12 and, being sent back to our e-commerce, does not buy immediately but saves the name of the site among the favourites, to return to buy something on March 20, the following situation will occur: in the acquisition card the conversion will be attributed to PPC, while in the channeling the purchase will be attributed to direct traffic; moreover, since the 30 days of cookies have passed, the indirect conversion will not even be counted.
On the contrary, in case of a purchase made on February 15th with the same procedure we would have always had in acquisition PPC, but in channeling the last click attributed to the direct and an indirect conversion attributed to PPC.
At this point we went even deeper, trying to verify if somehow the Adwords campaign budget could influence the conversion rate of the Organic. So in an excel file we imported in one column the Adwords campaign budget spent weekly from September 11 to April 11 (so the one spent from 11/09 to 17/09, from 18/09 to 24/09 and so on) and in another column the conversion rate from organic in the same time interval; at this point the “correlation” function between the two columns has been applied (formula shown in the image), an image that indicates the trend of variation of one variable with respect to another (in our case Budget and Conversion Rate) and that always gives a value between -1 and +1. If the value approaches +1 it means that the two parameters are strongly connected to each other in a direct way, if it tends to -1 they are strongly connected to each other inversely, if it is equal to 0 it means that there is no correlation between the two data sets.
In this last case, you might think that the value should be zero or almost zero, because theoretically the AdWords budget should not affect conversions coming from organic, but it is not! We obtained a correlation value of 0.34, a value that in statistics cannot be neglected.
So in this case, even if indirectly, Adwords influences user behaviour positively.
Anno 1991. Laureato in Ingegneria Industriale a Viterbo, nel 2014 ho fondato ByTek Marketing insieme ad altri colleghi, in cui sono responsabile del reparto Advertising. Ho un focus e un amore particolare per Google Ads, della cui Community Italiana sono stato inserito tra le Rising Star nel 2015. Nel 2016 ho partecipato ad un Master in StartUp Business and Entrepreneurship a Los Angeles, California. Sono appassionato di sport, musica, settore beverage e viaggi. Le uniche cose di cui non posso fare a meno sono cuffie, una buona playlist e almeno una viaggio all'anno in California.
26 June 2020
Giuliano Maria Fabbri
26 June 2020
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