You're sick of hearing and I'm sick of saying, but 2020 really was a year like no other. SEOs and marketers around the world have had to grapple with their day-to-day work alongside a host of natural disasters, civil rights issues, and a pandemic that will transform our industry and the global economy in the years to come.
We could have held back at the start of this year's reader poll, but we decided to move on anyway because we know your work and interests have been influenced and we wanted to know how much.
I am happy to share the results of this survey with you in this post. We'll go through what's changed – and what hasn't – for our readership since our last survey in 2017, and detail what those insights mean for the Moz blog in 2021.
We published this survey in July 2020 asking questions about our readers' professions, how these readers interact with the blog, and what these readers like on the blog. We've also included COVID-19-specific questions to measure the impact of the pandemic on our readers. The survey was shared on the blog, via email and on our social media accounts.
The percentages given in the following sections are part of the total We received 388 responses over four months. Indeed, this is our first data point to show that engagement to surveys has shifted dramatically since our 2017 survey, which is almost complete 600 responses in just one month. Given the disruptive nature of events in 2020, we won't let this difference stop us from conducting surveys in the future. Where possible, I've compared the 2020 results with the 2017 survey to better illustrate the differences.
Answers were not required for all questions. So if something was wrong for a respondent, they could leave the answer blank or choose different options for "No Opinion" or "N / A".
We generally don't include demographic or geographic questions in our reader surveys, but given the largely positive response to the gender gap in SEO and diversity and inclusion in SEO surveys published this year, we will do so in the future. Understanding the issues SEOs and marketers face due to race, gender, and sexual orientation in the industry is essential to understanding how best to work with and for everyone, and we recognize that shortcoming in this year's survey at.
Who are our readers?
Let's dive in. First are the questions readers ask to tell us more about themselves.
What's your job title?
The word cloud below is a merger of the most commonly used words in response to this question, and the size of the word correlates with the number of mentions that word has received.
No surprises here: number one was (by far) "SEO". Our readership is still heavily focused on SEO in their professions, with content marketers coming in second.
What percentage of your daily work does SEO involve?
In 2020, however, there was an increase in respondents in the lower percentage classes of readers who use SEO strategies in their daily work, especially in the 1-10% and 41-50% ranges. This could be partly due to the expansion of the tasks assigned to SEOs in the marketing industry, as several respondents also mentioned the need to wear multiple hats in their organization.
How advanced are your SEO skills on a scale from 1 to 5?
The majority of our readers are still familiar with SEO concepts and leave plenty of room for new insights across different skill levels.
Do you work internally or at an agency / consultancy?
While the majority of Moz blog readers are still in-house SEOs and marketers, an interesting takeaway for us in 2020 is the increase in those who are independent consultants or freelancers 11% in 2017 to just under 17% in 2020. We will make sure that this is taken into account for our future content strategy.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your work today?
By far the most frequently cited challenge in response to this question was that High volume and fast cadence of new SEO information, new tools and algorithm updates. The readers struggle determine what and when to focus, what to prioritize and what even applies to their work. We can certainly help you with this in 2021.
Other common issues we were aware of from previous surveys showed us that the SEO industry has yet to address these issues and that the Moz blog can continue to offer content in response. These problems included:
- Lack of resources and cross-functional collaboration at work.
- SEO prioritization at work.
- Lack of consolidation in analytics and reporting tools.
- Difficulty explaining the value of SEO to bosses / clients / non-SEOs.
- Difficulty explaining what SEO CANNOT do to bosses / clients / non-SEOs.
- Acquire new customers and customers.
- Have to wear multiple hats.
As our readers read
Taking into account the context in which our readers find themselves, we looked at preferences in terms of formats, frequency and topics on the blog.
How often do you read posts on the Moz blog?
With more and more readers relying on social media channels for their news and content consumption, the shift from frequent readers to "occasional" readers is not a surprise, but a problem. This also requires including social media engagement as a top KPI for blog performance.
Given the variety of off-blog distribution methods and the frequency of invitations to participate in this year's survey, we saw a sharp increase in responses from "non-readers" from 1% in 2017 to 6% in 2020. Still, it's interesting that Moz email and social media subscribers who weren't Moz blog readers felt motivated to take a survey called the Moz Blog Reader Survey. We have noted the topics requested by these respondents in the hopes of encouraging more engagement with the blog.
What types of devices do you prefer to read blog posts on?
While desktop and laptop computers are still the most common way of consuming blog content, the use of cell phones has become apparent an increase of almost 10 percentage points. Cell phones have only gotten better in the last three years, and it's no secret that we're using them more often for actions that we would normally do on a computer. Mobile usability will be a priority as we move towards blog CMS improvements in 2021.
What other websites do you visit regularly for SEO or SEO information?
Across the board, there was a decrease in the number of respondents listing other SEO news resources, as well as the first instance of a social media platform in the top 10 resources. This is just further evidence that social media continues to grow as a news and content medium.
What our readers think of the blog
This is where we get more specific feedback on the Moz blog, including whether it's relevant, how easy it is for readers to consume, and more.
What percentage of the posts on the Moz blog do you think are relevant to you and your work?
