Search optimisation spend is catching up to paid search advertising

Paid search advertising still makes up the biggest share of the fast growing internet ad market, but spending on website search optimisation is catching up, a new report has found.

The latest research from online business analyst eMarketer found that advertisers will spend nearly $20 billion worldwide on paid search ads – where keywords generate “sponsored links” prompts on search engines like Google and Yahoo – this year.

In Europe, paid search accounts for more than half of all expenditure on online advertising; in the United States, it is slightly over 40%.

The web alternative is search optimisation of websites, so that company names, brands, and keywords appear high in organic search results – $8.3 billion was spent on paid search in the US this year, compared with $2.6 billion for optimisation. But eMarketer says spending on optimisation is growing faster than outlays on sponsored links.

Advertisers believe people have more confidence in the unpaid search results. eMarketer’s research indicates that about three-quarters of all clicks are on the search results rather than the sponsored links.

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