2016 Industry Trends and Predictions
The SEO industry is of course known for being one that is constantly in flux. It can be difficult (if not impossible!) to predict what the future holds. Typically, though, keeping an eye on industry trends can give us an idea of what may lie ahead.
With this in mind, BrightLocal conducted al local SEO industry survey of 1,973 local SEO practitioners. According to the survey, the average SEO company revenue for 2015 was $363,110 and the median revenue was between $150,000-$200,000/year. Nearly one quarter of the SEO companies surveyed achieved revenues in excess of $1 million. More than half of the companies earned over $150,000 in 2015.
The participation of freelance SEO practitioners in the survey has declined, meaning that more of the respondents work in the agency setting. Despite the increase in agency participation, it seems that the industry has grown considerably year-to-year.
There is also encouraging news on the individual income level. The average individual income of an SEO practitioner in 2015 was $70,000, and the median individual income was between $50,000-$60,000. The majority of the surveyed SEO practitioners, however, earned less than $60,000.
Due to lower barriers of entry into the industry, many entry-level/young professionals are getting into the profession with minimal qualifications. Therefore, the range of skill levels, experience, income, etc. in the industry is quite varied. Many of the people who seek to get into the industry are attracted by the promise of a high income, and it seems like that is a reasonable expectation. Luckily for these individuals, 72% of the agencies that responded to the BrightLocal survey said that they were planning to hire more people in 2016.
But What Do These SEO Professionals Actually Do?
As it turns out, most SEO professionals do not specialize in local search for a particular industry. Having the ability to serve a broader client base is the result of the local search industry becoming increasingly more competitive – not everyone can afford to be too picky when it comes to their clients. One in five SEO companies focus on 2-3 industry verticals, and only 16% of them focus on just one industry.
The average local business search customer pays $1,389 per month. The median monthly payment per customer is $500-$1,000, so the majority of local SEO customers pay less than $1,000/month. Despite this fact, clients are paying more and more every year to receive help from local search experts thanks to the ever-changing nature of Google’s search algorithms.
Perhaps due to the overall industry growth and the growth in revenue from clients, nearly 80% of the SEO practitioners surveyed feel that great things are ahead in 2016.
2015 brought many changes into the local search industry, including the downfall of Google+ Local, the advent of home service ads, and more. But industry practitioners recognize that changes in 2016 and beyond are inevitable. The good news is, the vast majority of them remain positive about the industry outlook and the opportunities for growth.