Do AdSense Ads Cost you Google Rankings?
RankingMeasures.com released a press release about their new survey in which they tested the effect of having contextual advertising on your site in correlation to the ranking effects for that corresponding search engine’s rankings.
They conducted a monthly study of nearly a million search engine results for over 15,000 popular keyword phrases and found a strong negative correlation in the big three search engines where rankings dropped significantly when the site carried that search engines contextual advertising on their websites.
Sites displaying contextual PPC advertising are consistently ranking lower than similar sites without these ads. These ads are taken from the search engines’ own advertising networks…
RankingMeasures.com has found that for over 75% of searches, sites with contextual advertising from the search engine network are more likely to rank lower in the natural results. For example, on one major search engine 816 sites with contextual ads were found in search engine ranking position one while 1,356 sites were found in rank position 20.
While I can certainly understand the desire for Google to toss out sites that are simply trying to manipulate their rankings to drive traffic to pages that only contain AdSense ads, as we have seen with the recent changes to the company’s quality score rankings, it does seem like they are often throwing out the baby with the bath water.
It also seems some what hypocritical to be making so much money on contextual advertising on one side, and then hurt sites that are hosting their contextual advertising ads on the other, kind of like biting the hand that feeds you. I have been feeling the same was as a Google Adwords advertiser as I see my rates getting jacked up for no apparent reason.
So what are the options?
Without any clear picture of what effects these rankings hits, it would appear that webmasters have a few options:
1. If you want to continue to rank in Google, consider not running AdSense on your site.
2. If you feel you want to continue running AdSense, consider the quantity of ads you have on your pages, perhaps maxing out the number of ads you can display isn’t brining in the bang for the buck you are looking for. If I was Google, I would certainly be looking at the quantity of AdSense ads you have on each page since the made for AdSense sites tend to max out the total number of ads they can display.
3. Start testing out other contextual advertising solutions which don’t run their own search engines. This move by the search engines could be a big boost to their competition.