The Second coming of SEO

by Peter Young on September 9, 2008 · 0 comments

E-Consultancy recently conducted a study suggesting the UK SEM market was due a slowdown in the coming twelve months, something I covered in the post ‘UK market set to slow‘. To recap,  the report it stated that

It estimates the £2.75bn spend this year will include £2.42bn going into paid search, which is a 23% increase on last year.

The remaining £330m comes from spend on search engine optimisation, which will increase 32% on last year.

One of the things that stood out in the report was that SEO was seeing a higher proportion increase than Paid Search, something which I have seen reflected in the interest in the SEO products both at Pavilion Communication and more recently at MediaVest/MVi.

Further to this, I ran a quick query through Google Insights for Search, comparing the following

  • SEO + “Search Engine Optimisation” + “Search Engine Optimization”
  • PPC + “Paid Search” + “Pay-Per-Click”

with the following results.

Google Insights overview of SEO vs PPC searches - Worldwide

Google Insights overview of SEO vs PPC searches – Worldwide

You will notice that despite starting significantly behind Paid Search in terms of ‘searches’ in 2004, however by 2008 SEO has caught up considerably and indeed has overtaken Paid Search searches by late Q2.

Given our UK connections, we went on to run this on the UK market as well

SEO vs PPC in the UK

SEO vs PPC in the UK

The result was staggeringly different. Within the more mature UK market this trend happened as early as 2007, with SEO taking the lions share of searches since thenm.

This is likely to be as a result of a maturing UK market (something that was mentioned in the E-Consultancy report), where paid search costs have meant that some markets are no cost-prohibitive in terms of any significant return on investment. In a market where SEO can provide a cost effective alternative many organisations are now moving some of their budget accordingly.

It would be interesting to see what other people have found within the sector, particularly those from SEO’s outside the UK.

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