By Daniel Hunter

Research by leading UK Digital Marketing Agency Omoii, shows that many small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are spending up to £22,000 per year on search engine optimisation (SEO), and will increase in 2013 in response to recent search engine updates.

Omoii conducted a 3 month survey of 452 UK SME’s on their digital marketing campaigns and spend over a 12 month period.

“It was a fantastic research piece to build, we were very grateful to all of the businesses who were so open about their digital marketing," Steve Pritchard, Managing Director of Omoii, said.

One of the key highlights from the research was that many SME’s had felt they had taken a step back in terms of organic website traffic, reasoning that the Google ‘Penguin’ updates which went live in Q1 2012, had negatively impacted their website performance.

“When we reviewed the analytics and ranking data against a timeline of Google updates, there was a definite correlation," Pritchard continued.

"The two large updates were released in the first quarter of 2012 and many of the SME’s who had been negatively affected, spent the remainder of the year trying to recover website visitor volumes.”

The in-depth study asked a variety of questions including many on the type of strategies they would be developing in 2013. 68% of respondents stated they would be increasing SEO budgets in 2013 to help redevelop their SEO strategies. They would focus on expanding their content and optimise link building activities to fall within Google recommendations, with 59% of SME’s outsourcing their SEO campaigns to experienced agencies.

“The real insight for us was that many SME’s realised that SEO is still worth investing in despite the setbacks they experienced," Pritchard concluded.

"For them to increase investment in 2013, really shows how the channel has matured over the years and is still seen as a necessity for many SMEs.”

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