Sourced from eMarketer

Following up on an earlier study, Oneupweb recently analysed the main corporate sites of the first 100 companies in the Internet Retailer magazine list of Top 300 companies to determine the level of effectiveness with which each company has used SEO.

Sites were placed at one of four levels of optimization based on how well they used a variety of SEO techniques, including “ethical” and “unethical” methods. “Ethical” methods include pertinent keywords in tags and relevant titles and body text, whereas “unethical” methods include invisible text and image links, keyword tags not related to the business sector and other methods used to trick search engines.

Among the sites deemed to be well optimised, 67% appear on the first page of a Google search (the “top ten,” assuming search results are viewed at the default 10 listings per page) and 57% appear on the first page of a Yahoo! search. Sites that are merely moderately optimised appear on 45% of Google’s and Yahoo!’s first pages. Nominally optimised sites garner first-page appearances only 14% of the time in a Google search and 17% in a Yahoo! search, and sites with no optimisation do not appear on the first page of Google results and only 6% show up on the first page of Yahoo! results.

Lest it be thought that poorly optimised sites might not show up on the first page of search results but could make it to the second or third, the findings demonstrate that poor SEO banishes many sites to beyond the “top 30” of search results, making it unlikely that surfers will find the site. Furthermore, on Google, retail sites with no SEO didn’t make it to the Top 10 or even the Top 30.

A lack of good SEO can hurt any company, even large, well-known companies. For example, although 1-800-FLOWERS and FTD are the best known flower delivery companies in the US, because they employ poor SEO on their sites, a lesser known company,, enjoys a better presence in online searches for the terms “flower arrangement” and “flower delivery.” In fact, appears in the first three pages of search results for both terms, while 1-800-FLOWERS and FTD don’t appear at all. Similarly, bookseller Barnes and Noble has concentrated its SEO efforts on keywords related to its brand name, while smaller companies like and have used a wider set of pertinent terms.

Judging from the difference optimisation makes in improving search engine placement, one would think retail companies would assure full optimisation. However, Oneupweb finds that only 12 out of the 100 retail sites were well optimized, while 23 were moderately optimised, 29 nominally optimised and 36 had no optimisation at all.