The UK SEO sector is now worth over £500 million annually, according to Econsultancy’s new SEO Agencies Buyer’s Guide published today.

Econsultancy has estimated that the market grew by 18% over 2011, reaching an end of year value of £514 million, compared to £436 million at the end of 2010.

The valuation, contained in the 2012 SEO Agencies Buyer’s Guide, includes payments to agencies as well as investment in client-side staff to manage SEO and implement changes.

This valuation also takes into account the specialist services surrounding natural search, such as SEO PR and social media optimisation for search.

The organic search industry continues to see strong growth despite economic uncertainty, a trend which is reflected across many digital marketing sectors.

Econsultancy Senior Research Analyst Jake Hird, said: “It’s great to see that natural search has developed into a half-billion pound industry in the UK. Marketers are increasingly placing an emphasis on a longer-term online strategy, with SEO seen as a highly effective method of delivering return on investment by successfully driving traffic and increasing sales.”

He added: “This also demonstrates the shifting landscape of the SEO marketplace. Now, search practitioners have to deal with elements such as social, mobile and local search, as well as continuing to optimise for other types of content such as video and images. It’s a complex landscape, but one that marketers are clearly engaging with.”

One of the trends highlighted in the report is that the boundaries of SEO are blurring as a digital discipline. SEO is leaving its technical silo, and is permeating areas such as content marketing, PR, and in the context of social media, even customer service. This blurring of the discipline with other areas is being driven by business priorities rather than technical divisions.

Headline market trends

-)Google continues to maintain and reinforce its near monopoly in search. With over 90% of search queries in the UK and other markets being handled by the search engine, any changes made by Google to the operation of its search engine can have a significant impact to existing SEO efforts.

-) Social signals are becoming more important in search. With the significant emphasis placed by Google on its Google+ product, the signs are that this will have the potential to influence organic listings in the future.

-) The growth of mobile is posing new SEO challenges. Businesses should consider the different user experiences when using a mobile device, and how these can affect click-through rates on organic search listings.

-) The boundaries of SEO as a digital discipline are blurring. As businesses focus on end goals, the technical distinctions between different digital disciplines become less relevant, with SEO techniques permeating (and being permeated by) other areas of digital marketing.

-) Client demands are pushing the development of proprietary technology to integrate SEO tools and data with other marketing platforms. This is being driven to maximise potential return on investment, particularly at the enterprise level.

-) As companies look to expand their offerings into new markets, SEO strategies have to be tailored to the linguistic and cultural nuances of the new market. Simple translation is not sufficient in SEO when entering new markets.
About this report

The SEO Agencies Buyer’s Guide is aimed at companies who are investigating the need for SEO services, with profiles of 36 leading agencies being included.

The guide provides guidance on how to select the right agency, contains information on pricing models and costs, and breaks down the offerings of each agency into an easy-to-read tables and supplier chart.

This allows companies to quickly understand what different agencies are offering. It also provides avoid potential tips and pitfalls when selecting an agency.

The agencies featured in this year’s SEO Agencies Buyer’s Guide are:

4Ps Marketing, Barracuda Digital, Browser Media, Caliber Interactive, ClickThrough Marketing, Distilled, dotSearch, Epiphany, Fast Web Media, Greenlight, Guava, Harvest Digital, iCrossing, iProspect, I Spy Marketing, Koozai, Lakestar, LBi and bigmouthmedia, Leapfrogg Digital Marketing, Make It Rain, OMD, Propellernet, Receptional Ltd, Search Laboratory, SEOptimise, SiteVisibility, STEAK, Stickyeyes, Strategy Internet Marketing, Summit Media, Tamar, The Media Flow, VCCP Search, Vertical Leap, Verve Search, and White Hat Media.

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Journalists: Please contact Econsultancy for more information about this report.

Media contacts:

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director, Econsultancy

e: linus.gregoriadis AT
t: 0207 269 1465

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Published on: 12:00PM on 19th March 2012