Press Releases

The Internet Retailer 500 Have Mediocre Natural Search Visibility

April 8, 2010

Conductor Study Reveals Leading Internet Brands’ Natural Search Visibility is Poor

April 8, 2010, NEW YORK – Conductor, the leading provider of search engine optimization technology and services, today released Natural Search Trends of the Internet Retailer 500, a comprehensive research report on the search visibility and optimization effectiveness of the Internet Retailer 500 (IR 500). The report evaluates the natural search visibility of the IR 500’s more than 88,000 most expensive paid keywords, on which they spend $1.2 million per day. The study reveals the IR 500 companies average a ‘D’ visibility score, appearing on page 6 in natural search results.

IR 500 Search Visibility Scores

The study also segments the IR 500’s natural search visibility by 4 merchant type categories and by 14 merchandiser categories. Out of all merchant types, web based retailers (‘Web Only’ merchant type) have the highest natural search visibility, while brick and mortar merchants (‘Retail Chain’ merchant type) have the least. Among merchandiser categories the ‘Health/Beauty’ category has the most visibility, with leading the way as the category’s front runner, while the ‘Mass Merchant’ category suffers the poorest visibility.

Key takeaways include:

  • The Internet Retailer 500 spend approximately $1.2 million daily on 88,765 keywords, yet only 33% of these keywords rank in the top 50 natural search results.
  • 93% of Internet Retailer 500 companies are not ranking above position 50 in natural search results, only slightly better than the natural search visibility of Fortune 500 companies.
  • Web based retailers (‘Web Only’ merchant type) are the most active in paid search and most visible in natural search, in contrast to more traditional brick and mortar retailers (‘Retail Chain’ merchant type) who are the least.
  • 19% of Internet Retailer 500 companies are completely invisible in natural search for their most expensive paid keywords.

Conductor’s study is the first to scientifically track and measure the maturity of the natural search efforts in comparison to the pay-per-click spending of the 500 largest internet retailers included in Internet Retailer’s annual report, the Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide. The IR 500 represent the largest and most successful online retailers responsible for more than $113 billion in online sales. The Q2 study analyzes 4.5 million paid keywords, examines the paid/natural visibility correlation and investigates the effect of more specific ‘long tail’ searches for these brands.

For more information and a copy of the entire study, please visit:

About Conductor, Inc.
Conductor is the leading provider of SEO measurement and optimization technology, empowering enterprise marketers to manage and improve their SEO efforts. Conductor Searchlight is a subscription-based, software as a service (SaaS) platform which enables customers to gather competitive data, prioritize and improve their decision making, and accurately measure the ROI of their SEO efforts. Conductor also offers a range of associated professional services to its over 250 Fortune 500 and Internet Retailer 500 clients, a majority of the leading interactive agencies, and some of the world’s most prestigious publications. Based in Manhattan, the company was founded in 2005, and is one of the fastest growing companies in New York.