SEO, recession buster


sehablasearch_small.jpgADOTAS — While the four basic search options, paid search, contextual advertising, paid inclusion and search engine optimization, are expected to see increased spending through 2013, it could be SEO that wins out over the next few years.

As the economy forces consumers to be more careful with their dollars, search is becoming ever more important to marketers. But even within search options, customers are becoming even more discerning.

“The recession is driving marketers to concentrate on gaining new business, even more than on customer retention objectives,” said David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst and author of a new report, Search Marketing Trends: Back to Basics. “Search is the ultimate online acquisition tool, and therefore is positioned to do relatively well in this economy.”

By 2013, according to eMarketer estimates, total US search marketing outlays will surpass $23 billion. But, while paid search has gotten most of the attention and money, marketers are increasingly turning to SEO, Hallerman said.

Paid search’s effects are immediate, but marketers need to spend consistently for sponsored-link ads to appear in search queries. Hallerman said SEO takes time, and marketers need to constantly maintain their Websites to sustain high organic results. As marketers better understand the purpose of Website optimization in their overall campaigns, compared with the other three types of search marketing, SEO spending will grow at a higher yearly rate, he added.

“Customers are going to search engines because they are looking for better deals,” Hallerman said. “And marketers are going to search engines because that’s where the customers are.”

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