State of SEO: Top Insights [Podcast]

Would you like to get high-level leads? Who doesn’t!

Using surveys as a lead generation and brand awareness strategy can be very effective.

Join Shelley Walsh, Special Projects Editor at Search Engine Journal and Founder, Loren Baker, as they use our State of SEO 2021 Report as a case study. (You can find a copy here:

They discuss the why, how, and challenges of our latest survey from a content marketing perspective.

Developing a good report is more than numbers; it’s also about connecting with the right people, getting good data, building your audience, and reaching them in various ways. Listen as they share how this survey has increased the success of gated content and considerations when publishing something like this on your own.


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We were looking to find something that would assert that industry authority that we had and something that would get us not only good page views but also links as well. –Shelley Walsh [09:54]

Having unique data is always a real plus point, and one of the real benefits of it is the fact that
they are natural linking machines. –Shelley Walsh, [13:22]

The value of building your own audience, whether you’re a company, ecommerce, a publisher, is that building up an email list or a customer list that you can revisit in more ways than one. –Loren Baker, [31:26]

[00:00] – A little about Shelley
[08:51] – Why SEJ decided to publish a massive piece of content, the State of SEO
[15:30] – How many SEO professionals were surveyed and how that led to quality results
[18:06] – Tactics that generated extensive media coverage, conversation, and backlinks
[20:17] – How Shelley designed the State of SEO survey to be useful and actionable
[24:49] – What challenges Shelley had and what she learned from doing this study
[31:22] – Is it worth it for ecoms or publishers to build their own audience?
[33:26] – How to leverage your audience for responses
[35:40] – Creating and using your own audience vs. using those owned by others
[39:19] – How Shelley and SEJ encouraged readers to respond
[41:16] – Comparing survey tool UX and how to choose the right one
[43:57] – What a survey design needs to be successful
[50:00] – What made the difference when publishing the results?
[53:11] – One of the classic rules in advertising applied
[55:14] – What people never mention about content repurposing and branding
[58:52] – Where do Shelley and Loren find their most valuable marketing insights?
[01:03:27] – Using surveys for lead acquisition
[01:05:14] – Questions to ask yourself when planning surveys
[01:06:20] – How to get good data even if you’re a small business


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Try to think about something different for each channel and approach it in a different way so that it’s giving people a reason to check out all the different avenues. Give a slightly different approach in each one. –Shelley Walsh, [58:38]

What really matters is that you know if you’re producing content that nails your concepts and you’ve got a really strong concept of value. –Shelley Walsh, [43:57]

If you’ve done a study or survey the first time, don’t give up. By continuously doing it, people start to expect it, and it starts to grow. –Loren Baker, [01:08:29]

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Content marketing consultant Shelley Walsh is a Special Projects Editor at Search Engine Journal. Since founding ShellShock, her team has produced content that has attracted hundreds of links and gone viral. Having a passion for new challenges and learning new things has driven her to achieve success. She enjoys spending time at the pool, reading, biking, or climbing hills during her free time.

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Connect with Shelley on LinkedIn:


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Connect with Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal:

Follow him on Twitter:
Connect with him on LinkedIn:

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