Market Data

SEO Trends: Issues and Opportunities

By Stefan Tornquist,

The SEO Trends Report, produced in association with Conductor, highlights the findings of a survey of more than 350 SEO practitioners. It explores the state of SEO in the marketing mix, trends, budgeting, measurement, and the role of technology in automating key aspects of search engine optimization.

This research is useful for any SEO marketer, especially those with larger programs that may be encountering issues of scaling and internal reporting.

This 20 page report is based on a survey of over 350 respondents in the US and Canada, conducted in December of 2010. Responses are limited to client-side marketers.

The report findings fall into the following sections:

  • SEO Metrics
  • Issues in SEO
  • SEO Budgets
  • Automation in SEO

Report highlights include:

  • As emphasis in many sectors shifts toward inbound marketing, so too has the importance of SEO as central to content and business strategy. 78% of the respondents to the SEO Trends Survey describe SEO metrics as being more important influencers of strategy than they were only a year ago, with 42% describing them as “much more important.”

  • As in other parts of the digital ecosystem, the need for SEO metrics and analysis has outpaced many organizations’ ability to fulfill on it. 43% of the organizations sampled reported tracking conversion rate rarely or never. The same is true for 44% when it comes to return on investment.

  • But the priority of understanding SEO and expressing its value is there. Tracking the long-term impact of page changes is the sample’s top SEO goal (62%), but that’s followed closely by “combining SEO with business metrics” (57%) and “generating SEO metrics that are meaningful to others in the org” (50%).

  • One factor that complicates analysis is the near constant growth in volume of keywords that organizations are managing. Over 60% of respondents report a rise in their keyword totals, with most of those seeing increases of more than 25%. One quarter of the sample are managing at least 50% more keywords than they were just a year ago.

  • Slowly but steadily, organizations are increasing their investment to meet SEO goals. 65% of organizations expect an increase in their SEO budget in 2011. While just over a quarter expect a static budget, only 7% anticipate a decrease. Staffing is the top line item at an average of 42%, followed by content creation at 28%.

  • For many marketers, automation provides one avenue toward improved information gathering and analysis, as well as better managed scale. Of the capabilities that were suggested to them, 64% of respondents described “automated analysis & recommendations of specific page alterations to increase rankings” to be “very valuable.” A majority also valued the automation of common SEO program elements like keyword rank tracking, competitor keyword discovery and keyword category management.  

Download a free copy of the report to learn more. A sample is also available to those who want a summary about what's in the report.


  • Pdf SAMPLE: SEO Trends: Issues and Opportunities - SAMPLE (401 KB PDF)
  • Pdf Disabled SEO Trends: Issues and Opportunities (423 KB PDF)

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