In the face of naysayers who predict the death of SEO, the search engine optimization industry is advancing according to research by Search Engine Watch. As more and more business is done online, companies seek greater online visibility and are looking to SEOs to deliver. Investments are being made both in-house and to third-party agencies. The net effect is that the value and influence of successful SEO within organizations is on the rise.
This infographic by Mavenlink shows that 66% of marketers surveyed said their budgets for SEO have grown, and more than a quarter reported growth by more than 25% in 2012. They also reported that in the past year, the headcount of their natural search teams increased 45% and the end of 2013 will see an expected increase of 33%.
This is good news for the SEO industry. It shows that businesses value SEO and believe its disciples can navigate them to success in the ever-evolving digital media terrain. For SEOs to live up to the expectation, we’ll need to be adept at optimizing for emerging media factors including social and mobile.
Businesses will need to decide whether to have a desktop site and a separate mobile site, move to a single responsively or adaptively designed website, or chuck the mobile website altogether for a pure mobile app. This puts Schema.org and HTML5 in general squarely in the wheelhouse of SEOs to build expertise around. Businesses will also need to seriously get on board with social beyond launching a Facebook page or Twitter profile and posting an update here or there. This makes it every SEOs imperative to understand everything from social search results to the benefits of optimizing open graph meta tags among many other factors.
Businesses will look to SEOs for guidance on the when, where and why, which means SEOs can’t rest on quick hits any longer. In a word, it’s about strategy. Having the right tools to reveal deep user insights and being able to demonstrate tangible successes in a way that is clear and transparent is paramount for SEOs to build upon current industry momentum. This means investments must be made in research, specifically behavioral analysis to determine user intent, as well as content development to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.
Businesses are putting the money on the table and they have big expectations. As SEO contracts and teams increase in size, SEO practitioners everywhere need to think very seriously about measurement; ensuring that the proper benchmarks are set in place so at the end of the day they are able to prove their worth.