Does Google Really Separate Paid from Organic? The AdWords Bill Test

Aug 13, 2008 • 9:04 am | comments (2) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine

A WebmasterWorld thread asks if Google would penalize a site in the free/organic listings if that site does not pay up their AdWords bill. For example, ACME Inc. has been running an AdWords campaign and racked up a bill for $10,000. ACME decided to not pay the bill, because ACME ranks very well for their keywords in the Google organic results. If ACME doesn't pay the bill, would Google lower the ranking of ACME for their keywords in the free/organic listings?

This is not a new topic. We covered this exact question over two years ago, Would Google Downgrade a Site's Ranking for Not Paying an AdWords Bill? The discussion around that topic, two years ago, was mixed. Some felt Google would and have dropped the organic rankings of those who don't pay their bills and some have said, no Google has not and will never do such a thing.

In addition, we have heard time and time again, from Google that paid ads have no influence on free search listings. If that is the case, then not paying a bill on the AdWords side, should have no direct impact on a search listing.

Of course, one came make the argument that by not being in the paid listings, your branding and traffic might drop, which may have an indirect impact. But that is for a different discussion.

Reviewing the new WebmasterWorld thread, most people think that Google will hurt your rankings over time. Here is one quote:

OF COURSE THEY WOULD! Would they do it immediately? Probably not. Would you die a slow death? Probably so. Don't even think about reneging on the bill. And, if I had my finger on the trigger, it would be an immediate pull. ;)

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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