Okay, that's the main reason for being on top of paid and organic search. Now let's consider other important reasons.
Over the past few years there has been a lot of shuffling around in the world of search and in who actually supplies the results that the different search engines show when you use their search function.
America Online used to provide their own results until the end of December 2005 when Google invested $1 billion for a 5% stake. Google now provides both paid and natural (organic) search results to AOL Search users. It's a pretty good deal for Google considering AOL is #4 after their own search, MSN and Yahoo. It's even better when you consider that AOL users typically convert into buyers at a rate of 6% versus the average 2-3% across the web.
There are approximately 17 search engines exchanging results, some paid and some natural, depending on which one you use.
Below are two graphs that outline Google and Yahoo, two of the top three search engines. (MSN is the third; they has recently launched MSN Live which furnishes their own results)
For the sake of this article, let's take a look at Google.
First off, Google furnishes two different results with their Search Network - Primary Search Results and Paid Search results. If you have an Adwords account and are in the top three positions, plus chose the Search Network in "Campaign Settings," your ad is syndicated across seven other search engines and their top results:
That's pretty substantial.
Let's take a look at Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly Overture, formerly Goto):