SEO Agencies Survey: How the Way We Measure Success Damages the Results We Deliver?
That is why Serpstat has conducted a survey among 40 SEO agencies from 16 countries, that operate within more than 15 industries. The survey collected data from December 17, 2021, to January 12, 2022.
The majority of the survey participants represent SEO agencies, holding managerial positions. Representatives of full-scope digital marketing agencies are people, responsible for the SEO branch.
The main topics covered in the survey:
Will be particularly useful for:
— Company headcount
— Core services
— List of participants
— Clients' company size
— Clients industries
— Do agencies have a Sales Department?
— Where do agencies generate most clients from?
— Global SEO VS Local SEO
— Performance & budgets
— When it comes to campaign budgets, only 42.5% of agencies have noticed substantial growth in their clients' spending
— Core ranking factors and resource allocation
— What tool does an SEO agency need?
Preparing for the future
— What challenges agencies have been facing in 2021?
— What are the most likely performance threats in 2022?
— Is Google Page Experience going to change the current competition in the SEO services market?
— Have agencies considered including Zero-click SERPs in their current strategy?
— Do agencies have a strategy for increasing intent satisfaction in their campaigns?
— Are E-A-T content principles going to be more influential in 2022?
- agencies with 10-25 employees (15%);
- agencies with 26-50 employees (10%);
- agencies with over 50 employees (5%).
Clients company size
Agencies that provide services to the microenterprise segment (1-9 employees) and individuals are presented by 10% and 5% respectively.
Retail, Education, Marketing, and Food&Bev clients together account for another 29.4% of agencies’ clients.
Do agencies have a Sales Department?
Where do agencies generate most clients from?
Compared to the company size of each agency, we can assume that having an extensive team is not a necessary factor for an agency to deliver services to bigger companies.
When it comes to lead generation, we can see that SEO agencies tend to use Inbound channels, with only a half of agencies having an in-house sales department.
With that being said, we can assume it is not necessary for SEO agency to allocate a lot of resources to generate and convert sales. Having a proper Inbound resource seems to be enough for 50% of respondents.
Global SEO VS Local SEO
- 37.5% of agencies focusing on Global SEO
- 32.5% focusing on Local SEO
- 30% mentioning they allocate resources to both of these vectors equally
Performance & budgets
Core ranking factors and resource allocation
Basically, agencies spend more time improving the measurement metrics they present to their client, than metrics they believe influence most on website ranking.
Freshness and social, they are about MORE than what we're seeing right now. They're about dynamic, real-time, cross-device, multichannel communication environments. And it's interesting to see what'll happen after the crisis, how it'll impact Google, and how new tech is going to change the way we work (and how governments will respond to it).
While 19.4% stated Domain age and authority are major ranking factors, only 7.6% spend most of their resources on Technical SEO improvements.
Next year, AI writing tools will become even better and every blogger using those tools will be able to produce a lot of content quickly.
So, if everyone can compete on content equally, that means no one has the edge, and then the edge, and key factor for Google to determine who'll rank become links and domain authority and page authority.
Whilst for years social signals have been seen as less valuable, there have been studies on how better performing social channels have better rankings. EAT being so important in ranking across multiple industries, it wouldn't be a surprise to see these social signals having importance alongside other valuable backlinks to establish authority and trust.
With over 27% marking Conversion and goal events, only slightly above 9% spend their time on Audience research and almost 7% on Local SEO.
What tool does an SEO agency need?
A staggering majority of 80% of agencies have admitted they are using more than 3 SEO tools to meet their goals.
Here at Serpstat, starting from the Standard plan, an agency can have multiple users accessing data, generating branded reports, triggering special crawling sessions if needed. A special feature we offer is the ability to access data using API, in case agencies would need to display the dynamics without using our interface.
Preparing for the future
What challenges agencies have been facing in 2021?
- Scaling processes (19,4%);
- Lack of resources (19,4%);
- Budget cuts (19,4%);
- Pandemic-related issues (17,7%).
What are the most likely performance threats in 2022?
Is Google Page Experience going to change the current competition in the SEO services market?
Have agencies considered including Zero-click SERPs in their current strategy?
40% of respondents have admitted they haven’t started working on it, yet they are planning to do it soon.
From the second bucket, find all keywords that are valuable to your business, and then target them aggressively.
After you've exhausted your pool there, then you can worry about zero-click SERPs and how to position yourself there.
Prioritization is key, and SERPs that produce clicks are obviously more important than those that don't.
Do agencies have a strategy for increasing intent satisfaction in their campaigns?
Are E-A-T content principles going to be more influential in 2022?
We take pride in how versatile and multi-faceted our platform is. It fulfills SEO specialists’ needs including competitor analysis, keyword research for both organic and paid traffic, tracking rank positions, and backlinks of any website, anytime.
In addition, Serpstat provides a set of more than 30 tools for link building, text analytics, clustering, website error detection, and fixes, boosted by our recommendations section.
We pay special attention to agencies among our clients, providing better solutions for:
- lead generation and campaign pitching,
- projects maintenance and reporting,
- workload management and teamwork.
However, both in the work process and adaptation to the future, there is a clear inconsistency. Agencies tend to focus on improving the metrics they can showcase to the clients while ignoring the activities that will actually improve website rankings. At the same time, while seeing clear threats in the Google Page Experience update, agencies seem to allocate more resources adapting to Zero-click SERPs and intent satisfaction.
We are not stating these decisions are wrong, however. There is no one-fits-all solution and according to our experts, all of those changes “will be a factor until all sites adopt it, and then it'll just be an even playfield for everyone. The same thing happened with HTTPS as a ranking factor”.
With a mixture of the right tools and a client-oriented approach — agencies will be able to adapt to all the changes and thrive on “an even playfield for everyone”.
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