July 30, 2002, 12:00 AM

Top search rankings convey brand value to consumers, iProspect says

56% of users expect to find top brands in top listings. Lesser-known brands can boost brand equity with higher search rankings, says iProsepct.

An Internet user survey from search engine positioning firm iProspect shows that top rankings in search results transmit brand value to fully one-third of online consumers. Asked if seeing a company listed within the opening lines of search results would make them believe that the company was a top one in its field, 33% of consumers surveyed said yes, according to iProspect.

“What this indicates is that being found in a top search engine match transmits a halo effect of sorts,” says iProsepct’s director of research Amanda Watlington. “A large number of search engine users will assign brand value or equity to a top ranked web site, disregarding the fact that the engine’s mathematical algorithm is the cause. Based on these results, lesser-known brands or resellers of these branded products can increase their perceived brand equity with search engine users by being found in top search matches.”

Conversely, 56% of users surveyed expected brands that they already consider leading brands to hold top search engine listings. Web marketers who don`t make search engines a primary focus of online marketing initiatives forfeit top-of-mind brand position to other organizations on the medium most often used by consumers to find web sites, according to iProspect.

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