37% SEOs Earning Less than $30,000, Survey Reveals!

Sep 9, 2014 | 1,998 views | by Ritu Sharma
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Recently, BrightLocal, the local SEO tools and search engine marketing service has released the results of the 2014 Local SEO Industry Survey. The survey was done on nearly 1800 SEOs. 37% of respondents said that they had a turnover of less than $30,000. This percentage is slightly higher than last year’s 33%.

31% of respondents were from local/regional agencies, 27% were freelance SEOs whereas 84 % said that they have five or less SEOs in their company. This implies that most of people working in local search work as either a part of smaller agencies working in local towns or as solo operations.

The rise in the percentage of SEO’s earning less than $30k is an alarming trend for the industry as a whole. BrightLocal says that SEOs should command higher income and fees keeping in account the complexity of the work and the impact it can have on local businesses when done well.

Turnover 37% SEOs Earning Less than $30,000, Survey Reveals!

Most of the respondents said that they handled between 2 to 10 clients personally. The average number for this year is 9, down from 11 last year. In addition to this, 60% respondents said they served several industries this year as compared to the 67% in 2013.

However, there has been an increase in the number of SEOs targeting their efforts on clients in specific sets of industries and notes. With such competition in the local search service market, it definitely helps to have a specialism allowing a consultant/agency to demonstrate deeper understanding of a specific client's business, industry as well as their own customers.

Most of the respondents said that they charge less than $1,000 per month and the arithmetic mean charge is down $65 from 2013. This is another troubling indication of the devaluing of SEO by customers or price competitiveness driving down charges.

Average Customer 37% SEOs Earning Less than $30,000, Survey Reveals!

Google+ optimization, citation building and on-site SEO are the most popular services among respondents. Video and mobile marketing are the services with the lowest demand.

SEO Online Marketing Services 37% SEOs Earning Less than $30,000, Survey Reveals!

While 53 percent of respondents said that they outsource less than 10 % of their workload to third parties, which was 62 % in 2013. According to BrightLocal, this is an efficient way to handle increased workloads at reasonable costs as SEOs take on more clients.

Onsite optimization, SEO audits, reporting/analytics, and client management are the most tackled tasks per week. Respondents said that new business development is often neglected in favor of client tasks.

Respondents also said that content writing, link-building and citation generation are the most time-consuming and tedious tasks. Link building was considered the most tedious task by 41% SEOs in 2013 and 34% in 2014. Thus, it might be possible that some SEOs have stopped doing link-building altogether or changed their strategies due to Google penalties. Although, link building is one of the tasks, they want to do more often.

Tasks like citation generation, analytics and social media optimization were high on SEO wish lists in 2013, but witnessed a drop in 2014.

Finally, 93% respondents said that they definitely expect to grow their business in the next 12 months. This reflects optimism in the SEO industry overall.

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Ritu from PageTraffic is a qualified Google Adwords Professional and Content Head at PageTraffic. She has been the spear head for many successful Search Marketing Campaigns and currently oversees Content Marketing operations of PageTraffic in India.