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The State Of SEO: Survey Data To Plan Your Next Year In SEO

Inform your SEO strategy for 2023 with data, insights, and findings from the SEO community. More than 3,600 SEO pros responded.

Wondering what you should focus your SEO efforts on in 2023?

Our second annual, first-party data report has all the insights you need to advance your strategy.

Find out the most important happenings in the SEO industry this year, as well as how SEO pros are reacting to changing technology and consumer dynamics.

More than 3,600 SEO professionals responded about their experiences over the past year and what they expect for the future.

In our annual State Of SEO report, we answer your most pressing questions with helpful data directly from our audience.

Download the report to read our full findings on:

  • SEO career, salary, and job market insights.
  • SEO budgets and budget priorities for different SEO professionals.
  • Campaign goals, metrics, and results.
  • Challenges SEO professionals faced this year and expected challenges for 2023.
  • What SEO pros are watching next year.

New SEO Professionals Entering The Industry

Over a quarter of survey participants had two or fewer years of experience in the SEO industry. The responses also indicate that the demand for SEO professionals is high.

In regions like the U.S., Canada, and Australia, SEO pros in the first four years of their career have opportunities to advance into high-salary brackets.

Approximately 31% of those with less than two years of experience and 34% of those with two to four years of experience reported earning between $75,000 and $90,000.

Download the full State Of SEO report and take a deeper dive into the latest SEO salary data. 

There was a drawdown in average salary numbers from last year, likely due to the number of newcomers and the growth of SEO in regions where the currency is significantly different from the U.S. dollar.

While many predict further industry growth, many cited acquiring talent as a significant concern next year.

We also can’t ignore the looming shadows of a recession and policies from the U.S. Federal Reserve aimed at cooling the U.S. job market. Next year may prove challenging for SEO professionals and new job seekers.

Technical SEO Was The Highest Priority This Year

The top activities that participants spent their time doing this year were:

  • Technical SEO (15.0%).
  • SEO strategy and planning (13.5%).
  • Keyword research (13.5%).
  • On-page SEO (12.9%).

This is likely in response to Google updates prioritizing website speed, security, and stability.

The Page Experience update came to desktop in February 2022. Page experience has been top of mind for many SEO pros since Core Web Vitals in 2020, and implementation was finalized this year.

Businesses could also be refocusing on technical basics after the huge growth of digital channels over the last couple of years.

This could also explain the focus on strategy and research. Marketers have needed to experiment and move quickly to keep up. This year, SEO professionals seemed to take a more reflective and technical approach.

Download the full State Of SEO report and take a deeper dive into the latest industry trends. 

Proving ROI & Tracking Results Continue To Prove Challenging

SEO takes a long time. There are also so many metrics to measure that it can be difficult to ensure that campaign goals and performance tracking match up.

When you dig into the data in the report, you’ll see that the services SEO professionals were asked to provide are somewhat different from the metrics they’re using to track performance.

  • “Keyword rankings” was the top tracked metric but only the third most requested service.
  • “Qualified leads” was tied for fifth place as a tracked metric, but lead generation was the second most requested service.
  • And while pageviews took second place on the tracked metric list, web traffic was the top requested service.

In addition, a surprising number of participants, 29%, were ambivalent – neither satisfied nor dissatisfied – with their SEO results over the last year.

The last couple of years have been challenging, to make a severe understatement.

It makes sense that businesses and SEO pros are struggling to examine their results; many industries have changed a lot in a short period of time.

Especially with changes coming on the horizon, it’s vital to set SEO campaigns up for success by choosing the metrics that you track carefully.

AI & Machine Learning Expected To Make Big Impacts Next Year

2022 was a big year, bringing both expected and unexpected changes.

SEO and SEM professionals grapple with platform updates that will change how they gather and report data as well as how they run campaigns.

Many SEO professionals expect AI and machine learning to cause big changes and present big challenges next year.

Performance Max, GA4, and the phasing out of third-party cookies are some of the changes to pay attention to.

Ad platforms and search engines are looking to AI and machine learning to improve their services and functionality.

Performance Max is a fantastic example of the direction that many SEO pros see.

Ad campaign managers will lose many of the customization options they’re used to in favor of letting algorithms make tweaks based on performance data.

And, of course, there are the ever-improving Google algorithms. As new patents and updates are added to Google and other search engines, SEO pros will need to be fast to react and roll with the punches.

Ready to learn more about SEO salaries, budgets, and performance?

In our full report, you’ll see insights alongside the data, as well as commentary from experts on our team.

Download the State Of SEO main report and reference it while you’re building your strategy for next year.

SEJ STAFF Ben Steele

SEO content writer and editor for 6+ years. Formerly a live theater professional. Bumbling through fatherhood. I’m fascinated by how ...

The State Of SEO: Survey Data To Plan Your Next Year In SEO

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