The past few days have brought some very interesting news for anyone in the search engine world – and it applies to everyone; search engine optimizers/marketers, businesses who are advertising online, site owners. That’s everybody.
The first developments were the findings of 2 studies that had just been completed. One, done by the American Advertising Federation, queried online advertisers to find out what marketing method (Internet only) brought the best return on their investment. Paid Search came out on top, being the most profitable path for 42% of respondents. The next slot went to email, which was chosen by 24%. The last two vote getters, Rich Media and Display Ads, were the most profitable for 16% and 9%, respectively, of respondents. The study was confirmation that I’m still in the right business.
The second study was an eye-tracking report. These have been done before, of course. The most notable one found the ‘Golden Triangle’ in the upper left-hand corner of the browser. Still, that should not be automatically taken as the one, and only, place to be in order to profit. It’s like the Recall factor that tv ad studies always tout. The problem is that recall doesn’t equal sales. Remember, or should I say Recall the old Joe Isuzu ads? The ‘Wazzup?!?!’ campaign? Of course you do. What most people don’t know is that sales for Isuzu and Budweiser dropped while those were being run. So much for recall.
But, getting back to the point. This latest eye-tracking study carries a $149 price tag before you get to see what it found. But – they did let one piece of data out to whet appetites. That data said something very interesting.
What it said was this: when people are in the research phase of a purchase, organic – ie regular – listings get just about all the clicks. However, when the searcher has reached the actual purchase phase, paidÂ search ads got 44% of clicks. Not a bad netting.
The final item was the standardization of search engine sitemaps. Google Site Maps, which are XML files, have been around for about a year now.Â Though faulty at first, they are now a solid tool for any website. Yahoo has now joined Google in adopting this standard. MSN was originally on board, but later press releases no longer include them.Â Whether they’veÂ dropped out, were never really part of the effort or…? Hopefully Microsoft isn’t thinking they’ll come up with their own standard and somehow force the others to follow their lead instead. That worked for the OS, but the search engine game isn’t played on their home field.
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