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Search Engines Double Conversion Rate

Search Engines Have More Than Twice the Conversion Rate of Other Acquisition Sources, According to WebSideStory, owner of HBX web analytics service and software. This “news” from WebSideStory should surprise no one. This report essentially says, “When people are searching for something, they are more likely to buy it”.

No! You’ve got to be kidding!

But the very bizarre shortcoming in this conversion stats “news” is that it lumps PPC advertising (SEM) in with SEO – organic ranking, thus confusing the issue of the value of either source – or separating out which is more effective.

My take on the issue is that ALL companies should do organic SEO and test PPC in conjunction with PPC landing page split testing – to find out how effective each source is for them.

A callout quote to the right side of this press release emphasizes

“Direct navigation Still Ranks No. 1, However, Highlighting the Importance of Branding and Customer Loyalty in Converting Visitors”.

More dramatic news there! If someone knows your web address or has bookmarked it, they are more likely to buy than if they have never purchased from you or visited your site.

I’m afraid that they are only speaking to giant corporate entities there, since small business cannot do significant “branding” and is excluded from this avenue of endless web traffic – as pointed out near the bottom of this release.

The select sites used in this study generate more than $3 billion in annual sales online in five categories, including apparel, toys, computers and electronics, sports and leisure, and other.

Of course that size of companies are the only ones who would be willing to pay for such obvious conclusions drawn in this report. Brilliant deductions here.

The headline of the release emphasizes that “Search Engines Have More Than Twice the Conversion Rate of Other Acquisition Sources” Then lists those “other” sources as “Internet Links”, which:

Includes banner ads, affiliate marketing links, shopping comparison engines, and other referring links.

I think this release was timed to increase HBX sales for WebSideStory at a slow time of year.