One of the major changes is the increased expense of marketing a business online. Not just because they are competing against a larger number of other businesses but also because of certain issues which can lead to them having to take often expensive detours in their strategy. Then they are other factors like the increasing price of advertising.
No more cheap back linking strategies
In the past businesses could get away with building a few hundred cheap back links using methods like link farming, link exchange, article directories and posting comments on high ranking blogs. However, now Google has made it clear that the search engine will not allow any website to game their system. Other methods like article spinning, paid links, excessive social bookmarking etc, are all going to get you into trouble. So, the only way any business can get good traffic and have a workable internet marketing strategy is to invest heavily in search adverting and guest blog posting on high value blogs.
The content posted to other websites will also have to be heavily marketed by an SEO company or business to get noticed. This will of course take more time and cost more money than it did two years ago.
Ban recovery is expensive
A few thousand websites were banned by Google when the Penguin update first surfaced. Then over a period of a few months many more followed. Many of the websites banned were owned by established businesses but because Google's algorithm works unbiased and undeterred by real world clout bad practices were penalised. In order to recover many websites had to invest heavily in redoing their SEO link profile, identifying problems and implementing a short term strategy so that traffic continued to flow despite the ban. The short term strategy mostly involved paid advertising which cost a bundle in addition to rolling out a gradual short term SEO strategy.
If your website has not been banned yet it does not mean that it will not be sooner or later. In order to avoid this from happening you need to perform a link audit on a regular basis to ensure that all inbound links are diverse and of the highest quality.
Marketing copy is becoming increasingly expensive
In the past websites could get away with publishing a few pages each around 500 words. Then updating their blogs and guest posts consisting of short 300 word articles. Even though short articles can still be used effectively, Google today favors more in-depth content. This means that over the next few years you'll need to get copy which is at least 1000 words in length to expect decent rankings, plus the content will need to be error free and well researched. The content will ideally be in relation to a question that people may have and search for or provide unique insight into a particular subject. All this research will take even an experienced writer some time to perform and then pen down, which is what will end up costing you more than rewritten content that was used in the past.
The extra cost of outsourcing social media and content marketing
Social media has become the bread and butter of any internet marketing campaign. However, running a social media campaign that also includes marketing the content you distribute can be overwhelming for any one person. So this requires often hiring a team of extra people to do the job or outsource it to a company that just specializes in running these campaigns. The price of hiring a company to do it is on the rise and within the next five years companies can expect to pay over 100% of what they pay right now. Especially since like search engine marketing, social media marketing is becoming increasingly competitive. With an increasing number of advertisements, pages and paid posts competing for a user's attention your strategy will need to be optimised for the best results.
There are now fewer low value or low competition keywords
In the past online businesses on a budget could draft a strategy that focused mainly on getting some traffic from low value or low volume keywords. These keywords were often cheaper and easier to target. Even if they were used for something like Google Adwords advertising they were still comparatively cheaper, maxing out at around a few cents per key phrase. Today, depending on the niche you're targeting and the industry you work in it can be difficult to downright near impossible to find any low competition or cheap keywords to target. This is because an increasing number of businesses latched on to this method early on resulting in raising the value of these keywords. So, every keyword that is worth targeting is becoming more expensive.
All businesses who wish to succeed online need to start with a solid internet marketing strategy in place. This strategy will need to encompass various facets of the internet which includes SEO, SEM, social media and regular advertising, all of which are becoming increasingly expensive. However, companies operating right now will be able to save by implementing a solid strategy today and working on executing it before things become very expensive. Getting an early start also means that you'll have a chance to survive when the number of online businesses are estimated to more than double in the next five years. A good strategy implemented right now will also help prevent your site from getting banned when Google, Bing and Yahoo decide to update their search algorithm in the future.