November 22, 2011

Marketing Research Chart: SEO tactics used by organizations with and without SEO processes

SUMMARY: We learned that 29% of organizations claim to have adopted a systematic and strategic approach to planning, executing and measuring SEO efforts and programs. But how does this translate to a tactical level? Do these organizations use SEO tactics to a greater degree than organizations without a process in place for SEO? In a word, yes.

In this week’s chart, we illustrate these gaps, featuring survey results from more than 1,500 search marketers.
by Kaci Bower, Senior Research Analyst

Marketing Research Chart: SEO tactics used, by SEO maturity phase

Q. Which of the following SEO tactics has your organization used?

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The process of search engine optimization influences the relevancy and importance of a company’s website, pages and digital assets. Keywords are foundational to establishing relevancy in the eyes of the search engines, and almost all organizations -- no matter their SEO maturity -- conduct keyword research.

Beyond keyword research, however, we see how Strategic organizations are making substantially better use of all SEO tactics. For example, for every one organization in the Trial phase building external links, two Strategic organizations are doing the same. Since backlinks send a message of popularity to the search engines, link building is a critical strategy for SEO success.

The usage gap is even wider for a tactic like competitor benchmarking. Good competitive research is about determining what makes the competition different and notable. It goes beyond comparing title tags and the number of backlinks by also looking at product offerings, features and even social visibility.

In short, valuable competitive research helps organizations figure out what makes a competitor rank and why people like them, link to them and share their content. Strategic organizations conduct this type of research more than twice as often as Trial organizations.

Only 43% of Trial organizations create content as an SEO tactic, compared to 76% of Strategic organizations. Even fewer are blogging or optimizing their digital assets for search purposes.

Expanding content creation beyond just Web copy offers an opportunity to create and capitalize on a rich end-user search experience by offering more content variety in search results.

Paying attention to a URL’s structure is a tactic used by 83% of organizations with a formal process for their SEO programs. By comparison, only half of Trial organizations, or those without a SEO process in place, practice the same. Judiciously adding keywords to the URL is important, because descriptive URLs help users easily and accurately predict the content of a webpage.

For additional research data and insights about search engine optimization, download and read the free Executive Summary from MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition: Research and Insights for Creating and Capitalizing on a Rich End-User Search Experience.

Useful links related to this chart

MarketingSherpa 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition

Search Marketing: The importance of an SEO Process

Search Marketing: How to avoid and remove Google penalties

Local Search Marketing: 6 tactics to take advantage of a search marketing category with less B2B competition

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