Which SEO tasks do you spend the most time on?

Everyone has their own way of working, but the core areas of SEO seem to have more time than others.

Where do you think the most money is being spent right now for everyone who manages digital marketing budgets?

As part of a series of reports from Search Engine Journal SEO Status Query, we looked at how search engine optimization professionals divide their budgets and time into digital marketing and search engine optimization.

Continue reading to learn:

  • Where budgets are allocated in digital marketing.
  • Which SEO tasks have the most time set aside.
  • Where the focus of digital marketing is shifting away.

How do SEO decision makers share a digital marketing budget?

In the last 12 months, 6.2% of search engine optimization professionals said they spent all of their digital marketing budget on content marketing. Internal marketing has a weighted average of 2.98 and the largest budget in digital marketing.


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At the same time, 17.9% of search engine optimization professionals said they didn’t spend a budget on digital PR, and 30.4% said they had little budget. Digital PR has a weighted average of 2.55 and has the least budget in digital marketing.

(We asked: How do you divide your digital marketing budget? Matrix selection, one per line. Open to all respondents, 2369 replied.)

Content marketing is the dominant area of ​​digital marketing right now

When we looked at our audience for where they spent their budgets on digital marketing, surprisingly, SEO was not an area where most of the costs of digital marketing were spent.


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Content marketing was the dominant area of ​​budget allocation.

Content marketing has proven to be dominant in many results based on an SEO status survey, and many SEO professionals are investing right now.

One thing that needs to be taken out of this result is that when significant budgets are allocated to content, competitors can invest heavily here.

The focus seems to be shifting away from digital PR and link building

If we look at the results of digital budget sharing above and the time distribution below, it shows that the budget and time spent on digital PR and link building is the least time consuming.

Digital PR (as a way to build high quality links) can be widely talked about on social media, but it is not where policymakers share their budgets.

This does not conclusively say that link building is no longer part of SEO.

But as Google has shifted to brand awareness and page experience, the results highlight the shift from link building to content and user experience.

This shift in attention is supported Barry Adams, Founder of Polemic Digital.

“Recently, Google seems to rely less on off-page ranking signals (i.e. links) and has put more emphasis on the relevancy and quality of content,” Adams said.

The web is built into a link system — and you assume that links always affect your ranking to some degree, but Google’s latest updates aim for a page user experience.

This would be the area we are focusing on now.

B2B and B2C, office and freelancers compared

In order to further examine our data, we filtered the results to compare different cohorts to see if there were statistically significant differences.

The difference in budget allocation between agencies and internal brands

  • The agency is more likely to spend most of its budget on search engine optimization than its own brand with 29 percent compared to 20 percent.

Differences between B2B and B2C in digital marketing budget allocation

  • 19% of B2B SEO professionals do not spend a budget on a digital PR service, while 14% of B2C companies.
  • 17% of B2C SEO professionals spend most of their budget on digital PR compared to 12% on B2B.
  • 23% of B2C SEO professionals spend most of their budget on social media compared to 18% on B2B.
  • 28% of B2C SEO professionals spend most of their budget on SEO, compared to 23% of B2B companies.


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What do we set aside our time for when working on SEO?

  • 36.3% of SEO professionals say they spend most of their time on keyword research. With a weighted average of 3.28, keyword research is the most time-consuming SEO task.
  • With local search engine optimization, 11.4% of search engine optimization professionals do not spend time and 7.1% search all the time. This polarized result distribution shows that local SEO is a specialty of SEO.
  • 8.2% of search engine optimization professionals said they spend all their time on analytics, and this is one of the tasks that is likely to be all the time in SEO.

What do we focus our time on when working on SEO?

(We asked: When you use SEO jobs, how much time do you spend on the following activities? Matrix selection, one per line. Open to all respondents, 2369 responded. )

SEO professionals spend most of their time on keyword research

Based on the results of our survey, keyword research has been identified as an important task.


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Some SEO experts support this result, such as Suganthan Mohanadasan Snippet Digitalista.

“Keyword research is the most important SEO task,” Mohanadasan said. “When done correctly, it can map out your content calendar for the next 12 to 24 months and quickly show gaps and opportunities…. With this information, you can make good knowledge-based SEO decisions. “

However, Dave Davies, The founder of Beanstalk has a different view.

“I personally disagree with the work process that leads [spending the most time on keyword research]”Davies said.” This does not mean that keyword research is not important, but very important. But most of the time, using keyword research feels a bit like taking a “measure twice, cut once” to the harmful extreme. “

Mohanadasan and Davies agree that it is important to focus time to ensure that customers ’websites are technically sound.

“I spend most of my time doing technical research and implementations,” Mohanadasan said. “My primary responsibility is to ensure that all of our clients’ sites are technically sound and optimized within the boundaries of the platform and sometimes look beyond and find new and alternative ways to remove those boundaries.”


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We need to remember with the results of this survey that our audience reports them themselves and is based on which individual is best or what he or she specializes in.

What makes SEO interesting is different opinions and constant discussion.


Content marketing is currently the dominant area of ​​digital marketing and an area where budgets are used to keep up with its competitors.

The focus seems to be shifting away from digital PR and link building and towards content and page experience. Think about how you can improve the user experience and create a better content experience.

SEO professionals spend most of their time on keyword research and page factors.

If everyone spends time on keywords, consider how you can take your keyword research to the next level. Think of new searches and new opportunities like narrow event and location keywords.

More resources:


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charge a copy of the entire report to access search engine journal status SEO query 2021.

Featured image: Paulo Bobita / SearchEngineJournal
Images created by the author, September 2021


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