SEO strategies have changed immeasurably over the past decade. In the past couple of years alone, search personalization, constant changes to the Google algorithm, the rise of social media and the demise of Yahoo have been major game changers. None will be as transformative as the change to revenue-based SEO.
Put another way, corporate executives are starting to demand that SEOs quantify the financial impact of their efforts rather than report on “soft success metrics” such as keyword rankings and organic site traffic. To be clear, SEO isn’t going anywhere. Econsultancy and SEMPO’s State of Search Marketing Report 2011 projects that the North American search engine marketing (SEO and paid search) industry will grow by 16% in 2011 to a value of 19.3 billion dollars—up $2.7 billion dollars from 2010. The same study also shows that more than half of companies (54%) expect to invest more in SEO this year, while the average company expects to spend 43% more on SEO than in 2010.
Although we expect that soft success metrics will still be good enough for many brands for, it’s clearly a game of diminishing returns. As companies invest more money in SEO, and Google and Bing’s algorithms increase in complexity, results will be harder to come by, and companies will increasingly want to quantify those results in terms of revenue. In our infographic, the Evolution of SEO, we look at the long journey from the first search consultant to revenue-based strategies.