The majority of North Americans use search engines for consumer research so states a focus group research product undertaken by the search marketing firm Enquiro. The results showed that 65% of North Americans use search engines to come to a purchasing decision.
The Search Engine News Journal reported on some of the more interesting findings of the study:
- Search engines are much more likely to be used to research a purchase than to make the actual purchases, yet the majority of search marketing campaigns are aimed squarely at the purchaser.
- Many search engine users are still drawn first to the traditional, free search listings, rather than the sponsored ones. This tendency was most noticeable in Google users, where the sponsored listings have always been clearly labeled.
I found also found it interesting to read that at the prompting of consumer advocate Ralph Nader The Federal Trade Commission has warned many search providers that sponsored listings have to be clearly marked on the search results page.
This is big news for blogs. One, blogs do incredibly well in search engines. This success is achieved without buying sponsored listings in the search engine results – and that’s the place folks are looking at. I always thought people had banner and sponsored listings blindness. Heck, I always thought less of companies buying sponsored listings when they did not also come up in the free results – just showed me they did not know what they were doing with net marketing or that they did not care. Whether they were in the net marketing business or not, I want folks that try to achieve some level of professional excellence in all they do.
Second, people do research on the search engines before making a buy. They may not hire a lawyer over the net – that’s expected, they’ll call or come in and meet first. But if you’re a lawyer – you gotta be there at the top of search engines and have a credible appearance when folks click to your site. There just is no better way to do both than with a blog.