A recent survey commissioned by Fasthosts makes for interesting, if somewhat depressing, reading about how well British internet users understand the search engines.

For many SEO people who have watched the top searches data that is produced monthly and available from several different sources, some of the info in the survey will not come as much of a surprise.

1436 UK internet users were quizzed and the results show that the majority of Brits either have no idea or an inaccurate view of how online search results are determined.

97% of those surveyed said that they frequently use search engines. However, only 29 percent are aware that search results are generated based search engine optimisation techniques used by the individual website owners or the companies who do their SEO.

Additionally, 24 percent of respondents believe that the search listings can be affected by the publishers of websites, while 22 percent suspect that results are presented according to how much has been paid by the websites listed. Another 19 percent say they have no idea at all how results are compiled, and 5 percent believe that search listings are arranged completely at random.

Interestingly, a third of users distrust the paid search listings, and have more faith in the organic search results. 40% of women and 34% of men say that they consciously ignore paid listings. 43% of Nottigham residents refuse even to click on them!

This last doesn’t bound aprticularly well for those relying solely on PPC to get traffic, leads and sales, and once again reinforces the importance of good organic listings.

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