Two thirds of the UK’s biggest companies lose sales by failing to exploit targeted search engine marketing

London, UK, Tuesday 22nd February 2005 - Consumers’ expectations of online searches for products and services are increasingly sophisticated, but many FTSE 100 companies are not keeping pace with their demands. Almost two thirds (64%) of the official websites of FTSE 100 companies did not appear in the first page or top 10 results of a simple online search using keywords such as ‘travel’, ‘insurance’ or ‘bank’, finds new research from The Search Works, a world leader in search marketing services to online advertisers.1

The research, which coincides with the rebranding of The Search Works (formerly known as WSPS), reveals there has been some improvement in companies’ understanding of search engine marketing. Similar research carried out by The Search Works in 2003 found that nearly one third of FTSE 100 company websites did not even appear in the top 30 results when searched for by name. But in 2005, 100% of those currently ranked in the FTSE 100 appear in the first page of all search engine results when a name search is conducted.

Nick Hynes, CEO of The Search Works, warns that companies are missing the point and the potential of search engine marketing: “Large UK companies can no longer expect to remain top of the listings just because they have a well-known name. It’s now well recognised that 90% of consumers will look no further than the first page of results from web searches. Businesses must therefore respond to the ever-increasing intelligence of the consumer who types in very specific search terms and expects to find the right product or service in just a few clicks.

“The consumer’s ability to locate the products and services they want is key to successful online sales and those companies without comprehensive and targeted online search advertising campaigns fully integrated into their marketing programmes risk losing sales. This is backed up by research from Nielsen Research which shows that 80% of all online transactions originate from search, while 60% of all online searches begin with the goal of making a purchase. Recognising the importance of search positioning is proving to be a major opportunity for search marketing savvy players, who appear to be the smaller and medium sized players rather than the larger, more established brands.”

The Search Works’ research shows that the travel sector is the most advanced, with the highest proportion of travel companies achieving a high profile across the largest number of search engines. It also reveals that the FTSE 100 insurance, banking and other financial services sectors face considerable challenges in raising their prominence in search for their thousands of products and services.

The search engines, such as Google, MSN and Overture/Yahoo! play a vital role, aiming to ensure the quality and relevance of all listings. However, each engine has its own processes, procedures and products and it is critical that companies advertising online understand how each engine ranks and edits the search listings they provide to consumers.

Hynes concludes: “Typically, we find companies that come to us end up spending the same or less than before but get huge increases in commercial returns through effective management of their listings in search engines. It’s a great media and everybody wins. The consumer finds what they are looking for, the advertiser gets high quality leads and the engines get relevant search results. The only losers are those companies who aren’t realising the full potential of search and that seems to be many of the FTSE100 companies.”

About The Search Works
Headquartered in London, England, The Search Works is the world leader in search marketing services for online advertisers. Formerly known as WSPS, the company has completed an important stage in its recent and rapid expansion. Its new name and identity, The Search Works, now better reflects its commitment to the continued growth of the company and its products and services.

The Search Works offers two forms of search marketing service, a full managed service option, where clients outsource the creation and management of campaigns to The Search Works, or a technology option, where clients access and use the BidBuddy Suite search marketing technology to implement and manage campaigns themselves. BidBuddy Suite now has a full interactive interface to all the major search engines including the Overture/Yahoo! network, Espotting and, as of this month, Google.

Advertisers often turn to search engine marketing companies like The Search Works to provide the expertise and industry-wide knowledge that helps create successful online marketing campaigns. Knowing how best to optimise search advertising across all the search engines is critical to success and can bring significantly greater returns on investment.

Formed in 1999, The Search Works has always been at the forefront of the search engine marketing community. Working in partnership with all of the world’s leading search engines, The Search Works launched the UK's first pay-per-click (PPC) search engine customer acquisition service in September 2000 and the world’s first automated PPC bid management service in March 2001 For the last two years The Search Works has been identified by The Sunday Times TechTrack Top 100 as one of the most successful and fastest-growing technology companies in the UK. For more information, visit

Notes to Editors:
1Research conducted on Tuesday, 15th February 2005 between 9am and 11am The Search Works.

James Hafseth
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Citigate Dewe Rogerson
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Published on: 12:00AM on 22nd February 2005