In a Google Office Hours hangout someone related that their rankings disappeared after advertising on Google Ads. They said that their rankings returned after they stopped the advertising. The person asked what could explain these events?
The person asking the question acknowledged that Google Ads is not supposed to affect organic rankings. So the question was really about what could have affected the outcome.
Mueller explained the separation between the search and Pay Per Click (PPC) then offered his point of view of these kinds of situations.
The following was edited to remove uhs, uhms, and superfluous words (like, “I, I” and “you know”).
Here is the question:
“Recently… had this situation where we were ranking in first position for a particular keyword.
But when we started running ads for the same keyword… our organic page just didn’t appear in not even one hundred results.
So, right after we stopped running ads, the keyword is back to number one position.
…I know… Google Ads shouldn’t affect your organic results but I’m curious to know whether or if there is any other particular reason for this to happen.”
Google Answers About Seeming Connection Between Ads and Rankings
John Mueller’s response was unambiguous about there not being a connection.
John Mueller answered:
“I don’t know why that would happen like that but it would not be related to the ads.”
He next explained the separation of the ads team and the organic related team.
“So that’s something where these systems are completely separate on our side.
The ranking within the ads, the ranking within search are completely separate systems and there’s essentially no real connection there.
I get this question sometimes like in this way, if I run ads then my website disappears from search. But I also get the same question in the other way, like if people run ads then suddenly their website ranks higher for search because they’re paying for something.
From our point of view it’s like… we work really hard to differentiate ads and search. So much so that even when… large advertisers go to their ad manager or account manager and they have like this small search question… we push back on that, we don’t give any answers at all when it comes to questions from clients or partners.
…That’s something where I would definitely not expect any kind of ranking change, especially something as visible as that. Because that… I think that would also be something that lots of other sites would see and would be kind of a bit… super obvious.
So the ranking change that you… saw there seems like something that would be totally unrelated to the ads.”
Correlations to Ranking Changes
Out of the millions of businesses who advertise on Google it is not a common experience for all of them or even a significant majority to experience a ranking change either up or down.
Coincidences are things that happen without there being an actual cause and effect to connect them. And that’s what this situation where someone starts advertising and their rankings collapse is about.
Google is constantly updating search rankings and the effects sometimes can feel like a major event. It is highly likely that what happened here is just a coincidence.
Watch the question about site rankings returning after cancelling Google Ads
At the 28:35 mark