Fortune 500 Still ‘Largely Invisible’ In Natural Search, Study Says

Companies listed in the Fortune 500 are getting better at SEO, but continue to be “largely invisible in natural search.” That’s the key takeaway from “Natural Search Trends of Fortune 500 Q4-2008,” a study released today by SEO technology/services company Conductor.

Conductor analyzed close to 90,000 primary paid keywords on which corporate- and consumer-facing Fortune 500 companies are advertising, and examined the companies’ natural search visibility on those same keywords. The evidence suggests that these big brands are still highly focused on paid search, and are missing the boat on SEO. Some stats from the study:

  • The companies are spending $51 million per day on PPC for these keywords, but they only rank in the Top 100 natural search ranking for 21% of the keywords
  • 47% of the Fortune 500 companies have “very low or non-existent visibility for their most advertised keywords”
  • Only 10% have “mid to strong presence” for their most advertised terms
  • As a group, the companies’ visibility in natural search went down even more — 5.8% — on long-tail queries of five or more words

But things are getting slightly better. When Conductor released its Q3-2008 study a few months ago, 72% of the Fortune 500 scored an “F” grade and 20% scored a “D” for natural search visibility. In the new update, 47% scored an “F” and 42% a “D”.

On an more granular level, Conductor says that industries that are consumer-facing tend to score better on natural search visibility than those that are not. As in the previous study, the Accomodation & Food Services category scored the highest.

Fortune 500 chart

“It seems that some of the Fortune 500 companies are making progress,” the report says, “but as a whole, the group is still doing a very poor job of ensuring that their ‘money’ keywords are represented in natural search.”

You can download “Natural Search Trends of the Fortune 500 Q4-2008″ on Conductor’s web site.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Search Marketing: General | SEO: General | Stats: General

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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