The competition between advertisers for sponsored and organic search results have initiated studies on the effectiveness of search engine optimization (SEO).

According to authors Ron Berman of the University of Pennsylvania and Zsolt Katona of the University of California, search engine rankings may improve the number of website visitors with search engine optimization.

Organic rankings are improved by SEO when and if the quality of the website is considered worthwhile for its visitors, excluding sponsored links. Sponsored links draw attention to the site regardless of the correlation.

Incentives for low-quality websites to invest in SEO are reduced when search engine traffic can be acquired on the basis of sponsored links and greater advantages given for higher quality websites.

The author’s research suggests when advertisers spend more on SEO than sponsored links, sites can achieve the valuation of high quality organically; improving both the consumer experience and site revenue.


Berman, Ron and Katona, Zsolt, The Role of Search Engine Optimization in Search Marketing (November 6, 2012). SSRN: 1745644