Herbert Spencer, who died in 1903, was the engineer, philosopher, and psychologist who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest”. (I’ll bet you thought Darwin made up that term – I know I thought so until I read the truth in The Book of General Ignorance.) An even more interesting detail I learned from the book is that Spencer was the inventor of paper clips, which were originally named Spencer’s Binding Pins.
Most of us spend almost no time thinking about paper clips, but more than 11 billion of them are sold annually. But since, as a professional ghost blogger, I do spend a lot of time thinking about marketing, and particularly blog marketing, I was struck by this amazing paper clip statistic: Of every 100,000 paper clips sold, only five are actually used to hold papers together! (Most paper clips end up as poker chips, pipe cleaners, safety pins, toothpicks, or just getting dropped, lost, or bent out of shape during awkward phone calls!)
Keep that 5/100,000 paper clip ratio in mind when it comes to online search. There are basically two ways for your business to use online search for customer acquisition: Pay-Per-Click advertising and blogs. Blogging is part of organic search. A study by Marketing Sherpa found that as many as 99% of clicks on a search engine are on organic results, not on ads! Just as only a very small percentage of paper clips end up doing the job for which they were designed, Pay-Per-Click ads, designed to attract all the online searchers, end up winning only a very small percentage of search.
One of the reasons that’s true, according to Chris Baggott, CEO of Compendium Blogware, is that search engines determine relevance (and therefore assign higher rankings) based on the ratio of keywords found on a web page as compared with the words used in the search. Baggott goes on to explain that “blogs have a significant advantage with respect to keywords because, by nature they are comprised of a lot of words”, with the number growing over time as new posts are put online. “It is ideal to appear in the organic results because the vast majority of action takes place there.”
99,995 paper clips and 99 out of 100 clicks on blogs versus Pay-Per-Click ads. As Businessweek predicted all the way back in May, 2005, “Blogs will change your business!”