Google has been making SEO more difficult for years, and perhaps that’s why a new study from SEMPO, the world’s largets search marketing-specific nonprofit trade organization, has found that SEO spending is still healthy, despite all of the freely available online information that has spread across the web over the past decade or so.
“Overall, the report depicts a stable industry, without dramatic changes,” says SEMPO. “Although the practices of search engine and digital marketing may have changed significantly as new tools, algorithms and platforms have come into play, the survey depicts very much the same goals in place.”
Survey respondents have increased their SEO budgets, and only 2% of them indicated that they spent nothing on SEO at all.
The amount of agency billing for SEO services is on the rise. “A significant drop in those spending less than $100k corresponds to higher number across the board, with the greatest increase in the $1 to $5 million range,” SEMPO says.
The survey found that, while it remains a key goal for SEO, SEMPO says, “Survey responses show a drop in the blunt objective of driving traffic.” Meanwhile, the number of agencies citing brand/reputation as a goal, doubled year-over-year.
On the paid side of things, agencies evaluating their clients’ goals for paid search noted a significant rise in seeing brand/reputation as their top objective, SEMPO notes.
“Changes to the Google algorithm affected a large percentage of marketers, or at least has them concerned,” SEMPO notes in the report. “87% call the updates of the last 12-18 months ‘significant or highly significant.’ In most cases marketers feel the overall effect to be positive, but success in combating SEO spam sites has come at the expense of many legitimate brands.”