Well, we have already acquired a halo of some dissidents in Internet marketing and SEO in particular. This article will try to strengthen this image . By the way, about our "dissidence". I observe often a funny thing. First, we are talking about something that is perceived as hostile by individual representatives of the SEO industry. They point a finger at us and hoot. Then we see how our thesis begins to "creep away" over the network. And after a while, what was perceived with hostility suddenly suddenly becomes a commonplace and banal truth. Not for the first time I notice such a turn of events. I would not be surprised if this article passes this cycle from violent rejection to the "stigma" of banality.
But before moving on, let's recall some not so distant events: the upcoming cancellation of the reference in Yandex, the ban on using “wild” guest blogging in Google, the introduction of the AGS-40 antispam filter, the constant updates of the Penguin antispam filter. Recent news of Google’s recent sanctions for spamming extended snippets, or sanctions on Germany’s reference exchanges may even go unnoticed. The “wild” SEO opportunities corridor is shrinking more and more.
In short, the overall trend is clear. And if you roll over this trend for at least a year and a half, then we, the players of the market for search engine optimization, run into one problem. Almost irrelevant now. It is "almost." And "almost", as you know, does not count. Today, large companies, the “face” of the industry, do not speak about this problem. This issue is not discussed at industry conferences. About this issue generally do not say anywhere.
That is why we will talk about it. This problem sounds like this:
What are the prospects for small business SEO?
What do I mean by SEO? For me, the acronym SEO is a promotion with pay per position - with or without guarantees. What do I mean by small business? Business with a small turnover - up to 5-8 million rubles per month. I will try at random (I'm sorry I didn’t carry out a full-fledged marketing analysis) to name the number of companies that fit the definition of "small business" and who work on SEO promotion and pay for being in the top search engine. My internal subjective analyst suggests that this figure will be close to 90% of the entire search engine optimization market. More precisely, ninety-three point and fifty-six hundredths of a percent.
And now, actually, a little about the prospects. They actually concern not so much small business as such, they concern everyone who used to receive results in search results little blood.
Brightlocal.com, which is quite popular abroad (especially in the USA and the UK) (provides a range of search marketing services in local issuance results), recently conducted a survey of 20,000 companies located in the USA (who are interested, you can find the results of this study here). A study of twenty thousand small businesses (stop for a moment and read it out loud: twenty thousand companies!) Was intended to reveal the main sources of lead generation. Not from the point of view of theories (which marketers would like to see as the main channels of lead generation), but from the point of view of today's practice - which channels actually generate the most leads at the current time.
And so this picture they have turned out:
- "Word of mouth" - put in first place 26% of respondents.
- SEO - 19% of respondents.
- Advertising on local sites and regional catalogs put in first place 15% of respondents.
- Ad-paid advertising (in most cases, of course, it was Google. Adwords) only 3% of respondents noted as the main source of leads.
- Advertising on local radio was noted as the main channel for attracting leads from 2% of respondents (note that the difference with the context is low, within the limits of statistical error).
- Local TV advertising 1% of respondents put in first place.
- And Internet marketing as a whole (without specifying the specifics) was put on the first place by 54% of the respondents.
What is interesting about this study? Leading SEO, as a separate dedicated lead attraction channel via the Internet, is quite obvious. SEO during its existence (and this is not such a significant time, by the way) has become a separate dedicated marketing tool. The business knows that SEO is working. If it works for a “neighbor”, why should he not work for me?
And it is precisely in this logic that the biggest trap for business is hidden.
SEO, as a product and as a service, was formed in zero years - in fact, at the dawn of the development of search technologies. The market itself chose the most appropriate form of relationship between SEO agencies and business. In the era of the emergence of search engines and the imperfections of search algorithms (which in turn was expressed by the ease of influence on the results of search results), it is clear that the scheme of work with pay for positions became mainstream, defining the vector of development of the industry for many years. The market appeared unexpectedly. For a few years, I formed the generally accepted norms of customer and customer relations, and suddenly, at some point, everyone suddenly discovered that there is a large enough market that owns the most significant piece in the general pie of Internet marketing.
