Does Google Search Ads Impact Organic Search Traffic?
Building organic search traffic to a new blog or website can take quite a long time. We’re talking months, maybe longer depending on the keywords you're trying to rank for.
Obviously, you can pay for your website to show up under any keyword via Google Ads. However, once you stop paying, you stop getting traffic. Right?
Or is it possible that a Google Ad Campaign contributes to improved organic search rankings and traffic?
Google says flat out that you cannot pay for better organic rankings. But they also state: “Google's first responsibility is to provide Search users with the most relevant possible results.”
A lot of people speculate on whether or not Google's organic ranking algorithm considers website metrics like bounce rate, average time on site, and clickthrough rate to determine relevancy.
Google does in fact state that they “...use aggregated and anonymized interaction data to assess whether search results are relevant to queries.”
That sounds like average time on site and clickthrough rate to me.
Google may not allow you to directly purchase improved organic rankings, but what happens if you use Google Ads to drive traffic to a new blog post or article that proves to have both a high average time on site and engagement rate?
Are we to believe Google won't boost this post higher in the organic search results just because it was a paid ad at one point?
What if the 'interaction data' proves the post or article to be just as, or more, relevant than the ones currently taking up the top of the SERPs for a given keyword?
I decided to put this to the test.
Traditionally, I have sent Google Ad traffic to landing pages or websites that are trying to generate a lead or sale. For this experiment, I instead sent Google Ad traffic to my blog posts, which are designed to deliver user value - not leads or sales.
I hypothesized that this strategy would give me the best average time on site and engagement rate compared to a landing page with just a sales pitch. It would also allow me to focus on driving a high clickthrough rate, since the Google Ad only calls upon the user to read a blog post. No sales pitch, no buying.
Clickthrough rate was a factor of particular interest to me, since it is a key factor in your Google Ad Quality Score - which is used to determine what position your ad will be in, and ultimately how much you pay per click.
Maybe it's also an organic search rank signal?
So what were the results after just 1 month of this experiment?
In May, I saw a 300% increase in organic search traffic compared to the previous month. This is a big jump compared to April, where my organic search traffic only grew by 25% compared to March.
This could just be a coincidence. I am always publishing new content, and my rankings and traffic are always improving, but not by this much. Let's see if this trend continues next month.
The next month (June 2021) I saw only a 52% increase in Organic Google traffic:
I received 43% fewer clicks from my Google Ad campaign in June compared to May. Mostly because I reduced my max cost per click bid across all ad groups.
So do I still think Google Ads has any impact on Organic Search Traffic? I'm not sure. Was the percentage increase in organic search traffic impacted by the Google Ad campaign getting 43% fewer clicks? I don't know that either.
I'm inclined to think last month's growth was just a coincidence and was not impacted by the Google Ad campaign. With that said, I am starting to get more subscribers coming from Google Ads and organic Google traffic. So either way I think running Google Ads to your blog posts is worth it. I'm seeing a lower cost per click than if I were to drive Google Ad traffic to a squeeze page. But that's the topic of another blog post. :)