Quality Content Essential for SEO Success [Study]

The majority of online purchases begin with organic search, so to help determine how SEOs can capture as much search share as possible, Conductor‘s new research report includes objectives for 2015 as well as tactics that enterprise digital marketers are not all addressing, but should be. What tops that list as the most effective SEO strategy? Creating quality content.

All of the individuals surveyed work for companies with more than 1,000 employees. There is a combination of B2B and B2C organizations included in this study. Nearly 70% of the respondents are from North America and 54% of them are in Marketing or Sales Management.

Top SEO Objectives for 2015

In order to determine which digital marketing tactics make the most sense to deploy, it is important that we understand what the objectives are for the coming year. The enterprise marketers included in this research identified the following eight goals for 2015:

  • Increase Lead Generation: 61 percent
  • Increase Website Traffic: 57 percent
  • Increase Traffic Conversion Rate: 54 percent
  • Improve Natural Search Rakings: 48 percent
  • Improve Brand Awareness: 33 percent
  • Improve Analytics & Reporting: 26 percent
  • Attribute Sales Revenue to SEO: 24 percent
  • Increase Content Development: 20 percent

The respondents were then asked to rate the current success of their SEO strategy in order to set a baseline for how they would meet 2015 objectives.

According to the report, 72 percent of enterprises rated SEO as successful to some degree, while 28 percent reported that it was not successful.

conductor-20current-20success

What Is Hindering Success?

We now know that 28 percent of respondents do not believe that their SEO is successful. The next step is to determine what obstacles are getting in the way of their being successful. The respondents ranked the following eight obstacles to SEO success:

  • Limited SEO Skills In-House: 57 percent
  • Limited SEO Budget: 43 percent
  • Optimizing Content with Keywords: 39 percent
  • Lack of Effective Strategy: 30 percent
  • Attributing Sales to SEO: 28 percent
  • Identifying New Keywords: 20 percent
  • Understanding Search Algorithms: 17 percent
  • Lack of Quality Content: 13 percent

What Are the Most Effective SEO Tactics?

Only 2 percent of those surveyed believed that SEO had become less successful in the past year, while 57 percent believed it had become more successful. Below are the most effective SEO tactics that respondents are currently using to achieve their objectives:

  • Quality Content Creation: 54 percent
  • Frequent Website Updating: 50 percent
  • Keyword Research/Management: 46 percent
  • Social Media Integration: 28 percent
  • Local Search Optimization: 28 percent
  • Frequent Blogging: 17 percent
  • Link Building: 13 percent
  • Mobile Search Optimization: 2 percent

Additionally, respondents considered the tactics listed below to be the most difficult to execute:

  • Link Building: 41 percent
  • Keyword Research/Management: 39 percent
  • Quality Content Creation: 33 percent
  • Social Media Integration: 30 percent
  • Frequent Blogging: 28 percent
  • Frequent Website Updating: 26 percent
  • Mobile Search Optimization: 22 percent
  • Local Search Optimization: 13 percent

As you can see in the following chart, the SEO tactics that respondents considered to be most effective, were also some of the most difficult to implement:

effective-20versus-20difficulty 

How Is SEO Executed?

Based on barriers that respondents described earlier in the study, it is no surprise that many of them are outsourcing at least a portion of their SEO planning and execution. In fact, 54 percent are using a combination of outsourced and in-house resources, while only 39 percent are utilizing in-house resources only. A total of 7 percent have outsourced everything to an agency or consultancy.

How Is Success Tracked?

It is essential that metrics be tracked properly in order to show success. Below is a list of what respondents considered to be the most useful metrics for tracking and analyzing SEO performance:

  • Search Rankings by Keyword: 54 percent
  • Traffic/Visits by Keyword: 50 percent
  • Traffic/Visits by Source: 43 percent
  • Call-to-Action Conversions: 43 percent
  • Total Website Traffic/Visits: 37 percent
  • Visit Duration/Engagement: 28 percent
  • Pageviews: 15 percent
  • Backlinks: 7 percent

Seth Dotterer, vice president of marketing at Conductor, spoke with SEW to shed some additional light on the findings of the study.

SEW: Were there any particular industries that you targeted for your research 

Dotterer: It was not industry-targeted – we tried to get a broad swath of industries. 

SEW: Based on the responses gathered, do you believe that the objectives for 2015 are closely aligned with the tactics that respondents plan on focusing on for the coming year?

Dotterer: There’s clearly a divide here of the “technical SEO” vs. “Business SEO” – those who think about the tactical on page and off-page elements, but that aren’t thinking about competitive market share, content, and enabling their entire organizations. The former, unfortunately, may not be able to connect with the overall objectives for 2015 of their organizations – whereas the second group realizes that they need the tactics to accomplish the goals.

SEW: When looking at SEO effectiveness versus educational degree of difficulty; what do you believe is stopping these enterprise companies from investing in the talent, technology, or process necessary to become more proficient at the tactics that appear to be most effective?

Dotterer: For the most part – there are three reasons.

  1. They don’t know how to structure a model where they can show the benefits of their work. They don’t have a method that they can show the overall revenue impact of SEO, or that they don’t know how to properly judge the potential payoff either for their action, or the potential negative impact to them if their competition gets that traffic instead.
  2. They are siloed. SEO teams that act independently of the content, product, and broader marketing teams tend to be much less effective.
  3. They think narrowly. This can be by either focusing only on their small set of industry terms ranks instead of being broader, or failing to invest in content mapping, video, and the other tenets that a true Web Presence Manager thinks about.

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