Commentary

SEO Improvements Link To AI; Strategies Still Too Complicated

SearchDex, a digital marketing technology and service company, released the results of its 2017 SEO Proficiency in Marketing Survey. The survey -- fielded to more than 100 marketers -- gauged the importance of search engine optimization and some of the challenges through the eyes of CEOs, and marketing VPs and directors.

Despite the need for search engine optimization tactics, 91% of marketing professionals agree that managing and building a well-run SEO strategy and team is difficult to accomplish. Some 55% say it’s difficult to build a good and knowledgeable SEO team, 45% cite difficulty working with the IT department to execute SEO strategy, and another 45% say they don’t have time to analyze the data they are being given.

Still others -- 35% -- point to a lack of access to the correct tools and 32% cite lack of access to the correct service providers.

Most SEO experts and those who understand the strategy see the potential in artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance SEO. Some 96% say their SEO strategy could benefit from linking to AI. About 73% cite the ability to focus on SEO while AI technology analyzes the data, and 61% cite possible improvements if AI could search for anomalies in their current SEO strategy and fix them. Another 58% believe AI technology keeps their company's SEO strategy up to date based on what competitors do; 49% think AI can help them outthink Google's RankBrain technology; and 41% believe it removes the need for exact keyword phrases.

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Retail Web sites face specific challenges when it comes to SEO. The findings note that because retail Web sites are designed to frequently change with updates in merchandise and prices, they are "not particularly SEO friendly."

When asked what SEO challenges retail Web sites face, 66% of marketers citee rapidly changing product pages; 55%, having similar titles to competitors that would serve up competitors' products in search results; 54%, not updating pages based on search demand; 51% insufficient product reviews; and 43%, lack of product descriptions.

Nearly all marketers agree that a well-built SEO strategy is important. When asked what consequences retail Web sites face if they fail at SEO, 71% of marketers said it will prompt a company to generate lower profits; 71%, loss if interest from consumers; 63%, the brand will be perceived as a commodity rather than unique; 54%, loss of brand loyalty; and 42%, loss of consumer trust.

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