Internet users will now be able to quickly find relevant answers to their queries, without bumping into resources where there is a lot of "water", and clients of seo-agencies - business owners will no longer waste budgets for promotion by hacky methods. These are the conclusions reached by SAPE during its SEO market research in January-February 2021.
The study involved 414 respondents from Russia and neighboring countries. The respondents are leaders in the search engine promotion market, heads of SEO agencies, private specialists, representatives of in-house teams, etc. All of them are practitioners: they promote either client projects or their own corporate websites. More than 33% of the respondents are running several foreign projects, both pilot and as part of formed teams.
The respondents were asked about ranking factors, search engine optimization trends, link building prevalence, etc.
The study found that 90% of SEO professionals allocate link budgets and engage in link building. Among the respondents, there is not a single one who would not use links, while the budget for links is laid even more than the cost of optimization work. 43% of respondents spend more than a quarter of their advertising money on links. The main argument in favor of choosing a link is not just traffic, but its positive dynamics.
Link building is the process of building natural links to a site for the purpose of search engine promotion. External links are one of the ways to assess the quality of a site, so the link factor remains one of the key for ranking in Google and Yandex.
According to Sape research, article and crowd links remain high-quality backlinks for most SEO specialists.
More than 60% of respondents purchase from 10 to 100 links per month. A large number of links (over 1000) is mined by only 1% of all respondents.
Reference budgets are allocated as follows:
up to 5000 p. - 80% of rental links;
5-15,000 RUB - 50% rental + 30% eternal + 20% crowd;
> 15,000 RUB - 30% rental + 50% eternal + 20% crowd.
The least popular are natural links from content marketing (preparation of high-quality material to which links are placed) and work with drop-sites (restoration of "dead" resources and redirecting weight to promoted ones).
“First of all, in the link strategy in 2021, we need to find a balance between all types of links and the rate of growth. We are talking about anchors, link type, geography, domain zone and other similar parameters. Those who do not follow common sense in link building can see the results of their work much later, ”says the head of the SEO.UA studio Taras Gushcha.
“The effectiveness of link building has recently increased for both search engines (for Google, of course, more). It is impossible to get to the top for frequent and competitive queries without a link environment. In practice, we have met isolated cases of sanctions (for new incoming projects) - when links are posted on irrelevant sites with unnatural anchors and other classic violations, ”comments Evgenia Perebeinosova, executive director of the digital agency Racurs.
More than 70% of respondents are sure that the effectiveness of link building does not change for the worse.
“Little has changed in link building since last year. Links from strong thematic sites work best, from which it is not so easy to get them. Therefore, all other things being equal, exchange links usually work out worse than those obtained from outreach. But if we take into account the economy, links from exchanges can win because of the price, ”comments Andrey Builov, head of the studio “Muraveinik”.
How likely is it to be penalized for using link building? 90% of the interviewed experts believe that this probability is very low. A quarter of experts buy / post links in the required volumes without fear of “punishment”.
Behavioral factors also remain important for SEOs.
Almost 16% of the respondents also admitted that they use cheating of behavioral factors, even knowing that Yandex will fight it. Slightly most of the respondents (17.5%) answered that they refused to cheat on this parameter.
“Any promotion has a short-term effect until the search engines update their algorithms. For example, in 2020 Yandex made a number of changes aimed at combating the cheating of behavioral factors. If this time everything worked out with a decrease in the PF weight, then earlier sites were subject to severe sanctions for a period of 8 months or more. Therefore, promotion is categorically not suitable for a large business with a good reputation - there is a risk of losing all non-vital organic traffic. We also advise small businesses and start-ups not to resort to promotion, as it does not generate sales and makes it difficult to analyze the demand for the site and services from visitors, ”says Svetalana Sukhova, head of external optimization at Demis Group.
In the foreseeable future, the previous trend will continue: the majority of SEO specialists will try to deceive the algorithms of search engines, and search engines will introduce more and more new algorithms that filter out cheats and low-quality content. The losers, as always, will be the clients of SEO agencies, says Sergey Malinin, digital director of the Media Line communication group.
The experts call the selection of queries (research and search for keywords) and the creation of new content as important components of optimization in Yandex.
Earlier, MTS analyzed advertising campaigns in digital channels for a year and identified the words that make the promotion more effective. The top 5 includes "no", "find out", "code", "free", "delivery".
“Sometimes in Yandex it is simply impossible to advance because of the wizards and aggregators. Therefore, from the point of view of leads, it can be more efficient to promote on Google, ”says Alexey Guberman, head of the search engine optimization department at Ashmanov & Partners.
All respondents named the link environment as a priority part of the optimization process at Google. In second place is optimization for mobile devices. The experts also highlight the importance of links. According to the respondents, behavioral factors play a lesser role in Google than in Yandex.
“Google is increasingly influenced by expertise and trust. The time for faceless articles and authors is coming to an end. The more evidence of trust and expertise of the source, the more meaningful the link will be. For medicine, finance, jurisprudence, insurance and a number of other topics, this factor has the maximum effect, for others - not so much, but it also has an impact, ”comments SEO-optimizer, blogger Mikhail Shakin.
What is the most difficult thing today for SEOs when promoting Internet resources? Most of the respondents answered that the most difficult thing is to work with behavioral factors and link building. The easiest way is with the selection of requests and integration with social media.
“Links are undoubtedly useful in both Google and Yandex. Google loves them more, but this is only because Yandex has a different ranking in commercial topics. All other things being equal and with proper internal optimization, a well-implemented link strategy helps to grow to the top, "says Roman Ogrin, head of the Kokoc Group SEO company.
What other trends are being identified by experts in the SEO market today?
First of all, a curious nuance was the divergence of opinions of the players themselves about how the industry lived in the “coronavirus year”. All respondents noted that the year was very difficult, but 40.3% of respondents believe that the market has grown. 28.1% of respondents are confident in the opposite, 31.6% of survey participants have not noticed any changes over the past year.
The most popular forecasts and expectations of market leaders for 2021 are as follows:
- Search engines will continue to usurp the search results with their services;
- Voice search will continue to gain momentum;
- The relevance of receiving organic traffic from other sources (marketplaces, maps, pictures, etc.) will increase;
- Links will remain the most important ranking factor in Google;
- Yandex will increase the importance of optimization for mobile devices following Google;
- Marketplaces are taking over the top SERPs: their role will increase, marketplaces for narrower topics will appear;
- Yandex will fight against behavioral factors, the sanctions will be more serious;
“When playing for a long time, the only correct approach to SEO promotion is to create quality content for what people are looking for in a particular niche.
It is important to remember that the definition of “quality content” is no longer subjectively judgmental. A significant weight in the Yandex search engine algorithm is already occupied by the machine determination of the text quality. In addition, both Google and Yandex analyze data on how users behave on a page with content - whether they get what they were looking for from it, - said Sergey Malinin, digital director of the MediaLine communication group. - Google has gone even further and has recently been evaluating such a parameter as the expertness of the text. In particular, this was one of the reasons for the massive collapse of traffic on some thematic sites.
Thanks to the development of artificial intelligence technologies, search engines have been able to pay more and more attention to what they were created for: finding high-quality and reliable content requested by the user".