SEO: "If You're Not on Page One of Search Results, You Don't Exist"

How's your SEO effort going? You're measuring everything, have a clear idea of the ROI, and your company always comes up near the top of page one, right? Right.

However, if you're like many of the 442 marketing and sales decision-makers and practitioners worldwide who responded to a recent survey, you still have plenty of room for improvement. The "SEO Marketing Benchmark Summary Report" from Ascend2 and its research partners (April 2014), asked 9 questions about the most challenging obstacles to SEO success in the year ahead and how those marketers plan to overcome them.

According to the report, here's one important reason to take SEO seriously: "If you're not on page one of search results, you don't exist." Since most purchase decisions - whether by consumers or franchisee candidates - begin with an online search, the report continues, this is why the C-suite is paying so much attention to their organization's natural search rankings.

Here are the responses from five of the nine questions from the free, downloadable report:

What are the most important objectives for your SEO strategy in the year ahead?
55% - Increase lead generation
55% - Increase web traffic
53% - Improve natural search rankings
35% - Increase traffic conversion rates
29% - Improve brand awareness
24% - Attribute sales revenue to SEO
21% - Increase content development
14% - Improve analytics and reporting

What are the most challenging obstacles to achieving important SEO objectives?
44% - Limited SEO budget
40% - Limited SEO skills in-house
32% - Understanding search algorithms
30% - Lack of an effective strategy
29% - Attributing sales to SEO
27% - Optimizing content with keywords
26% - Lack of quality content
18% - Identifying new keywords

What are the most effective SEO tactics you company uses to achieve objectives?
57% - Quality content creation
46% - Keyword research/management
37% - Frequent website updating
34% - Social media integration
28% - Frequent blogging
25% - Link building
17% - Local search optimization
  9% - Mobile search optimization

What are the most difficult SEO tactics to execute?
47% - Quality content creation
44% - Link building
32% - Frequent blogging
29% - Keyword research/management
29% - Frequent website updating
26% - Social media integration
21% - Mobile search optimization
13% - Local search optimization

Which best describes the resources used to plan and execute SEO?
45% - Combination of outsourced and in-house
44% - In-house resources only
11% - Outsourced to an agency or consultancy

Ascend2 partners with marketing agencies and marketing technology firms to generate new business opportunities through its turnkey Research Partner Programs, using integrated research, content creation, and research-based demand generation. Research benchmarks reports for 2014 include content marketing, email marketing, marketing and sales alignment, search (SEO), brand marketing, website redesign, inbound marketing, marketing, and paid search (PPC). Learn more at

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