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SEO MARKETING

BENCHMARKS BY REVENUE ATTAINMENT


TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 Executive Summary 10 SEO Tactic Execution

4 Achieving Revenue Goals 11 Usage of Resources for SEO Programs

5 SEO Strategy Objectives 12 SEO Performance Metrics

6 Current SEO Program Success 13 About Searchmetrics

7 Obstacles to Achieving SEO Objectives 14 About Demand Metric & Ascend2

8 SEO Tactic Effectiveness 15 Appendix – Survey Background

9 Changes in SEO Effectiveness


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Today, most purchase decisions begin with an online search. And as many marketers will attest, 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 SEO marketing success in the year ahead and how will marketers overcome
them?

To find out, Demand Metric in partnership with Ascend2, 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 us.

In this edition of our study, SEO Marketing: Benchmarks by Revenue Attainment, the charts and graphs compare the strategies
and practices of companies that have succeeded in achieving or exceeding their revenue goals with those that have not.

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.

- Jerry Rackley, Chief Analyst – Demand Metric

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ACHIEVING REVENUE GOALS
Figure 1: Revenue Goal Achievement

Revenue Goal Achievement

10% This report compares the search engine optimization (SEO)


Exceeding strategies and practices of companies that are achieving or
revenue goals exceeding their revenue attainment goals with those that
are not currently achieving revenue goals.
40%
Achieving
revenue goals The survey response data charted in this report represent
the segments presented in Figure 1.
Not achieving
50% revenue goals From the organizations surveyed in this report, 60% of
respondents are achieving or exceeding revenue goals,
and the remaining 40% of respondents are not
achieving revenue goals.

SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey, Demand Metric and Ascend2, April 2014, n=442

4
SEO STRATEGY OBJECTIVES
Figure 2: Most Important SEO Strategy Objectives for the Upcoming Year
Study participants were asked to choose the most
Most Important SEO Strategy Objectives important objectives for their SEO strategies for the
Achieved or Exceeded Revenue Goals Did Not Achieve Revenue Goals upcoming year. They were encouraged to select all options
that applied to their current initiatives. The responses are
Increase website traffic
58% presented in Figure 2.
53%
Increase lead generation
54%
56% For both segments surveyed in this report, increasing
Improve natural search rankings
54% website traffic, increasing lead generation and
54%
37% improving natural search rankings were ranked as the
Increase traffic conversion rate
33% top three objectives for the upcoming year. Ultimately,
Improve brand awareness
24% the top three choices are interrelated since increases in
36%
23% website traffic and leads generated are often the result of
Attribute sales revenue to SEO
26% an improvement in natural search rankings.
Increase content development
23%
18%
14%
Unfortunately, both segments are not putting much
Improve analytics and reporting
14% emphasis on improving analytics and reporting for
0% 20% 40% 60% SEO strategies, ranking it at the bottom on the list. In
order to improve the top three objectives, organizations will
need improved analytics and reporting to understand where
SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey, Demand Metric and Ascend2, April 2014, n=442
web traffic is coming from, how leads are being generated
and how search rankings stack up with similar websites.
5
CURRENT SEO PROGRAM SUCCESS
Figure 3: Self-Assessment Ratings for Current SEO Program Success
This study sought to understand what type of success, if
Ratings for Current SEO Program Success any, organizations area experiencing with SEO efforts.
Achieved or Exceeded Revenue Goals Did Not Achieve Revenue Goals Participants were asked to assess their current SEO
80% programs as either “Very successful,” “Somewhat
successful,” or “Not successful.” The results of this inquiry
are presented in Figure 3.
60% 68%
61% Overall, 89% of organizations attaining or exceeding
revenue goals and 64% of organizations not achieving
40% revenue goals report some level of success with SEO,
whether significantly or only slightly.
36%
20%
Companies that are not achieving revenue goals are three
21% times more likely to report that their SEO program is “Not
3% successful” than their achieving counterparts.
11%
0%
Very successful Somewhat successful Not successful On the flip side, companies that achieve or exceed
their revenue goals are seven times more likely to have
a “Very successful” SEO program than are those not
SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey, Demand Metric and Ascend2, April 2014, n=442
achieving their revenue goals.

