I run a SEO Company, and I constantly question the future and how stable it is. I personally believe that pure “seo consultancy” is a shrinking market and that if you don’t diversify your business you’ll find yourself without a company in the next year or two. It is truly a frightening place to be at the moment. This is because Google’s algorithm is each day becoming slightly more resilient to people trying to manipulate the results for their own gain this is partly down to: Google is reducing the area within a particular webpage from where it counts and trusts links and has other factors to determine whether a link is trusted or not. I estimate that 97% of links that are “purposely” built do not pass PageRank and only the very best link-builders are able to create links which can reliably pass PageRank in any sort of volume. There is a very fine line between ROI and not when it comes to paid links in any sort of competitive vertical market, I don’t have any moral or ethical issue with paid links, all my decisions are based on the amount of margin I can make and I don’t think that paid linking with aggressive anchor text linking is where it’s at anymore in terms of securing a long-term future.
Around 30% of my new business enquiries are for Viral Marketing and Social Media Marketing and this number is growing quickly, people are starting to look past the “free listings on Google” and are starting to diversify their online marketing budgets. Pure Search Engine Optimisation is so competitive these days and the diminishing ROI from a clients point of view makes them not want to commit such large sums of money chasing some top terms which may or may not ever appear, makes investing in pure SEO not appear very prudent now or tomorrow.
SEO agencies need to diversify into full service agencies that offer a full bouquet of services and make SEO just one of the 4, 5 or 6 main services that they offer. I predict the term “SEO” will die in the next few years and we’ll talk about Google rankings and traffic growth from a far more holistic “Online Marketing” standpoint which will include everything from Google Organics, PPC, Social Media Marketing, Viral Marketing to video marketing. A company wanting to grow with search traffic and social traffic will need to participate in nearly every form of online marketing to stand a reasonable chance of success.
There are more sharks and less fish these days and the trend looks to continue for many years to come.