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Rankings Collapsed After Buying Google Ads?



Rankings Collapsed After Buying Google Ads?

In a Google Office Hours hangout someone related that their rankings disappeared after advertising on Google Ads. They said that their rankings returned after they stopped the advertising. The person asked what could explain these events?

The person asking the question acknowledged that Google Ads is not supposed to affect organic rankings. So the question was really about what could have affected the outcome.

Mueller explained the separation between the search and Pay Per Click (PPC) then offered his point of view of these kinds of situations.

The following was edited to remove uhs, uhms, and superfluous words (like, “I, I” and “you know”).

Here is the question:

“Recently… had this situation where we were ranking in first position for a particular keyword.

But when we started running ads for the same keyword… our organic page just didn’t appear in not even one hundred results.

So, right after we stopped running ads, the keyword is back to number one position.

…I know… Google Ads shouldn’t affect your organic results but I’m curious to know whether or if there is any other particular reason for this to happen.”

Google Answers About Seeming Connection Between Ads and Rankings

John Mueller’s response was unambiguous about there not being a connection.

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know why that would happen like that but it would not be related to the ads.”

He next explained the separation of the ads team and the organic related team.


“So that’s something where these systems are completely separate on our side.

The ranking within the ads, the ranking within search are completely separate systems and there’s essentially no real connection there.

I get this question sometimes like in this way, if I run ads then my website disappears from search. But I also get the same question in the other way, like if people run ads then suddenly their website ranks higher for search because they’re paying for something.

From our point of view it’s like… we work really hard to differentiate ads and search. So much so that even when… large advertisers go to their ad manager or account manager and they have like this small search question… we push back on that, we don’t give any answers at all when it comes to questions from clients or partners.

…That’s something where I would definitely not expect any kind of ranking change, especially something as visible as that. Because that… I think that would also be something that lots of other sites would see and would be kind of a bit… super obvious.

So the ranking change that you… saw there seems like something that would be totally unrelated to the ads.”

Correlations to Ranking Changes

Out of the millions of businesses who advertise on Google it is not a common experience for all of them or even a significant majority to experience a ranking change either up or down.

Coincidences are things that happen without there being an actual cause and effect to connect them. And that’s what this situation where someone starts advertising and their rankings collapse is about.

Google is constantly updating search rankings and the effects sometimes can feel like a major event. It is highly likely that what happened here is just a coincidence.


Watch the question about site rankings returning after cancelling Google Ads
At the 28:35 mark


Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say



Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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