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					Q3 / 2008

NATURAL SEARCH TRENDS OF THE FORTUNE 500
An analysis and breakdown of the natural search visibility, optimization effectiveness, trends and integration planning of the corporate and consumer facing brands of the Fortune 500.

Contents
Key Takeaways ...................................................................................3 Executive Summary ............................................................................3 Methodologies ...................................................................................5 Companies..................................................................................5 Websites.....................................................................................5 Keywords....................................................................................6 Industry Classification..................................................................6 Ranking.......................................................................................6 Overall Results ...................................................................................6 Breakdown by Market Segmentation...................................................8 Market Leaders / Early Adopters .......................................................10 Implications .....................................................................................11 About Conductor ..............................................................................12 About SpyFu.....................................................................................12

Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. - www.conductor.com

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Key Takeaways
• 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 legitimate presence in natural search. There is an enormous 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

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Executive Summary
There is no question that paid search has become a major player in Fortune 500 marketing budget allocations, with a total US spend quickly approaching 10 billion dollars per year.1 However, with the number of companies engaging in paid search quickly expanding, many companies are finding that they have exhausted the inventory available across the major search engines, or that they don’t have the financial resources
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SEMPO Research

Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. Key Takeaways - www.conductor.com

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necessary to effectively compete in the bidding wars for the most competitive terms. Ironically, search marketers’ largest market lies mostly unrealized, and on the same search results page – the ‘natural’ search listings. In search results, natural listings comprise the majority of clicks, with some studies showing over 80% of all activity occurring in the natural space. While you can’t directly purchase these natural search assets, companies do have the ability to control the variables that lead to improved ranking, a process referred to as search engine optimization (SEO). Despite the vast majority clicks occurring off of the paid listings, only 11% of search marketing spend is devoted to natural search. 2 This is largely due to the complexity of determining ROI, the difficulty in determining causal relationships between search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and traffic, and a heretofore almost unlimited paid search inventory. So while most search engine users continue to ignore the paid listings and click away in the natural results, many large organizations have been unable to leverage this largely untapped market.

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Sources: Forrester

Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. Executive Summary - www.conductor.com

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The most forward thinking marketing organizations have found a way to blend their paid and natural online search marketing efforts, and are reaping significant rewards for their input – but as a group, the Fortune 500 are woefully un-represented in natural search.

Methodologies
Companies The organizations examined were the top 500 public companies included in Fortune magazine’s 2008 Fortune 500 annual ranking of America’s largest businesses. Since many of these companies do business in different industries, NAICS codes were used to establish a primary classification system. Websites The Fortune 500 list is an annual breakdown of America’s largest corporations, and while the member companies are made up of many of the world’s most prestigious brands, these companies often have dozens, if not hundreds of consumer facing brands and subsidiary websites. Often these ‘owned domains’ vastly overshadow the corporate domains in visitor traffic and marketing spend. Thus, the first step to any serious look at the Fortune 500 spend is to identify which brand and consumer facing sites are the most appropriate for analysis. Using the original list of Fortune 500 domains we used external sources to determine the other domains owned by the holding corporation. In addition to external data, we examined the corporate websites to determine any of the other brands. (In some cases, especially in the Agricultural or Transportation and Warehousing fields, the corporation had only one brand.) This research generated a list of 3,316 consumer facing domains. From this list any URLs which led directly back to the parent company page, along with any URL’s that led to foreign sites, were purged. The remaining

Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. Methodologies - www.conductor.com

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URLs were ranked according to the amount of daily traffic they received.3 The top five URLs (when available) generating the most traffic were used for analysis. Keywords After removing the duplicate and overseas domains, a final list of 2,197 domains was fed into Internet advertising competitive research firm SpyFu, to determine which keywords were targeted and how much each of the domains was spending in paid search. We have assumed that the paid search marketing managers for these sites have established their search strategies and have prioritized with their wallets (although it is certainly fair to argue that many keyword lists are not properly prioritized, that is outside the scope of this document.) We looked at over 2.4 million keywords, representing a significant portion of the $10 billion spent in search. The number of paid terms varied greatly – from no paid search activity to term lists numbering in the hundreds of thousands (eBay and Amazon leading the list). The top 10 terms were determined for each domain – and these were the terms used to evaluate each company’s natural search positions. Industry Classification Companies were classified according to their NAICS categorizations, allowing the data to be analyzed on an industry by industry basis. Ranking For each of the terms in each of the domains, we then determined the location of the company in Google’s SERP (search engine results page). Each keyword/domain combination was then given a grade, with the highest grades going to companies who appeared in the first 10 listings, and the score depreciating as the search visibility deteriorated.

