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Search Engines are Preferred Method for Researching Products and Services

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Search engines are the preferred method of researching a product they're considering purchasing, according to data released by Opinion Research Corporation. 63% of those surveyed say they consult online news, blogs, and consumer feedback before making a purchase. And if you've been tempted to abandon organic based on the "SEO is dead" debate, you may want to think again:

  • 70% go online to find information on brands, especially for travel, leisure, and recreation
  • 83% say online reviews had at least some level of influence in their buying decision

“Businesses today exist in an era in which it's nearly impossible to escape the likelihood of being evaluated...there's nowhere to hide,” said Linda Shea, SVP and Global Managing Director of Customer Strategies for Opinion Research Corporation. “Companies must be extremely mindful of the power of proliferating online forums and their ability to shape consumer's perceptions about brands. Even a single negative review, when posted in a very public forum, can have a significant impact on a prospective buyer's decision to purchase.”

So when does the internet first enter the decision-making process?

  • 38% use the internet from the start
  • 27% go online when trying to decide between 2-3 options
  • 21% are at the narrowing-down phase

And here's what's being researched, along with the percentage of those surveyed who go online to research the various categories:

  • Travel/Recreation/Leisure 82%
  • Electronic goods 80%
  • Household products/services 66%
  • Clothing 55%
  • Automotive 55%
  • Personal care 40%
  • Food 24%

What do you think of these numbers? Does it affect your view of how important SEO is? Give your thoughts in the comments.

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