A member of the search community alleged in a tweet that her client was explicitly told by Google that spending more on pay per click (PPC) advertising would improve their organic search rankings.
The accusation was shocking to many in the Twitter thread because Google has long insisted there is no direct impact on organic rankings from using their advertising.
Google has long maintained that there is a firewall between the paid side and the organic side and that both sides do not communicate.
Because Google has maintained this separation between the paid and organic sides of Google one search marketer expressed shock on Twitter after a client was solicited from Google’s PPC sales to increase their spending in order to increase their rankings.
“Shakedown” of a Google Ads Customer?
The word “shakedown” has several meanings, including extortion. Extortion means making someone pay for something by force of a threat. It’s a word that connotes corruption.
Fittingly, the word shakedown conjures the Pakistan Mobile Number imagery of holding someone upside down by the heels and shaking their money out of their pockets.
“I’m not sure yet how to process the fact that Google just did a shakedown of one of our clients. In essence, they were told to spend more on paid ads in order to improve organic search *for their brand name.*”
She then followed up with:
“for a long time, those of us active in SEO knew that Google would do this, but Google always denied it.
It really hit differently to see them say it out loud.”
Person Insists this is Not a Misunderstanding
Naturally (and reasonably), some asked if it were possible that this was a miscommunication.
The answer from the person reporting the alleged incident was no, they reported that this was not a miscommunication.
They said that the alleged solicitation from the Google salesperson was unambiguous. They said that the Google Ads salesperson had explicitly linked improvement of organic rankings to an increase in ad spending.
This wasn’t just something that was allege to have been communicate orally either. The person recounting the alleged incident said that the Google salesperson had put it in writing in an email.
Google was originally an ad free service. This helped Google gain popularity because the other search engines were larded over with banner ads, making search a poor user experience.
So when Google finally introduce advertising they pledged that the advertising side would never influence the organic search rankings.