If there’s one thing that stands out in the 2012 SEO Industry Survey, it’s that the SEO industry relies heavily on the free SEO-related tools that Google provides.
SEOmoz released the results of its semi-annual survey today — a survey conducted between March and May that drew responses from almost 6,500 people in more than 100 countries. Almost half of the respondents (47.3 percent) were from the U.S., and 77 percent were males.
There’s some interesting data about marketing budgets (for example, 34.4 percent say they spend $1,000 and up on consulting each month) and tactics used (76 percent say they’ve setup or ran a Facebook business page, more than any other specific tactic in the survey), but the data related to the use of free marketing tools struck me.
The top keyword research tool? Google’s AdWords tool. (And Google Insights for Search was second.)
The top analytics tool? Google Analytics.
Top conversion tool? Google Website Optimizer.
Top free SEO tool? Google Webmaster Tools. (see bottom right of image below)
And in each case, there’s not really a close second.
To a large degree, this shouldn’t surprise anyone that’s been in the industry for any length of time.
But it really underscores the strange love/hate relationship that SEOs seem to have with Google.
On the one hand you have SEOs reacting loudly and negatively when Google switches to encrypted search, changes its AdWords formulas and introduces something like Search Plus Your World. And wow … if you want to see/read negative opinions about Google from SEOs, go back and read some of the articles in our Panda update and Penguin update archives.
On the other hand, you have the industry relying very heavily on the free tools that Google itself provides to make the SEO’s job easier and more effective. Google Analytics and the Google Adwords keyword tool are used almost universally, based on survey results. Google Webmaster Tools is used by five of every six respondents, and Google Website Optimizer is used by nearly three-quarters of those who took the survey. Imagine if Google took away one or more of these free tools, like Yahoo closed SiteExplorer last year. What interesting times we’re in right now in search marketing.
(For more on the love-hate relationship that the SEO industry has had with Google and other search engines, don’t miss Danny Sullivan’s article, 2011: The Year Google & Bing Took Away From SEOs & Publishers.)
That’s just a snapshot of the 2012 SEO Industry Survey. Full results are available on SEOmoz. You can also see some slides related to the survey in the presentation below.