In the early days of search engine optimization, SEO had a hazy, poorly understood role in companies. Now, however, companies are understanding SEO's importance in helping them stand out and boost business.

Two-thirds of marketers say their budgets for SEO grew in the previous year, according to stats cited in the following infographic by Mavenlink. And an increased budget means companies can give SEO a more vital business role.

For example, 60% of marketers say the natural search team headcount will increase in 2013. By comparison, 45% said the natural search team headcount increased in 2012.

Moreover, 63% of executive teams say their familiarity with SEO business and metrics has increased in the last year.

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Veronica Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs. She can be reached at

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski