Nowadays I’d always advise people that if you want lead generation, you should focus your efforts online, but if you’re after company or product branding, more traditional forms of promotion such as print advertising may still have the edge. However, here’s an interesting result that’s had me questioning that advice slightly. Search Results are 3rd Most Trusted Online Information Source on Blogstorm relays some survey results which suggest that where you appear in the search engines has a significant impact on the trust in your brand.
I’m not so interested in the things which came first and second (reviews and personal recommendations) because they’re not direct promotional items. But a 50% trust rating in something you can invest in, your search engine positioning, is intriguing. It shows how strong Google’s own branding is, of course; even though the results are only machine-managed algorithms, people still trust them as a vote of confidence. So whilst I usually recommend that people invest in online marketing for lead generation (because the investment goes 100% into lead generation), maybe there is a branding spinoff too, at least when it comes to search engine optimisation.