But at that moment, when the market for SEO services found a common terminology, uniform rules of the game, uniform norms for relations between customers and customers, a serious tectonic shift suddenly occurred. The market did not notice it or did not want to notice it - at that time he was organizing a banquet in honor of himself and drank champagne, seizing his sandwiches with black caviar.
Search engines appeared in the minds of the masses in the 90s and suddenly became "masters of discourse." Search engines set themselves ambitious plans (and later began to implement them - for example, this or that). The search engines did not pay attention to the fact that some unicellular seo primitivus species would parasitize on their bodies for some time. And in the midst of the fun of the SEO industry, search engines continued to evolve as fast as they had never evolved. Indexing latent semantics, processing requests in natural language, machine learning, personification of output, extraction of quality signals from behavioral factors, etc. - it was not a simple evolution, it was a series of mutations very quickly replacing each other.
The result of all these changes (and many others that lie ahead) will be this. There is a market and there are customers who are ready to pay, there are "settled down" rules of the game in this market. But there is a catastrophic gap in the technology of search engines and those people who continue to engage in reengineering of search engines. In this case, reengineering is still possible. But! But there is such a thing. Now I will give such an allusion. Imagine a medieval fortress - high walls, a three-meter ditch in front of them. There is also some kind of life around the fortress, and the people around them live the same - with the same problems, the same joys and the same hardships. But there is a bridge across the moat, and there is a gate, near which the guards stand, the only gate to the city. If you came to the city with pure thoughts, to solve your immediate problems - you will pass to the city. But to thieves, villains and twists of reference authority, the entrance through the gate is closed (and for the behavioral wrap they hang it in the central square). This is the gate to the "new world", where you will be protected, fed and warmed. And the name of this gate is big data. And search engine reengineering, technically possible, is becoming too "rough" because no one has access to the data sets that search engines today possess.
Search engines today are such fortresses that genuinely care about the tranquility of their citizens - site owners who are trying to live "by the rules." More precisely, not even according to the rules, but according to the rule. It is one. And it is very simple: "Follow our recommendations, develop your site in the interests of users and fill it with useful, unique content, etc.". Who among us did not receive such letters from Plato Schukin?
In general, imperceptibly for all, a normal worker, an advertising tool adopted by the community and all its participants - SEO - has become a high risk venturer. But who can afford venture investment? This is hardly a small business. Small and medium-sized businesses want to have predictable results. Venture investments are too high risks. Yes, a win can turn into a very serious competitive advantage. But a small business cannot play roulette; a small business and its risks are above the roof.
But here we must understand that small business is a large part of customers of services of all SEO agencies and freelancers. The market is not made by the “big ones,” the market is made precisely by it - a small business.
And what to expect next?
Although forecasts are a thankless task, I will try to predict the situation. SEO growth will, oddly enough. SEO growth on a different evolution. And SEO will have little to do with SEO zero years. It will be so different SEO, that you will need to call it something else. At this, someone like me more, personally I like the term "search marketing" more.
And that's what will happen. Small businesses, the main driver of this market, get tired of walking in a circle - from one office to another. He will try a bunch of other tools and will come to the conclusion that the context is perhaps the best tool in terms of forecasting the results obtained. In addition, the context is a quick entry into the market, in the struggle for lead generation, and for a small business time is a much more important resource than for a large business. And after that, the third round of charm by the context (the first came in 2006-07, but "the circle was too narrow, they were too far from the people" - although they all received theirs, these pioneers of context from small business; the circle of charm is 2009-10), there will come a sobering up.
The driver of the new SEO will be, as it may sound, the context. The sobering up will come because a huge number of small business representatives will wake up and look at one day: everything we did day after day - all our work on optimizing logistics, improving service quality, improving customer service - all this led to growth of our budgets for context. It's time to change something, damn it.
And here comes the era of another search engine marketing - SEO 2.0.