Why Use Search Engines for Your Marketing? - dummies

By Peter Kent

Why bother using search engines for your marketing? Because search engines represent the single most important source of new website visitors. You may have heard that most website visits begin at a search engine.

Well, this isn’t true, though many people continue to use these outdated statistics because they sound good — “80 percent of all website visitors reach the site through a search engine,” for instance. However, way back in 2003, that claim was finally put to rest. The number of search-originated site visits dropped below the 50 percent mark.

Most website visitors reach their destinations by either typing a URL — a web address — into their browsers and going there directly or by clicking a link on another site that takes them there. Most visitors dont reach their destinations by starting at the search engines.

However, search engines are still extremely important for a number of reasons:

  • The proportion of visits originating at search engines is still significant. Sure, it’s not 80 percent, but with billions of searches each month, it’s still a lot of traffic.

  • According to a report by comScore, Internet users in the United States carried out 20 billion searches at major search engines in December 2011.

  • Research shows that another 10 billion or more searches are carried out in other search sites, such as map sites (MapQuest), video sites (YouTube), retail sites (Amazon, eBay, Craigslist), and so on. It’s likely that more than 25 billion searches are performed in the United States each month, 2 to 3 searches every day for every man, woman, child, and baby in the United States.

  • Of the visits that don’t originate at a search engine, a large proportion are revisits — people who know exactly where they want to go. This isn’t new business; it’s repeat business. Most new visits come through the search engines — that is, search engines are the single most important source of new visitors to web sites.

  • It’s also been well established for a number of years that most people researching a purchase begin their research at the search engines. (Except for those who don’t. Many, perhaps most, product searches actually begin in sites such as Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist. But then, it’s important to understand that these sites are search engines; they are, in effect, product-search engines.)

  • Search engines represent an inexpensive way to reach people. Generally, you get more bang for your buck going after free search-engine traffic than almost any other form of advertising or marketing.