With executives gaining more and more information on the importance of search engine marketing, budget allocations for search engine optimization (SEO) are on the rise. Simply put, the opportunity to maximize profits through online sales and lead generation has become too enticing to ignore.
A far as a long term strategy goes for customer acquisition and consumer presence, SEO is taking a larger role versus traditional marketing avenues. Reports are in that corporate spending on SEO pursuits is expected to see a dramatic increase over the coming years. With the current down economy, more serious talks are taking place in boardrooms across the country as to how these businesses will more effectively position their websites within the search engines.
Highly touted publications predict that organic search efforts (unpaid traffic generation) will rise anywhere from 17 to 20 percent while we simultaneously witness paid search (pay per click advertising) decline in the neighborhood of 11-15 percent. A fantastic outline of this is depicted in the graph below, from our friends at eMarketer:
Surveys are also beginning to suggest that companies placed in the top 5 of organic search results hold a slightly higher value and garner more targeted click-through traffic. This doesn’t mean that paid advertising with Google, Yahoo and Bing doesn’t get its fair share of traffic, just that organic results are getting equivalent conversions as consumers become more aware of the differences between paid vs. organic rankings.
The most obvious way to positively impact search engine results is to participate in both paid and SEO endeavors. Pay per click offers immediate results while search engine optimization is a longer process that takes time and persistence. Many large and small companies are finding that a pay per click campaign becomes a needed initial expense while SEO initiatives take root. Many businesses can then realistically begin to decrease dollars spent on pay per click as they see their organic search results rise.
No matter what online activities a company decides to begin, proper reporting is the key ingredient to success. Without having the proper tracking and reporting infrastructure in place, many dollars can be wasted on poor decisions. There becomes no way of properly gauging the return on investment received from these pursuits without the statistics to back it up.
Web analytics are vital in order to gain useful knowledge and information when judging the results of a campaign. Google offers “Google Analytics” which is free and only requires a small line of code be added to your site. The type of data supplied from Google about a site’s traffic and visitors sources can be extremely helpful.
The bottom line with increased investments put toward companies’ online efforts is that anyone not exploring the options with search engine marketing is sinking further behind the curve. In addition to increased traffic to their website, businesses need to consider SEO much like their public relations arm. Getting ranked in the search engines gets customers in the door but in the end, it is the products and services offered that ultimately make the sale.