Google’s algorithm is a secret, and while we know some of the marketing you can do to improve your search engine rank, not every factor is well understood. For example, we think we know that Google tends to value its own products and use them in rankings – for example, there is some evidence that Google+ use can affect your results – but we’re still guessing, because testing this isn’t an exact science.
Ever since Google started Adwords, its pay per click (PPC) advertising service, many people have wondered whether Adwords helps SEO. There have been some reports that people achieved bumps in their ranking when they started investing in Adwords services, and since Google may favor those that use their products, it stands to reason that those that use Adwords could see their search engine rank increase.
The Unlikely Residual Google Effect
No one can say with any certainty that the two are independent, no matter what Google says. But most likely Adwords has no effect on your ability to rank well in Google. In fact, even logically it would make little sense for Google to reward Adwords users – those that use Adwords are already paying for ads. An improved rank would make them less likely to require Adwords.
I have a theory that every once in a while there was an accidental benefit – that sometimes a coding bug or slip caused ads to appear as incoming links, and possibly give you a small bump. But that theory was from years ago, long before the Panda and Penguin updates, and now it’s simply unlikely that Google Adwords helps your SEO.
Using Adwords to Help SEO
That said, you can actually use Adwords yourself to improve your search engine placement – by creating a landing page that is likely to inspire shares or incoming links, rather than make a sale. You have the option of creating “landing pages” – or pages your ads link to – that generate a buzz about your business, either by helping a page go viral, adding contests or a way to engage people, or encouraging people to link to you, and so on.
So while Adwords may not currently help SEO, it can. It’s a matter of making sure you are using it correctly and creating the landing pages that will help you get the most out of the campaign.