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Industry Study: How SEO Impacts Everything from Brand Perception to Sales

RJ Licata, Sr. Director of Marketing

Key Points

  • Leaders at large enterprises are thinking too small about SEO. 
  • SEO is an important driver of not only traffic, but also brand perception. However, many marketers struggle to integrate SEO throughout their entire marketing mix.
  • Business leaders need to embrace a new way of thinking about SEO to capitalize on its potential across channels to impact business outcomes more broadly.

Forrester Consulting researched the SEO strategies of top companies. What they found might surprise you.

In “The New SEO Paradigm Shift: How Integrated SEO Can Unlock New Areas Of Value For The Brand — Beyond Just Incremental Sales,” an April 2020 commissioned study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Terakeet, it’s clear that enterprise executives think too small about SEO. In fact, the study revealed that SEO is commonly thought of as only a traffic driver. That misperception overlooks opportunities to manage brand reputation or to amplify other marketing channels to generate greater business outcomes.

This distinction between SEO frameworks at the top changes how companies fund and execute their SEO strategies. And that, and in turn, shapes their results.

SEO and brand reputation

The study examines the current mindset of 266 SEO decision-makers, including more than 130 C-level executives and vice presidents. Among other findings, several key takeaways related to SEO and brand reputation emerged: 

  1. Nearly 70% of the business executives surveyed do acknowledge that SEO has a considerable impact on brand perception.
  2. Even so, many companies struggle to make SEO a proactive, holistic solution across departments for brand management. 
  3. Companies that treat SEO as a brand marketing solution see the most success.

Executives see SEO as increasingly important. Four out of five of the executives believe that SEO is more important today than it was two years ago, and that it will be increasingly important to their business in the next year. Even so, many are missing the know-how to capitalize on the opportunity for using SEO to impact the business more broadly.

Missed opportunities for high-impact results

There’s still plenty of room for higher, more strategic utilization of search engine optimization across channels. Among other strategic gaps, the survey found that:

  • When a brand-damaging event is triggered, the majority of executives surveyed have a knee-jerk reaction to ramp up paid search, which has no long-term effect on the search results or a brand’s reputation.
  • Moreover, most brands are missing key components of a well-rounded brand reputation management and SEO strategy.

Long-term ROI

The long-term ROI of SEO is clear to Terakeet’s clients, with millions and millions in incremental traffic and revenue generated. 

Even from a brand management perspective, there is measurable marketing ROI. For example, our reputation management initiatives helped a national furniture retailer recover $32.7 million per month in lost revenue due to online reputation issues. In another case, our reputation management efforts removed 100% of negativity from the first five pages of Google results for a Fortune 500 CEO.

A narrow understanding of SEO potential by the executives who participated in the study means that many companies, even today, aren’t fully embracing the holistic tactics that will give them a competitive advantage. 

Download the study today and: 

  • Learn about the connection between SEO and brand perception.
  • Discover the opportunities that most companies are leaving on the table.
  • Gain access to key recommendations for long-term SEO success.
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