March 26, 2009, 12:00 AM

Budget-conscious marketers step up focus on natural search partner links

The economic downturn is forcing marketers to look closely at the most valuable sources of natural search traffic, Omniture analytics expert Bill Mungovan says.

With the economic downturn forcing a tighter scrutiny of search marketing budgets, more marketers are using web analytics to take a harder look at the most valuable sources of natural search traffic, says Bill Mungovan, an analytics expert at Omniture Inc.

“We’re seeing budgets for paid search being more scrutinized and in many cases decreasing,” says Mungovan, who is Omniture’s director of product marketing. Using Omniture’s Site Catalyst web analytics application, many of Omniture’s retailer and publisher clients are analyzing the amount of traffic, as well as other metrics like revenue and conversion rates, coming through links from particular blogs and other web sites, he says. “Marketers are sorting by most valuable back links and using that information to improve their natural search rankings through search engine optimization campaigns.”

A consumer electronics retailer, for example, might learn that it is getting a lot of valuable traffic from a technology advice blog like TechCrunch.com. “If they see they’re getting a bunch of good leads from TechCrunch, they’ll look for other sites like that and establish back links from them to improve their search engine optimization campaigns.” Links from blogs known to have visitors interested in a retailer’s products and web content, he adds, can help to boost the relevancy of a retailer’s web site as measured by search engine spiders, resulting in higher natural search rankings.

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