As we head into 2014 there is more and more talk as to the need for small businesses to have a higher budget for SEO. Obviously SEO and Online Marketing has become more competitive, primarily due to it’s popularity and consequently thus more expensive.
What other catalysts and changes within the SEO industry has occurred that make SEO professionals say “Yes, you will need a higher budget to be successful online”. Is this just a sales ploy by the industry to garner higher sales dollars? or will needing a higher online marketing budget really be necessary this coming year – and if so, how much of an increase will you need to look at?
4 Reasons Why You Need A Higher SEO Budget In 2014
It is not a sales ploy – unfortunately for many small businesses, your SEO and Online Marketing budget for 2014 is going to need to increase if you plan to stay in line or get ahead of your competition.
On a more positive note, the budget spent on SEO in 2014 will be more helpful than ever, particularly when it comes to Mobile Marketing and Local Searches, as users start to change their search habits and Google starts putting a larger focus on local and conversational search.
Below we have listed some reasons to consider why your SEO budget should be increased:
- Your Content Marketing Strategy is changing. With things like the Penguin 2 and Hummingbird updates, it is evident that Google is attempting to move towards a more conversational methodology to search as opposed to single/stringed keywords. This will significantly shift the way that you should be structuring, writing and optimising your content, and this in itself represents a greater increase in time and capable intellects to make this transition.
- Google “Not Provided” data has changed. It has been my prediction for some time now that Google will in time make it’s Analytics tool a Paid Subscriber Service – So what you are getting free now you will have to pay to get access to in the future. For some time now all organic search data has been encrypted, therefore the way businesses consider and evaluate the terms, keywords and conversational phrases that the target audience uses will change significantly. New strategies will need to be developed, instigated and mastered. Again this will be a further cost increase as you will need a sound and qualified team to make this happen.
- Everyone has a ‘marketing’ person in charge of Social Media. More so in recent times this is becoming a norm, believe it or not! Over the past few years the importance of Social Media has come to the forefront and having a full-time professional to manage and communicate with clients has moved to the top of many a marketing priority list. In coming years if you hope to keep up or surpass your competition hiring a professional with experience in Social Media is going to be highly necessary.
- Genuine informative articles show that more is better. We are all time poor and it is true that as business persons we like to be able to quickly read a piece of text and find the answer to the our question – but the article not necessarily needs to be short. If the article is long, informative and made easy to read and scan with headings and bullet points, this in turn is a much better alternative and is often what the Search Engines (e.g Google) are looking for to rank.In particular Google has introduced an “in-depth article” section that highlights these longer pieces of copy, it can easily be presumed that Google is looking to move more in this direction.
Note that this is on top of your usual SEO work that will need to be ramped up each year.
Link Building and Anchor Text is constantly changing. I recall just two (2) years ago we were doing keyword rich one sentence links, whereas now, we are focusing on 500+ words and a spread of anchor text variations. Links from poor websites are becoming more harmful and many businesses still need to recover from the Panda and Penguin updates.
So How Much Should Your Budget Increase?
This will be dependant upon the degree of competitiveness of your target market, your industry and of course your company. Therefore putting a precise figure to cover all is difficult, but as a suggestion – I would say by 30%, starting now, in anticipation by planning and structuring campaigns in readiness for 2014
A Few Reasons To Keep Your SEO Budget The Same In 2014
I do appreciate that some businesses simply can not just increase their budgets or have alternative marketing planned for the coming year. So under what situations can your current SEO budget remain the same for 2014?
It can be done, no question about it and there is no need to panic if this is the case with your companies marketing budget. A few instances where your current budget will be fine for 2014:
- Your current team have a strategy, are prepared and have set it in motion for current and future Google changes.
- Your writer/team of writers are shifting from 300 word high-quality articles to at least 500 to 1,000 word articles of an authoritative, technical or informative nature – avoiding Promotional copy.
- Have a full time Social Media specialist or at least move a current team member with strong writing skills into a full time social media position. If you can’t hire a full-time social media specialist at the moment, consider shifting one of your writers focus to social media part-time. Focus on high-quality over quantity.
It is no surprise that all SEO Companies and Professionals will advise you to increase your budget but in the end, the decision is up to you. They may well be correct, but only you know your business. Knowing your industry, your own clients and the potential revenue that the coming year will generate, make whatever decision and feel confident about it.
Amanda DiSilvestro from HigherVisibility.com.
Image via Google Images.