Search Engine Optimization

SEO in Lead Generation: 2012 Budget Analysis

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a main focus now of many advertising and marketing campaigns for businesses. After all, most leads these days tend to be generated online.

Even so, various companies treat their SEO efforts very differently when it comes to how much they spend on it. Online content marketing makes up most of the advertising budgets of some organizations. Others are stingy with how much money they are willing to spend on SEO.

MarketingSherpa, a research firm specializing in tracking what is effective in all aspects of marketing, wanted to learn more about how organizations allocate budgets to maximize high-quality lead generation from SEO. They surveyed more than 1,500 marketers about their SEO budgets and displayed the results in one of their weekly charts.

The results were divided into companies that have no process or guidelines for including SEO in their marketing plans, companies that have an informal process, and organizations that  have a strategic, formal and integrated SEO practice in their advertising efforts. Of those groups:

  • Companies with no SEO process:  About 26% plan on increasing their SEO budget, with 21% saying they will expand spending on this technique by 20% or more. Of these more casual users, just 5% said they would spend less on SEO.
  • Companies with an informal SEO process:  About 42% of these businesses will raise SEO budgets in 2012, with 14% planning to spend 20% more on it. Almost no companies in this category expressed any desire to spend less on SEO.
  • Companies with a strategic SEO process: About 41% will increase their SEO budgets, with 18% saying theirs will rise 20% to 50% and nearly 10% of these top users saying their SEO budgets will increase by more than 50%. Just 5% plan to scale back their SEO efforts, likely because their programs have developed to a point they can spend less while sustaining quality results.

Organizations that are relatively new at SEO are still investing money into it. Companies that have dived head-first into SEO strategy plan on increasing their budgets to a greater degree than organizations less versed in SEO. Although budget increases are expected for most of the companies, a greater percentage of organizations in the earlier phases of SEO implementation are expected to keep budgets the same.

Marketing departments that truly understand SEO want to spend more on it. This should be of some siginificance to organizations that are still struggling with their SEO online marketing efforts. If these companies take the time to implement a planned strategy and carry it out for a period of a few weeks or months, the results they would likely discover could encourage them to invest more in SEO, too.

How much do you expect your organization’s SEO budget to change in 2012?