Less than half of businesses in the US claim to use SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is falling out of favour with marketers, a new study by Clutch suggests, with less than half of businesses claiming to invest in the channel.  

A US-based survey of more than 500 digital marketers found that just 44% claim to invest in any kind of SEO strategy, despite 83% of respondents claiming to be satisfied that their digital marketing efforts were paying off in achieving their goals.

Comparatively, the three most popular channels were social media marketing (81%), a website (78%) and email marketing (69%), while display ads, mobile apps and content marketing were each used by just over half of respondents.

The report suggests that SEO may be lower on the agenda as a result of both a lack of awareness about how it functions and the fact that results aren’t as immediately obvious as those of its counterparts.

Furthermore, it’s likely these businesses are, in fact, using SEO to a degree, despite having no knowledge of doing so, according to Jeremy Greenberg, founder of web design and digital marketing agency 97 Switch.

“They’re saying they’re not investing in SEO, but if they’re investing in and telling their story on social media and they’re doing email marketing, that’s part of it,” Greenberg said.

“If they’re creating shareable content online and they’re investing in their website, that’s SEO.”

In turn, failure to invest in SEO can undermine the success of other digital channels, states Clutch, and that while the results are less obvious than other channels, businesses could find the channel works well for them.

IntelliChief content marketing manager Faith Kubicki commented that her company “spent several months” on SEO before the channel delivered measurable results.

“When I first came on board, prospective customers were getting confused and leaving our website, and absolutely nobody was finding us in the first place,” said Kubicki.

“So, by researching the keywords that our prospective customers are using, creating valuable, optimised content that focuses on those keywords, and promoting that content across various channels, we’re working hard to increase our digital profile.”

Since then, the company has seen a 25% increase in website visitors from organic search between the first and second quarters of this year.

“SEO is hard work, but businesses shouldn’t count it out,” the report concludes.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about the Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) international event series, arriving in Amsterdam from September 19-20 and New York from November 7-8.

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