Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Search Engine Optimization: What Drives Organic Traffic to Retail Sites?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Michael R. Baye

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • Babur De los Santos

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • Matthijs R. Wildenbeest

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

Abstract

The lion’s share of retail traffic through search engines originates from organic (natural) rather than sponsored (paid) links. We use a dataset constructed from over 12,000 search terms and 2 million users to identify drivers of the organic clicks that the top 759 retailers received from search engines in August 2012. Our results are potentially important for search engine optimization (SEO). We find that a retailer’s investments in factors such as the quality and brand awareness of its site increases organic clicks through both a direct and an indirect effect. The direct effect stems purely from consumer behavior: The greater the brand equity of an online retailer, the greater the number of consumers who click its link rather than a competitor in the list of organic results. The indirect effect stems from our finding that search engines tend to place better-branded sites in better positions, which results in additional clicks since consumers tend to click links in more favorable positions. We also find that consumers who are older, wealthier, conduct searches from work, use fewer words or include a brand name product in their search are more likely to click a retailer’s organic link following a product search. Finally, the brand equity of a retail site appears to be especially important in attracting organic traffic from individuals with higher incomes. The beneficial direct and indirect effects of an online retailer’s brand equity on organic clicks, coupled with the spillover effects on traffic through other online and traditional channels, leads us to conclude that investments in the quality and brand awareness of a site should be included as part of an SEO strategy.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.bus.indiana.edu/riharbau/RePEc/iuk/wpaper/bepp2013-02-baye-delosSantos-wildenbeest.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2013-02.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2013-02

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 1309 East Tenth Street, Room 451, Bloomington, IN 47405-1701
Phone: 812-855-9219
Fax: 812-855-3354
Email:
Web page: http://www.bus.indiana.edu/bepp/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: search engine optimization; organic clicks; search marketing;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Baye, Michael & Morgan, John, 2004. "Brand and Price Advertising in Online Markets," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt9760k3hz, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Yongmin Chen & Chuan He, 2011. "Paid Placement: Advertising and Search on the Internet," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(556), pages F309-F328, November.
  3. Babur De Los Santos & Ali Hortacsu & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2012. "Testing Models of Consumer Search Using Data on Web Browsing and Purchasing Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2955-80, October.
  4. Anindya Ghose & Sha Yang, 2007. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search and Cross-Selling in Electronic Markets," Working Papers 07-35, NET Institute, revised Sep 2007.
  5. Anindya Ghose & Sha Yang, 2009. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search in Electronic Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(10), pages 1605-1622, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2013-02. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rick Harbaugh).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.