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A survey by search conversion agency Tamar tells us that nine out of ten British customers prefer natural search results, and many lack trust in paid search.
Tamar's 2007 Search Attitudes Report, which polled 1,531 UK adults, also pointing out the potential harm to brands from negative comments which often appear in natural search results - 70% said they had abandoned purchases due to comments in search results.
The survey results suggest that the UK's internet users are becoming savvier about the differences between paid and organic results, though more than half (57%) are still unaware of the difference.
- 55% of the 16-24 age group were aware of the difference between paid and organic search, for 25-34 year olds, this was 51%, while only 33% of over 55s were aware.
- Seven out of ten British consumers will not click through to a company's website if search results contain negative comments about them. This must mean that McDonalds' site gets very few UK visitors.
- Of those put off by negative comments, 58% would visit a competitor's site, while the rest would abandon the search altogether.
- Also, 79% of consumers said they would be more likely to make an immediate purchase if the search link takes them directly to the page of the product they are searching for, which reinforces the need for optimised product landing pages.
A study published by WebSideStory last year suggested that SEO could be almost as effective as paid search.
Their study of 20 major e-commerce sites found that paid search had a median order conversion rate of 3.4% compared to organic search results, which produced a conversion rate of 3.13%.