Why is Search Engine Optimisation important?

It is estimated that 90% of all online traffic is achieved through the various search engines. If your Web site doesn’t have a page appearing in the top 10 search engine result positions (SERPs), the chances of someone clicking on your listing, and actually visiting your site, are low. If you’re not in the top 20, the chances that someone will scan through the SERPs and find your page, drops dramatically. Hence, Search Engine Optimisation tries to help organise your page/site so that it will move up the Search Engine Results and thus be found.

Search Engine Optimisation has been controversial in the past with many Search Engine Optimisation companies using unscrupulous methodologies to get sites up the rankings quickly. These methods are now largely discredited and using them can get a site banned from search engines.

The importance of Search Engine Optimisation is further highlighted by the results of the list of SEO studies quoted below:

  • A study from IMT Strategies demonstrates that a company’s presence on relevant search engines is the most important medium for maintaining high brand awareness ‘ more important than the printed media, radio or TV commercials (Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, January 2001).
  • A study by Direct Marketing Association found that search engine optimisation/positioning was evaluated by webmasters as the single most important activity for generating traffic to the website (66%), followed by e-mail marketing (54%).
  • A poll by Iconocast concludes that 81% of UK internet users find websites via search engines (Source: June 2000, Forrester Research Inc., “UK Internet User Monitor”).
  • The tenth user survey from “The Graphics, Visualization & Usability Center” (GVU) showed that 84.8% of respondents found information on websites from search engines.
  • According to a study published by NPD Group, 92% of online users making a purchase over the net use search engines to find the relevant website.
  • A study carried out by IMT Strategies discovered that search engines were the most popular medium (46%) for finding websites. Random surfing and word of mouth shared second place (20% each).
  • Search engines are the “busiest” and most used websites on the net – cf. RelevantKnowledge or MediaMetrix studies.
  • A study carried out by Jupiter Research in March 2001 gives search engines 9.1 points on a scale from 0 – 10 as the most important online media. The No. 2 spot got 6.3 points.
  • According to a study among marketing executives search engine optimisation/positioning was considered the most profitable website marketing activity. Far more effective than, for instance, banners, e-mails and offline marketing (Source: WebCMO).
  • A study carried out by the NPD Group showed that more than twice as many of those asked could recognise the names of the companies in the top three placements of the search engines as could recognise the names of companies which used banners.

Over the next few posts in this category I will outline a process which, if followed, should help any page/site improve its search engine ranking.

13 thoughts on “Why is Search Engine Optimisation important?”

  1. I like to see these kinds of statistics on the subject of SEO, and the recent data this year brings SEO even more into focus.

    A point I would add about SEO right now (March 2006) is this: with the recent Quality Score algorithm changes in Google, and the new ‘Panama’ platform for Yahoo Search Marketing, nowadays PPC (pay-per-click) is not just about bidding for a position in sponsored search but is about the quality & relevancy of the ad & landing pages. In other words, SEO principles are now fundamental to a successful PPC campaign, and if you get the SEO stuff right you can really impact (ie reduce) your overall costs for sponsored search ranking.

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  3. After reading a million ebooks and a zillion articles on SEO, I’ve found this one of the most useful yet. I’ve found with SEO that the bottom line is getting the basics right (ie onpage optimization) and then build the off-page on top of that. I’ve made the mistake of doing it the other way round in the past.

    I’ve recently been looking into ppc scripts and tried a couple – I got hold of one (common sense search) and have had a go at my own search engine at http://www.fetch-boy.com. It’s early days yet but I’m hoping I can build some traffic up using this article, so thanks a lot for this.

  4. Having a large domain name portfolio is a real challenge. Some domains scream for developing . Some dont. Niche sites are the most demanding in terms of seo.
    Thank you again for your help.

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