What Forrester Search Wave Reports Reveal About Agencies, SEO

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."

4 comments about "What Forrester Search Wave Reports Reveal About Agencies, SEO".
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  1. Allen MacCannell from WebCEO, November 1, 2012 at 6:16 p.m.

    I wish the analysts had interviewed the SEO tool producers who actually show up in the top 10 positions on Google and Bing for "Online SEO Tools" and "SEO Software," etc.

    In this industry, that matters and WebCEO has garnered 930,000 registered users (desktop and online software) because plenty of corporate execs still instinctively do searches to find effective search tools. They figure that Google's algorithm probably knows best who understands the Google algorithm.

    While SEOMoz was mentioned above and criticized, Raven and WebCEO (the other two companies with innovative white label programs) weren't even given the honor of being criticized. Nobody called to ask about our current standing, updates, plans and revenue.

    Anyway, I haven't read the entire report but I believe what it seems to be predicting for the future is the following:

    The SEO Industry is now merging with the CMS industry.

    Content Management Systems producers need SEO tool integration and, conversely, SEO tool producers need to have online HTML editors and other content generating functions.

    We at Web CEO Limited are working with CMS producers to release new products in the very near future that closely combine our current comprehensive site audits, etc, with the actual production of website pages, blogs, etc.

    CMS company execs who are reading this, may want to give me or my counterparts at SEOMoz and Raven a call because, if RIO SEO really has a built-in online HTML editor and other content-producing capabilities, then that company that Forrester just praised is going to eat *your* lunch as much as it will apparently disrupt the fates of the traditional SEO industry leaders such as SEOMoz, Raven & WebCEO.

    The CMS industry will be eaten alive if it allows major SEO tool companies to reinvent the CMS wheel on their own.

    Partnerships (alliances) will win the day here.

    Again: the CMS and SEO industries will merge in 2013 and 2014. You can count on that.

  2. Allen MacCannell from WebCEO, November 1, 2012 at 6:48 p.m.

    Laurie - Speaking of content management systems, your CMS at MediaPost has a major bug in its comment system:

    1) I just changed my username in my new profile and now, if someone clicks on my name at the top of the above comment, they will get a 404 error - a bad link. That makes me look bad and it makes MediaPost look bad. It's a whopping programming error, the kind for which programmers should burn the midnight oil to correct.

    2) Also, the above comment was originally written split into several paragraphs. Your comment box should, of course, have reproduced that in a WYSIWYG manner.

    Please see if someone at MediaPost can correct the two issues.

    The link for my name on the above comment should not be a bad link just because I changed the autogenerated username the system first gave me.

  3. Alex Irvin from 1-800-Petmeds, November 2, 2012 at 9:58 a.m.

    I'm a retailer, and I'm salivating over the potential of this being true.

    "actually create optimized content and Web pages instead of just providing optimization recommendations."


  4. Jeff Loechner from MediaPost Communications, November 2, 2012 at 12:09 p.m.

    @Allan MacCannel, Thanks for the constructive comments. At present, my generator is still burning the midnight oil for the 4th day! The links seem to work fine at this point. I'll venture an immediate guess that it had more to do with the speed of re-indexing, though we'll look specifically at this code to be sure it gracefully and quickly handles username changes. And, yes, the comments should allow for very simple formatting. Thanks again.

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