The top stories, trends and predictions that are hitting the search engine marketing industry in 2009 all contain a distinct focus on building solid revenue streams during the economic crisis and engaging in strategies that will deliver return-on-investment.
All companies will be searching for the advertising medium that will offer the maximum ROI on their advertising investment. So, what does this mean for search?
Growing interest in Organic SEO
As larger companies with significant budgets continue to increase their marketing spend on Pay per Click (PPC), because of the inherent bidding model in PPC, this will squeeze out many small business players. While PPC costs rise, the interest in “free” organic results will continue to rise. This “free” traffic, only results from a dedicated investment in a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy that involves content creation, coding, design, linking and a long-term outlook. Organic SEO in Australia may be this year’s search engine marketing winner as cash-strapped businesses become wary of the increased media costs within the traditional advertising space and a continued up-turn in PPC costs.
Google remains main focus for Organic SEO
Continuing to post solid growth and increasing US market share to 72.1% of all search engine queries for December 2008 and with Australian market share set to increase to over 90%, Google remains the preferred search engine on which searchers like to spend their time. For this reason, it will remain of particular importance for search engine marketing firms to closely follow Google trends and observe the commonalities of the types of websites that consistently rank high and apply those same attributes to client websites in their search engine optimisation strategies.
Demand for accountability from SEO efforts
With closer scrutiny than ever of every marketing dollar spent, clients are going to want to know ahead of time from search engine marketing agencies what they can expect from their SEO programs.
On the flip side, clients will also move further away from the ‘traffic-centric’ mindset, as their superiors demand accountability in terms of bottom line increases. This will in turn put more pressure on search engine marketing agencies to deliver a healthy ROI, however, clients may finally be more willing to listen to conversion targeted strategies, such as that homepage redesign that has been necessary for the last 18 months.
So, in 2009, as SEO continues to evolve at an accelerated pace, the key is to analyse your complete search engine marketing strategy to increase the business generated from your website, and not just focus on a rankings or traffic increase.