The State of Search Marketing Report is based on an online survey of nearly 900 client-side (advertisers) and agency respondents. The survey was live between March 12th and May 15th 2012. A total of 883respondents from 36 countries took part in the survey, with US-based respondents accounting for 64% of the total. The sample included 272 advertisers and 611 supply-side respondents (mainly agencies) carrying out search marketing and social media activity on behalf of clients.
Following is a brief synopsis of the survey regarding the SEO trends for 2012 :
Objectives For SEO 2012
To generate leads and drive traffic to the website is the major SEO objective for companies investing in SEO. But the objective of driving traffic to website has gone down by 8% in 2012 since last year.
The other main SEO objective is to sell products, services or content online which is the prime objective for companies investing in paid search according to the survey.
As the focus on driving traffic decreases the focus on increasing brand awareness and enhancing reputation has gone up by 6% since 2011. I think this indicates that companies investing in SEO are focusing more on quality SEO metrics and activities.
Metrics To Measure For SEO In 2012:
From the above metrics being focused on, by the companies the SEO trend will take a true turn for quality when the quality of the sales/leads will be more important that the quantity. As good SEO should drive targeted traffic not just volumes of traffic.
Secondly, it is not only about keyword rankings but about ranking for global keywords and global terms and terminology for the products and services offered by the companies. So its more about getting the site rank for correlated terms which can be achieved only by having substantial quality content and an engaging social media presence. This global keyword search presence should be a more important metric than traffic volume as the traffic volume and brand perception will follow if this has been achieved.
Though from the above objectives we can see that the companies are more open to quality SEO activities, a lot still needs to be done to educate the clients to focus on quality metrics so that the objectives can be achieved.
Budget For SEO In 2012
Though the companies having a budget of $1 to $25000 has gone down by 7% in 2012 as compared to last year , the companies allocating a budget of $25000 to $75000 has gone up by 9% in 2012. There is a 4% increase in the no. of companies allocating a budget of more than $3 million too. This again is a positive trend that companies are willing to allocate higher budgets for SEO.
This will pave the way for quality SEO activities as good content and good social media presence both are highly priced.
SEO – Inhouse v/s Hiring An SEO Specialist or Agency
Glad to see that there are more companies willing to hire SEO specialists rather than SEO agencies. This again proves that SEO is a specialized service which needs to be implemented by individuals or small close knit and like minded teams for better results.
Challenges For Managing SEO In 2012:
Measuring the ROI from SEO seems to be still at the helm for the challenges faced for managing SEO. This problem will be automatically solved when the metrics to measure SEO is decided upon by the company. This will be a continuing trend though, because the total ROI from SEO can never be measured as the ROI from SEO is an ongoing thing. This is because the brand and reputation created by SEO makes the company accrue returns in future. Many times the targeted traffic which visits the site as a result of SEO services may not take any immediate decision for buying or contacting the company but may delay the decision for various reasons.
Typical Fee Structure For SEO
40% of the companies pay a flat fee to their SEO specialists or agencies. This is again a very positive trend and I am glad to see this because we have been having this SEO flat fee structure for our annual SEO projects since 2005.
Overall SEO seems to be on the main agenda of the companies. This again proves that SEO is evolving and not dying.
The full SEMPO report is available to SEMPO members which can be downloaded from SEM Research page.