The Unoptimized SEO : Part Two                                                           EXECUT...
The Unoptimized SEO : Part Two                                                            • Man...
The Unoptimized SEO : Part Two                                                           We sur...
The Unoptimized SEO : Part Two                                                          SEOS BE...
The Unoptimized SEO : Part Two                                                             SEO ...
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The Unoptimized SEO 2


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Conductor’s latest research into the productivity of natural search professionals found SEOs are missing out on significant opportunities to drive qualified natural search traffic, that their competition may be leveraging, by not auditing their web pages as frequently or as thoroughly as they should be.

The second study in the Unoptimized SEO series, The Unoptimized SEO: How SEOs are Missing Out on Natural Search Traffic by Neglecting On-Page Auditing examines attitudes and behaviors of SEO professionals toward on-page auditing, and analyzes how technology impacts its practice.

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The Unoptimized SEO 2

  1. 1. The Unoptimized SEO : Part Two EXECUTIVE SUMMARY SEO professionals overwhelmingly find value in on-page auditing as a tactic, believing they are auditing as frequently as they should. The majority perform on-page auditing less than twice a month. However, analysis of more than 11,000 pages from more than 200 domains shows 4 out of 5 pages changed at least once a week. Consequently, marketers are missing out on an opportunity to drive qualified search traffic by not optimizing as frequently - or as thoroughly as they should be, while competitors may be leveraging the opportunity. By utilizing an SEO platform, marketers gain continuous insight into their on-page landscape and the ability to capture a greater share of natural search traffic. INTRODUCTION In our previous research report, The Unoptimized SEO: How Manual Tasks Sabotage the Potential of Natural Search Marketers, we examined how an SEO platform enables the SEO to focus on high-impact tasks by reducing the time spent on many repeatable tasks. In this second part of the series, we will examine SEO professionals’ on-page auditing behavior, their attitudes toward technology and gain insight into how SEO technology can impact on-page auditing. ON-PAGE AUDITING CRITICAL TO NATURAL SEARCH VISIBILITY Together with link-building and content creation, on-page optimization is the third critical leg in a comprehensive SEO strategy. The best written content without on- page optimization is the best written content that no one sees. Unfortunately, auditing and reporting on a site’s optimization can be a painful and laborious process. There are dozens of on-page factors that must be evaluated on potentially thousands of individual pages plus content creators can change content without warning. These factors make on-page auditing a daunting task for the SEO before even a single H1 tag is evaluated. THREE APPROACHES TO ON-PAGE AUDITING In the early days of search, options for SEOs to evaluate the on-page optimization of their web pages were limited. To ensure well optimized pages, content owners had to review and tweak on-page elements by hand, making scaling to hundreds of keywords virtually impossible. As the search industry has evolved, technology has emerged that provides two additional approaches: 2
  2. 2. The Unoptimized SEO : Part Two • Manual: Auditing web pages manually is time consuming and offers little SEO oversight. For example, on-page changes made by a content creator that could negatively affect search visibility would not be discovered until a manual audit is performed which could be weeks later. • Semi-Automatic: Semi-automatic software provides some time savings over manual audits, but still 35%-45% of on-page auditing must be done manually. SEO oversight is only slightly better than manual auditing as negative on-page changes are still discovered only when an audit is intentionally initiated. • SEO Platform: An SEO platform crawls the target website and fully automates on-page auditing by generating comprehensive on- page recommendations. It also provides maximum SEO oversight via its automatic, continuous crawling that requires no manual intervention. SCALING ON-PAGE AUDITING WITHOUT AN SEO PLATFORM REQUIRES ADDITIONAL DEDICATED RESOURCES To highlight the efficiency differences between the three approaches to on-page auditing, we ran several experiments that simulated auditing between 100 and 500 pages. The results showed: • Technology Efficiencies: Auditing even a few hundred web pages manually or with semi-automatic tools can require hundreds of hours per month. An SEO platform is up to several hundred times more efficient, requiring little more than 30 minutes for the initial loading of keywords. • Dedicated Resources: Auditing 500 pages even once a month manually or with semi-automatic tools can consume 694 or 391 man-hours respectively. Assuming a 160 hour man month, four full time resources are needed to manually audit 500 pages, and 2.5 full time resources to do so using semi- automatic tools. However, marketers are not likely to be dedicating multiple resources to on-page auditing as they scale up the number of pages audited. The likelihood is that regularly scheduled comprehensive auditing is not done. 3
  3. 3. The Unoptimized SEO : Part Two We surveyed 46 SEO professionals to understand if their actual on-page auditing behavior—in practice is resulting in optimal page visibility. The results were surprising. SEOS AUDITING INFREQUENTLY The effort involved in scaling to hundreds of keywords means SEOs are auditing their pages infrequently. Three-fourths of SEO professionals surveyed audit their web pages less than once a week and over half do so less than twice a month. 4
  4. 4. The Unoptimized SEO : Part Two SEOS BELIEVE THEY ARE AUDITING THEIR PAGES AS FREQUENTLY AS THEY NEED TO BE When asked why they don’t audit their pages more frequently, almost half (48%) reported they believe they are auditing as frequently as they need to be. Nearly a third (28%) say they would audit more frequently, but don’t have the appropriate technology tools to do so. Despite their relative infrequency of auditing, SEOs overwhelmingly find value in on-page auditing: three quarters say they find value in the tactic. SEOS AUDITING HALF AS FREQUENTLY AS THEY SHOULD BE To determine if SEOs are auditing frequently enough, we analyzed more than 11,000 web pages from more than 200 ecommerce and non-ecommerce domains. Although a large percentage of SEOs surveyed report auditing less than twice a month, the analysis showed 85% of pages are actually changing at least once a week. This disparity between audit frequency and the rate of web page change suggests SEOs are missing out on opportunity to fully optimize their web pages to maximize natural search visibility. 5
  5. 5. The Unoptimized SEO : Part Two SEO PROFESSIONALS AGREE TECHNOLOGY WOULD INCREASE ON-PAGE AUDITING EFFECTIVENESS When asked if a technology solution that automatically generates recommendations would make their on-page auditing somewhat or much more effective (i.e. optimum page visibility / rank), SEOs overwhelmingly agreed (87%), with 33% indicating that they would be “much more effective.” CONCLUSION: Conductor’s analysis of SEO professionals’ on-page auditing behavior, attitudes toward technology and the impact of technology on on-page auditing shows: • Auditing Frequency Mismatch: The majority of SEOs believe they are auditing frequently enough to ensure optimal page visibility. However, 4 out of 5 web pages change at least once a week while the majority of SEOs audit less than twice a month. • SEOs Overwhelmingly Find Value in Technology: SEOs state technology would enhance their on-page auditing efforts. 87% report they would be more effective at on-page auditing with automation technology. • Dedicated Resources Needed: Up to four full time resources are needed to manually audit 500 pages, while an SEO platform does it automatically with no additional resources required, no matter how many pages are being audited. Conductor’s research shows that online marketers are missing out on opportunities to drive natural search traffic due to inadequate page auditing frequency. By using an SEO platform that maintains constant watch on their pages, SEOs can significantly increase the SEO oversight of their website, increase efficiencies in on- page auditing and grow their natural search traffic. 6