A Pinch Of SEO Tied To Paid Search

Nearly 40% of small businesses rely on an SEO strategy in 2019, but many also use paid search. About 60% of those with an SEO strategy said they also invest in paid search, up from 16% in 2018.

Only 16% have no plans to invest in 2019 -- followed by 10% who say they have no plans to invest in 2020, and 8% who say they are unlikely to use paid search in the future, according to survey findings released Thursday.

Clutch surveyed 529 small business owners and managers about their search engine optimization and paid-search strategies. Some 54% have between one and 10 employees, while 24% have between 11 and 50 employees and 22% have more than 50 employees. Participants in the study were 52% were male and 48%, female. 

When asked to cite the best method and metrics to determine the financial amount that a small business should spend on paid search versus organic, Grayson Kemper, senior content developer and marketer at Clutch, wrote in an email that "measuring engagement from paid can inform how a small business invests in SEO."



For example, he wrote, if the conversion rate for an ad is particularly strong, marketers can use its format and copy to earn similar results for organic. 

Small businesses should ensure that they invest enough in paid search to experiment with their target terms to learn what sort of engagement they can earn. From there, they can earmark a certain percentage of their budget for supporting organic efforts for high-performing terms. 

The study also suggests that while in-house employees for most small businesses provide cost and control benefits, hiring a SEO agency allows the small business to keep a deep focus on design and execution of campaigns. 

Too many marketers, especially those running or working at smaller companies, get wrapped up in the mechanics of search advertising and marketing and forget about how these tactics fit into bigger strategies. 

But few small businesses rely on experts to create and execute their SEO strategies. Some 54% rely on in-house staff, 50% rely on SEO software, 42% hire an SEO consultant or freelancer, and 28% use an SEO agency. 

The post suggests using three metrics to measure SEO efforts: first, search traffic retention, which is measured by website behavior like bounce and exit rates; second, conversion rate, to measure the number of website visitors who become paying customers; and third, backlink quality that measures the number of links from websites with high domain authority (DA)

When asked what metrics search marketers at small companies use to measure SEO, 25% said website traffic, 19% cited leads and conversions, 14% cited backlinks, and 13% cited keyword rankings.

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