Paid Search Traffic Down Sharply

Big brands just may have figured out that one way to cut back is to stop buying as many search ads considering their sites are already likely to show up high in search results. Hitwise reports that the share of search traffic to websites generated from paid listings has dropped to about 7.25 percent over the last four weeks, down from 9.8 percent during the same period a year ago. The market research firm notes that paid clicks from searches for brand name terms — such as Home Depot and Orbitz — saw especially sharp drops. Hitwise attributes the fall to “cutbacks in marketing spend due to the recession.” But Marketing Pilgrim’s Andy Beal adds that it’s also possible that “Orbitz et al (are) figuring out that they really don