While trends in terms of readers' opinions on relevance remained similar between 2017 and 2020, we saw something like a 6% dip among the respondents who stated that 81-90% of the posts were relevant to them, and in the lower four percent brackets. These results, coupled with the topic inquiries we'll cover later, indicate that our content strategy needs to be shifted and slightly narrowed down to include more posts relevant to major SEO disciplines like on-page SEO and analytics are specific.
Do you think the Moz blog posts are generally too simple, too advanced, or about right?
Given the breadth of topics on the blog and the wide range of reader skills, we're pleased that readers find our posts for the most part on a scale from easy to advanced.
In general, what do you think of the length of Moz blog posts?
Likewise, it's nice to see that readers continue to be happy with the amount of content that is provided in each post.
How often do you comment on blog posts?
RIP, comments section. One trend we've seen over the past few years continues its downward trend: 82% of readers who took the survey never comment on posts.
When asked about the reasons why they never comment, we saw some common answers:
- "I have nothing to add."
- "It wouldn't add any value."
- "I'm still learning."
- "I don't comment anywhere."
- "I do not have enough time."
- "Follow-up questions remain unanswered."
- "I've read posts in the RSS feed."
- "English is not my mother tongue."
- "I'm not signed in."
Blog comment areas and forums used to be the place to go for online conversation, so this decline in engagement certainly signals the end of an era. However, these concerns also give us some room for improvement, such as: For example, working with our authors to be able to react faster and improve the accessibility of comments. But excuse those who prefer not to sign up – without this gateway we would be inundated with spam.
In contrast, here were the reasons for comments:
- "I have a question."
- "I have a strong emotional connection with the material."
- "I totally agree or disagree."
- "I want to add my personal experience or advice."
We definitely encourage readers with questions or concerns to keep commenting!
What, if anything, would you like to see differently about the Moz blog?
Outside of the answers according to the motto "No changes! Keep up the good work!" We thank you for this, these were the most important questions from the readers:
- More thoughtful feedback from and interaction with writers.
- More variety and variety in our pool of authors.
- More video content.
- More specific case studies, tests and experiments.
- More step-by-step guides with actionable insights to solve problems.
- Ability to filter or categorize by skill level.
- Location diversity (outside of the US).
These are great suggestions, some of which we've already touched on!
We also received few "Keep Your Policies Away From SEO" responses specifically related to our support for Black Lives Matter and our contributions to diversity. I would like to repeat once again to those affected: human rights exist beyond politics. Our understanding of the experiences of our employees and customers is crucial for good, sensitive work with and for them. The Moz blog will continue our practice of the Moz TAGFEE code in response to these ongoing issues.
What our readers want to see
Which of the following topics would you like to know more about?
Respondents were able to choose multiple topics from the list below in their responses, and the most asked topics look very similar in 2017. A noticeable shift is the desire for mobile SEO content. This fell from 33% of the responses in 2017 to just under 20% in 2020.
In 2020 we certainly had more content for the broader marketing industry and local SEOs hit by the pandemic. To better address the aforementioned relevance problem, the four most important SEO core topics, On-Page SEO, Keyword Research, Link Building and Analysis (all included in over 50% of the answers), will become blog priorities in 2021.
Which of the following types of posts would you most like to see on the Moz blog?
The way readers want to consume these topics has barely changed in the past three years. The desire for actionable, tactical insights remains high, and the demand for tools, tips, and techniques remains 80% of the respondents. This type of contribution was and is our goal for the future.
In our final and newest section of the survey, we asked readers questions about how they were consuming SEO-related content during the COVID-19 era.
Has your SEO-related content consumption changed due to COVID-19?
Only 34% of the respondents said their SEO-related content consumption had changed as a result of the pandemic, a number we expected to be higher. It is encouraging to see that so many readers have been able to maintain a sense of normalcy in this area.
Of those who saw a shift, these were the most common reasons why:
- Job loss and job search
- Switch to work from home and be online 24/7
- E-commerce industry is shifting
- Online engagement shifts and ranking and traffic decrease
- Loss of customers and tight budgets
- More time to read coupled with less time or opportunity to practice learning
Due to the impact of COVID-19, would any of the following topics be helpful to you?
With that in mind, the most popular topic is that was co-requested due to the COVID-19 impact 27% of the answers was Tracking / reporting on traffic and ranking goes down. Content and marketing strategies during a crisis came in second and third with 24% and 21% respectively.
If youIf you
The answers to these questions show us that aligning our content strategy with problem areas in spring 2020 was helpful for around a third of our readers and probably contributed to the relevance problem for the other two thirds. We will continue to include these issues (on a smaller scale) until we see the other side of this crisis.
What happens next?
You asked and we hear you. Starting in 2021, we'll be writing about more technical core SEO topics as well as issues on the business side of SEO. We will be too Building our Whiteboard Friday series to bring more fresh video content. And as always, we strive to provide you with actionable insights for your daily work.
Given the sharp decline in engagement in the comments section, we will encourage our writers to be more responsive to questions and to interact with you on social media. Follow Moz on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay up to date on the blog and our guest authors.
Stay tuned as we are planning UX improvements to our blog CMS next year to address usability and accessibility concerns.
My sincere thanks go to the readers who took the time to give us their feedback. It is immeasurably valuable to us and we look forward to applying it to all of the amazing content we bring to you in 2021.
We wish you a safe and healthy Christmas season, Moz fans and lots of fun reading!