September 28, 2010, 4:13 PM

Best Buy leads in paid search rankings for Consumer Electronics

Best Buy and Wal-Mart grabbed the top electronics category positions in the new Search Marketing Guide.

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Best Buy Co. Inc. held the top position in the paid search rankings among Consumer Electronics merchants in Internet Retailer’s new 2011 Search Marketing Guidegarnering 208 total points. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s e-commerce site——came in second with 147 points. was next with 85 points, followed by Crutchfield Corp. (42 points) and Sony Electronics (41).

Best Buy, No. 10 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, topped all retailers in the Consumer Electronics category by taking the top position for the keywords Flat Screen TV, Stereo Speakers and Televisions, and holding the second position for the terms Digital Cameras and TiVo (TiVo itself came up most often), which contributed to the retailer’s cumulative point total. Those keywords were among 15 in the Consumer Electronics category that were tested on Google’s search engine over nine weeks from late 2009 to early 2010. To determine the rankings, Internet Retailer assigned points for the top five paid results. Consumer Electronics was one of in 20 merchandising categories studied., No. 6 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, held the top position for the keywords Camcorders, Digital Cameras, LCD TV, Memory Cards and Video Game Consoles in the Search Marketing Guide. also held the second position for iPods (Apple Inc., No. 4, took the top position).

Merchants such as  Best Buy and Wal-Mart that consistently bid on specific paid keywords and phrases in the December-January timeframe in order to place at or near the top of paid results on Google’s search engine might be willing to sacrifice profits for sales, says Hal R. Samuelson, president of BeyondROI LLC, a web marketing services and design company.

“These are public companies, so the fourth quarter is a big time for them and they might want to increase sales and be market leaders,” he says. “It’s probably not about profitability but about sales.”

Bigger retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart also may get marketing support from product manufacturers, which could influence year-end paid search efforts, Samuelson says. “These companies will provide marketing dollars to sponsor and promote products,” he says. And in some retail categories, in addition to paying out marketing dollars, retailers meeting certain sales goals can also receive further incentives, such as price discounts, he adds.

Wal-Mart declined a request for an interview and Best Buy did not respond to a request for comment on their respective paid search marketing strategies.

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