Cillian Bracken Conway
12th Jan, 2016

A recent survey conducted by BrightLocal, a local SEO and local citation firm, revealed that 78% of local SEO professionals believe that 2016 would be a year when business would be more booming than ever. The survey looked into key data points from 2015 and made a conclusion based on them.

Revenues of SEO companies in 2015 took a big leap from that of 2014. With an annual median income between $150,000 and $250,000 per year, revenue is on an upwards trend. 51% of SEO firms had revenues that exceeded $150,000 and 23% with over $1 million. There were also fewer firms who were losing or earning below $50,000. Overall, 2015 was a profitable year for companies providing local search services. If the trend continues, 2016 would turn out to be just as profitable.

Local business customers were also generous in paying service providers, with firms reporting a monthly median income of between $500 and $1,000 per customer. This translates to an average local payment of $1,389 per month per local business client, which is almost 20% higher compared to the average customer payment in 2014.

Personal annual earnings of individual SEO professionals are also going up. Before taxes were deducted, average income per annum is at $70,000, and median income per annum ranges from $50,000 to $60,000. Moz reported a similar figure based on roles, with SEO professionals earning a median salary of $60,215. Entry-level earnings are reported at less than $30,000. The numbers include bonuses and other perks of the job that add up.

Factors, such as part-time and freelance workers, and the type of business required further analysis on the data gathered, but SEO remains to be an industry that offers plenty of career opportunities for both professional and entry-level individuals. With 72% of agencies said to hire more employees in 2016, more SEO professionals would enjoy higher earnings.

Broader client base was a huge hit in 2015, with 84% of SEO firms catering to more than one industry. There is a significant decline of companies working with just one vertical industry, 16% in particular, even with the obvious benefits of demonstrating expertise of any single area. 37% of practitioners working within fewer vertical industries have also decreased by 37% from last year’s 40%. The drop on industry specialisation may have been due to the survey’s mix respondents, but a broader client base is foreseen to be the trend this 2016.

Image of a Tweet that reads SEOS personally handle 14 clients on average

The positive results gave 78% of SEO professionals many reasons to believe that 2016 would be a good or great year for business. But with changes in the market and the Pigeon Update that Google rolled out in 2014, which shook up local results, 22% are unsure of their prospects this year.

The Local SEO Industry Survey by BrighLocal is on its 4th year. It looks into operation, services and outlook of people and companies that operate in the local search industry. The November and December 2015 survey asked 1,973 respondents, which include local and international SEO agencies, in-house SEOs, and freelance SEOs, 20 questions that aim to address key industry questions.