SEO was found to be the least popular digital marketing channel, in a new survey reported in Search Engine Land. SEO, is one thing, however and content another. According to the survey, the top three digital marketing channels relied upon by businesses (social media marketing – used by 81% of businesses, websites – 78%, and email marketing – 69%) are heavily dependent on the quality of content presented. SEO continues to be an important ingredient in digital marketing, but it needs to overcome specific obstacles, including a lack of awareness as to its functioning and its ability to boost a company’s sales.
Why the Unexpected Results for SEO?
The researchers admitted to being surprised by the results obtained for SEO. They postulated that the reasons could include the fact that many companies are unaware as to how SEO works. Forbes, meanwhile, notes that SEO is not necessarily the right fit for all businesses. For instance, companies with low keyword volumes are unlikely to reach the mass of click-throughs necessary for their SEO investment to be worthwhile. This is also the cases for businesses that are targeting small local markets, or those facing competitors spending significantly larger amounts of money on SEO.
Content Continues to Rule
Around half of companies surveyed may lack SEO skills, but they are well aware of the importance of engaging audiences with quality content. Many are relying on dedicated content writers to provide engaging material such as white papers, blog posts, website content, tips, and other information users find useful. Another fascinating survey found that 82% of people make purchases form a company after consuming its online content. Despite the fact that consumers are able to identify tactics such as link backs and targeted content on websites, the majority will stick to a site or read content they deem valuable, and many return to a company’s website precisely because of its engaging content.
Is SEO Right for Your Company?
SEO is the industry standard for most businesses with an online presence. If your business is functioning well, you have a comparative budget for SEO to that of your competitors, and your success is strongly dependent on online purchases, then you should aim to rank well on search. Reports from Forrester Research and eMarketer reveal that this year, average firms will be allocating 41% of their marketing budget to online, and this is expected to grow to 45% by 2020. Interestingly, Forrester Research predicted, in January, 2017, that “Search engine marketing will capture the largest share of online spend with online display (banner ads, online video, etc.) taking the second largest share.”
The Future of SEO
Companies may be pessimistic about SEO has to offer, but there is no doubt that it continues to play an important role in maintaining a strong digital presence. Providing engaging content is useful in so far as conversion rates are concerned, but why not include keywords in blogs, papers, etc.? Companies that are insecure about SEO or unaware as to the extent to which it can help them should consult experienced professionals who can enlighten them on key strategies such as crucial adjustment of their site’s navigation and internal links, the use of title tags and meta descriptions, and the optimization of their site’s load speed.
Research into the subject of SEO continues to be contradictory. On the one hand, some companies are showing scepticism about the value of SEO; on the other, a significant percentage of many marketing budgets are still being spent on SEO, with predictions of continued growth being made. It is vital for each company to receive objective advice regarding the utility of SEO for its aims, and to allocate a comparable percentage of their budget to those spent by competitors, in order to remain competitive.