tedster - 4:24 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)
We could look at the question differently. Is it a reasonable business model, for ANY business anywhere, to expect sustained profits without an investment in marketing?
For a while the answer to that question seemed to be "yes, on the web". The barrier to entry for e-commerce seemed extremely low - both in dollars (and though it may seem cruel, even in competence). Free search traffic was "money for nothin' and your 'clicks' for free."
That situation could not last, and it didn't. The economic realities of human commerce makes it so, not just Google's need to grow profits. So now a #1 ranking on a particular keyword is not a predictor of anything like what it was. I'm not angry about it or even surprised. Honestly, we could see this coming, right?
Organic SEO has been a big chunk of my livelihood, and I'm grateful for that. I expect that organic traffic will continue to be a factor for success on the web, but the easy days are gone now. The entire ecosystem of the web is maturing, and search advertising is part of it.