Where Does SEO Stand in 2015?

SEO 2015

Recently, Linkbird conducted the annual State of SEO Agencies survey, which takes a look at where search engine optimization (SEO) stands at a frozen moment in time. Obviously, SEO Is constantly changing, but it’s a must to stop, analyze, assess, and process from time to time. One of the biggest standout observations was that (thankfully!) almost all marketing agencies are focusing more on SEO than ever before. In fact, 33 percent of respondents say they’re spending at least 25 percent of their budget on “SEO activities,” while only one third say they’re focusing less than five percent of their budget on SEO.

Plus, there’s an added focus on SEO-related activities like content marketing, public relations, mobile readiness, web design, and the like. The “reliance on SEO” is also on the upswing. The authors of the study note that there are “marketers who do not focus on SEO” at one extreme end of the spectrum and those who depend on it heavily at the other. However, those who report little reliance on SEO were quick to point out that they were more holistic, focusing on mixing content marketing with social media strategies, online PR, online marketing, and other arenas where SEO could be included.

Outsourcing on the Rise

Another trend the study revealed is that more and more marketing agencies are outsourcing their SEO needs after realizing that SEO and marketing are great bedmates, but can also be two very different skills. In total, 25 percent of companies said they preferred to do it themselves and not outsource, but the vast majority were open to letting the SEO experts handle things. Twelve percent of respondent say they dedicate over 25 percent of their budget to SEO agencies, and say outsourcing is a major part of their strategy. They prioritize what they’re good at, and consider themselves “buyers” who know their skillsets (and where they’re not strongest).

There are four main kinds of marketing agencies: Holistic buyers, SEO-focused buyers, holistic makers, and SEO-focused makers. For the Holistic buyers, they like to dabble in a number of online marketing strategies. Their focus is on creating a harmonious effect by mixing social media, SEO, content marketing, etc. Their goal isn’t just higher traffic, but also engagement and brand building. While they’re quick to outsource their needs, they’re also very careful and prefer long-term relationships with other agencies.

Which Category are You?

The SEO-focused buyers put SEO as their main priority, both on- and off-page. Their goal is to drive traffic and they seek out the best SEO agencies. They want detailed reports, also prefer long-term relationships, and consider outsourcing a main part of their strategy.

For the holistic makers, they have a lot of similarities to the holistic buyers when it comes to mixing things up. However, they don’t like to depend on agencies for long periods—but are happy to do so for short-term projects. They often need a lot of services that have a defined start/end date and learn from agencies (they don’t just rely on them).

Finally, there are the SEO-focused makers. They share similarities with their buyer counterparts, but like to develop in-house strategies and skills. They’ll use short-term outsourcing contracts as a means of learning—and most often outsource because they don’t have the knowledge or experience for a DIY project.

What this all comes down to is that specialization is key, and all agencies need an SEO firm at least part of the time.

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