Archive | March, 2013

eBay questions value of advertising on Google

14 Mar

eBay questions value of advertising on Google

A report by eBay finds that paying for AdWords does not boost its sales and that users mostly click through to its site via the organic results. “Removal of these [Google] advertisements simply raised the prominence of the eBay natural search result. Shutting paid search advertisements closed one (costly) path to a firm’s website but diverted traffic to the next easiest path (natural search), which is free to the advertiser.”

As Dr Philip Alford, director of Bournemouth University’s School of Tourism Digital Hub noted, the size of the brand makesĀ a big difference to the effectiveness of paid searches. For SMEs, the take away is that organic optimisation on all your keywords, branded and non-, will bring better sales and brand impact ROI than will keyword buys. And if you’re going to buy keywords anyway, make sure your landing pages are optimised because Google takes that into account in its Quality ranking — which partly determines both your ad positioning and what you pay for it.

87% of all clicks go to top five SERPs

11 Mar

The top five SERPs garner 87% of all click-throughs

A recent search results click-through study from Compete.com finds that 53% of organic search clicks go to the first result and 87% of all clicks go to the top five.

That’s a key benchmark for online commerce — if you’re not in the top 5 results, you’ll miss 87% of potential click-throughs to your site. But if your area of responsibility is for something other than commerce, you might want to take a broader view of the search results positioning.

The entire first page of results has value for brand visibility and awareness because all ten results, not just the first five, are presented at the same time on one page. They create an opportunity for users to see your brand name (or your competitors’), even if they don’t click through to a site. So the brand needs to be prominent in the top 10 results, even if it’s not in the top 5.

The first two pages of search results (the entire top 20) should have the attention of executives responsible for PR and reputation management, investor relations, human resources and even legal counsel because what’s on the second or third pages one day (negative articles, regulatory filings, lawsuits, postings from disgruntled customers or ex-employees — can be bumped up onto the first page the next day. Bad news travels faster online than good news; negative results tend to climb up the rankings faster than positive ones. The results on the third, fourth and fifth pages are like the canary in the mineshaft — and early warning system — which is why proactive companies try to claim as many of the top 50 results as possible with their own or at least friendly content.

Recommendation: for online commerce, focus on the Top 5 SERPS; for branding, the Top 10; for PR, RM, IR, HR and legal, at minimum the Top 20.