New SEO Study Highlights Fortune 500 Failures

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According to a recent study by the SEO technology firm Conductor, Fortune 500 companies are falling well below the mark when it comes to organic search visibility. With the help of the internet competitive research firm SpyFu, a list of just over 1,700 domestic domains, branded by the Fortune 500 companies, were analyzed to determine the keywords and pay-per-click (PPC) costs associated with them. After looking at over 6.7 million keywords, each domain’s keyword list was narrowed down to the top 200. These terms were then used to measure the domain’s natural search position. The results were not pretty.

Here are a few statistics that highlight the organic short-comings of the sites.

  • As a whole, $3.4 million was spent per day on the keyword analyzed, but only 24% of these keywords ranked in the top 50 organically.
  • While only 15% of the domains showed “mid to strong presence” organically, 53% had “no natural search visibility.”
  • Organic visibility decreased as the search terms got longer.

A further breakdown was done by industry. It showed that the Retail and Information categories were by far-and-away first and second in paid search activity by volume. However, the daily spend by industry had Retail first and Finance & Insurance second. This fact highlights the competitive paid search space in the Finance & Insurance vertical, as they came in a distant fourth by volume.

A deeper dive was then taken into the Retail and Information categories. The Retail segment showed that Non-store Retailers were the biggest spenders with Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book, and Music coming in second.

Despite all of these inadequacies, there was some shake up at the top of the heap as compared to last year’s study. 70% of this year’s market leaders differ from last year, despite only 8% of an overall change in the Fortune 500 companies. While some domains have made significant strides in their organic rankings, others have been stagnant and complacent at the top and they are now no longer maintaining those positive organic rankings. These falling stars have been forced to divert additional ad budget into PPC advertising to make up for the loss in organic listings. This emphasizes that an on-going SEO campaign is needed to not only get to the top, but to stay there.

About the Author

Chris Stiner is both a SEM specialist and DRTV media buyer at Koeppel Direct. With over 10 years of offline and online direct response marketing experience, he has a unique skill set and outlook on the synergies of multi-channel SEM direct response marketing.

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