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Lee Odden

MarketingSherpa 2011 SEO & Social Media Benchmark Report

By Lee Odden     Book Reviews, Business of SEO, Online Marketing, SEO, Social Media

marketingsherpa sem report 2011MarketingSherpa has done it again with their SEM report for 2011. With the help of Lead Author, Research Analyst Jen Doyle, they’ve put together an excellent resource for marketers looking for strategic guidance as well as real data about search engine marketing.

This particular report focuses on Search Engine Optimization with an emphasis on the interplay of search and social media, two topics that are very near and dear to the consulting practice at TopRank Online Marketing.

According to the MarketingSherpa report, 64% of marketers surveyed are integrating social media into their search marketing plans which syncs well with the soon to be released SEOmoz SEO Industry Report, which cites 71% of the 10k plus search marketers that responded as leveraging social tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

As a practical example of the intersection of SEO and Social Media, just last month over 40,000 unique keyword queries sent visitors to this blog. At the same time, because of social content distribution and engagement, our new link discovery counts (reported by Majestic SEO) went from 118,344 in Sept to 210,996 in Oct. More relevant links = more traffic, more subscribers and exposure to our social channels. More exposure to our content on social channels means more links and discovery via search. It’s a cycle of Social and SEO.

As usual, this report dives in to some meaty content for marketers:

  • 2,194 B2B and B2C marketers surveyed
  • 169 charts and tables
  • Insight about the impact of social media on SEO
  • Data on the most effective SEO tactics
  • SEO budgeting and financial metrics
  • Research on mobile, real time, personalized and video search

One of the shocking revelations (and further need for SEO consultant expertise) is that more than half of the marketers who participated in the MarketingSherpa study either had no formal process for performing SEO, or an informal process that was randomly performed.

SEO was (correctly in my opinion) deemed most effective at generating sales and Social Media as most effective for achieving Public Relations and customer engagement objectives. A recent post on Search Engine Land by Matt McGee supports this, citing a study by ATG that search dominates social networking for product discovery.

Another interesting observation was the organic traffic conversion rate for marketers that leveraged social media was 10% higher than those that did not.

Most effective SEO tactics

The report is full of useful charts like the one above, which cites the most effective tactics for SEO as reported by the agency respondents. Obviously, an experienced SEO agency would use a much broader array of tactics, but you get the idea.

Essentially, a report like this helps companies and agencies in a few ways, especially for client side marketers:

  • Use research in combination with program performance to justify and defend the SEO budget
  • Compare SEO tactics you use to those ranked by effectiveness
  • Get a better handle on the potential of integrating search and social media
  • Find the ROI of search and social media that other marketers are reporting
  • Compare your own program performance metrics to those in the industry: inbound traffic, lead quality, conversion rates, clicks, conversion and target keyword rankings. Granted, it’s a generalization to do that, because such metrics can vary quite a bit between industries and don’t get me started on the idea of comparing “rankings”, but in a broader sense, comparisons can be useful.
  • Get useful insight on the future impacts of mobile, real time, personalized and video search
  • Reports like this are also useful for PowerPoint presentations at conferences or internally as well as for making a point in a blog post.

We don’t run ads on this blog (just where we’re speaking and our blog hosting sponsor VISI) but we do review things once in a great while that have an affiliate relationship like MarketingSherpa Reports. We’ve been reviewing MarketingSherpa Guides and Reports for at least 6 years now and they’ve always been really useful.  Check out the info on the MarketingSherpa site and if you think the report will be useful to you in just a few of the examples above, go ahead and buy it. We can use the referral fee to buy more coffee and write more blog posts at 5am :)


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