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Omoii has just concluded an in-depth study of SEO practices by Small to Medium Enterprises (SME’s) over the last 12 months.

In this study we asked a variety of questions on the SME’s SEO campaign, analysing website traffic and rankings over a 12 month period. During this time we experienced two major Google updates, which impacted many of the SME’s, resulting in reduced rankings and traffic.

We asked 452 UK SME’s a variety of questions, below is a snapshot of the most relevant:

  • How much have you spent on SEO within the last 12 months?
    • 62% answered above £22,000
    • 20% answered between £15,000-£21,999
    • 11% answered below £5,000
    • 7% answered £0
  • Do you outsource your SEO campaigns to a third party?
    • 59% Yes
    • 41% No
  • Do you believe SEO is a valid media channel?
    • 79% Yes
    • 21% No
  • What percentage of your digital marketing budget does SEO receive?
    • 25% answered above 30% of their total digital marketing budget was SEO
    • 58% answered 15% – 29% of their total digital marketing budget was SEO
    • 17% answered 0% – 14% of their total digital marketing budget was SEO

After these initial questions we analysed each SME’s traffic data and rankings for their top 5 keywords over a 12 month period. 66% were impacted by Google Penguin updates, resulting in reduce rankings and traffic.After reporting our findings back, we then asked the following questions:

  • In light of the impact of Penguin, would you continue to invest in SEO?
    • 89% Yes
    • 11% No
  • Would you be increasing or decreasing your SEO budgets in 2013?
    • 68% Increase budget
    • 15% Decrease budget
    • 17% Budget remains
  • What key SEO areas will you be focusing on in 2013?
    • 48% Content
    • 22% Link building – including removal of ‘spammy’ links
    • 30% Website platform – coding & architecture

We were obviously surprised at the extent of how many small businesses had been affected by the Google updates of 2012. But the real surprise was that they would continue to invest in their SEO campaigns and increase budgets in 2013.

Many respondents believed that the changes would help make their websites better, with increased content quality and a better user experience and were optimistic that any penalties had been resolved.

This helps us to prove that SEO has matured into a primary media channel, even though many had experienced a drop in rankings in 2012. Business owners still value SEO highly as a media channel and will be investing more resources to improve in 2013.