A new survey of 500 internet users reveals that 97pc have found the first listing they click on during an internet search relevant.
“This proves that search works,” commented Martin Murray, chief executive of Interactive Return and conference organiser. He also noted, “search and search marketing has proven to be a necessary business marketing tool.
“Optimising websites for search is key if you want your website to appear in the natural listings,” Murray continued.
“However, this research also proves that more and more searchers are clicking on sponsored listings, highlighting the need for a website to occupy this space too.”
The survey, conducted by Amarach on behalf of the second Search Marketing World Conference in Dublin taking place next week (3 April), suggested that users of search see the information they find through search as relevant. However, 88pc will dig deeper and move to the second page of results.
Murray said this shows that optimising your site is worthwhile as consumers are getting more familiar with search. In order for businesses to compete in this space, it is clear
they need to do more to gain trust in the information they are delivering.
The survey discovered that 35pc of respondents thought the information which they found through search was somewhat trustworthy but 33pc did not believe the information they found through the links was very trustworthy or not at all trustworthy. Another 29pc neither believed nor disbelieved the information they found through search.
Google was the runaway leader in search sites with 96pc of respondents using it as their first choice. Yahoo! was second at 27pc and MSN Search third at 10pc.
Some 67pc of the Irish respondents also prefer to use Google.ie, while 27pc will use Google.com.
According to Murray, this suggests that Google remains the dominant leader in search and bears out the interest in competition to gain a stronger foothold in the search arena.
In his opinion, social media sites such as Bebo and Facebook are the new search marketing battleground. The survey found 60pc of respondents have a social networking site.
Murray said that amidst a wealth of information available online, businesses will struggle to tap into the power of social media and search to boost their presence.
“These findings also throw up challenges for companies trying to make it in the online world.
“The challenge is not to drown out what ordinary users have to say about you, but to harness and interact with this content, using it to promote the products and services you offer, and at the same time addressing customer service requirements, and thoughts and comments from the users who purchase these offerings.”
By John Kennedy