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Search Engine Conversion Rates Bogus

New WebSideStory Study Reveals Conversion Rate for Each Major Search Engine Here we go again with bogus numbers and so-called “conversion rates” studies without looking at ROI. In a laughable footnote, WebSideStory notes quietly:

Study examines only the conversion rate, not the ROI generated by each major search engine

So why is conversion percentage relevant when total numbers of search engine REFERRED visitors is not included in the calculations of conversion percentages? The entire thing becomes absurd once total numbers of referrals within specific time frames are known.

I’m horrible at math, but fortunately I have a calculator on my computer here. It tells me that if Google sends 100 visitors to those sites in this study, almost 4 of them buy something. Whereas AOL gets more than 6 people buying something for every 100 that come from that search engine.

We’ll forget for a moment that those searches are actually still done on Google servers.

Now those 6 AOL visitors took about 10 times as long to show up on the retailers sites from AOL searches because Google sends easily ten times the referred traffic as AOL. My numbers are telling me that, in the same amount of elapsed time, Google sent 400 buyers and AOL sent 6 buyers.

Hmmm, I think the conversion percentage is kinda irrelevant once the time factor is considered. It would take AOL about 66 times as long to convert at that better rate – ONCE THEY SHOW UP. They trickle in from AOL at a rate equivalent to a faucet drip, while Google sends a blast of visitors at a full flow rate.

It makes me crazy each time these “studies” are done which measure things nearly superfluous to ROI and the bottom line. I believe WebSideStory is looking for a little favor from AOL – or perhaps a little cash? MSN is right behind AOL as usual, in this silly “study” which has no concept of time or volume, and purposely ignores ROI by their own admision.