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OBSTACLES TO ACHIEVING SEO OBJECTIVES
Figure 4: Most Challenging Obstacles to Achieving SEO Objectives
As with any strategic initiative, there can be risks and
Obstacles to Achieving SEO Objectives obstacles to achieving the ultimate goals of any SEO
Achieved or Exceeded Revenue Goals Did Not Achieve Revenue Goals
program or initiative. Study participants were given a list of
common obstacles to achieving SEO success and were
Limited SEO budget
41% asked to choose all obstacles that they are currently facing.
49%
Attributing sales to SEO
33%
24% Figure 4 illustrates the results of these responses.
Limited SEO skills in-house
31%
55%
30%
It comes as no surprise that limited budget allocations for
Understanding search algorithms
34% SEO programs is one of the top challenges for both
Optimizing content with keywords
30% segments surveyed in this report. Obtaining the proper
25%
26%
budget to staff and resource SEO can be difficult as
Lack of quality content
25% SEO requires full-time staff to monitor all activities as
Lack of an effective strategy
21% they happen and the specific skills to ensure the
44%
18%
initiatives are optimized.
Identifying new keywords
18%
0% 20% 40% 60% Companies struggling to achieve their revenue goals are
more likely to lack the budget and skills necessary to
achieve their important SEO objectives. The lack of an
SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey, Demand Metric and Ascend2, April 2014, n=442
effective SEO strategy only serves to worsen the problem.

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SEO TACTIC EFFECTIVENESS
Figure 5: Most Effective SEO Tactics Use to Achieve Objectives

Most Effective SEO Tactics


Achieved or Exceeded Revenue Goals Did Not Achieve Revenue Goals
There are many tactics that can be implemented in order to
62%
Quality content creation
50% gain search engine attention for websites, landing pages
48% and specific keywords.
Keyword research/mgmt
44%
Frequent website updating
38% Respondents were given a list of the most common SEO
36%
32% tactics being used to achieve the aforementioned top
Social media integration
36% objectives in this report and asked to select all of the tactics
Frequent blogging
30% that have been effective for them. Figure 5 presents the
25%
26%
data retrieved from this survey question.
Link building
25%
Local search optimization
21% Search engines love quality content, and creating it is
12%
the most effective SEO tactic for both segments,
9%
Mobile search optimization
8% especially for those who are achieving or exceeding
their revenue goals. According to respondents, managing
0% 20% 40% 60% 80%
keywords used in SEO content is also very effective.

SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey, Demand Metric and Ascend2, April 2014, n=442

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CHANGES IN SEO EFFECTIVENESS
Figure 6: Changes in SEO Effectiveness Over the Past Year

Changes in SEO Effectiveness


Achieved or Exceeded Revenue Goals Did Not Achieve Revenue Goals New websites and keywords are popping up every day,
therefore, SEO effectiveness changes rapidly. Participants
60%
were asked to rate how their SEO effectiveness has
changed over the past year.
55%

40% 45% Figure 6 highlights the results of this inquiry.

This chart clearly demonstrates a distinct correlation


31% between revenue attainment and SEO effectiveness.
20% 26%
For companies achieving or exceeding revenue goals, 61%
16% of respondents report an increase in SEO effectiveness,
6%
3%
7% 10% 1% while only 8% of respondents report a decrease.
0%
Significantly Somewhat more Stayed the Somewhat less Significantly
more effective effective same effective less effective
For organizations not already achieving revenue goals,
68% of respondents report that their SEO effectiveness
has not changed or has decreased over the past year.
SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey, Demand Metric and Ascend2, April 2014, n=442

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SEO TACTIC EXECUTION
Figure 7: Most Difficult SEO Tactics to Execute

While some SEO tactics may be more effective than others,


Most Difficult SEO Tactics to Execute
lacking the specific skills required to execute those tactics
Achieved or Exceeded Revenue Goals Did Not Achieve Revenue Goals
properly may increase the difficulty.
Link building
47%
41% Participants were asked to choose all of the options that
46%
Quality content creation
50%
they considered to be the most difficult SEO tactics to
30% execute during an initiative. Figure 7 presents the data
Frequent blogging
34% obtained from this survey question.
Frequent website updating
26%
33%
25%
The most notable conclusion we can draw from this
Keyword research/mgmt
34% data is that quality content creation was ranked as one
Social media integration
23% of the most difficult SEO tactics to execute, even
30%
though it was considered to be the most effective
Mobile search optimization
21%
20% tactic by both segments in Figure 5. Clearly, there is
Local search optimization
15% positive correlation between increased effectiveness and
11%
higher execution difficulty.
0% 20% 40% 60%
Another interesting inference from this data is that
mobile and local search optimization are not regarded
SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey, Demand Metric and Ascend2, April 2014, n=442
as very difficult to execute; however, they are also not
very widely used by either segment surveyed.
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USAGE OF RESOURCES FOR SEO PROGRAMS
Figure 8: Resources Used for SEO Planning & Execution

Resources Used for SEO Programs


Achieved or Exceeded Revenue Goals Did Not Achieve Revenue Goals Figure 8 addresses the internal and external resources that
60% organizations are currently using to plan, execute and
monitor SEO programs.
53%
48% Companies that are achieving or exceeding revenue
40% goals are almost two times more likely to outsource all
40% 39% or part of their SEO programs.

