Remember when SEO strategy meant dreaming up synonyms for your product?
Those were the days.
In 2018, data overload and the difficulty of proving ROI plague SEO practitioners, most of whom are jacks-of-all-trades, working in-house.
A survey of 300+ businesses conducted by Ignite Visibility and Clutch dug deep into SEO attitudes and practices in the business world.
The study found three major takeaways:
1. Paid search and organic SEO efforts are complementary, and most businesses employ both.
2. The dollar value of a strong SEO program is difficult to prove.
3. Social media complements paid and organic SEO efforts.
The dual benefits of SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) generally refers to the methods one uses to improve organic search results, while search engine marketing (SEM) accounts for paid search efforts.
However, the two are intertwined in ways that marketers often ignore. A solid SEO game brings up the quality score of the keywords essential to your company, bringing down the cost of the SEM program. Traffic generated by SEM increases the visibility of a page and offers valuable keyword insights.
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Industry veterans might remember when a free Google Analytics account, rather than an expensive AdWords presence, provided keyword searches that brought traffic to the website. According to John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility, all brands should strive for a balance between organic and paid search, but new brands will have to pay a lot more attention to the paid side of things.
“Even mature websites that get millions of visitors a month from organic should invest in paid,” said Lincoln. “The two complement each other.”
The study found that only 13 percent of companies focused solely on organic search, while the plurality (39 percent) focused equally on paid and organic SEO strategy.
SEO problem spots
Regardless of tactics, most practitioners faced similar challenges in their SEO efforts.
Despite increasingly advanced metrics on social platforms, SEO practitioners overwhelmingly rank proving the ROI on their efforts as their top challenge (25 percent). The value of metrics such as visits, bounce rate and visit duration can be nebulous in relation to an organization’s bottom line.
“Since the customer journey now consists of so many different points, proving the exact investment that drives conversions presents a significant challenge for businesses,” the study continued.
“Tracking analytics” and “maintaining best practices” tied for third on the list of SEO woes, perhaps reflecting the overwhelming amount of data now available to SEO pros.
SEO benefits from social media
Social media complements SEO strategy on both the algorithm front and the user front, both of which are important for earning clicks.
The study continues:
If you regularly post on social media about your business and target search terms, the chances that your posts appear on relevant search results increases.
The benefits of posting on social media go beyond algorithms, and factor into your audience’s ultimate decision on whether to click your link.
Scott Holstein, Marketing Manager for Computrols, Inc., writes:
Someone may search for your service but not click on your result if they are not familiar with your brand. If you are already in their social feed, it’s likely that your [click-through rate] will increase as well.
Which SEO factors do you monitor, Ragan/PR Daily readers? Is there a metric you like more than others?