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Marketers rely on search engine optimization (SEO) to improve search rankings, website traffic and lead generation, and in June 2015 research by Ascend2, 89% worldwide rated SEO successful at achieving these objectives. Further, in February 2015 polling by Econsultancy, fully 73% of in-house marketers and 76% of US agencies worldwide said SEO provided excellent or good return on investment (ROI), the first- and second-highest responses.
More than seven in 10 respondents said SEO effectiveness was improving, and content was by far the most important factor in this. Fully 72% cited relevant content creation as the most effective SEO tactic. Unfortunately, though, it was also the second most difficult, at 46% of respondents.
The second most effective area, keyword and phrase research, proved to be much easier at executing; however, this stresses content’s importance again, as these terms must relate to the content produced. Putting manpower toward frequent website updates as well as link building also ranked highly for effectiveness, though the latter was the most difficult to execute. While website URL restructuring was the least difficult, it was also the least effective.
Outside experts can help marketers maximize SEO efforts and effectiveness. As such 81% of Ascend2 respondents outsourced some or all of their SEO tactics.
Q4 2014 data from AdLift reaffirms the importance of showing up at the top of search results. Looking at the clickthrough rate (CTR) of US desktop organic search results on Google, average CTR for branded keywords in position one was 45.7%, vs. 11.6% for second and 5.4% for third. Similarly, CTR for nonbranded terms was 24.7% for spot one, vs. 12.8% and 7.4% for Nos. 2 and 3. Mobile showed similar results. CTR for branded keywords in position one was 46.4%, vs. 10.8% in second and 6.1% in third. For nonbranded terms on mobile, first position saw an average CTR of 27.4%, dropping to respective rates of 17.6% and 13.9% for Nos. 2 and 3.
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