50 Percent Of Companies Struggling With SEO Aren’t Integrating Social Media [Survey]

seo-social-mediaWhat’s one key difference between companies that are successful with SEO and those that aren’t? According to a new study from Ascend2, it’s this:

Successful companies integrate social media into SEO strategies and tactics more extensively than companies that struggle with SEO.

The research agency surveyed almost 600 business and marketing professionals around the world late last month, and asked the group to rate their own companies’ SEO success. The survey compares answers from the 15 percent that said they’re “very successful” with SEO and the 18 percent that said they’re “not successful.” Admittedly, that’s a small sample size, but the data are still interesting and seem, to me, that they’d hold true across a larger survey, too.

Social Media & SEO Integration

The biggest difference between the “very successful” and “not successful” companies is their use of social media as part of the SEO strategy. As the chart below shows, 38 percent of those “very successful” with SEO are doing extensive integration of social media, compared to only two percent of the companies that aren’t succeeding with SEO.

And a full 50 percent of the latter group — the ones not succeeding at SEO — aren’t integrating social media at all.

seo-social-1

That chart only compares the successful and not-successful companies. Elsewhere in the study is a chart using the whole group of respondents, which shows that almost one-quarter of the group aren’t integrating social media at all into their SEO strategies.

seo-social-2

Our columnist Trond Lyngbø just wrote about this last week, in fact. In his article, You’re Dead… If You Don’t Integrate Social Media & PR Into Your Local SEO Strategy, Trond said

Social content ranks well on search engines. What happens on TripAdvisor (a social review site) and Yelp (a business directory) stays on Google (a search engine). What people say about your business — their feedback, the ratings they leave — everything — is publicly accessible to your prospective buyers. And this, of course, impacts the research/purchase cycle.

A couple other interesting notes from the Ascend2 survey:

  • 48 percent of all respondents said “creating original content” is the most effective SEO tactic — the top answer
  • only 19 percent said “external link building” is the most effective, but that may be due to difficulty — 45 percent said it’s the most difficult tactic, more than all the other tactics they could choose from
  • at 48 percent, “lack of budget and/or headcount” was listed as the most challenging obstacle to SEO success

The full report is available for free, but contact information is required.

(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

Related Entries:

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Features: General | SEM Industry | SEM Industry: Stats | SEO: General | Social Media Marketing | Stats: General | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • ScottyMack

    I could just as easily toss up a headline and the same stats that says “62% of Very Successful Companies are Not Doing Extensive Social Marketing.”

    And, at the “limited integration” level, it’s a couple percentage points away from being 50/50 with the unsuccessful websites. How’s “Unless you are Heavily Invested in Social Marketing, Don’t Bother!” sound?

    I would imagine that the very successful companies are doing everything better than the unsuccessful ones and, in most cases, have the bigger budgets necessary to do just that.

    I’m not necessarily saying social media does or does not help. I imagine it does when a ton of money and resources are thrown at it. This sure seems to support that theory more than anything.

  • Grant Crowell

    I think this report should have been called, “50 Percent of Companies that are Struggling with SEO aren’t doing Content Marketing (and hey, guess what, we here at Ascend2 do just that!)”

  • http://www.spinxwebdesign.com/ Alan Smith

    I am agree with “48 percent of all respondents said “creating original content” with addition i will love to promote those content on my social networking sites.

  • http://www.steven-hennigan.com/ Steven Hennigan

    Ok, I find this statistic very interesting. It further proves that social media is spearheading the SEO game. Google obviously takes an interest in social media involvement due to its evident shift in algorithms. This is simply a wake up call for business and individuals alike to get used to integrating social media platforms into campaigns for the future.

  • http://www.ecelticseo.com/ EcelticSEO

    Hi Matt, thanks for your writing like such type of topics which is more important in every Internet marketing guys. Social Media includes with SEO is really help us to reach in destination. I also think, the ratio which you mention for “successful” and “not successful” is perfect.

  • Elizabeth Woods

    do actually set up advertising or ?

  • Neha Bawa

    I can attest to this. My company just saw our engagement numbers shoot through the roof because we’ve begun using Social Media as a channel to promote the original content we create.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    It doesn’t surprise me that many sites feel like external link building is the most difficult and least effective. It could easily take you over an hour to find a great, new, quality link source and in that same time you could have pushed out a new guest blog post with 3 links in it. But inbound links still matter, even if they are hard to build on their own. In my opinion, content marketing helps your earn links naturally, but you should always be on the lookout for opportunities.

  • Dennis Miedema

    The survey results sound completely subjective. After all, if a company says that it’s very successful with SEO doesn’t necessarily mean it actually is. All it is is ego. I’ve heard a lot of people claim they’re very successful with SEO and they got severely burned by the Panda update because their content was crap. I’ve met people who claimed to be very successful with SEO and they got burned by Penguin big time because they cut corners. The definition of success is completely subjective: to some it means lots of #1 rankings, to others it means lots of traffic, and to others who sell stuff via their site it means the # of sales generated through high quality traffic which came from the organic search results. See what I mean?