Overall Results
With very few exceptions, our research found that Fortune 500 companies are doing an extraordinarily poor job of ensuring that their ‘money’ keywords are even moderately well represented in natural

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Alexa (www.alexa.com), which provides traffic rankings, was used as a rough barometer of the comparative popularity between an organizations’ domains.

Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. Overall Results - www.conductor.com

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search. In fact, as a group, the Fortune 500 got a ‘D-‘, scoring a measly 63.03. Only 28% of the companies in the study received a passing grade

– with only 8% scoring a B-C.

As you can see from the above chart – While there are some notable highlights and best performers, there were no clear top performers, and the number of companies that had zero visibility drastically brought down the average for each category.

Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. Overall Results - www.conductor.com

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Breakdown by Market Segmentation
As the following graph illustrates, the “Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction” industry has been the least successful at engaging natural search visitors – however given the nature of their business, this is not surprising.

A general trend of all these industries shows that the more consumerfacing the industry, the more likely that the firm has been successful in their natural search efforts. One notable exception to this trend is the Retail Trade. Barely getting a passing grade, scoring at 61.784, search marketers in this field should be better at getting into the SERPs. It is our opinion that this industry’s Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. Breakdown by Market Segmentation - www.conductor.com 8

experience in the search marketing is offset by the competitive nature of the space. Retail Trade represents 67% of all paid advertising – and while we looked at only the top 10 terms for each domain, the conclusion that the natural search results are also more competitive is not unreasonable.

Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. Breakdown by Market Segmentation - www.conductor.com

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Market Leaders / Early Adopters
Determining industry leaders was fairly easy – several companies were head and shoulders above their contemporaries. Note that we removed from consideration those several companies with an extremely limited exposure to paid search whose terms were primarily brand specific, as these firms of course rank well for those brand terms. ‘Market’ was defined by the NAICS codes of the parent company (i.e. Cisco is classified as a Manufacturing company due to its primary NAICS code.) Market Accommodation and Food Services Health Care and Social Assistance Real Estate and Rental and Leasing Finance and Insurance Transportation and Warehousing Manufacturing Information Administration / Support / Waste Management and Remediation Services Retail Trade Utilities Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services Construction Wholesale Trade Best of Category Starwood Hotels and Resorts

UnitedHealth Group Ryder System

Nationwide US Airways Group Cisco Systems Microsoft Robert Half International

Gap Constellation Energy Automatic Data Processing

Pulte Homes Medco Health Solutions

Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. Market Leaders / Early Adopters - www.conductor.com

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Implications
Given the vast resources dedicated to competing in paid search – we were surprised to see the ineffectiveness of the Fortune 500 in leveraging their brands in natural search. There are several possible explanations on why this issue has yet to become the top priority of these organizations’ marketing departments: 1) Natural search is more complicated and has a less transparent return on investment than paid. 2) The timeframe for results in natural search is much longer than in paid search. Whereas paid can deliver immediate feedback, the traffic from a natural search campaign will increase slowly and is often significantly removed in time from the commencement of the campaign. 3) Paid inventory is not yet ‘sold out’ – and proven positive ROI campaigns will demand any growth in budget. With the vast majority of clicks occurring in the natural space, however, it is critical for companies to realize that competing, investing, monitoring, and measuring their natural search strategies are more important than ever. The rewards to a business to compete in natural search have become real, and have become more than a footnote. Marketers with a longterm outlook have already recognized the need to develop analytics and KPIs to measure and improve their natural search visibility.

Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. Implications - www.conductor.com

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About Conductor
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 management, link building, and ROI analysis of natural search efforts. Conductor's customers include Fortune 500 companies, some of the world's most prestigious publications, and many of the leading search engine optimization agencies. Based in Chelsea, Manhattan, the company was founded in 2005, and has rapidly been growing to become one of the fastest growing companies in New York. www.conductor.com

About SpyFu
SpyFu’s diverse portals provide access to information in various formats. Beyond domain and keyword research, many capitalize on the leadgenerating power of SpyFu’s database. From Top 100 Ad Buyers to the biggest CPC terms, SpyFu reveals information that has translated into success stories worldwide. www.SpyFu.com

Fortune 500 Natural Search Trends - Conductor, Inc. About Conductor - www.conductor.com

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