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It might not be a surprise to learn that Amazon dominates the search engine results pages, but you might be surprised by just how much they lead all other major brands.

A recent performance study of 10 leading U.S. brands published by SearchMetrics makes it clear that Amazon has by far the most visibility across Google’s search results on both desktop and mobile.

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In the study, SearchMetrics used the top 10 retail sites listed in the National Retail Federation’s list of top 100 retailers and parsed the search results of millions of Google search terms to establish a mobile visibility score along with a desktop visibility score.

To calculate the visibility score, the study evaluated the number of times a brand appears across a keyword set, the brand’s rankings within those search engine results pages, competitiveness of keywords, and the click through rate of those results pages.

Even compared to other major competitors, Amazon is an absolute giant. With the staggering rating of 11,145,359, the online retail company dwarfs Walmart, its closest competitor with a score of 1,816,192.  Following Walmart were The Home Depot with 881,538, and Target.com, with a score of 771,839.

The focus of the study was mobile search, as it is most often the first touch point to purchase. However, the analysis also showed the rankings remain the same on desktop.

Best-Android-phones-for-Christmas-2013Now that the holiday season is over, several companies including Target and Amazon are releasing statistics related to 2014’s holiday shopping. While there are several interesting facts to be found in the reports, Target’s release may have the most striking bit of information.

Target claims the majority of traffic to its Target.com website came from mobile devices throughout the holiday season, making it clear that mobile is quickly becoming the primary option for online shopping.

The company says, “Mobile traffic made up 60 percent of Target.com traffic November through December.” The press release also highlighted other mobile milestones for the company:

  • Black Friday weekend purchases made via mobile phones were 2 times higher than 2013
  • Cartwheel, Target’s digital coupon app, added 2 million new users over the holiday period and surpassed $1 billion in promotional sales since it launched
  • Target.com store-pickup orders hit a new record high on Thanksgiving Day
  • Store maps in Target’s new iPhone app were accessed more than 400 thousand times

Long-time mobile leader Amazon reported similar findings to Target, saying, “Nearly 60 percent of Amazon.com customers shopped using a mobile device this holiday. Mobile shopping accelerated as customers got later into the shopping season.”

Amazon also mentioned that Cyber Monday was the biggest mobile shopping day of the season, but Black Friday “had the most rapid growth in mobile shopping.” The company also reported that total sales of the Amazon smartphone app had doubled last year, which coincides with Amazon mobile entering comScore’s Top 15 US Smartphone apps list.

The cost of doing business with pay-per-click advertising has risen sharply over the past decade. So much so, many small business owners are wondering if the price they’re paying to get their message out is worth the return on their investment.

As Darren Dahl reports for the New York Times, larger companies joining the PPC craze has caused rates to skyrocket and nearly priced out smaller competitors.

AdGooroo, a research firm specializing in the PPC market, reports that more than nine out of ten companies spend less than $10-thousand a month on PPC advertising. At the other end of that spectrum, however, are giants like Amazon and University of Phoenix, who spent $54-million and $37.9-million respectively in the first half of 2012 alone.

The advice many experts offer is to scale back PPC ads and make keywords as specific as possible to your business. General keywords like ‘life insurance’ or ‘car sales’ put you in direct competition with a number of companies, many of whom have much deeper pockets.

PPC also shouldn’t be your only advertising platform. Branching out into social media and search is crucial to drive as much traffic to your site as possible.

It’s worth looking into SEO services to improve your organic search rankings. There’s even services online that pledge to manage your social media marketing accounts, as well. When you own a small business, time and money come at a premium and online advertising is becoming costly for both.