    On top of that, if the world’s richest people all sh*t in the woods then it doesn’t mean that they’re so rich because they like to do a number 2 among the forest trees. Correlation is not causation. Something which happened right before an event may not necessarily be the cause of that event.

    To make a long story short: I’m ignoring these survey results.

  • Colleen Harris

    I’d love to see a report on the percent of business owners who’d love to be more engaged on Google+, if only Google would allow it and finish upgrading our Google+ pages

  • http://www.phoenixnap.com/ SEOchirp

    So True!

  • http://www.phoenixnap.com/ SEOchirp

    So, putting the “pound” symbol in front of a keyword in a space of 140 characters makes it special? Gone are the days of /links.html; Or does it still matter now that the whole search world has gone social? Old School SEOers (AV days) like myself must adjust…quickly!

    Im hip to this. Last month, we got a conversion form a tweet that contained the phrase #couponcode in it. I guess that’s a good thing (sarcasm intended).
    Dont forget to goo.gl that url. Space, Space, Space!

  • http://www.mikejohnsonmarketing.com Mike Johnson

    Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing go hand in hand and should be considered part of the same strategy. Combining these 2 disciplines effectively is the SEO, Traffic, and Success strategy of choice for business in 2013/14 and beyond.

  • Shana Stein

    Social media is a great way to add fresh new industry specific/relevant content that is linked to your brand and website inadvertently… That fresh new content is adding specific keywords that the spiders recognize, adding SEO value… It also adds a ton of inbound links to your website… being (and have been for quite some time) major/essential SEO components for years… Social media helps with SEO, and it makes perfect sense too…

  • Roman Prokopchuk

    social media content promotion is the way to go especially utalizing and improving author rank

  • simonecas

    Social media is part of SEO, as I explained in my tongue-in-cheek presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/SimoneCastello/lucky-7-steps-to-digital-domination. Social media is part of integrated marketing, where you cover all the channels. This is basic stuff for any well-rounded SEO strategist. I mean, if you have a blog, will you tweet it or keep it for yourself and hope somebody finds it? There is also a difference between B2B and B2C in terms of which social media channels are effective. For instance Facebook is definitely more B2C than B2B. LinkedIn is the opposite.

  • Jonathan Evans

    Correlation does not imply causation, although it’s just possible that the survey was conducted as a proper statistical study such that other possible factors influencing SEO success were controlled by using a large balanced sample. Feels doubtful though ;-). They would have to have selected their large random sample from companies with similar content quality and similarly competitive online markets etc. Wouldn’t they?

  • http://www.makeitmindful.com/ Mindful Marketing Strategies

    It would be great to get more details behind the type of social media integration that are driving the SEO successes.

  • shurikenlord

    Great content (engaging, unique, interesting) + constant promotion = effective SEO

    It’s always been like that :-)

  • Tom Parling

    Good post that highlighted the importance of an integrated strategy.

    SEO is now more about authenticity, and building an authority in your industry. Social media gives the platform to achieve this.

    Trying to run a campaign without it makes life very tough – as illustrated above.

  • http://www.concordwebsolutions.com/ Vicki Mills

    This is a really interesting subject, but the title overstates the value of the content. OK, I clicked, I read, so the title did its job, but I don’t think it delivered on its promise. As others have mentioned, the businesses represented are a self-selected group. How do we know they really are successful at SEO? And the ones who say they are not? They are probably like most of my small business clients – completely confused by the whole online mess: they don’t get social, they don’t get SEO, they’ve heard the two are related but don’t understand how or how much. Naturally they don’t feel they do well at it. I was hoping this article would answer some of their questions – or at least provide some meat to make the discussion more fruitful (did I just mix metaphors there?) – but I think instead it served to underscore how much of the topic is driven by conjecture.

  • http://www.deepaktiwari.in/ Deepak Tiwari

    The point is, all those who say original and quality content is a key for higher ranking actually are the ones who spam a lot. It is easy to say than done.

  • http://www.oneims.com/ Solomon Thimothy

    The statistics in this article reinforce even more the role that social media and more specifically – Google+ is going to play in the overall SEO success of a particular website. This is already apparent “.. a full 50 percent of the latter group — the ones not succeeding at SEO — aren’t integrating social media at all.” Your social involvement is going to drive the overall brand exposure and your authority in your industry.

  • http://www.lacksokning.com/ Energiläckage

    Great article, as usual – this one caught my eye right away. Here’s to quality content. I agree with everything you’ve said – thanks very much for articulating it so well.

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