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SEO: Valuable Insights Into A Changing Online Marketing Environment
Over the last years SEO has evolved from an independent discipline to part of a symbiotic online marketing approach. Content marketing and online PR have conquered the land of search engine optimization and have caused quite some trouble in the SEO services industry. What right of existence does an exclusively SEO focussed business still have these times and what kind of portfolio should it provide in order to stay competitive?
New challenges have risen not only from continuous Google updates and in consequence confused customers but also from a changing mind set in SEO. Where once technical measures and search engine algorithms were the centre of all efforts, today a customer-centric approach is indispensable. Unique content and its added value have become the ultimate goal in search engine optimization.
So would you still hire an SEO agency? How would you rate its knowledge in content marketing or online PR? Would you rather go for in-house capacities to have better control? Or maybe even decide for a holistic online marketing agency with a diverse portfolio instead? What can a SEO agency offer in order to convince you of its services? And what concerns might you have when entrusting an agency with your SEO activities?
In an ever changing online marketing environment it is often hard to keep up with that kind of questions and even harder to find straight-to-the-point, actionable answers. This is why we have conducted some in-depth research on demand and supply in SEO providing valuable insights and vital recommendations for optimizing your own business. Did you know, for instance, that 23% of the respondents are doubting transparency of SEO agencies fearing they might use black hat techniques behind their back?
Learn more about the State of SEO Agencies in 2014 by having a look at our extensive infographic below, which summarizes the most important findings:
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The State of SEO Agencies in 2014
What is happening in the SEO industry?
We put the question to over 10,000 professionals in SEO, Online Marketing, and E-Commerce.
This is what 400 respondents had to say about it.
linkbird: International Market Study on the Services, Strategies, and Challenges of SEO Agencies and their Clients.
Who are the respondents?
Position in the Company
CEO / Managing Director 26%
SEO Manager 19%
SEO Trainee / Intern 4%
SEO Consultant 7%
Head of SEO 15%
Company Size by Staff
1 to 10 43%
11 to 20 13%
21 to 50 19%
51 to 250 14%
44% is an SEO agency
22% works with an SEO agency
21% plans to work with an SEO agency
12% does not (plan to) work with any SEO agencies
Financial Services 7%
Industry of non-agency respondents
Where is the money spent?
Agency revenues per year
29% € 1000K
Client online marketing budget per month
Less than 100 € 2%
100-500 € 13%
500-1000 € 35%
1000-5000 € 15%
5000-10000 € 11%
10000-50000 € 11%
50000+ € 13%
Agency revenues spent on SEO
14% More than 50%
Client online marketing budget spent on SEO
More than 50% 4%
Non-Client online marketing budget per month
9% € Less than 100
12% € 100-500
12% € 500-1000
26% € 1000-5000
12% € 5000-10000
15% € 10000-50000
15% € 50000+
Non-Client online marketing budget spent on SEO
More than 50% 3%
Where do agencies and clients meet?
Most preferred methods for agencies to look for clients and vice versa
|10%||Social media / forums||6%|
|8%||Fairs and conferences||16%|
Why do companies hire agencies?
Most important SEO challenges for companies
|Improve and maintain Google rankings 22%||Building Quality links 16%||Increase Organic traffic 12%|
Based on these challenges, what do clients want to achieve by outsourcing SEO?
Top 5 goals to achieve by outsourcing SEO activities
- Increase traffic 32%
- Raise visibility on search engines 29%
- Generate leads 17%
- Increase online marketing ROI 14%
- Online brand management 6%
In order to reach these goals, why do clients choose to outsource SEO to agencies?
Top 5 reasons for outsourcing SEO to an agency
- Lack of resources 31%
- Lack of expert knowledge 28%
- Save time 23%
- Save costs 11%
- Not daily or recurring activities (e.g. web-design)
Which agency services are offered and which are requested?
|Most sold by agencies||Most bought by clients|
|26%||Search engine optimization (on page)||18%|
|22%||Search engine optimization (off page)||14%|
|14%||Search engine advertising||13%|
|6%||Social media marketing||8%|
|3%||Online public relations||7%|
What are the most effective activities?
|Agency perspective||Client perspective|
|27%||Search engine optimization (on page)||19%|
|22%||Search engine optimization (off page)||17%|
|14%||Search engine advertising||13%|
|5%||Social media marketing||6%|
|4%||Online public relations||5%|
Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Agencies
DETRACTORS = 48%
PASSIVES = 31%
PROMOTERS = 21%
NPS = % Promoters – % Detractors
NPS for Agencies is 21% – 48% = – 27%
21% of the clients aer promoters, 31% are passives, and about half (48%) are detractors, whcih results in a NPS of negative 27%.
What are the challenges and concerns in SEO services?
Top 5 concerns that companies have when hiring agencies
- 23% Does the agency use any black hat tactics? how transparent are their methods?
- 22% How do we know the agency will deliver a satisfactory service?
- 16% How much of an expert is the agency in SEO and related services?
- 18% Are the agencies charging us too much?
- 11% Will we become too dependent on agencies?
Top 5 reasons why companies don’t hire agencies
- 33% In-house capacity makes SEO agencies irrelevant
- 18% The costs are too high
- 10% SEO agencies are not transparent in their approach
- 12% Inefficient workflows, performance, and communication
- 14% SEO is no longer needed, focus now on content marketing
Top 5 challenges agencies face in delivering good results
- 20% Keeping up with Google updates
- 18% Educating client on constantly changing SEO environment
- 8% Meeting client’s expectations within client’s budget
- 17% Creating and maintaining workflow
- 11% Reaching the expected quality and quantity of links
What are the goals for improvement for agencies and companies?
Top 5 goals for agencies to reach within on year
- Increase revenues 21%
- Expand the company and develop skilled staff 17%
- Increase the number of clients in portfolio 15%
- Improve workflow efficiency 12%
- Find better ways to improve client Google rankings
Top 5 goals for companies to reach within one year
- Increase revenues from organic online marketing 1(%
- Improve and maintain Google rankings 13%
- Expand customer base 13%
- Increase organic traffic to the site 12%
- Improve workflow for all SEO related activities 11%
SEO Online PR Content Seeding