Which SEO tasks do you spend the most time working on?
Everyone has their own way of working, but there are key areas of SEO that seem to spend more time on them than others.
For anyone controlling budgets in digital marketing, where do you think the most money is currently spent?
As part of our series of survey reports on the SEO Search Engine Journal, we looked at how SEO professionals allocate their budgets and time to digital marketing and SEO.
- 1 How Do Decision-Makers in SEO Allocate Digital Marketing Budget?
- 2 Content Marketing is the Dominant Area of Digital Marketing Right Now
- 3 Focus Appears to be Shifting Away From Digital PR and Link Building
- 4 B2B and B2C, Agency and Freelancers Compared
- 5 When Working on SEO, Where Do We Allocate Our Time to Tasks?
- 6 SEO Professionals Spend Most of Their Time on Keyword Research
- 7 Summary
How Do Decision-Makers in SEO Allocate Digital Marketing Budget?
In the last 12 months, 6.2% of SEO professionals said they have applied all of their digital marketing budget to content marketing. With a weighted average of 2.98, content marketing has the largest budget allocation in digital marketing.
Meanwhile, 17.9% of SEO professionals said they did not apply any budget to digital PR, and 30.4% said they allocated a small budget. With a weighted average of 2.55, digital PR has the least budget allocation in digital marketing.
(We asked: How do you allocate the budget for digital marketing? Matrix selection, one per line. Open to all respondents, answered 2369.)
Content Marketing is the Dominant Area of Digital Marketing Right Now
When we surveyed our audiences about where they applied their digital marketing budgets, surprisingly, SEO was not the area that was most spent on digital marketing.
Content marketing was the dominant area of budget allocation.
According to research by the State of SEO, content marketing has proven to be dominant in many results and this is an area in which many SEO professionals are currently investing.
One thing to take away from this result is that with significant budgets applied to content, your competitors may be investing heavily here.
Focus Appears to be Shifting Away From Digital PR and Link Building
If we review the results for the digital budget allocation above and the time allocation below, it shows that digital PR and link building have the least amount of budget and time spent on them.
Digital PR (as a means of building high-quality connections) can be widely talked about on social media, but it is not a place where decision makers allocate their budgets.
This definitely does not mean that link building is no longer part of SEO.
But with Google’s shift to brand awareness and experience on the site, the results highlight a shift from link building to content and user experience.
This shift in attention is supported by Barry Adams, founder of Polemic Digital.
“Recently, Google seems to rely less on off-page ranking signals (i.e. links) and puts more emphasis on relevance and quality of content,” Adams said.
The web is built on a system of links – and you’d expect links to always affect rankings to some degree, but recent Google updates are pushing towards the user experience on the page.
This would be an area that needs to be focused on at the moment.
B2B and B2C, Agency and Freelancers Compared
To examine our data in more detail, we filtered the results to compare different groups to see if there were statistically significant differences.
The Difference in Budget Allocation Between Agencies and In-House Brands
The Differences Between B2B and B2C for Digital Marketing Budget Allocation
When Working on SEO, Where Do We Allocate Our Time to Tasks?
(We asked: When you work on SEO, how much time do you spend on each of the following activities? Matrix selection, one in a row. Open to all respondents, answered 2,369.)
SEO Professionals Spend Most of Their Time on Keyword Research
According to the results of our survey, keyword research has been identified as an important task.
This result is also supported by some SEO experts, such as Suganthan Mohanadasan from Snippet Digital.
“Keyword research is the most important task of SEO,” Mohanadasan said. “When done properly, it can map your content calendar for the next 12-24 months and quickly show flaws and opportunities…. With this information, you can make good data-based SEO decisions. ”
However, Dave Davies, the founder of Beanstalk, has a different opinion.
“Personally, I disagree with the workflow that results in [spending the most time on keyword research],” Davies said. “This does not mean that keyword research is not important, but it is very important. But spending most of your time researching keywords, it seems to me, is a bit like ‘measure twice, cut once’ to a harmful extreme. “
What both Mohanadasan and Davies agree on is the importance of focusing time to ensure that client pages are technically correct.
“I spend most of my time doing technical research and implementation,” Mohanadasan said. “My main responsibility is to ensure that all of our clients’ pages are technically correct and optimized within the platform’s limitations, and that I sometimes look further and find new and alternative ways to overcome the limitations.”
What we need to remember with our results in this survey is that our audience evaluates them themselves and based on what the individual is best at or what he or she specializes in.
What makes SEO so interesting are the different opinions and constant discussions.
Content marketing is currently the dominant area of digital marketing and an area for spending budgets to keep up with competitors.
The focus seems to be shifting from digital PR and link building and moving towards page content and experience. Think about how you can improve the user experience and create a better content experience.
SEO professionals spend most of their time researching the keywords and factors on the page.
If everyone is spending time on keywords, consider how to take your keyword research to the next level. Consider new searches and new opportunities such as niche transaction and location keywords.
Download your copy of the full report to access all data from the Search Engine Journal State of SEO 2021 survey.
Featured image: Paulo Bobita / SearchEngineJournalImages created by, author September 2021.