MarketingSherpa, an SEO research firm that publishes an annual benchmark report, has released its 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition. The new benchmark study covers five key SEO and SEM findings in depth:
- Developing a strategy is a top challenge…but bottom objective.
- Content creation works the best, but takes the most work.
- Incremental SEO improvements add up to large gains.
- Future investments in SEO backed by having SEO process in place.
- Local business listing tactics are underutilized.
When put as statements like those quoted above, these findings can seem obvious. However, MarketingSherpa has also backed each finding with more detailed conclusions, figures, and easily digestible charts.
The chart above discusses how content creation stacks up against other marketing methods. As you can see, the conclusion is that, while content creation is the most effective method, it also requires the most work. That means that other methods should also be employed, especially easy-to-implement items like title tags, meta descriptions, a good URL structure, and keyword research. Content creation would be the logical choice for a next step, but only once these preliminary items are finished.
Other conclusions from the research tied to the five key findings include the following:
- Companies need to develop a strategic approach to SEO and ROI that focuses on planning rather than just handling issues as they come.
- A consistent set of SEO guidelines, implemented with each new page or project, is one of the most effective ways to build ROI and web presence.
- The strategic and transition phases of SEO maturity provide the best ROI, and thus should be considered for increased investment.
- Companies should utilize all available local search optimization tactics.
The study is brought to you by Slingshot SEO and MarketingSherpa. MarketingSherpa is a company "publishing benchmark data and how-to guidance for marketing professionals." Each year, the benchmark study expands; the 2011 study surveyed 935 marketers, while the 2012 edition brings in research from 1,530 marketing experts in both the business to business and business to consumer markets, and explores SEO tactics, integrating social and SEO, local search, mobile search, and more.
MarketingSherpa describes the study as "a comprehensive reference guide containing more than 150 charts with analytical commentary, hundreds of informative insights from your peers, several abridged case studies of real-life search and inbound marketing campaigns and more."
Those interested can check out a free excerpt, which includes the first six pages of the study.