A new study reveals that retail web sites are dominating paid search advertising on Google.com, with amazon.com taking the lead as both the most visible retail advertiser and also the retail brand most likely to be seen in organic search results.
The findings come from a study by search and social analytics software leader, Searchmetrics, which has produced a list of the top 20 most visible sites in paid search on Google.com (see table below) and a similar list for the top performers in organic search.
While question answering site ask.com takes the top position in the list for paid search advertising, 11 of the others in the top 20 are retail focused sites¹, with amazon.com and zappos.com taking second and third place. Other retail brands in the list includebestbuy.com, jcpenney.com and lowes.com.
Top 20 most visible paid search advertisers on Google.com
Domain Average paid visibility score
1. ask.com 689,991.41
2. amazon.com 491,752.04
3. zappos.com 197,048.39
4. google.com 195,311.08
5. att.com 157,210.06
6. bestbuy.com 133,838.84
7. netflix.com 123,876.55
8. ebay.com 123,053.53
9. jcpenney.com 119,278.55
10. apple.com 115,217.33
11. lowes.com 99,526.43
12. local.com 95,211.78
13. verizonwireless.com 95,071.63
14. target.com 93,669.06
15. buycheapr.com 93,179.04
16. webcrawler.com 92,683.39
17. sears.com 80,806.96
18. microsoft.com 78,126.53
19. homedepot.com 78,008.49
20. nordstrom.com 72,134.65
“The Paid Visibility score that we used to create the list reflects the advertising activity of a domain on Google.com. Changes in Paid Visibility could result from budget increases or decreases and you could probably assume that the higher the Paid Visibility score, the more budget a domain is spending on Google AdWords campaigns,” said Marcus Tober, CTO of Searchmetrics.
The Searchmetrics’ weekly Paid Visibility score is a measure of how frequently and prominently a domain appears in paid search results based on weekly data from the search results for millions of keywords, which Searchmetrics uses to populate the database that powers its online software for search and social marketers².
“Many online companies plan paid search campaigns hand in hand with their organic search marketing efforts – often turning to paid search to keep their traffic stable in the wake of fluctuations in the organic search results,“ explained Tober.
Google itself (google.com) takes fourth place in the list of 20 top paid search advertisers, as it uses paid search results to attract customers for its own products, such as the AdSense program and promoting its web browser, Google Chrome. And technology giants Apple and Microsoft feature in the top 20 as do telecoms brands AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
The Searchmetrics list of the top 20 sites that are most visible in organic search (see table underneath) is topped by free online encyclopedia site, wikipedia.org, with amazon.com ranked fifth, making it the most visible retail site in organic searches, as well as being second for paid search.
Searchmetrics studies in the UK and in Germany found Amazon taking similarly high positions in both paid and organic search.
“Our data indicates that many potential online shoppers who are not sure where to buy a product would probably end up buying at Amazon, because it is highly visible in both the organic and paid part of Google, driving lots of customers to its website,“ said Matthias Bachor, marketing director at Searchmetrics.
Top 20 most visible sites in organic search on Google.com
Domain/Average SEO visibility score
1 wikipedia.org 57,228,403.82
2 facebook.com 11,505,117.71
3 twitter.com 9,390,714.43
4 imdb.com 9,161,111.31
5 amazon.com 8,560,202.10
6 yahoo.com 8,404,013.63
7 youtube.com 6,334,316.53
8 about.com 6,046,110.78
9 google.com 5,957,750.14
10 apple.com 4,448,499.47
11 go.com 4,009,441.47
12 thefreedictionary.com 3,563,665.76
13 reference.com 3,267,496.04
14 nytimes.com 2,752,739.04
15 merriam-webster.com 2,691,126.55
16 myspace.com 2,644,045.86
17 blogspot.com 2,618,128.20
18 yelp.com 2,378,720.27
19 ebay.com 2,183,694.20
20 craigslist.org 2,082,101.39
Facebook.com and twitter.com come in at second and third place in the organic part of Google, according to the data, perhaps due to the massive volume of content generated on social networks every second.
“The high visibility of social sites within search is an additional reason why brands need to build a presence on them,“ added Bachor.
The list for the top 20 sites in organic search was developed using Searchmetrics‘ SEO Visibility score for Google.com, a measure of how visible and prominent a site is within organic search results².
¹ The 11 retail focused sites included in the top 20 paid search advertisers list are:
²How Paid and Organic search visibility is measured
The study analyses the most visible websites across Google.com’s paid and organic search results, where visibility is defined by Searchmetrics’ ‘Paid Visibility’ and ‘SEO Visibility’ scores.
Searchmetrics tracks the paid and organic ranking of millions of keywords every week and calculates the visibility scores based on:
- The number of times a domain appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs) across the keyword set
- Its prominence within those SERPs (a higher ranking equates to a higher visibility score)
- The competitiveness of the keyword (higher search volumes equate to a higher visibility score)
To create the top 20 lists in this study, Searchmetrics has used average Paid and SEO Visibility scores for the relevant domains based on the weekly scores over the course of 2012.
While SEO Visibility can relate to a website’s real traffic, it is important to remember that traffic can come from many different places online. Therefore SEO Visibility is only an indicator of visibility that comes from a website’s organic search channel.
Searchmetrics is the pioneer and world’s leading provider of search and social analysis software for companies and online agencies. Searchmetrics has a unique server infrastructure and software solution – its Searchmetrics SuiteTM – which its clients and partners continually use to aggregate and analyze very large volumes of data on the rankings of websites, keywords in searches and competitor groups. Searchmetrics SuiteTM gives users unique insight into the visibility of websites on search engines in 123 different countries and on the largest social media portals. This information plays a decisive role, especially in inbound marketing, where having excellent visibility on search engines is essential for companies to reach potential customers on the Internet.
In addition to the Suite, with its Essentials product Searchmetrics offers a tool set for a quick start in search engine and social network optimization and real-time analysis in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as well as high-end SEO consulting services. The company has branches in Berlin, London, Paris and New York and operates its SaaS solution through a network of partners and its online shop. The fast-growing company, based in Berlin and currently employing more than 100 staff, is part-owned by the renowned venture capitalist companies Neuhaus Partners and Iris Capital. Many renowned clients, such as T-Online, eBay, Siemens, TUI, GM and Kaspersky rely on Searchmetrics to ensure that they have excellent search engine rankings.