Study: Creating content is most effective and most difficult SEO tactic

Dive Brief:

  • The latest research from Ascend2 found that an overwhelming 81% of respondents see their SEO efforts as at least above average. Among goals and barriers to success, traffic generation was cited as the top goal at 50%, and search rankings were the most cited barrier to SEO success at 46%.
  • For tactics, content creation was seen as the most effective (57%) and the most difficult (48%). Other effective tactics include keyword/phrase research (49%), social media integration (39%) and external/internal linking (36%). Linking (45%) and keyword research (35%) also topped out the list of difficult tactics.
  • One interesting result from the research is marketers see SEO as becoming more effective with 82% reporting effectiveness is on the rise and 42% of this group stating effectiveness is increasing significantly.

Dive Insight:

Digital content continues to rise in the ranks for marketers, with search engine optimization just one of the reasons for this. Big brands such as Marriott are investing heavily in quality original content as consumers spend less time watching TV and reaping a variety of benefits, from engagement, viral sharing and new customer acquisition. 

A key takeaway from Ascend2’s SEO research is the most powerful tactics — content creation, linking and keyword research — are also the most difficult to execute indicating that SEO remains a marketing tactic that requires a certain amount of investment in time and expertise to be effective.

"With changes in search algorithms and the focus of quality and relevance of content over quantity, it’s even more important that marketers develop a strategy and dedicate resources to content creation. It isn’t easy but your efforts will deliver results,” Todd Lebo, partner and CMO, Ascend2 told Marketing Dive.

He added given the challenges around SEO, marketers often look to outside help.

“Creating relevant content and link building are difficult and time consuming tactics to execute. Which is why 76% of companies execute all or part of their SEO tactics using external resources,” said Lebo. 

Top image credit: Svilen Milev