An overview of SEO today and tomorrow in the Italian context: obstacles, opportunities, advantages, evolution
Wanting to summarize a complex discipline such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in a simple thought, we could say that being present among the first search results means having a greater chance of being clicked by users, increasing traffic on the own site and consequently obtain new customers and sell more, also improving online reputation (equals greater trust and increased business opportunities).
Far from being a simple mechanism, this is actually a real science that allows not only to obtain new customers, but also to retain them, also thanks to the better user experience that a site effectively optimized for search engines offers, which provides relevant and easy-to-navigate content, making a good impression.
SEO, now a fundamental component in modern marketing, has become a fundamental element of any successful digital marketing strategy. Investing in this discipline can bring numerous advantages to companies, also and especially for small and medium-sized businesses – which often depend on online visibility to compete with large brands – especially because SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, in the face of investments not too expensive.
In fact, once a website is well optimized by an SEO Specialist, and continues to be followed regularly by this professional figure over time, it can continue to position itself in the search engine results, benefiting from results that are less dependent on the budget invested. On the contrary, advertising in more traditional media such as print and TV can be very expensive and produce only temporary results.
Another discussion must be made for online advertising campaigns, which instead constitute a very important resource to be associated with SEO, especially in terms of branding. The synergy of the two disciplines increases the potential given that advertising campaigns can be activated with the function, for example, of accelerating user access flows to the site for targeted keywords.
The following graph highlights 4 benefits brought by SEO in terms of business:
Another important factor brought by SEO is the fact of positioning a brand throughout the entire purchasing path (or buyer journey), ensuring that inbound strategies are relevant in relation to the purchasing behavior of the buyer persona, de facto accompanying them along the purchasing path. Today, in fact, more and more people tend to use Google to find the products they would like to purchase, tackling the entire purchasing process independently.
SEO is now essential, purchasing behavior can change from generation to generation, but online search engines are the main tool for everyone to find answers to their questions, as the following graph shows:
From a study by Acumen, we report a histogram with history and forecast of SEO investments at a global level, up to the year 2030:
In Italy, the importance of SEO within a marketing plan is often underestimated or even ignored by companies. Despite the continuous development of the web and the exponential increase in users seeking information online, many Italian companies still struggle to understand the importance of being visible on search engines and do not invest in this sense.
SEO, on the other hand, is a constantly evolving sector which therefore requires not only mastering the subject, but also staying updated on new trends and technologies. A good level of skills on the part of entrepreneurs is the key to understanding the potential of this discipline and investing in it.
Many Italian companies prefer to invest in other, more traditional forms of advertising, such as television or print advertising, which are considered more familiar and easier to understand. This preference is also motivated by the belief that these advertising media are more effective in reaching their target audience.
However, there is an improvement compared to the past. Today in some companies the budget allocated to online marketing can exceed 40% of the overall marketing budget; and the most selected digital marketing tools are certainly still ADV and SEO.
To date, it remains difficult to say precisely how much Italian individuals and companies spend in order to position their website on search engines through SEO. Nonetheless, according to various studies and industry reports, it is estimated that investments in SEO in Italy amount to several hundred million euros every year. Companies – which are spending more and more on online advertising – are certainly taking the need to position themselves organically on search engines more and more seriously.
It is therefore reasonable to consider that a good portion of the investment budget for online marketing is also allocated to SEO and Link Building campaigns.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in particular are increasing SEO investments to compete with larger companies and grow their online presence. This is also due to the fact that the digital world has accelerated due to the COVID-19 emergency, forcing companies to review their strategies and focus more on online marketing.
SEO investments can vary depending on the industry and size of the company. Some sectors, such as e-commerce, tourism and the food industry, may be more inclined to invest in SEO to broaden their online customer base. On the other hand, traditional industries may be slower to adopt more advanced SEO strategies.
One of the reasons why investing in SEO is particularly advantageous in the Italian context is the fact that Italians spend more and more time online. According to data from the Higher Institute of Communications and Information Technologies (ISCTI), almost 70% of the Italian population uses the internet regularly.
Furthermore, Italy is one of the European countries with the highest rate of smartphone use. According to a study by eMarketer, over 70% of Italians who access the internet use a smartphone to navigate. This data is particularly important because search engines are increasingly favoring mobile-optimized websites. Investing in SEO, therefore, will allow a company to gain a competitive advantage in the Italian context, where mobile search is increasingly widespread.
