Susan Feldman, a senior analyst at IDC, will release on Friday the results of a groundbreaking study that shoots down one of the largest myths in search engine marketing: that the majority of traffic to web sites comes from one of the top ten search engines.
By comparing publicly available traffic data from companies such as Nielsen Research, with research of its own, IDC found a big discrepancy in terms of the number of search queries tracked.
Ms Feldman said, "Our model showed that there were seven to ten times more search queries being made and that the large search engines had only about 30 per cent of the search query traffic."
Ms Feldman said that the missing search queries, the dark matter of the search engine world, were coming from direct queries. People would go to a web site such as Amazon.com and type in a search query.
"This means that there is a massive business opportunity still to be had. The top search engines do not own the web, at least yet," said Ms Feldman. The IDC results will be released at a Friday session at a conference organized by Fast Search & Transfer, a client of IDC and a vendor of search enterprise software.
Earlier this week Fast introduced its AdMomentum product which allows online publishers to set up their own advertising networks instead of sharing revenues with Google, Yahoo or other ad networks. . . .
Foremski's Take: The IDC findings are not a revelation for any online publisher. Peeking into the server logs reveals where traffic is coming from. For example, Silicon Valley Watcher gets less than 5 per cent of its traffic from search sites, and that is great because my traffic is not "surfer" it knows where I live and comes in direct.
Yet, the bandwidth used by the search engine robots is one third of my total--to serve less than five per cent of my visitors. The IDC numbers will help to dispel one of the big myths about the Internet, that the search engines drive substantial amounts of traffic therefore sites need to optimize for the search engines.
I've long said: optimize for your customers/readers not for the search engines. SEO, beyond basic principles, is not worth it, yet many companies spend a lot of money making their sites searchbot friendly rather than user friendly.
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