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Natural Search Trends of Fortune 500 Q3-2008


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Conductor Releases Comprehensive Research and Grades on Natural Search Trends for FORTUNE 500™

Study documents vast areas of improvement for United States’ largest public companies.

New York, November 4, 2008. Conductor, the leading provider of analytics and optimization solutions in the natural search market, released a breakthrough, comprehensive study today that evaluates the natural search visibility, optimization effectiveness and trends of the corporate and consumer facing brands of the Fortune 500.

Natural listings receive the majority of clicks in the search ecosystem, with some studies showing that more than 80% of all activity occurs in the natural search space. While natural search results are not available for purchase from Google or any of the major search engines, companies can make their content more available and index-able through the process of search engine optimization (SEO). Despite this, according to SEMPO, only 11% of aggregate search budgets are devoted to natural search. This is largely due to the complexity of determining ROI, the difficulty in identifying causal relationships between search engine optimization efforts and traffic, and the heretofore almost unlimited paid search inventory. The fact is that many large organizations have been unable to leverage this largely untapped market.

“The most forward thinking marketing organizations have made it a priority to organize their natural online search marketing efforts, and their results really stand out,” said Conductor CEO, Seth Besmertnik. “Large organizations have an extraordinarily difficult time ensuring that copious amounts of often disparate information are organized for effective and efficient indexing by the search engines. When you consider the percentage of consumer activity that occurs in the natural search listings, these results should be something of a call to action for the biggest brands to concentrate more on how they structure data externally and SEO efforts.”

Key Takeaways of the Study

  • The Fortune 500 as a whole had extremely limited natural search visibility for the terms in which they have the greatest investment in paid search.
  • Only 28% of the Fortune 500 registered any presence in natural search.
  • There is significant opportunity for improvement in the processes, measurement methodology and prioritization of natural search.
  • There were several brands that demonstrated a commitment to natural search, and displayed a significant head start in expanding beyond paid results, but even these companies had inconsistent execution across brands.
  • Only 2.87% of the domains (not companies) surveyed showed significant number of their terms in the top results. All of these positive domain scores were offset by other owned domains with significant visibility issues.
  • 8 % of Fortune 500 companies studied showed mid to strong presence for their most advertised keywords
  • 20% of Fortune 500 companies have low to mid presence
  • 72 % of Fortune 500 companies have very low or non-existent visibility for their most advertised keywords.

The companies examined were the top 500 public companies included in Fortune magazine’s 2008 Fortune 500 annual ranking of America’s largest corporations. Ultimately, the Conductor research examined the results for more than 2.4 million keywords, representing a significant portion of the billions spent in natural search and these were the terms used to evaluate each company’s natural search positions.

For more information and a copy of the entire study, please click here.

About Conductor, Inc. Conductor is a leading provider of natural search solutions, helping organizations manage information for greater search engine visibility, developing industry leading SEO solutions, and providing thought leadership for the natural search industry. Conductor’s platform is centered on providing a clear insight into the science of search, with enterprise level SEO workflow tracking and management, link building, reporting and ROI analysis of natural search efforts. Conductor’s community customers includes Fortune 500 companies, some of the world’s most prestigious publications, and serves many of the leading search engine optimization agencies. Based in Manhattan, the company was founded in 2005, and has rapidly been growing to become one of the fastest growing companies in New York. For more information, please visit:

Media Contact: Seth Dotterer Conductor, Inc. P: 212.542.5147 E:

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