According to iProspect, a US based Search Engine Marketing Firm its recent Search Engine User Attitudes Survey indicated that:

  • 60.5 percent of Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL users selected a natural search result over paid search advertisements as the most relevant on a sample query
  • 60.8 percent of Yahoo! and 72.3 percent of Google search engine users chose a natural search result as the most relevant
  • However, 71.2 percent of MSN users clicked on a paid search advertisement as the most relevant to their search
  • AOL users identified both natural search results and paid search advertisements equally as often as the most relevant

This contrasts with a Nielsen ReelResearch, Interactive Advertising Bureau Jun 2003 survey, as reported in the eMarketer Search Engine Marketing report which states that only 23% of US Internet users “Don’t like [Paid Search Advertisements] as much as other listings”.

Whichever results are correct we believe that the ideal campaign will include both natural search engine optimisation and paid advertising services to ensure their clients web pages are consistently found in both types of results, which leads to a more positive return on investment.