Last year we saw an encouraging year from a search perspective, with the recession appearing to keep reasonably clear of the search marketing sector. Some reports during the year suggested spend in search would be up by around 60% however whilst the Google Q3 figures later in the year suggested these estimates may have beena abit high – there is no doubt it was a good year none the less.
That in mind, we asked our experts how they thought this year would shape up from a search perspective:
With many recent figures suggesting a ‘mini-revival’ – do you think 2011 will be a bumper year for search, and if so which channel (SEO/PPC) do you think will see greater traction and why
Huh, I guess I’ve been out of the loop on the ‘recent figures’, please do send some over. Personally I see budgets becoming tighter this year which generally means the SEOs, those odd little mystical creatures, will get smacked down if anything. Between business folks not understanding what we do and the many snake oil, crap hat, shit for brains providers, I bet that PPC will emerge the winner. That is at least trackable. The SEO world really hasn’t made serious in-roads as far as building the perceptions of what we do. I know many an in-house SEO that has been relegated over the last few months. Probably the writing on the wall there. SEO still has some growing to do as an industry.
I’ve seen so much change over the last few years that I wouldn’t even like to hazard a guess!
I think the mini-revival was largely economic rather than behavioural. However my mind tells me to expect SEO to gain more traction, but as Google get’s smarter and those engaged with crappy SEO practitioners find themselves struggling, they too will be forced to spend more money on paid search in order to maintain their budgeted growth targets.
Bas van den Beld
That is a big question there Pete . Search will continue to do good, as long as it doesn’t only focus on optimising websites. It needs to take the next step. Then SEO will have the bigger traction at first, but PPC will come close if it starts looking across the borders of search to for example Facebook.
I do think 2011 will be a bumper year for search. The last two years have hit some industries hard, and marketing spend is often throttled in a recession. Those businesses that have survived will be now looking to get aggressive about their marketing strategy and some sectors are starting to come back to health anyway. I wouldn’t expect there to be any significant difference in growth for either SEO or PPC.
I think, based on my experience in B2B as well as B2C that PPC will be stronger in this “mini revival” but that SEO will also see gains. I think as a % that SEO will see the larger rise but in absolute money terms that PPC will see more investment.
Whatever converts – the added insecurity with frequent unexplained Adwords bans will mean SEO is a necessary investment. .
The E-learning Foundation recently reported that over two million children in the Britain do not have Internet access, whilst the GBBO (Getting British Business Online) estimates that there are a whopping one and a half million businesses that do not have a website. These figures clearly demonstrate a natural growth occurring in 2011 as more consumers and businesses come online. With this in mind I would therefore predict both PPC and SEO to grow at a greater pace than 2010. The interesting growth aspect for PPC marketers will be how far Google rolls out its PPC extensions (Local, Shopping) and how fast its adopted.
Google wants companies to use PPC as their primary marketing channel so with that in mind, PPC may grow more. SEO will be important though as long as you can use the same methods to rank a site we have been using the last few years – and i don’t see that changing much at all.
Last year saw a fairly good year for search particularly given the current economic climate. Whilst we certainly saw some consolidation in the UK marketplace in terms of the agency space, spend in both PPC and SEO seemed to be growing well (our post on Google’s Q3 figures perhaps being most symbolic of this) .
I can’t help feeling 2011 may run very similarly to 2010. Continued spend in search I think should continue however we may see a shift from boutique search agencies to more integrated media/digital agencies as the expertise within these organisations increases – and thus perhaps a more considered integrated search approach – however lets wait and see….
I’m pretty sure we will see continued growth through 2011. SEO is such a less mature market than PPC that I can’t help but think that will grow quicker – though I’m sure it will be dwarfed (and to some degree cannibalised) by the growth rate of social media spends. I’m not sure this is the best thing for companies’ ROI.
Other parts in the Experts View series:
Q1 : Do you think a viable competitor to Google will emerge in 2011?
Q2 : Where do you think the growth area in search will emerge in 2011?
Q3 : Do you think Social media’s influence on SEO will continue to increase or fade away?