Marketing and sales professionals say creating quality content is the most effective search engine optimization (SEO) tactic, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by Ascend2.

More than half (57%) of the global professionals polled say quality content creation is one of the most effective SEO strategies employed by their company.

Other SEO efforts seen as effective include keyword research and management (47% say it is one of the most effective tactics), frequent website updating (37%), social media integration (32%), and frequent blogging (28%).

Link-building, a tactic greatly affected by a series of algorithm changes by Google over the past few years, was cited by only 25% of respondents as a top strategy.

Mobile and local search optimization, two relatively new tactics, are cited as among the most effective by 17% and 9% of respondents, respectively.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 442 marketing and sales professionals from around the world.

Most Difficult SEO Tactics 

  • Quality content creation is perceived as being both highly effective and very difficult to do well; 47% of respondents say it is one of the most difficult SEO tactics to execute.
  • 44% view link building as being highly difficult to execute.
  • Other challenging tactics include frequent blogging (32% of respondents say it is among the most difficult), keyword research (29%), and frequent website updating (29%).

Most Useful Metrics

  • The effect of keywords on search rankings and the impact of call-to-action offers on conversion rates are viewed as the two most useful SEO metrics (44% of respondents say each is among the most useful metrics for tracking and analyzing SEO performance).
  • 41% say traffic by visits and traffic by source are useful metrics.

SEO Challenges

  • 44% of respondents say having a limited budget is among the most challenging obstacles to achieving their important SEO objectives.
  • 40% cite limited skills in-house and 32% say a top challenge is understanding search algorithms.

About the research: The report based on data from a survey of 442 marketing and sales professionals from around the world (63% US-based, 16% Europe, 6% Canada, 15% other).

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji