The sputtering yields of silver have been measured as a function of the fluence of incident Ar + ions (27 keV) using the collector technique and RBS analysis. The irradiated surface was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). It is shown that the sputtering yields of surfaces with topography are enhanced relative to smooth surfaces of silver, but the extent of the enhancement depends on the irradiation dose. The experimental results can be explained assuming that the surface topography and sputtering yield are a function of incident angle. It is obvious that the surface topography is an important factor to influence the sputtering yield. The term "apparent sputtering yield" has specifically been used when referring to the experimental sputtering yield of a surface with topography, to emphasize the difference with a smooth surface.