Web Design

Should You Trust Google Ads?

“When you use google Search to find a suitable Web Designer, should you trust the paid Adverts Google serves you?”

We’d say the short answer is no. To understand why we’ve come to this conclusion, you need to understand the main reason people choose to pay for Google Ads (updated: 2024).

When you make any search via Google, the first four or five results you’ll be presented with, will be paid advertisements.

Below these paid ads you’ll find the actual, genuine results of your search – these are called the ‘organic’ results listings.

Those on the organic list will have ‘earned’ their place on the list, and most importantly, they will not have paid Google to be there.

Most often, the reason organisations pay Google to appear at the top of the results list (via advertisements), is because they haven’t earned the right to be listed organically. It’s a way of effectively paying to jump the queue.

How The Organic Listing Works

The algorithm Google uses to determine who appears on the organic list, utilises a whole variety of attributes. One of the most important, is how many other websites are linking to the website listed. This works because it suggests to Google that the website likely contains valuable information, and is the reason why others websites are referencing it. Another important attribute is how long the listed website has existed. A long-established website suggests stability, reliability and authority.

These attributes are similar to traditional, ‘real world’ circumstances, where an organisation builds a authoritative reputation over time and by growing consensus.

This is why generally, we feel the organisations found on Google’s organic listing are more deserving of your attention, than those paying to jump above them.

Google Ads – Websites That Are Somewhat Misleading

Doing our own research on search results for our own sector, we often find paid Google ads that link to websites that attempt to mislead potential customers.

The most common example are websites that include a ‘portfolio of websites’ they claim to have designed. But they aren’t real, active websites at all – you’ll notice there won’t be any direct links to these websites they’ve supposedly ‘designed’.

In fact, what the portfolio consists of, are just screenshot images of other designer’s ‘generic website templates’. When zoomed in, these screenshots show dummy text (Latin) and content the original template designer has added just as generic content examples. Proof the portfolio is not real.

FYI – When looking at website design portfolios, you should always make sure there are links to the actual websites they claim exist on the web.

Other Google Ads link to websites that attempt to target the UK market by buying domains and explicitly claiming they’re UK based, when they’re not. This is often just a means for out-sourcing companies, working elsewhere in the world, to fool valuable UK customers. You’re not required to prove you are UK based, to buy a UK Domain Name.

Websites using these and other dubious tactics, would never be able to obtain a respectable position on Google’s organic listing, so they have no option but to pay Google to get listed at all.

Are You Being Served?

There are times when it makes perfect sense for a organisation to use Google Ads. If they want to showcase a new product, a new service or to highlight a special offer. But these use cases are very similar to traditional advertising.

Remember though that traditional advertising (TV, billboards, etc) is usually controlled, and if found to be misleading, will be removed or banned. This is much less the case with online advertising – Google doesn’t seem to be that interested in checking?

When you use Google Search, maybe ‘Google Ads’ works well for Google and the organisations paying them to jump the queue – we’re not so sure however, that it serves you particularly well?