High-level executives are disconnected from the world of search engine optimisation (SEO) and, therefore, are not providing the support digital marketing professionals need to succeed in the search environment, according to a new industry survey by software provider SEOmonitor.
The study of professionals across SEO and digital marketing, which formed part of a wider Forecasting Nightmares whitepaper, looks at the challenges of planning and forecasting in SEO and what needs to be done to help SEOs to progress and complete their tasks effectively in an ever-evolving and demand business landscape.
The C-Suite is a common barrier to success, with one in five saying they don’t get enough support from higher-ups, which many believe is because senior targets and objectives do not align with SEO efforts.
The disconnect and lack of knowledge and comprehension across the business, and especially at the management level, has other downsides. A quarter said they are given unrealistic time frames to deliver results, and one in eight are pressured into making forecasts even though they may be false or unattainable.
Therefore, it is no surprise that 33% of professionals want greater support for their SEO forecasting efforts. Greater time and resource investment into SEO would go some way to solving pressing problems, but the report noted that a culture change could have the biggest impact.
The current state of affairs is not good for business or SEOs, as 26% of the respondents said they struggle to forecast accurately on a consistent basis, while 22% are unable to demonstrate the full value of search engine optimisation.
“By translating SEO goals such as keyword rankings or visibility into simple, clearly defined business metrics, forecasting makes an invaluable business case for SEO activity,” SEOmonitor CEO Cosmin Negrescu said. “However, for the field of forecasting and, indeed, SEO as a whole to reach its true potential, it’s clear that the industry needs more support than it currently receives.”
The lack of support means that many professionals are forced to use tools that are not suitable for daily processes. This is highlighted by the fact that 15% of respondents admit to using general applications, such as Microsoft Excel, to calculate the value of SEO. While the issues are wide-ranging, 37% said that more investment in specialist tools would go a long way to help them with accurate forecasting.
Additional training is another solution put forward by professionals, as 25% said that they have not been told how to forecast accurately, while one-sixth of all respondents revealed that they had not taken a single course or received any training about forecasting during their careers.
Cosmin concluded: “Simply enough, for search professionals to consistently forecast to the accuracy expected of them, greater buy-in and investment in the field is needed. However, the industry consensus is that this support is currently unlikely to come without business decision-makers first seeing the accurate forecasts it would facilitate. It’s high time this frustrating paradox, which continues to hinder the efforts of well-meaning search professionals the world over, changed.”