A survey by search conversion agency Tamar tells us that nine out of ten British customers prefer natural search results, and many lack trust in paid search.

Tamar's 2007 Search Attitudes Report, which polled 1,531 UK adults, also pointing out the potential harm to brands from negative comments which often appear in natural search results - 70% said they had abandoned purchases due to comments in search results.

The survey results suggest that the UK's internet users are becoming savvier about the differences between paid and organic results, though more than half (57%) are still unaware of the difference.

  • 55% of the 16-24 age group were aware of the difference between paid and organic search, for 25-34 year olds, this was 51%, while only 33% of over 55s were aware.
  • Seven out of ten British consumers will not click through to a company's website if search results contain negative comments about them. This must mean that McDonalds' site gets very few UK visitors.
  •  Of those put off by negative comments, 58% would visit a competitor's site, while the rest would abandon the search altogether.
  • Also, 79% of consumers said they would be more likely to make an immediate purchase if the search link takes them directly to the page of the product they are searching for, which reinforces the need for optimised product landing pages.

A study published by WebSideStory last year suggested that SEO could be almost as effective as paid search.

Their study of 20 major e-commerce sites found that paid search had a median order conversion rate of 3.4% compared to organic search results, which produced a conversion rate of 3.13%.

Graham Charlton

Published 5 April, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (4)



Fantastic research and results - I think it confirms something a lot of people felt but didn't have the figures to back. Thank you Tamar.

over 11 years ago


Matt Ambrose, Copywriter at The Copywriter's Crucible

Yet another sign of the need for online PR. The notion that internet marketing is just about SEO is so dated.

over 11 years ago



I find it funny that a big company will spend lots of money of paid search say over 50k per mth, another wedge of money on marketing staff but nothing on link building and natural seo. They just farm that out and pay someone a big pot of cash to do nothing.

over 11 years ago


Peter Young, SEO Manager at Mediavest

Matt completely agree, particularly with reference to point 2 - "Seven out of ten British consumers will not click through to a company's website if search results contain negative comments about them"

As regards the third post here, personally alot of it is down to perception and uncertainty. With PPC you can guestimate traffic, and potential ROI, however SEO is neither certain on visibility let alone ROI. Clients want to know their spend is going to provide a significant ROI (in one way or another), and PPC provides that certainty to a certain extent, whether it is right or not is a different point.

about 11 years ago

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