It’s fair to say that it’s war at the top of Google for companies who get massive business from this virtual monopoly search engine.
Fields that have a lot to gain, conversely have the most to lose.
Certain industries such as finance companies, medical companies, insurance, cosmetic surgery and even areas such as compensation lawyers and conveyancing – they sometimes find, even here in Australia, that their Google Adwords click prices have become astronomical. Some are as high as $172 per click!
Social media has proved, for most small to medium businesses, to be a false dawn. Return on investment, when comparing ROI on SEO versus social media, is showing a general ratio of around 40 to 1. Social is fascinating and fun, but not to be relied on for cold hard cash.
We asked two Sydney SEO companies about how they view the current SEO environment – and what they feel comfortable trying to predict for 2015 and beyond.
“2015 is already proving to be a year of record demand for SEO services,” says Paul Harvey, director of Corporate SEO in the Sydney CBD.
“For years many Australian companies have held back on SEO spending as their CEOs and upper management were ill informed about it and many believed it was a passing fad.”
“Now they’ve finally realised that neglecting their Google rankings is severely damaging their business. They no longer have the luxury of holding back – so the last stragglers are coming in from the cold.”
Paul gets no disagreement there from the owner of SEO Sydney based in Sydney’s inner east, Stewart Dawes, who reveals that companies in Australia who did get onto SEO early are now positioning themselves to dominate their industries via multi-website rankings.
“The companies who started with us in 2009/10 and who took a daring and visionary approach back then, some of them have 10-20 money websites now, built by us using SEO techniques from the ground up, and these websites have dramatically altered their presence within their industries,” Mr Dawes reports.
So what about SEO trends in 2015. Or even SEO trends in 2016? Both maverick SEO operators have interesting insights.
“You can’t leave your inbound links to chance any more,” says the guy from Corporate SEO. “We’re now working with companies to develop strong personal blog networks so they will have systems that never discard their valuable inbound links.”
“We’re now working with a lot of small to medium businesses who cannot afford to build five to ten sites, so in fact they’re now renting lead generation websites from us,” says the SEO Sydney guy.
Both agree Google is looking very pleased with itself.
“Google is settling back into its placid behemoth mode,” says Paul. “For many years it didn’t change its algorithms much at all, then we had a fairly frenetic period of various Panda and Penguin changes, which certainly destroyed many businesses – but at the start of 2015 it hasn’t been volatile at all.”
“After that last Pigeon update,” Stewart agrees, “it feels like it’s been tools down.”
“The Pigeon update, unlike Panda and Penguin updates which could be quite savage, brought Google Places back into the top of many rankings after a period where it had been in decline. Once various Google Places were eased back in, Google seemed to pretty much take a holiday in January.”
The giant is snoozing, but for how long?