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Marketers say traffic, conversions, rankings are most important objectives of SEO in 2019

14 October 2019 (Edited 14 October 2019)

85% of marketers said SEO is effective, up from 79% in 2018

UK-based content marketers Zazzle Media have released a new report entitled The State of SEO 2019 based on survey returns from several thousand marketers (70% in-house and 30% at agencies) at companies including Disney. RAC, Oxfam, British Gas.

Key findings:

  • 69% of respondents said SEO was "extremely important" to their overall marketing strategy, 28% said it's "quite important".
  • And 85% said SEO is effective, up from 79% in 2018.
  • But on average, marketers spent only 22% of their budget on SEO, down from 27% last year because of:
    1. Resource constraints (61%)
    2. Difficulty in proving value (34%)
  • Most-used SEO tools:
    1. Google Analytics 100%
    2. Google Search Console 83%
    3. Microsoft Excel 65%
    4. SEMrush 56%
    5. Screaming Frog 54%
    6. ahrefs 38%
  • 47% of marketers say they have "expert-level" SEO knowledge, 40% "know a bit"
  • Where marketers get their SEO news:
    1. MOZ 65%
    2. Google Webmasters Blog 55%
    3. Search Engine Land 52%
    4. Search Engine Journal 51%
    5. Search Engine Watch 37%
    6. Twitter 31%
  • Marketers are split on whether or not they're spending enough time investigating competitors:
    • Yes 49%
    • No 50%
  • Majority (52%) say competitors target their branded keywords.
  • Top 5 effective SEO practices:
    1. Creation of new content 82%
    2. Optimization of old content 55%
    3. Link building 45%
    4. Internal architecture 44%
    5. CTR optimization 44%
  • Most important objectives of SEO identified by respondents:
    1. Traffic 40% - up from 20% in 2018
    2. Conversions/sales 31%
    3. Rankings 12%
    4. Brand awareness 9% - down from 19% in 2018
    5. Revenue 4% - down from 16% in 2018
  • Less effective SEO practices (top 5):
    1. Keyword saturation 38%
    2. Exact match anchor text 38%
    3. TITLE optimization 21%
    4. Link building 20%
    5. Brand mentions 15%


  • We have only a rough idea of sample size ("thousands") and sample is likely skewed toward UK.
  • "Difficulty in proving value" stems from lack of positive attribution.
  • Sample population identified "link building" as both effective" (45%) and "less effective" (20%). Perhaps quality of links built is different between these 2 camps.
  • Re most important objectives of SEO: 40% saying "traffic" vs. only 4% saying "revenue" isn't good news for these marketers' companies. It's much easier - and a lot less valuable - to get traffic than it is to make more sales. Again, the problem is the difficulty of attribution. And people with bottom-line responsibility at these companies are judging marketing results by traffic stats, because those are the easiest hard numbers to get.. That needs to change.

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David Boggs    - David
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External Article: https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/resources/seo-survey-2019/

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