About 10% more marketers are paying for higher visibility on Google this year compared to last. They are paying for Google Ads, Local Service Ads, and other programs, according to data released Tuesday.
The Moz survey of 1,300 local marketing agencies, small businesses and multi-location companies covers a lot of different topics. It found that a majority of marketers also rely on Google Ads and services for nearby searches on a variety of its platforms, but they say the nearest option may not always be the best.
When considering proximity, 54.9% said Google does a good job sometimes, 5.7% said rarely, and 0.8% said never. Some 38.6% of marketers said Google always does a good job.
When asked which local metrics take priority, 66% of marketers cited conversions and revenue, while 18% cited rankings, 13% cited traffic, and 3% cited other.
From the findings, it appears that large brands and agencies care less about ranking first, with about 70% placing an emphasis on high-value business goals related to conversions and revenue, whereas smaller brands, 21%, and agencies, 20%, rely on ranking.
When asked to cite the search engine results page features that marketers focus on most, the top three were featured snippets at 25.6%, local packs at 24.7%, and Google business profiles at 23.9%. Some 8.6% acknowledged they do not have “a SERP feature strategy.” Other with less than 3% included branded knowledge panels, local service ads, featured video, instant answers, people also ask, local finders, images, and shopping ads.
The top local SEO tactics where marketers want to invest more include local link building at 18%, local content development at 15%, on-site optimization at 13%, technical analysis of ranking/traffic/conversions at 9%, Website design at 8%, review management at 7%, social media at 6%, email marketing at 5%, technical needs at 4%, and schema mark-up at 4%.
Link building is in high demand by three industries: automotive at 23%, legal at 20%, and real estate at 18%.
The Moz study also shows there has been only 3% growth year-over-year in the number of respondents using email marketing campaigns.
Email marketing is driving some of the highest returns on investment, generating $38 for every $1 spent, according to Moz, but more than one-third of survey respondents overlook it.
Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents also said they made COVID-19 adoptions quickly and plan to keep them. It appears the pandemic drove quick adoption of new services, consumer convenience will decide if the services become long-term values. Some 54% said they will cut budgets.
About half cited paid ad spend, while 26% cited social media, 24% cited localized website content creation and optimization, 23% cited local SEO campaign management, 22% cited link building, and 20% cited local website design.
In the list of cuts also were local analytics tracking and reporting, local citation management, email marketing, review management, local SEO competitor analytics, Google My Business account management, and others.
Agencies are feeling budget cuts the most, according to the Moz study. About 8% of agency marketers say marketing budgets have been cut as a result of COVID-19 compared to 62% of non-agency marketers.