SEO used to be so easy. Marketers only had to tuck a few keywords into the main website page, and they could see their site move up on the search results page. Now that every marketer is fighting for a top ranking, media companies and consultants are selling their SEO services. But are you providing the SEO services your clients really need?
The SEO Services Your Clients Really Need
As we approach a new calendar year, Search Engine Journal and Straight North surveyed 2,369 professionals about the SEO and where it’s going. They published their findings in the State of SEO 2021. A successful SEO campaign requires managing many moving parts. The surveyed professionals spend most of their time on the following activities:
- Keyword research 36.3%
- On-page 33.4%
- Analytics 30.9%
- Technical SEO 25.7%
- Mobile SEO 22.8%
- Audience Research 21.1%
- Local SEO 22.3%
- Off-page (link building) 21.1%
Measuring SEO Performance
It’s always important to measure your performance. And SEO pros definitely track how well they are doing, whether they work in-house or for clients. SEO pros are paying the most attention to the following metrics:
- Keyword rankings 43.9%
- Page views/sessions 32.8%
- Marketing qualified leads (or SQL) 20.7%
- Branded vs. non-branded traffic 20.1%
- Conversion and goal events 19.9%
Researchers considered the differences in the type of marketer engaged in the SEO activity, and they found differences in performance concerns based on the type of business being optimized. B2B marketers were more focused on marketing qualified leads (28%) than their B2C counterparts (14%.) Despite the increased challenges and time needed to conduct SEO, most of the pros say they’ve been successful in the last year. 46.6% point to “more successful” while 18% said “a lot more successful.”
That said, SEO pros face challenges, not the least of which is they need to be working with a solid website. One pro mentioned, “…if [the website] doesn’t have the foundations, then it’s going to be intent/keyword strategy, research and content creation.” Before you can start the serious work of improving your client’s position on a list, pitch them on improving the site.
The next SEO issue, selected as “the number one threat in SEO by 38.7% of the [survey] respondents, is zero-click search results. In these cases, your client’s page shows up in the first or second position on the search list, but nobody clicks on the link. Frustrating! A recent Search Engine Land report points out that nearly 65% of all online searches don’t result in a click. Users have the page in front of them. They see your client’s site as a possible solution to what they want, but they move on.
To cut down on those zero-click pages, SEO services such as user experience (34.7%), content products (27.2%) and on-page factors (26.9%) will play a big role in the future.
SEO pros also have to stay on top of Google updates (35.1%) and machine learning AI trends (28.4%.) If they don’t, they risk losing list position for their clients. And when that happens, it can take several weeks to recover.
Upcoming SEO Trends
There’s always a new trend to track when you’re optimizing your client’s site. In the next couple of years, SEO pros expect the following factors to be most influential when it comes to how engines rank a site.
- Core web vitals (36.6%) – This element measures how long it takes for a page to load and display details such as images. The longer that process takes, the lower the score.
- Structured data (25.4%) – One example of this element is lists. When a crawler finds a list at the top of a page, it may include the list in a snippet, and give it higher visibility.
- EAT (25%) – This element is all about expertise, authority and trust. Search engines look for in-depth posts on specific topics to prove a site’s authority, for example.
When SEO is done right, you can prove it’s working. In the Straight North study, “59% of clients who increased the budget “a lot” experienced a corresponding “increased a lot” in traffic score. Of course, your clients want more than traffic. They also want an increase in leads and revenue. To get an idea of where your client’s SEO efforts stand, run a Digital Audit on AdMall, powered by SalesFuel. When you compare details like their keyword use to the rest of their industry, you pitch your SEO services and lead them to higher revenue.
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