Emerging search interfaces, content targeting, and optimization support are a few attributes that Forrester Research analysts took into consideration when developing two separate Wave reports released Thursday: SEO Platforms, and Search Marketing Agencies.
In The Forrester Wave: Search Marketing Agencies, Q4 2012 report, 41% said they use agencies when it comes to search marketing support; followed by 29%, social media listening platform for SEO; and 22, local analytics provider. Some 65% view integrating search marketing with other marketing services as the biggest challenge during the next two years, followed by 51% who say the biggest challenge is understanding new search engine developments; and 47%, measuring how search impacts the business' bottom line.
360i got strong scores for paid-search and social media capabilities and for a focus on employee and client education. iCrossing demonstrates expertise in biddable media and content creation, enabled by a proprietary real-time content lab. A number of factors boost Performics into the leader category for the first time. Most noteworthy are its international scale, support for mobile and social programs, and loyal customers and employees, according to Forrester.
Forrester named Covario, Impaqt, and iProspect as "strong performers," whereas Acronym became the "contender."
In The Forrester Wave: SEO Platforms, Q4 2012 report, analysts said the SEO platforms made improvements in work flow and metrics, but long-term search marketers will require capabilities that the tools have yet to offer. That could spawn a fledgling industry. Missing tools that marketers will likely soon see range from cross-platform asset promotion and content management to integrations outside of the search and Web analytics space and user interfaces that resemble campaign management tools.
The No. 1 ranking for search engine optimization firm went to Rio SEO, which Covario recently spun off. Lead Forrester Analyst Shar VanBoskirk explains in the report that the tools "actually create optimized content and Web pages instead of just providing optimization recommendations."
BrightEdge followed. Forrester said the company provides an option to Covario based on its content auditing, forecasting, and security capabilities and because it is the only vendor with a proprietary international office.
Forrester analysts name SEOmoz and Conductor "contenders"; SEOmoz for its lack of some functions, and Conductor for its "earnest management team and customer-centric culture." Those attributes, however, were not enough to "overcome its shortcomings around content auditing, optimization, and implementation, as well as a lack of support for mobile and local SEO."