How “Superior” SEO Strategists Say They Differ From “Inferior” Ones

Ascend2-Integration-Social-Media-SEO-Strategy-Jul2013Marketers who rate the ability of their companies’ SEO strategy to achieve important objectives as very successful (“Superior Strategy”) show some different priorities than those who deem their strategies to not be successful (“Inferior Strategy”), according to [download page] a report from Ascend2 conducted in partnership with Research Underwriters. One of the most obvious differences between the groups is in their approach to social media integration: 38% of those with a “superior strategy” describe their integration of social with SEO strategy and tactics as extensive, compared to just 2% of those with an “inferior strategy.” Moreover, while just 5% of those with a “superior strategy” say they are not integrated, fully half of the “inferior strategy” group have no integration at all.

The connection between social and search has been noted a few times recently: a Searchmetrics study found social signals to be the highest correlating factors with Google rankings, while a BrightEdge survey showed 8 in 10 search marketers believing that social sharing of content will be a more important means to improve rank this year than last.

So how else do successful SEO strategists differ from their struggling counterparts? The study suggests that those with a “superior strategy” are:

  • More likely to look at increases in traffic conversion rates, SEO ROI, and content development as important objectives, and less likely to count increased web traffic, improved brand awareness and improved keyword management as top goals;
  • Far more likely to cite changing search engine algorithms as a critical obstacle to achieving their objectives (39% vs. 11%), and far less likely to point to the lack of a clear and concise strategy (6% vs. 58%) as a main challenge;
  • About 67% more likely to say that creating original content is their most effective SEO tactic (55% vs. 33%), while also being more likely to say that keyword management and external link building are effective;
  • Relatively more likely to count external link building as a difficult SEO tactic (55% vs. 40%), while being much less likely to say that keyword management (9% vs. 35%) is a challenging tactic.

The two groups do of course share some common beliefs, with both saying that: improving organic search rankings is their top objective; the lack of budget and/or headcount is their top obstacle; updating website content is an effective SEO tactic; and website visitor traffic and trend is a useful metric.

About the Data: The “SEO Strategy Outlook Survey” was fielded during the week of June 24, 2013 among 594 business leaders, marketing executives and marketing practitioners from around the world.