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We’ve talked often about the overlap between social and search.

MDG Advertising suggests that the two channels hold exponentially more power when marketers use them in tandem – and the infographic the agency produced proved to be incredibly popular. 

We're yet to find a search professional that believes their discipline can exist in a bubble, but are people practising what they preach?

Browser Media has conducted some analysis of the 101 top SEO agencies in the UK.

The third-most offered service is social media (after SEO and paid search of course) with 84% of agencies offering to tweet, update statuses and post videos to help website rankings.

Of the 101 agencies examined, 93 have their own Twitter account, with the majority tweeting less than 10 times a month.

Unsurprisingly, 58% have less than 100 likes on Facebook. After all, search agencies are hardly the most exciting type of business to engage with on what’s still essentially an environment people use to chat to friends.

LinkedIn is the most popular network, with 92 of the agencies saying that have a professional profile, and Google+ falling behind with just 62 getting involved.

 
Vikki Chowney

Published 18 April, 2012 by Vikki Chowney

Vikki is head of community at TMW. You can follow her on Twitter or Google+

249 more posts from this author

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Yousaf Sekander

The final wordle illustration is interesting!

Was this based on employee twitter accounts or "corporate" twitter accounts?

over 4 years ago

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Yousaf

Was this reseach based on corporate twitter accounts alone? Did you include employee twitter accounts?

over 4 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

Hi Yousaf

You'd need to check with Browser Media, but I'd almost guarantee this was conducted on corporate accounts - and not that of employees.

Thanks
VC

over 4 years ago

Tom Sizer-James

Tom Sizer-James, Account Executive at Browser Media

I can confirm that the research was based purely on corporate Twitter accounts, not those of employees at the companies.

over 4 years ago

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Max Webster-Dowsing, SEO Consultant at RBS Insurance

It is a shame that the infographic doesn't go into detail about who the actual 101 SEO agencies are. To me that would be more interesting.

over 4 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

Take note Tom! Max wants some details :)

over 4 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

@Yousaf A good point, especially as employees represent the brand as well. No good having an active official feed if your staff are scared of social. Or vice versa.

over 4 years ago

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Max Webster-Dowsing, SEO Consultant at RBS Insurance

Come on name and shame the SEO agenices!!

over 4 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

Ha ha. *chants* NAME THEM! NAME THEM!

over 4 years ago

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Yousaf

Vikki,

Agreed! A good example would be SEOMOZ's social strategy. Yes they do communicate through their corporate account but if you leave their employee accounts i.e. @randfish out of the equation then your entire dataset is unrealistic.

Apart from that, good infographic!

over 4 years ago

Tom Sizer-James

Tom Sizer-James, Account Executive at Browser Media

We've just published a full list of the agencies involved in the research at:

http://www.browsermedia.co.uk/2012/04/12/seo-agency-101/

Look in the comments...

over 4 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

Nice work Tom...

over 4 years ago

Joe Friedlein

Joe Friedlein, Director at Browser Media

Hi Yousaf,

As Tom mentions, we have updated the original blog post with the list of agencies that we looked at, so I hope that helps.(Vikki - the chanting worked!)

It really isn't intended to be a naming and shaming exercise though - I hope the list of agencies helps to show the calibre of the agencies we looked at but I don't feel it is fair to publish specific details for each agency. We can all be guilty of not always practicing what we preach and I suspect most clients would want their agencies to be too busy helping them to be able to have time to focus too much on their own social efforts. Don't always look at a cobbler's shoes....

Your point about personal twitter accounts is a very interesting one. It would definitely be an interesting angle to look at in follow up research, but it can sometimes be hard to identify the individuals in question and almost all personal twitter accounts I have seen have a 'these views are my own and nothing to do with the agency that I work for' type disclaimer (good social media policy in force!) so should you really associate these accounts with the agencies?

I have often pondered the use of personal v corporate twitter accounts. As an employer, do you really want employees building up 'brand <them>' or would you prefer them to help build 'brand <organisation>'?

