How One Singaporean Company Came to Dominate the SEO Industry

The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry is as old as search engines themselves, but it wasn’t all that complex pre-millennium. The algorithms that determined the search engine results have become much more nuanced, with a far greater amount of variables. This has led to a need for software and agencies to help out smaller businesses who may not have the resources to compete for Google’s 1st page.

The size of the SEO industry

In 2018, the SEO industry was worth $80 billion. The industry has a handful of key players providing software for those performing their own SEO. This is in part because paying an agency yields unpredictable, long-term and hard-to-measure results. The alternative has thus been for SMEs to learn and understand SEO themselves, and use effective and accessible SEO SaaS to make the process more convenient.

As a BlueCaribu report stipulates, “SEO” is searched every second by 3.5 people, mentioned on 863 million websites, and continues to rapidly grow as the core technique behind lead acquisition.

61% of digital marketing agencies state that SEO is their main priority in regards to inbound marketing. This puts SEO above PPC, which derives from a few reasons. In 2016, ComScore predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be performed using voice searches. The real number isn’t quite that high, but this trend shows how visual results are becoming less important. PPC is redundant for voice searches without a screen unlike SEO.

SEO in Singapore are seeing the same global trends. The market is thriving given that Singapore has the second highest internet penetration in SEA, the consumers turning to online for their consumer purchases.

The Rise of Ahrefs – a Singaporean Industry Leader

SEO techniques have had to become increasingly complex to keep up with the constant, nuanced Google updates. In 2018 alone, there were 3,200 changes to its system. This is perhaps why Ahrefs, a Singaporeon company based on the Southern Coast, has grown to become an industry leader for backlinks. Ahrefs have one of the most influential blogs in the industry, where they focus on producing high quality content in educating on SEO matters — whether or not this is merely a vice for their own SEO is besides the point.

Ahrefs was founded in 2011 by Dmitry Gerasimenko. Dmitry had already built his first document search engine at age 15. By 2007, he had revisited the idea and worked towards building a backlink index — this quickly became the source of Site Explore, Ahrefs first version. Today, it’s a simple user interface in which clients can search keywords and analyze backlinks.

“Financial services is one of the top 3 most competitive verticals when it comes to organic traffic. Over years, thousands of companies worldwide have collectively spent hundreds of millions of EUR on technical SEO, content, and off-page SEO services. We are one of them, and without Ahrefs, our costs would have been unmanageable. Ahrefs is the most important marketing tool available to anyone who can leverage organic traffic into new customer relationships,”

stated a marketing manager at Swedish financial comparison website AxoFinans.

Ahrefs pride themselves on being king of backlinks. They claim to have the fastest backlink crawler in the industry, which boasts the world’s biggest index of live backlinks. This essentially means they know more accurately how many links certain websites and webpages are receiving from other sites (an important factor in search ranking).

Where SEO is heading in Singapore

Singapore is in a stage of high digital growth and a thirst for SEO. Around 57% of marketers in the Asia Pacific however view high quality content production as being their biggest issue. There’s a short supply of digital media expertise, but the demand is there. This is resulting in a flood of SEO agencies and Content as a Service providers coming to fill this gap in the market.

Social media usage is very high in Singapore (96% of internet users have 1 or more social media accounts, with a mean of 2.5 hours spent on them), meaning that content directed for a Social Media audience is expected to continue to grow. Companies like Ahrefs and Moz Pro are providing access to easy SEO research, so now it’s up to the execution from marketers.

Featured image credit:Business photo created by zaozaa09 – www.freepik.com

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