The companies who spend the most on advertising with Google get preferential treatment in the normal search results! Well, no. That's not what I'm getting at. They don't.
You always suspected it was the case, didn't you? The companies who spend the most on advertising with Google get preferential treatment in the normal search results! Well, no. That's not what I'm getting at. They don't. AdWords advertisers can get better Google Search rankings, but it's nothing to do with Google. They get better Google Search rankings because they have a far better insight into what people are searching for.
Here's the simplest example. A client asked me last month why her AdWords ads weren't showing for [blue widgets]. I explained that we'd found it to be a hugely competitive term, dominated by companies with much bigger marketing budgets, and not worth bidding on. And guess what? When we thought about it, that explained why the company had also been having no success in getting on to the first page for normal Google Search results. Strike that one off the to-do list, and know when to walk away.
Then there's the way in which you can use Google AdWords data to see what people are searching for, and use that to choose your own most significant search terms to focus on within your SEO strategy. Want to know if you should be optimising your website for "blue widgets" or "widgets in blue"? Run a short Google AdWords campaign and see what the differences in traffic are, in your particular geographic area. You might be surprised to find that despite "blue widgets" being a far more competitive term than "widgets in blue", the latter term is used nearly as often by prospects. Getting on the first page of results for that term is actually quite realistic, and the potential rewards from that would be huge.