By outsourcing, these companies are gaining access to the


20% specialized expertise required to execute difficult tactics
more effectively leading to performance improvements.
13%
7% In turn, organizations that are not yet achieving
0%
Outsourced to an agency or Combination of outsourced and In-house resources only revenue goals are more likely to use only in-house
consultancy in-house resources
resources for SEO programs than those companies
that are achieving or exceeding their goals.

SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey, Demand Metric and Ascend2, April 2014, n=442

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SEO PERFORMANCE METRICS
Figure 9: Most Useful Metrics for Tracking & Analyzing SEO Performance

Even though improving analytics and reporting was ranked


Metrics for Tracking & Analyzing SEO
as the least important objective for all companies surveyed,
Achieved or Exceeded Revenue Goals Did Not Achieve Revenue Goals this study endeavored to understand what metrics, if any,
44%
were the most useful for measuring SEO performance.
Search rankings by keyword
44%
Traffic/visits by source
44% Participants were asked to choose all that applied to their
36%
43% current strategy and Figure 9 highlights the results.
Call-to-action conversions
46%
Traffic/visits by keyword
42% From this data, it can be inferred that companies are
40%
36% closely aligned on the most useful metrics for tracking
Total website traffic/visits
39% and analyzing SEO performance, regardless of revenue
Visit duration/engagement
25% attainment. In general, much of the focus is on
33%
19% traffic/website visits, search rankings by keyword and
Pageviews
15% conversion-related metrics.
Backlinks
11%
5%
On the other end the spectrum, both segments seem to
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%
agree on the least useful metrics – backlinks and page
views. Ultimately, these two metrics would be helpful to
propel the top metrics listed as they could increase web
SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey, Demand Metric and Ascend2, April 2014, n=442
traffic, boost search rankings and assist conversion rates.

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ABOUT SPONSOR
Searchmetrics is the pioneer and leading global enterprise platform for search experience optimization. Search Experience
Optimization combines SEO, content, social media, PR and analysis to create the foundation for developing and executing an
organic search strategy. It places the spotlight on the customer, contributing to a superior and memorable purchase experience.

Enterprises and agencies use the Searchmetrics Suite to plan, execute, measure and report on their digital marketing strategies.
Supported by a continually updated global database, Searchmetrics answers the key questions asked by SEO professionals and
digital marketers. It delivers a wealth of forecasts, analytic insights and recommendations that boost visibility and engagement,
and increase online revenue. Many respected brands, such as T-Mobile, eBay, Siemens and Symantec, rely on the Searchmetrics
Suite.

Searchmetrics has offices in Berlin, San Mateo, New York, London, and Paris, and is backed by Holzbrinck Digital, Neuhaus
Partners and Iris Capital.

To learn more about Searchmetrics, visit www.searchmetrics.com.

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ABOUT DEMAND METRIC & ASCEND2
About Demand Metric
Demand Metric is a global marketing research & advisory firm serving a membership community of over 45,000 marketing
professionals, CEOs, and business owners with advisory services, 100+ research & benchmark reports, 20+ consulting
methodologies, 50+ training e-workshops & courses, and a library of 500+ practical tools and templates.

Using Demand Metric resources, members complete projects faster and with greater confidence, boosting respect for the
marketing team and making it easier to justify needed resources. Our 1,200+ corporate clients range from start-ups to consulting
firms to members of the Global 1000.

To learn more about Demand Metric, please visit: www.demandmetric.com.

About Ascend2
Ascend2 is a market research firm with over 50,000 research subscribers and survey panelists comprised of sales & marketing
professionals. Each month they field new research studies and generate reports that typically include 12 to 18 pages of charts and
analytical commentary.

Demand Metric partners with Ascend2 to leverage their panel of research survey panelists and develop additional benchmark
reports for community members. Learn more about Ascend2 at www.Ascend2.com.

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APPENDIX – SURVEY BACKGROUND
Surveys are conducted online from a panel of more than 50,000 Ascend2 research subscribers, representing US and
international marketing and sales decision-makers and practitioners in a range of contact roles, company types, sizes and
geographic regions.

The questionnaire used incorporates standardized research practices across all studies while maintaining a proven 3-minute
survey format. Survey findings are examined in a quantitative context by experienced analysts and reported objectively.

The Demand Metric and Ascend2 2014 SEO Marketing Benchmark Report was administered online in April 2014. During this
period, 442 responses were collected that were qualified and complete enough for inclusion in the analysis.

Summarized below is the basic categorization data collected about respondents to enable filtering and analysis of the data:

Primary Role of Respondent: Employee Size:

 Owner or Officer (41%)  More than 1000 (12%)


 Marketing or Sales Management (35%)  101 to 1000 (21%)
 Marketing or Sales Staff (15%)  10 to 100 (27%)
 Other (10%)  Fewer than 10 (40%)

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Benchmark Report

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