In the case of Rand, he IS brand SEOMoz (in my humble opinion) but it isn't always easy to associate individuals with organisations. Equally, individuals move on so the agency account is a more permanent benchmark to monitor.

A good point though and one that we will try to consider when revisiting this exercise.

We have got quite a few research pieces under way at the moment - wait until you get me started on SEO agencies' use of spammy footer links to promote themselves :-)

over 4 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

@Joe

Chanting always works ;)

Thanks for sharing the methodology, totally agree with your stance not to name & shame.

I'd also love to see a comparison of pure corporate analysis (ie. this) and one including staff accounts.

The personal vs. corporate debate is one that I've seen many discuss, and never form an absolute. My take on it is that SMEs see huge benefit in giving employees the freedom to build own and company brands simultaneously - while for bigger brands, it's often still the company that comes first. Personal touches (like including initials on tweets or pictures on profile background) can soften the approach.

over 4 years ago

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Max Webster-Dowsing, SEO Consultant at RBS Insurance

It is good to see the type of agencies involved in the research. My fear as you put it Joe is that the study included high profile SEO agencies as there are so many agencies it seems these days. It is interesting as you would think that as SEO agencies are in the social space for many of there clients that they would make a bit more of an effort to promote their own services, you would think social media would be a big way for them to get some clients.

over 4 years ago

Joe Friedlein

Joe Friedlein, Director at Browser Media

I think that would definitely be an interesting study. One to add to the list, although I think it will still be easy to miss a few personal accounts.

I totally agree that companies should give employees the freedom to build their own brand. Whilst it can be a challenge, a good employer should always strive to creating an environment that both attracts and (most importantly) retains good quality staff. I think that this includes an open attitude towards an individual's use of social media. Censorship is rarely a good thing!

over 4 years ago

Joe Friedlein

Joe Friedlein, Director at Browser Media

@Max - I would agree with you that it is a fair expectation but I know from experience that it is often your own business that you tend to last. When you are busy helping clients, you don't always find the time to help yourself. You should, but it isn't always the case.

over 4 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

True - but with the caveat that the study wouldn't be all-encompassing, it would still be an interesting benchmark.

over 4 years ago

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith, Director at eschermanSmall Business

Here's my PeerIndex list of Top 250 Power Players Of UK SEO:

http://www.peerindex.com/andismit/group/power_players_of_uk_seo

If that's any help ;)

over 4 years ago

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Zoe

Vikki, I am certainly wary of these supposed SEO experts/gurus because in my limited experience on-line having launched a designer maternity brand in Jan 2012 with an alexa of 21.5million all that I spoke to you told me organically it would take 6-12 months to achieve <500,000 and achieve some kind of mention on page 1 on google! Yet in 12 weeks we are rapidly closing in on 500k alexa and have featured a few times on google p1! So how good are these guys and why do they want so much money for this work? e.g.£250 - £850per day!

over 4 years ago

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Dave

Well done Zoe, it's brilliant you're doing so well. I can't comment on why agencies charge what they do, but I think it's rich that they call themselves experts and then simply don't demonstrate it with their own accounts. To only update a few times a month isn't great.

I think it's a missed opportunity, must do better!

over 4 years ago

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clippingimages

Wonderful blog, and awesome images, I like your idea to clicking the photos, Thanks for sharing the nice images......

almost 4 years ago

Paul Naybour

Paul Naybour, Business Development Director at Parallel Project Training

Zoe I like your story, we had a similar experience, in the first year after launching our business I did a lot of guest blogging, tweating, directory listing etc (all in front of the telly in the evening) and managed to get page one ranking by my self. Only then did we employ a freelance SEO as we got too busy running the business. We too got an 600k alexa ranking. Four years later we have grown a nice little business employing 7 staff, mostly of the back of SEO.

I am amazed at how low the social interaction of these agencies are. For example less than 6 blog posts is just appalling. I just checked our project management website and in the last year we published 55 blog posts and have 3,130 twitter followers. How can an agency sell itself as thinking these things are important if they don't follow their own guidance.

I think you have produced a really way for me to check vet an agency before appointing one.

over 3 years ago

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