Conductor News Research

The Sabotage of the SEO

How would you feel if you found out you were being sabotaged at work?

When it comes to analysis of the SEO industry, plenty of fine organizations spend time and energy dissecting SEO budgeting, headcount and fulfillment of objectives.  Many more put a lot of energy into tactics, providing insight and thought leadership around the nuts and bolts of SEO.

Far fewer talk about the day-to-day life of the SEO.  This includes questions like: how does an SEO’s day breakdown?  What do they spend time doing? How does that breakdown line up with what they actually want to be spending time on? These questions are important because sometimes the SEO needs to step back from the spreadsheets and analytics to get a look at the big picture and determine if there are opportunities for efficiencies.  See the forest amongst the trees, if you will.

The Misalignment of SEOs’ Tasks
We spent time at Conductor Research recently doing just that.  We began with the hypothesis that there is friction between the tasks professional SEOs actually spend time on, and the activities they would like to spend time on (and believe to be more directly tied to producing positive results on the SERPs).   We believed the friction would be particularly pronounced in the SEO industry compared to other online marketing
disciplines because SEO is a complex discipline with numerous moving parts. There are time consuming low-impact tasks (such as rank tracking and on-page auditing) that must be performed to keep the engine running. PPC, for example, does not have the same kind of competing task/time dynamic: you adjust ad copy, use bid management software to manage budget and tweak as needed.  Rinse and repeat.

What SEOs want
To test the hypothesis, we surveyed professional SEOs about their actual time-spend versus how they would like to be spending their time.

The survey showed there was a significant mismatch between how SEO professionals are spending their time and how they would like to be spending their time. They are spending the largest percentage of time—up to 40%–on low-impact activities such as on-page auditing and rank tracking while actually wanting to spend time on high-impact activities such as link building and content creation.

seo time spend

In other words, SEOs are spending time on low-impact tasks they don’t want to be spending time on (and do not contribute to the bottom line) and are not spending time on high-impact tasks (that will more directly impact results) they do want to be spending time on.

Sabotage Wears Many Different Hats
Wikipedia describes sabotage as:

a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency…

When most people think of sabotage they think of the intentional, subversive efforts of an individual or entity to disrupt someone.  But sabotage can appear in many different forms.  In the SEO industry, it appears as manual tasks that prevent the SEO from focusing on high-impact tasks that can have a material impact on search rankings.

Sabotage the Sabotage
In our latest white paper released today, The Unoptimized SEO; How Manual Tasks Sabotage the Potential of Natural Search Marketers, we explore how the SEO’s life changes with the introduction of technology that automates many of the manual and repetitive tasks that dominate their time. The paper examines the extent to which the SEO can focus on high-impact tasks when the time savings from a SEO technology platform is applied to their day to day tasks.

Download the complete report here to find out more.

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