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eConsultancy, a research firm specializing in ecommerce and internet marketing, released a report stating that SEO spending increased 16 percent in 2010.  The previous year, the UK spent $590 million on natural search efforts.  The $684 million spent in 2010 is expected to rise again in 2011, according to eConsultancy.

eConsultancy Senior Research Analyst, Jake Hird, said of the findings, “Overall, the SEO market continues to flourish, as it is a proven and highly effective method of delivering return on investment by successfully driving traffic and increasing sales.”  Despite this opinion and anecdotal evidence to back it up (such as an increase in retail sales, particularly among younger girls and teenagers for sites that optimised during the gloomier days of the recession), an astonishing 41 percent of UK sites do not optimise their sites for better search engine ranking.

According to research conducted by FastHosts, a web hosting service, about 25 percent of firms believe that SEO is too costly.   Other findings include:

  • 27 percent of firms say they never interact with customers online
  • 77 percent do not use social networking to promote sales or engage with customers
  • 41 percent do not have an email contact form on their website
  • 94 percent do not have live chat via their website
  • 86 percent do not respond to online reviews

These numbers belie the importance of SEO, and many firms realize this.  Twenty percent of firms say that not investing more time and money in online marketing and SEO strategies will have a negative effect on sales in the first quarter of the new year.

FastHosts’s marketing director, Steve Holford, says, “For many small firms, battling for online visibility can be a real stress and seem too daunting a challenge to take on.  However, every business owner should ,now that there are now low-cost…solutions for improving search enging positions…”

Responding to customer reviews, using social media to engage and interact with customers, and putting up an email contact form on their website are all easy and inexpensive places to start. SEO is nowhere near as costly as not optimising for search engine visibility.

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