According to the results of a recent survey conducted by Ascend2, “if you don’t appear on page one of the search results, you don’t exist.” To assuage this, the C-suite is paying attention to their organization’s organic search rankings, with 57% of marketing and sales professionals saying that quality content creation is one of the most effective SEO strategies employed by their company.

SEO success is defined by the ability to achieve important marketing objectives. Only 14% of companies rate their SEO efforts “very successful” at achieving this.

Success Rating of Current SEO Program
Rating % of Respondents
Very successful

14%

Somewhat successful

66

Not successful

20

Source: Ascend2, April 2014

Search engines look for quality content, and creating it is the most effective SEO tactic, says the report, followed by researching and managing the keywords used in SEO content.

Most Effective SEO Tactics Used in Respondent’s Company
Effective tactic % of Respondents
Quality content creation

57%

Keyword research/management

46

Frequent website updating

37

Social media integration

34

Frequent blogging

28

Link building

25

Local search optimization

17

Mobile search optimization

9

Source: Ascend2, April 2014

SEO is a time-intensive task requiring a specific skill-set, says the report. For many organizations, budget and skill limitations are the top obstacles to overcome.

Most Challenging Obstacles to Achieve SEO Objectives
Challenge % of Respondents
Limited SEO budget

44%

Limited SEO skills in-house

40

Understanding search algorithms

32

Lack of effective strategy

30

Attributing sales to SEO

29

Optimizing content with keywords

27

Lack of quality content

26

Identifying new keywords

18

Source: Ascend2, April 2014

Quality content creation is perceived as being both highly effective and seen as one of the most difficult SEO tactics to execute as seen by 47% of the respondents. Other difficult tactics to execute include link building, frequent blogging, and frequent website updating.

Most Difficult vs. Most Effective SEO Tactics to Execute (% of Respondents)
 

% of Respondents

Task Most Difficult Most Effective
Quality Content Creation

47%

57%

Link building

44

25

Frequent blogging

32

28

Keyword research/management

29

46

Frequent website updating

29

37

Social media integration

26

34

Source: Ascend2, April 2014

The effect of keywords on search rankings and the impact of call-to-action offers on conversion rates are viewed as the two most useful SEO metrics (44% of respondents say each is among the most useful metrics for tracking and analyzing SEO performance).

Most Useful Metrics for Analysis and Tracking SEO Performance
Metric % of Respondents
Search metrics by keyword

44%

Call to action conversions

44

Traffic/visits by keyword

41

Traffic/visits by source

41

Total website traffic/visits

37

Website visit duration/engagement

28

Source: Ascend2, April 2014