Paid search took a hit in April 2009, with a decline of 26% in its search traffic share. Recent report from Hitwise shows that search traffic from paid listings is not in pace with the overall search traffic. This resembles a dramatic increase in share of organic search traffic and obviously explains the growing importance of SEO in search marketing.
Paid search traffic loses 26% share
According to Hitwise, 7.25% of all the search traffic in the four-week period preceding May 9, 2009 was from paid listings. This is a 26 percent decline from the same four-week period of 2008 where the search traffic from paid listings was 9.84 percent. However, comScore says that the overall search queries volume in April 2009 reached 14.8 billion from 10.6 billion of April 2008. This shows that paid search traffic is not in pace with the overall search traffic.
Almost all the basic categories saw decline in paid search traffic
The trend of decline in paid search traffic is apparent in 16 out of 17 basic website categories of Hitwise. Paid search traffic share to Insurance websites declined by 22%. It was 20% in case of Retail 500 (a custom category of 500 leading retailers), and 25% in case of travel agencies. Education was the only category that showed some fraction of growth (0.6%) among all the categories.
Major brand name terms see a sharp decline in share of paid clicks
Brand name terms and some top search terms also saw a significant year-over-year decrease in search traffic from paid listings. For example, the term “orbitz” saw a 23% decrease with 35.75% of clicks on paid listings in the four weeks before May 9, 2009. It was 46.56% in the same period a year earlier. Other search term that saw a dramatic decrease was “home depot” where clicks on paid listings declined to 0.83% in same period of 2009 from 39.06% in 2008.
Growing importance for SEO
According to a recent survey from Internet retailer around 55.3% of the respondents reported of planning to increase SEO spending. It was only 24.2% in case of paid search. These statistics resemble a shift in online population moving from paid search listings to organic search listings.
However, this decline is a result of recession effect on paid search market. This is alluding to the importance of organic search rankings, which potentially helps a website to enhance its position in organic search results.
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