Benchmark Summary Report

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1 SEO Marketing Benchmark Summary Report The most challenging obstacles to Search Engine Optimization success in the year ahead and how marketers plan to overcome them. Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with Leading Marketing Solution Providers. Client Connection Research conducted by Ascend2 and [Research Partner]

2 SEO Marketing Benchmark Summary Report Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with Leading Marketing Solution Providers. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. You may adapt, copy, distribute and transmit this work. However, you must attribute the work as produced by Ascend2 and its Research Partners but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. 2

3 Table of Contents If you re not on page one of search results, you don t exist 4 Most important SEO objectives in the year ahead 5 SEO success defined by objectives achieved 6 Most challenging obstacles to SEO success 7 Most effective SEO tactics used 8 Changes in SEO effectiveness during the past year 9 Most difficult SEO tactics to execute 10 Resources used to execute SEO programs 11 SEO tactical effectiveness versus degree of difficulty 12 Most useful SEO metrics tracked 13 Research methodology and survey demographics 15 About Ascend2 17 3

4 If you re not on page one of search results, you don t exist Today, most purchase decisions begin with an online search. And if you don't appear on page one of the search results, you don't exist. That's why the C-suite is paying so much attention to their organization s natural search rankings. But what will be the most challenging obstacles to Search Engine Optimization success in the year ahead and how will marketers overcome them? To find out, Ascend2 and our Research Partners fielded the SEO Marketing Survey and completed interviews with 442 marketing and sales decision-makers and practitioners from around the world. We thank these busy professionals for sharing their valuable insights with you. The charts in this edition of our study, titled the SEO Marketing Benchmark Summary Report, represent the average of all market segments responding to the survey. Specific market segments are reported on exclusively by our Research Partners. This research has been produced for your use. Put it to work in your own marketing strategy planning and presentation materials. Clip the charts and write about them in your blog or post them on social media. Please share this research credited as published. Sergio Balegno Chief Strategy Officer 4

5 Improving natural search rankings that will increase website traffic and generate leads are the top objectives for search engine optimization in the year ahead. 5

6 SEO success is defined by the ability to achieve important marketing objectives. Only 14% of companies rate their SEO efforts very successful at achieving this. 6

7 Time is money and SEO is a time-intensive task requiring a specific skill-set. For many organizations, budget and skill limitations are the top obstacles to overcome. 7

8 Search engines love quality content, and creating it is the most effective SEO tactic. Researching and managing the keywords used in SEO content is also very effective. 8

9 SEO has become more effective for nearly half (49%) of all organizations during the past year. It has become less effective for only 11% of organizations surveyed. 9

10 Mobile and local search optimization are not very difficult to execute, but are also not very widely used. 10

11 More than half (56%) of organizations outsource all or part of their SEO programs, gaining access to expertise required to execute difficult tactics more effectively. 11

12 Creating quality content is not only the most effective SEO tactic, it is also the most difficult tactic to execute. Link building is very difficult but not very effective. 12

13 Tracking the impact keywords have on search rankings and the conversion rate of call-to-action offers are the most useful metrics used to analyze SEO performance. 13

14 Notes 14

15 Research methodology Ascend2 Research Surveys are conducted online from a panel of more than 50,000 US and international marketing and sales decision-makers and practitioners representing a range of contact roles, company types, sizes and geographic regions. The questionnaire used is standardized to incorporate these methodologies across all studies while maintaining our proven 3-Minute Survey format. Survey findings are examined in a quantitative context by experienced analysts and reported objectively. 15

16 Survey demographics 16

17 About Ascend2 Research-Based Demand Generation for Marketing Solution Providers Marketing agencies, marketing data and marketing software providers partner with Ascend2 to reliably generate new business opportunities. Our integrated research, content creation and demand generation process is transparent putting the spotlight on your brand and the interests of your audience. Learn more at 17

18 Ascend2 generates demand and produces customizable research reports exclusively for our Research Partners. White label research reports contain pages of research that features your brand and the interests of your target market. To become a partner, all you do is: 1. Choose the topics of interest to your target market: Content Marketing Marketing Video Marketing Organic Search (SEO) Mobile Marketing Brand Marketing Website Optimization Inbound Marketing Paid Search (PPC) Lead Generation Social Media Marketing Database 2. Choose an exclusive research segment for each marketing topic: Benchmarks for Success [A comparison of Very Successful and Not Successful segments] Benchmarks by Channel [A comparison by or targeting of B2B and/or B2C segments] Benchmarks by Company Size [A comparison by or targeting of SMB and/or Large Enterprises] Agency Benchmarks [The Agency perspective based on a wide-range of client experience] Benchmarks by Resources [A comparison of Outsourced and In-house campaign segments] Benchmarks for Europe [The European perspective on marketing practices and performance] Benchmarks by Revenue Attainment [A comparison of performance by Revenue Targets Attained] Benchmarks for other research segments may be available and specific to individual Topics 18

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