Another advantage of investing in SEO in Italy is linked to the behavior of Italian users on search engines. According to research published by Moz, approximately 77% of Italians who surf the internet click only on organic search engine results. This means that obtaining a high position in organic results, Google first and foremost, can be a determining factor in the success of an Italian company.
Finally, a further advantage of investing in SEO in the Italian context is the possibility of reaching a more specific and highly targeted audience. By using targeted keywords and strategies, a company can increase the likelihood of being found by potential customers interested in specific products or services. This customization is particularly important in a competitive market like the Italian one, where offering a unique experience is essential to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Many Italian companies are not yet fully aware of the importance of SEO for online visibility and the success of their business; they are sceptical, more inclined to put their trust in those who develop the site for them, believing that this already implies SEO optimization.
Educating Italian companies on the importance of SEO therefore becomes a fundamental challenge for the digital marketing sector in our country. It is necessary to inform entrepreneurs about the potential of SEO and demonstrate to them how it can contribute to achieving their business goals.
Digital marketing agencies and SEO Specialist professionals must invest in clear and effective communication, explaining to companies what SEO is and how it works. They must demonstrate the tangible results that can be achieved with correct implementation of these strategies, and they must explain what the risks are of ignoring search engine optimization.
Furthermore, it is important for Italian companies to understand that SEO is not a short-term process, but a long-term strategy that requires consistency and continuous monitoring to build and maintain a solid online presence. Search engines are constantly evolving and SEO strategies need to be updated accordingly. Therefore, SEO investments must be an integral part of a company’s long-term digital marketing strategy.
Training and updating on SEO practices should be seen as an investment, not as an unnecessary cost. Having a successful online presence is invaluable to any modern business and SEO is a key tool to achieve it. It then becomes essential for companies to constantly monitor the results of SEO activities, this allows them to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies and make any corrections.
SEO is one of the historical disciplines of specialization for TSW, for over 25 years large Italian and international brands, but also SMEs, have turned to us to achieve maximum visibility on search engines.
TSW’s SEO consultancy is based on a deep understanding of search engine optimization best practices, as well as constant analysis of algorithms and changes in Google and other major search engines. This allows us to offer personalized and effective SEO strategies.
But not only this. At TSW we think that SEO consultancy today is no longer limited to just improving the positioning of a website, but also includes the creation of a welcoming experience for users on the digital platform. This involves understanding user expectations and offering them quality content that meets those expectations, offering an experience worth living. For further information, we refer you to one of our articles on what SEO consultancy means for us at TSW.
A predominant theme is and will certainly be that of voice assistants, such as Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa. Increasingly popular, they are leading to a change in the way users search online. Companies are reviewing their SEO strategies to optimize their websites for voice searches, implementing content that answers specific, more conversational questions and providing clear, concise information.
Another aspect, always current, is that of local results, given the growing use of mobile devices. Users often search for information about products or services available near them, so you will need to focus on local SEO strategies to ensure you appear in the first geolocalized search results.
The future of SEO in Italy is increasingly focused on user experience, localization, and the creation of valuable content. Search engines are in fact becoming increasingly better at evaluating the quality of content and user engagement.
Another emerging trend is video content. Videos have become an integral part of digital marketing strategies, they can increase user engagement, and improve search engine rankings, as long as they are optimized correctly.
Artificial intelligence (AI), cookies, processing of personal data, privacy legislation, are other ingredients with which SEO has had, and will still have to deal a lot. Artificial Intelligence has led to an unprecedented revolution in the way in which companies and organizations can approach marketing and its function, especially if we think about how much the unlimited potential that technology can provide for a personalized experience is currently being exploited to the maximum and unrepeatable to consumers. Regarding privacy legislation, Italian companies are subject to a strict general data protection regulation (GDPR) by the European Union.
Accelerated digitalization in recent years has brought a greater focus on online marketing and the visibility of websites, making SEO an increasingly important aspect for Italian entrepreneurs. On the other hand, there are still many companies that are reluctant to invest in this sense. due to skepticism but above all due to lack of information and training.
Educating Italian companies on the importance of SEO is a challenge that requires commitment from all the actors involved. Only through greater awareness and a better understanding of search engine optimization strategies will Italian companies be able to take advantage of the full potential of the web and compete effectively in the national and global digital market.