Below is the executive summary of the B2B SEO Marketing Report. Further analysis can be found on Circle Research’s blog – SEO in B2B – and the full report can be bought (free to B2B Marketing Members) here.

The Editor’s highlights

In the report’s executive summary B2B Marketing’s Editor, Joel Harrison reveals some key findings:

  1. Search marketing is the second most popular form of marketing activity among the respondent group, second only to email. Sixty-seven percent of respondents have invested in search marketing over the last 12 months
  2. Search marketing spend is on the rise. One-third of respondents expect to increase investment in search marketing ‘significantly’ in the next 12 months. Only five percent will reduce their spend. The primary reason for the rise in investment in search is because B2B companies are increasingly focusing on the web as their primary route to market. In other words, it is taking over from channels such as retail or the sales force
  3. Marketing spend on search techniques is relatively modest at present – half of the respondents spend less than 10 percent of their budget on search. Just under two-thirds of organisations prefer to use paid search (pay-per-click) and natural search (SEO) in tandem to achieve best results from their investment. PPC accounts for a larger share of the budget than SEO in B2B companies – the ratio is approximately 60:40. Just under half of respondents believe the returns on investment from SEO is greater than that for PPC
  4. The use of search marketing to influence different stages of the buying cycle or different members of the decision-making unit remains relatively immature and unsophisticated. Only 20 percent of companies are focusing seriously on different stages and six percent on different individuals
  5. Most B2B marketers are using at least 16 keywords as part of their search marketing activities. A quarter of respondents use at least 50 keywords. Almost half of the respondents review their keywords at least once a month, but only a small minority review them weekly. Sixty percent of companies have increased the number of keywords that they are targeting in the last 12 months
  6. Content optimisation is the most popular SEO technique, used by three-quarters of respondents, as well as being the most effective
  7. The biggest challenge to effective search marketing is link building, with video optimisation seen as the least significant
  8. Website traffic was the most popular metric used to assess the effectiveness of SEO activity, ahead of lead volume or keyword ranking
  9. Almost 80 percent of companies handle all or most of their search marketing activity in-house, without recourse to agencies or outsourced service providers. Sixty percent of respondents expect to increase their use of agencies for search marketing in the next 12 months

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