Some 61% of businesses spend less than $5,000 per month for search engine optimization (SEO) services. Regardless of what businesses spend, only 20% expect to keep their relationship with a search engine optimization partner for about five years -- a term that only 8% actually fulfill.
For 65% of businesses, that partnership lasts two years or less, and 34% of partnerships with digital marketing agencies last less than one year, according to new data.
Clutch and Ignite Visibility published a survey of more than 300 marketers that explores how they partner with SEO companies for their businesses. The data was collected in mid-January.
Business professionals trust their peers when it comes to making decisions about search marketing and advertising. Some 52% initially find a search engine optimization company through referrals, far outpacing the 16% willing to take a chance finding one through an online search, and 8% through an ad.
When considering a SEO to work with, 53% look at their service offerings, 49% consider referrals, 46% consider price, 45% want a strategy that fits, and 26 look for online reviews.
While more than half of businesses find an SEO professional through a referral, 55% make the decision to keep a partner on their own.
Regardless of company size, expertise rates the highest. While the percentage seems low, 28% consider finding a professional with an expertise in SEO the biggest benefit to partnering with an outside firm or person.
Some 24% look for increased site traffic and exposure, followed by return on investment at 19% and keyword visibility at 11%.
Among businesses, 34% tend to rely on digital marketing agencies for SEO services, compared with 24% for consultants and 21% for SEO agencies.
Some 60% rely on SEO companies for off-site services more often than on-site services such as content marketing, social media and public relations. About 63% that partner with an SEO agency invest in on-site SEO services, such as website audits, keyword optimization and URL structures.
Overall, 66% of businesses tend to measure the success of traffic volume the most when considering a partnership. Keyword ranking follows at 58%, on-site engagement at 52%, leads and conversations at 47%, and backlinks at 41%.
Businesses with 100 employees or less only track site traffic and keyword rankings. Those with more than 200 employees tend to track six different metrics to determine the success of their SEO campaigns, and 83% measure site traffic from search engines, according to the study.