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Content marketing most tightly integrated with Search Engine Optimisation: Study

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NEW DELHI: The year 2013 was marked by updates that have altered search marketing irreversibly.

Post-hummingbird, marketers are forced to think of organic search in a whole new light ? with practice such as link-building taking a back-seat and SEO becoming more content-centric than ever before. Social signals are being taken seriously by brands.

According to a study by Regalix, 56 per cent marketers integrate content marketing with search engine optimisation while 61 per cent marketers use responsive web design as a part of their mobile SEO.

A total of 76 per cent marketers use social media to support and boost SEO, and 71 per cent marketers use broad-based information keywords to capture leads at the top of the purchase funnel. Around 47 per cent of B2B marketers believe that growth of mobile ads and mobile content is not significant to them.

Interestingly, 96 per cent marketers use search engine marketing to provide informational/educational content and 68 per cent marketers use paid search to accelerate lead generation.

Regalix senior vice president Nimish Vohra said, ?Search is a foundational channel within the marketing mix and it plays a crucial role in making purchase decisions. For any marketer, it is obviously profitable to adopt a cost-effective marketing strategy.? He added, ?Marketers today are forced to re-think and re-invent strategies for paid search, with the increased usage of mobile devices and hence mobile ad formats.?

Detailed findings of the report include an analysis of marketers? goals for using organic and paid search and various tactics used to effectively attain those goals.

The survey found that paid search marketing is being used at the top of the purchase funnel, majorly for enhancing lead generation. Around 68 per cent marketers use paid search to accelerate lead generation; while 63 per cent marketers use it to sell products and services online.

 Marketers use a variety of tactics for lead generation as a part of paid search marketing. The majority, around 71 per cent marketers, use broad-based information keywords to capture prospects at the top of the funnel.

A total of 61 per cent of marketers reported using ?exact match? and ?negative keywords? to avoid appropriate/irrelevant clicks.

The survey found that the top three goals for search engine marketing are providing educational/informative content (96 per cent), getting established as thought leaders (86 per cent), and enhancing brand reputation and awareness reported by 83 per cent marketers surveyed. As many as 95 per cent marketers were found using search engine marketing for promoting satisfaction and inducing loyalty among their existing customers.

It was demonstrated in the survey that Search Engine Optimisation is used by marketers to advance prospects and buyers through the purchase cycle and is not directed to any one stage in the purchase funnel. However, different keywords are used to target prospects/buyers at different stages.

The survey found that 76 per cent marketers use generic informational keywords to enhance awareness around brands, products and services and direct prospects to their site.

A total of 52 per cent marketers use keywords directing prospects to comparison pages on site to help prospects compare their solution with their competitors, and 43 per cent marketers also use keywords illustrating specific features such as cost, benefits etc.

Only 15 per cent marketers use special offers or discounts to provide them with the necessary push to make a purchasing decision, while 46 per cent marketers use the same keywords directing prospects to comparison sites.

The survey demonstrated that 50 per cent of marketers use keywords indicating discounts or special offers to induce purchase.

 It was found that only 9 per cent marketers make use of keywords that direct prospects to blog posts easing the consumption process.

A total of 19 per cent marketers surveyed use keywords that direct buyers to blog posts that create a positive impression in the minds of their customers, hence leaving them content and satisfied with their purchase.

Around 53 per cent marketers use keywords that direct to blogs where buyers can engage with the brand directly.

A total of 25 per cent marketers use keywords with special discounts and offers to existing customers to make them purchase more and keep returning to the brand.

Content marketing was found to be most tightly integrated with search engine optimisation. With SEO becoming more content-centric, it was found that 42 per cent marketers apportion 20 to 40 per cent of their budgets towards content marketing. Less than 20 per cent of budgets are apportioned towards display, paid and organic search.

The survey also found that organic search marketing will see increased investment this year, while at the same time paid search will see reduced investment. Thus, 48 per cent marketers reported that they will increase investment in search engine marketing by 10 to 30 per cent in 2014 while 80 per cent marketers indicated a reduction in paid spends by 10 per cent. 

The survey found that the top three metrics for gauging PPC campaigns? performance are directly related to conversion rates. A total of 84 per cent marketers were found using conversion rates to measure the success of PPC campaigns, 72 per cent were using the number of leads and 50 per cent marketers cost per click metrics to determine the return on PPC investments.

When it comes to organic search marketing, 92 per cent marketers were found using site traffic metrics to determine the success or failure of Search Engine Optimisation efforts. Since SEO is used to target prospects/buyers during each stage of the buying cycle, marketers also use conversion metrics to determine its performance.

The survey was conducted by Regalix and respondents included CMOs and mid-level marketing professionals from leading B2B companies. The State of Search Marketing 2014 was compiled using the survey results and covers the latest search marketing trends, tactics, metrics and challenges faced by B2B marketers in today?s dynamic market environment.

Regalix is an award-winning Global Innovation company that leverages technology and marketing to help companies grow.

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