Survey Results: The Most Annoying Part of Search Marketing


We recently sent a survey about our product suite to a number of prospects in the search marketing industry. The (anonymous) results told us a lot about the profile of a typical search marketer, from job title to PPC spend to favorite tools to size of company.

One of the questions was "What are the most annoying, time-consuming and/or challenging aspects of search marketing? (Select all that apply.)" Here are the results:

Annoying Search Marketing Tasks

The winner? (Or loser, as the case may be?) Link building. More than a third of search marketers (37.5%) find link building to be a time-consuming, challenging and altogether aggravating chore. This jibes with advice from link building expert Arnie Kuenn of Vertical Measures, who told us that 60% to 70% of your SEO time should be spent on link building!

From this virtual kaleidoscope of a chart, you can see that link building isn't the only search marketing task that gets under your skin. Other annoying and time-consuming tasks that eat away your day include keyword research (32%), bid management (30.9%), content creation (26.6%), content optimization (23.9%) and competitive intelligence (22.4%).

We also asked respondents to name the most annoying/challenging aspect of keyword research:

Annoying Aspects of Keyword Research

It seems that almost every aspect of keyword research is extremely annoying, but editing and updating keyword lists took the lead by a nose, irrtating more than half (55.8%) of our respondents. Keyword brainstorming and discovery (54.8%) and keyword organization (48.1%) weren't far behind.

Do these results match your experience? Does link building tend to be the biggest time suck of your search marketing duties? Does editing and updating your keyword lists give you regular headaches? Or do other duties drive you mad? What tools and tactics (and/or medications) do you use to ease the pain?

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SearchCap: The Day In Search, April 6, 2010
Apr 06, 2010

[...] Survey Results: The Most Annoying Part of Search Marketing, [...]

Nov 27, 2016

I love wordstream for high quality of its content.

I agree that keyword research and backlink creation are most annoying and time consuming parts of SEO.

le-Juge Houston SEO
Apr 07, 2010

Link building is probably the most time consuming task but it could be a fun one depending on the clients business and if you have do other tasks than directory submission.

To me the most annoying part of the job definitely is the keywords research related tasks and I definitely do not miss my SEO exec days.

"Recipe for Internet Marketing Success" free ebook
Apr 08, 2010

Hi Elisa,
Thanks for the interesting and informative post.

There are quite a few aspects of search marketing that are just so time consuming and boring. Link building is one of my least favorite, for the simple reason that everyone else under the sun is doing the exact same thing and its like a war on google. Keyword research is also not my favourite because you could put hours into a particular campaign only to discover that the keywords are too saturated with other marketers.

Oh well. I suppose all of these challenges will determine who wins and who loses in the internet marketing game. Just my thoughts.

Mark Lindsay

Friday Recap: Caution! Alot of Nonsense Ahead | seo cloak
Apr 16, 2010

[...] I have a problem, but I can admit it. As can the respondents of a survey that reveals the most dreaded SEM tasks. According to survey respondents, the least enjoyable duties of a search marketer are link [...]

Tom Tuerff
May 19, 2010

Next time, try LABELING THE PIE DIVISIONS. Sheesh. This reminds me of the old George Carlin joke: Here's a partial score: Pittsburgh, 37!

Elisa Gabbert
May 20, 2010

The labels are there, Tom, you just have to scroll to the right.

Nathan Brook
Apr 30, 2014

I agree that blog marketing is not a once off thing, but rather an ongoing process. The best way to market is through consistently valuable content.

Joe Bandovely
Feb 27, 2015

Thank you.
Very useful information.

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