Many people believe that if you use Google services such as Google Analytics or Google AdSense that Google tends to favour those websites and that you’ll rank higher. The idea behind this is that Google will “trust” your website more as it haves some cool facts on whats going on behind the scenes.
Is this true? Apparently not.
Does this surprise me? Nope.
Since the sledgehammer that was the Google Panda update, we’ve been told time and time again that good content and user experience is the key to good rankings, and AdSense is certainly does not shout good UX to me.
For example, what possible positive does the average user get from slow loading PPC ads and often equally rubbish graphics clogging up their view of the thing they came to see – the content?
They get in the way, they are often either animated to distract from the content or worse they are mistaken for useful navigation links. All in all, they suck big time.
Evidence suggests that for onsite SEO, AdSense is a negative ranking factor.
Google keep a close eye on sites with AdSense, and SEOMoz have even found that web pages that are filled with AdSense adverts tend to not rank as well as pages with fewer AdSense slots.
With correlation for the amount of space on your website that is taken up by AdSense, it’s clear that Google, purveyor of all things white-hat and ethical on the web (#sarcasm), has created a product that is used by millions of websites that it feels detracts from the user experience. Now I’m not Alan Sugar but does that sound a bit odd to you?
Though a strange idea, it completely makes sense. Crappy websites tend to run crappy AdSense ads, and Google has recognised it. But what sort of business punishes customers for using its product?
Advertising on social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, is becoming more and more popular with advertising revenue at Facebook expected to pass the £1bn mark in 2011 for the first time. Just as Google threatened Facebook with Google +, Facebook is fighting back with a highly targeted PPC model.
Those of you who recall the marketing hype around the concept of banner advertising will remember that over time CTR’s dropped, and dropped, and dropped, and dropped…
This is where my main question lies. In the long-term web users will become accustomed and immune to the power of AdWords and more specifically the Display Network; just as we did with banners. It happened with print, it’s happening with TV and it will eventually happen to PPC. It’s an inevitability unless the presentation, delivery and formats available for AdWords change to keep up with the progress of time, technology and trends. But how can Google ensure a long-term growth strategy for its PPC product when it’s penalising those it aims to serve?
I’d love to hear your views. Do you think Google are harming their bottom line by punishing the organic search visibility of AdSense users?