SEO: a Game of Musical Chairs
Those companies pursuing search marketing programs don’t need us to tell them that the competition for listings on the 1st page of organic search results is intensifying. Seven years ago, there were 10 first page organic search listings per search phrase. Today there are still just 10. However, during that period, the number of active websites has increased by over 600%.
In the year 2000, researchers at the OnlineComputer Library Center (OCLC) claimed that the Web contained 7 million unique sites. According to a CNN article published on 1 November 2006, there are now over 45 million active websites on the world wide web.
Hiring an SEO expert is like buying your own ticket into Google’s game of musical chairs. Even if you get a seat, tomorrow another of your competitors will buy her own ticket into the game. The music will start playing again, the players will shuffle positions, and somebody will be left without a seat. As more and more consumers and companies become tuned into the value of search marketing, and make the decision to reallocate their yellow page ad budgets towards internet search marketing, the competition continues to intensify.
Those companies who are able to pony up for increasingly expensive SEO consultancy fees to maintain first page results may survive without PPC, or more likely, will come to rely on both SEO and PPC. Those with poorly designed websites will ultimately be forced out of their own search space, and the vast majority of companies participating in search marketing will come to rely primarily on PPC and paid placement for their primary sources of relevant search traffic.