What's in a Name? Measuring Prominence, and Its Impact on Organic Traffic from Search Engines

34 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2012 Last revised: 1 Dec 2014

See all articles by Michael R. Baye

Michael R. Baye

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy

Babur De los Santos

Clemson University

Matthijs R. Wildenbeest

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy

Date Written: November 2014

Abstract

Organic product search results on Google and Bing do not systematically include information about seller characteristics (e.g., feedback ratings and prices). Consequently, it is often assumed that a retailer's organic traffic is driven by the prominence of its position in the list of search results. We propose a novel measure of the prominence of a retailer's name, and show that it is also an important predictor of the organic traffic retailers enjoy from product searches through Google and Bing. We also show that failure to account for the prominence of retailers' names -- as well as the endogeneity of retailers' positions in the list of search results -- significantly inflates the estimated impact of screen position on organic clicks.

Keywords: product search, position, internet, search engines, prominence

Suggested Citation

Baye, Michael Roy and De los Santos, Babur and Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., What's in a Name? Measuring Prominence, and Its Impact on Organic Traffic from Search Engines (November 2014). Kelley School of Business Research Paper No. 2014-47. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2191051 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2191051

Michael Roy Baye (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-855-2779 (Phone)
812-855-3354 (Fax)

Babur De los Santos

Clemson University ( email )

228 Sirrine Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
United States
864-656-3953 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://babur.people.clemson.edu

Matthijs R. Wildenbeest

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-856-5067 (Phone)
812-855-3354 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kelley.iu.edu/mwildenb

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