The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) has released its findings on search marketing spending for 2008. Over the course of last year, a total of $13.5 billion dollars was spent on search marketing with nearly 90% of that total spent on paid search ads.

SEMPO also provided some good news for any Internet Marketing Company by predicting spending on SEM will double over the next five years to $26.1 billion dollars in 2013.

With research showing that consumers are more willing to click on organic search results, why was such a large piece of the 2008 search marketing pie spent on paid search?

Marketers used to traditional advertising are more comfortable with the guaranteed placement and consistency offered by paid search results. Also, data shows that paid search ads work well among searchers with an “intention to buy” who is exactly the group marketers are scrambling to attract, and marketers enjoy the direct, measurable results generated by paid search ads.

Also, the disparity between spending on paid search ads and SEO is a natural occurrence due to the fact that paid search is a media expense, whereas optimization costs decrease over time where once the site is performing well in organic search results, a marketer can start to throttle back the spending and go into SEO maintenance mode. SEO’s largest expense is time- testing code, copy and linking changes to determine what is having a positive effect on rankings.

All in all:

Paid search ads have several benefits for marketers; however, as SEO efforts begin returning results, it is important to find the right combination of SEO and Paid Search.