In late 2013 Google released their new Hummingbird algorithm and this algorithm was designed to work on the meanings beneath the words and bring more relevant search terms in the SERPS.
A search for “pay your bills through Herefordshire council online” used to bring up their home page, but now you’ll see their payment page.
It also pays attention to your location, and will try to show more relevant local results. This, of course, has a serious negative consequence to local businesses trying to compete in the search engines for their local towns; they can’t compete anymore! Google is placing penalties on websites that normally SEO’d their site to rank for surrounding towns and cities.
As a result, people are investing in Adwords campaigns as a temporary solution; which is expensive, and looking for SEO specialists for a long-term solution to their problem. Predominantly Businesses today are completely aware of SEO, and a website with SEO is like a car without petrol.