Natural Search Blog

comScore Report Likely Misses Large Internet Segments

comScore released a list of Rankings of Top Worldwide Properties last week, but there’s likely a large segment of internet usage completely missed by their methodologies. I recently blogged about how Domainers Can’t Get No Respect (a followup piece to my 2nd installment of “Domaining & Subdomaining In The Local Space“), because they haven’t had good independent validation of some of their traffic and conversion rate figures. When I wrote that, I didn’t realize that some of them had apparently attempted to get independent validation, but were thwarted by the methodologies of audience measurment services. Frank Schilling let me know that he’d tried to get audited by comScore a few years ago, and they’d failed miserably, registering only about one-thirtieth of the US traffic they’re really getting.

comScore logo

Being somewhat familiar with comScore’s data gathering and audience share estimation methods, I can easily see how Domainers’ sites could get drastically under-represented in comScore’s figures. Read on for details…


Is SEO Awareness Dropping? Google Trends Shows it May Be

Using Google Trends, I was noticing how searches in Google for “Search Engine Optimization” seems to be dropping over the last two years:

Searches for Search Engine Optimization in Google Trends
(click to enlarge)


How much traffic does the top keyword position garner on Google?

Have you ever wondered how much traffic the top keyword position on Google can bring a site, for a hotly-contested term? Or, how much traffic does the top slot get you, compared with the second slot?

Most of the major SEOs and top companies keep such figures as closely-guarded secrets. Even the search engines keep the numbers of searches by various keywords secret, using various techniques to hide actual values.

The much-touted Eye Tracking Study conducted by Enquiro and Did-It show that the first listings on Google SERPs are looked at and clicked upon the most by users. Most pros already concluded this through common sense, but it’s difficult to get actual traffic amounts associated with the rankings of listings on SERPs.

I’m going to change this situation right here, right now, thanks to new data that Google has graciously begun providing to the public, and thanks to a brief reshuffling of rankings on a top keyword for one of the sites that I manage. Read on, and I’ll elaborate.


Searching for brick-and-mortar retailers?

Data now out from Nielsen//NetRatings shows that the top five most popular shopping search terms for April were all brick-and-mortar retailers:

  1. “home depot”
  2. “walmart”
  3. “target”
  4. “sears”
  5. “best buy”

SearchEngineWatch Blog then arrived at the conclusion that:

These are people who likely have done their research and are now looking for physical/local stores to buy what it is they want.

I disagree. I think most Americans already know where their local Home Depot is. Instead, these searchers are looking to buy online. Some will opt for in-store pickup (which both Sears and Best Buy offer). Some may be on the hunt for product information, buyer’s guides, or the current circular with the week’s in-store specials.

I believe brick-and-mortar brands dominate shopping-related searches because those are the brands that are the most pervasive/popular/trusted in the marketplace. Their online shops offer a safe and familiar place to buy online.

A huge number of Internet users are searching for “home depot” when they could be typing in directly into their browser’s Location bar. Why is this? I imagine that for many people, typing in “home depot” into the Google Toolbar or into the search box on their Start Page is just easier or most comfortable. Perhaps some, like myself, even configured their Google Toolbar to display the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, to go straight to the first search result. 😉

New Study – Importance of Rankings on Brand points:The “iProspect Search Engine User Behavior Study� also found that 62% of search engine users click on a search result within the first page of results vs. 48% in 2002, and 90% click on a result within the first three pages vs. 81% in 2002.

36% of search engine users associate top rankings with brand leadership

In addition, 88% of users will change engines or search terms if they don’t find what they seek within the first three pages of search results, up from 78% in 2002.


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New Domain Names for Brands – Very Limited

I saw this blog by Dennis Forbes which could be interesting for any of you who are planning to create a new brand name with associated domain name: The Search For A Domain Name.

If you’ve done any whois queries in hopes of setting up a new domain name, you’ll already know the frustration of being denied the names you’d like to have most. It leads one to wonder how many common names are already snapped up. Dennis has done a bit of interesting research presented in his article on some common name permutations, and what percentages are already registered or parked until someone pays fees to the companies which have speculated by snapping them up.

I’m betting that if he took a database of common dictionary names and ran similar analysis, he’d also find 100% of those already taken by the same speculators. Interesting reading, though.

Continue reading »

28% of searchers account for 68% of searches

John Battelle shared some interesting search engine usage stats courtesy of Gian Fulgoni of comScore. According to John’s source at comScore, 28% of searchers account for 68% of searches. This comes close to following the 80/20 rule — a bit surprising, don’t you think?

Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine expounds further on comScore findings, thanks to the notes he took while attending Gian’s presentation last month at the Web 2.0 conference. According to Jeff, comScore also analyzed brandshare among different types of searchers. They found that heavy searchers look at online retail sites like Walmart, Overstock, Cosco and Amazon, with the low-cost leaders on top. So, I guess you can conclude that heavy searchers are bargain hunters. But do they have a high customer lifetime value, or not? THAT’S the question I’d really like answered!

What Google searchers are looking for

Google exec David Scacco (Director, Vertical Markets Group) had some interesting things to say about Google usage this week at the channeladvisor Strategy Summit 2004:

Kudos to Andy Beal of Search Engine Lowdown for documenting David’s comments to the channeladvisor audience.

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