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Read what industry analysts are saying

April 9, 2004

A recent survey among top SEO analysts and marketing specialists from over thirty companies in North-America was recently conducted. Here are the conclusions reached among board members:

Discovering the great importance of obtaining better search visibility, a substantial number of Internet marketers are now choosing corporate web site search engine (SEO) optimization for the major search engines such as Google and such important directories like Yahoo, DMOZ and Global Business Listing as the main foundation structure of all their web marketing endavours.

As a result of this large, and suddenly increased recognition, many surveys and studies are currently being released that greatly underline the importance of Internet search.

Additionally, the extensive use of the major search engines by most corporate users and consumers, as well as the largely successful SEO strategies being developed and utilized by savvy marketers to achieve prominent Web site placement in search engines is generating a lot of talk and enthusiasm among industry analyts all over the world.

Search engine use now prevalent in business everywhere
A growing number of industry-wide studies underscore the importance of search engines and their overall global impact on web usage in business today. All studies done recently conclude that querying the major search engines is the most common of all web activities done today.

One survey conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology found that 81% of prospective Internet customers daily use the major search engines to find specific products, services and vendors, but only the top twenty results returned by those searches will ever generate significant web site traffic to the companies that owned those sites.

Furthermore, a study recently conducted by Real Names suggests that 70% of corporate and personal web users use the major search engines to browse through the Web. Clearly, as the Internet matures, web search will continue to play an increasingly important role in web user behavior.

Search engine use is highly repetitive
Research studies also concludes that Internet user interaction with the major search engines is repetitive and often a regular part of their everyday activities. In data gathered from the SRI study: "How People Use the Internet," it was found that 55% of web users search the Internet every day, making search the second most popular web activity behind daily email.

Major search engine use is not only a frequent activity among users, but also a rather time-consuming one. On the average, Americans spend 1.6 hours per week searching for information on the Internet, according to Web Top's "Search Rage" study.

Major search engines are convenient and save time
All of these studies clearly underline the value of Internet search in finding specific relevant information, products, services or web sites. Furthermore, according to the "Consumer Daily Question" study conducted by Lewis, Mobilio & Associates, "Major search engines are the top information resource Americans use when looking for answers, used more than 34% of the time, more than any other search option."

Other research studies show that beyond information queries, Internet users also utilize search engines to pinpoint specific web sites of interest to them.

A "Driving Customers, Not Just Traffic" research study published in March, 2003, by Forrester Research, reveals major search engines are the number one way corporate users and consumers find new web sites, used by 73.4% of users surveyed. Additionally, the search engines are commonly used to make purchases online through various, secure e-commerce sites.

A recent survey by Anderson Consulting determined that 64% of all Internet buyers use search engines to find their favorite retail web sites on which they will decide to make their final purchases.

The reasons why users find value in search engines
Internet users regularly utilize the major search engines to locate products, services, specific web sites and information. The flexibility and usefulness of web search has caused Internet users to have a remarkably positive opinion of the experience.

As a matter of fact, according to Jupiter Research, in a March, 2003 report, web users ranked search as their most important online activity, awarding it a 9.3 on a 10-point scale. The next most important activity ranked only 6.3.

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Online marketers realize the importance of SEO
The large, universal popularity of global search engines has caused web site owners, businesses and online marketing professionals to truly recognize the importance of web site optimization to get higher visibility on the web. All studies done so far clearly indicate where the market is going in the 2003 to 2010 period.

The general concensus among all industry analysts queried, is that companies and online marketers that fail to optimize their web sites will be on the losing end, as they will miss out on an ever-growing, global Internet market.

SEO already is a vital aspect of Internet marketing
A study from IMT Strategies strongly indicates that a company's visibility within the major search engines is a more important factor in maintaining and increasing brand awareness, much more than print, radio, or TV advertising. Furthermore, a Direct Marketing Association study found that search engine optimization was the top method cited by web site marketers to drive traffic to their sites (68%), followed by email marketing (54%).

Related research from Iconocast confirms that search engine optimization of web sites and web pages for search engines was a marketing technique employed by 44% of respondents within the last year.

Online marketers utilize various SEO techniques
Although the final numbers of many industry surveys suggest that search engine optimization strategies are commonly used in business today, the exact level and degree of particular optimization strategies vary significantly between specific web sites and optimization professionals. Implementation of the various meta tags is the technique that most business web sites use as part of their SEO strategy, utilized by about 60% of respondents to an Iconocast study.

But the popularity of a specific web site and the level of traffic it receives do not appear to be factors in meta tag usage. The same study determined that keywords and key phrases are more important and better determine the best visibility of the business web sites in the search engines.

Following meta tag "tweaking", web page title optimization and reciprocal link building were the second and third most common search optimization techniques used by 44% and 32% of respondents, respectively.

(Updated from my August 5, 2002 article).

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Article written by Serge Thibodeau,
President & CEO,
Rank for $ales
Copyright (c) Serge Thibodeau, 2002 to 2004

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