The State of the SEO Industry in the UK

Starting in the late 90s, SEO has grown from an obscure side-hobby to a multi-billion dollar industry. Gone are the days where online marketing was left to the most tech savvy person at the company. Digital agencies now fill the landscape with skills that surpass those of traditional marketing agencies with so many UK businesses largely dependent on online sales.

The UK SEO market is one of the largest in the world, lagging behind the United States and on par with Australia. The sector is filled with highly skilled individuals generally sought after globally. We look at some of the key factors that have shaped the SEO industry in the United Kingdom.

Tough Competition

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Low barriers to entry have made it simple for new start-ups to emerge due to low levels of regulation and the availability of knowledge freely shared amongst the online marketing community. This has led to a highly competitive environment, with agencies fighting for market-share in smaller local areas.

Major marketing platforms such as Google AdWords, Facebook and search engines have intensified the competition by implementing frameworks that favor those with deeper pockets. Search engine results pages are flooded with ads and knowledge graph blocks, in the process drowning out organic results making life much harder for agencies to get traction for clients in organic search.

These two factors combined make it extremely tough for new agencies to get a foothold in the industry.

Increased Complexity

UK customers demand more comprehensive solutions with campaigns that cover multiple platforms such as social media, paid advertising and more. Hence agencies have to continually improve the competency levels of staff to have a holistic view of SEO and a deeper knowledge of their clients’ needs.

That strong client focus on ROI has helped search professionals to refine outcomes and nail down their kpi’s for each campaign. The result has been numerous technology developments and tools to help agencies achieve their objectives.

Alasdair Walker from states that “Marketers simply must keep up to date on the latest industry developments to retain an advantage in SEO.”

Technology Developments

SEO has one of the most robust tool development industries, encompassing solutions for client management, social media, paid advertising and site management. The competitive advantage sought after by agencies is many times available in specific tools and applications.

As the sector develops, the tools it requires will inevitably have to adapt to the new demand. Vendors now employ the feedback of agencies and freelance marketers to hone their software; this over time will lead to better tools for better marketers.

The Future

As more UK based companies are becoming aware of the value of SEO and online marketing, it creates a bigger opportunity for agencies, but also requires more ingenuity from firms to deliver on clients’ expectations.

The future looks bright for the sector in the United Kingdom. Customers and agencies finally have a clearer picture of what defines success for both. This should stabilize the SEO industry in the UK as one of its most promising industry sectors.