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Google Search Liaison: Ads Not A Hindrance To Search Rankings

Google Search Liaison clarifies that websites with ads can rank well, though it's important to balance monetization with user experience.

  • Websites with ads can still rank well in Google search results.
  • Excessive or intrusive ads that disrupt user experience may indirectly impact search rankings.
  • Balancing monetization and user satisfaction is crucial to maintain strong search rankings.

As Google’s March core update continues, there’s uncertainty surrounding the impact of advertisements on search rankings.

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, took to Twitter to address these concerns, stating that sites with ads can still rank well in Google search results.

Google Clarifies The Impact Of Ads On Search Rankings

Website owner Tony Hill brought the issue to light, inferring from Sullivan’s earlier advice that Google disapproves of ads.

Hill points out the prevalence of ads in Google’s search results pages, especially on mobile devices, and expressed concern that Google’s algorithms may unfairly target smaller sites that rely on ad revenue.

Sullivan clarified that “there are plenty of sites that rank perfectly well in Google Search that have ads, both sites big and small.”

He emphasized that Google’s systems aim to reward sites that provide a good page experience, a long-standing goal that isn’t new.

Ads Aren’t Direct Ranking Factors

Referring to Google’s documentation on page experience, Sullivan noted that Core Web Vitals are direct ranking factors, while other aspects mentioned, such as excessive ads in relation to main content, are not.

The documentation states:

“Beyond Core Web Vitals, other page experience aspects don’t directly help your website rank higher in search results. However, they can make your website more satisfying to use, which is generally aligned with what our ranking systems seek to reward.”

Anecdotal evidence supports Sullivan’s statement, with many sites climbing in rankings following the core update despite having advertisements on their pages.

This suggests that ads alone don’t necessarily hinder a site’s ability to rank well in Google search results.

Analyzing Sullivan’s Statement

Considering Sullivan’s statements and the wider conversation surrounding ads and search rankings, several additional points are worth mentioning.

First, while ads may not be a direct ranking factor, their implementation can indirectly impact SEO.

Excessive or intrusive ads that significantly disrupt the user experience could negatively impact search rankings. Therefore, you must carefully consider ads’ placement, quantity, and quality.

Google’s increasing reliance on ads in search results pages has drawn criticism, with some arguing that it creates a double standard.

The debate sparked by Hill’s comments also raises questions about the fairness of Google’s approach to smaller websites that rely heavily on ad revenue. While Sullivan affirms that sites of all sizes can rank well with ads, some may feel that the playing field isn’t level.

While ads are a legitimate means of monetization, they shouldn’t diminish a website’s core value.

In Summary

The debate surrounding ads and search rankings highlights the delicate balance between user experience and website financial sustainability.

Ads make much of the web accessible and free for users. However, page experience remains crucial in how Google’s algorithms assess and rank websites.

As you navigate the March core and spam updates, Sullivan’s clarification confirms that advertisements don’t inherently conflict with achieving strong search rankings.

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

Google Search Liaison: Ads Not A Hindrance To Search Rankings

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