SEO becoming increasingly important for marketers

Microsoft’s recent launch of new search engine Bing could be set to shake up the world of internet browsing and certainly gives marketers using online advertising something to think about.

In her blog for Forrester, Shar VanBoskirk suggested that the new tool, which replaced live.com last week, could change the face of search, having a massive impact for marketing professionals.

She predicted that Microsoft’s current eight per cent share of searches will grow, meaning that marketers will need to buy search advertising through Bing as well as Google and Yahoo.

Ms VanBoskirk also forecasted a change in the approach to search engine optimisation (SEO).

“Instead of Bing showing all sites that match the search engine’s algorithm, it will show just three results for a given ’subcategory’ related to a search,” she explained.

“This means SEO strategies will adjust in order to optimise web content for select subcategories, rather than select keywords only.”

Given that a recent survey by Forbes revealed SEO to be one of the most important and effective tools for marketers when aiming to secure conversions, the launch of Bing could be particularly important.

Researchers questioned senior marketing executives during February and March of this year and found that when it comes to digital media spending for the coming months, 40 per cent of respondents planned to devote more of their budget to SEO.

The findings of this report echo earlier results from Econsultancy and search agency Guava, which found that SEO is the area where companies are most likely to be investing more money in 2009, with 55 per cent of respondents to the online survey saying they expect their budgets for this to increase.

Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, recently highlighted the importance of getting SEO right.

“A non-trivial percentage of Internet traffic to sites is driven by search engines, and good SEO techniques can help increase site traffic even further,” he wrote in his blog.

“Likewise, small mistakes can significantly impact the search relevance of your site’s content and cause you to miss out on the traffic that you should be receiving,” Mr Guthrie explained.

He said that common errors, such as broken links from a page, poorly chosen titles, descriptions and keywords, large amounts of viewstate and multiple URLs leading to the same content, are usually easily fixable.

To that end, Microsoft have launched the first beta of the Internet Information Services Search Engine Optimization Toolkit, which allows firms to analyse SEO on a website and identify and fix any issues.

Looking ahead, marketers are going to have to increasingly look at incorporating video into their websites, as this is set to be hugely influential for SEO.

With broadband increasing in availability and lowering in price, video has seen huge growth in recent years and Google is ranking pages higher in its news section based on the presence of the media on a website.