Organic Listings: The Basis for a Sound Business Model?

Sep 12, 2006 • 12:48 pm | comments (5) by twitter | Filed Under Web Promotion

Appearing within the top pages of search engine results is very important to many businesses, which is the main reason behind the tremendous growth in Search Advertising and Search Engine Optimization. Since the top page listings are a mix of paid and organic (free or "merit") listings, it is possible to achieve multiple positions. Brand name searches aside, it is generally accepted that it is harder to achieve the organic listings, and they are certainly volatile in nature. One month of top listings can easily give way to a month or more of less-than desirable exposure.

A 100+ post thread at WebMasterWorld that started a few weeks ago asks the question Is It Realistic To Base A Business Around Free SERPs? Excellent discussion follows, including some of the following statements:

It would seem unwise to build a business on something that may some day disappear through no fault of your own. Some might say that a business model which relies on free traffic is no business model at all.
Simon in the UK reminds us that this is a reality that many business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs must face:
I have a pretty successful online-only mail order company. I, like many others, was suddenly dropped from Google one day. It comes and it goes. I use PPC to see me through the good and bad times...I also started a 4 day a week job at the beginning of the year because I wanted the security that if the database died, site died or I was dropped totally from search engines I still had an income to pay the mortgage and feed the kids.
One member revived the thread on 9/2 with the statement that
It's funny .. here recently I shut down all advertising for three days (to make sure there weren't residual ads running)... just to see just what our natural search results brought in...
This thread is an important read for anyone that is considering dumping other marketing, including paid search, thanks to current success in the organic listings. Read the long thread at WebMasterWorld Forums.

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