Webmarketing123’s State of Digital Marketing Report showed interesting figures for SEOs last month. The majority of B2B marketers (57%) and almost half of B2C marketers (41%) said SEO had the biggest impact on their lead generation goals of all online marketing tactics. By contrast, PPC, which came in second, scored only 24% from B2B marketers and 34% from B2C marketers.
So if SEO trumps PPC, how do other information sources fare? A survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Foundation has shown, as can be predicted, search engines are the top source of information about local businesses. This study was divided into people finding information about bars, restaurants and pubs, and people finding information about other local businesses. Of the total percentage of adults who got information about businesses, around half used the internet; a much bigger percentage than those who found out this information from newspapers or word-of-mouth.
Of these internet-using participants, 38% of people researching restaurants, bars and clubs turned to search engines, and 36% used search engines to find out about other local businesses. Compare this to the respective 17% and 16% who used other websites, and just 3% and 1% who used social networking. This makes an important point for web marketers.
Both of the above quoted surveys were conducted on U.S. participants, but it looks to be a global trend. Over 75% of digital marketing impact was found to be derived from SEO and PPC activities (Webmarketing123).
Social media is important, but it’s an importance that can be overstated by those keen to jump on the new technology bandwagon. As well as its lower hit rate, social media has a far lower conversion rate than search engine results, possibly because of its broad target audience. But 68% of marketers have generated leads from Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, and 55% of marketers report that these social media sites have closed deals. So social media should not be neglected either.
Another important point is that social media and search are merging, so it is important to pay attention to both. Social media prominence increases the chances of showing up in search results, and Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles can be optimised for search, as each contain metadescriptions and SEO tags. So even though most of your attention should be focussed on improving SEO for organic search, it’s still important not to put all your eggs in one basket.