When it comes to an effective SEO strategy, there's no one-size-fits-it-all solution. What works like magic for a big SEO team can be a deadly trap for a small business. And that is why our main idea was to conduct the survey across multiple channels and attract SEOs of different caliber.
We asked SEOs at SMX Advanced 2017 in Seattle.
For those of you unfamiliar with SMX Advanced
, it is one of the largest (and most trusted) events for SEO professionals in the USA.
We asked the SEO PowerSuite users and blog subscribers.
The audience here ranged from SEO agencies and in-house SEOs to small businesses making their first steps in SEO.
Here's how we can classify the respondents according to the type and size of business they're in (excluding thr "Other" group):
First and foremost…
Do SEOs believe in backlinks?
There was almost no difference in how professional and beginner SEOs treat backlinks. Regardless of their experiences:
~ 72% of SEOs believe backlinks are one of the most significant Google ranking factors;
~ 24% of SEOs think backlinks are still somewhat important (while many other factors also play a part in the ranking algorithm);
~ 4% of SEOs assume backlink have little influence on rankings.
So, backlinks are important. But building backlinks is challenging.
What are the biggest link building challenges
for SEOs these days?
Another huge challenge is keeping backlinks penalty-proof, and we wanted to see…
How many SEOs have had backlink penalties over the past 12 months?
Actually only 37 respondents mentioned they are pretty sure they've been penalized for backlinks. While as many as 503 of them have had no backlink penalties recently.
Among the 37 respondents who said they had received a penalty, manual actions were mentioned a little less frequently than Penguin (14 vs 20). However, manual penalties proved to be easier to recover from.
To stay penalty-proof, you need to grow your link profile at a natural pace. but how many is not too many? We asked...
How many backlinks do SEOs build (and for how much money) per month per month?
These were the overall stats. But we wanted to know if they differ depending on the size of the team.
Do SMBs have enough time for link building?
Unsurprisingly, smaller teams have much less resources to try out different link building tactics. While an average representative of a large SEO agency team would mention using ~14 link building tactics over the past year, an average small business owner would mention trying only 8.
Now let's split the stats into the exact link building methods.
How often are different link building techniques used?
We asked SEOs about 23 different techniques (organized into 7 groups). Use the arrows to navigate between them:
Now let's see how these techniques are being utilized by different SEO teams.
What are the top popular link building methods for different SEO teams?
And here comes probably the most important question:
What 5 link building techniques proved most and least efficient for SEOs?
The survey's leaders in terms of efficiency are various viral content types (research, videos, and interviews). However, it's worth noting that not all content types are created equal — for instance running webinars proved to be the least efficient method of all the 23 mentioned in the survey.
And a little extra for you from SMX Advanced:
What do leading SEO experts think about link building?
While at SMX Advanced, we used the chance to talk to 3 leading SEO experts asking them if link building was still worth it in 2017 and what link building techniques they considered the most effective (and safe).
Want the survey data in a PDF report?
Download Free “Link Building 2017 Report”