Top 25 Most Visible SEO Agencies in the UK According to Searchmetrics

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  • July 10, 2013

Update Jan 2014: This post was intended as a tongue in cheek way to highlight the fly by night spam SEO sites that were ranking for keywords like “seo company” & “seo agency” in the UK and to force Google into taking action. The post was a success and none of the spam sites featured in this post are appearing anywhere in the results today (there are others cropping up of course). Choosing an agency is hard and it’s important to select one that practices what it preaches – at Branded3 we use the same natural content marketing strategies on our clients that we use to promote our own website. We take on clients for all budgets over £5000/month so if you want to improve your rankings naturally please get in touch.

——–** Original post **——–
Most people in the industry know not to judge an SEO company by their own rankings but there are still a lot of clients out there that choose an SEO agency by searching on Google for “seo” or “seo agency”. We thought it would be interesting to see exactly which SEO agencies had the most visibility according to the well known Searchmetrics tool.

Searchmetrics calculates a visibility score for all sites based on their ranking across a very broad range of keywords (they track millions) and the search volume for that keyword and is a much fairer comparison than just looking at a handful of generic keywords.

We’ve compiled the data below based on this weeks visibility (11th July 2013) and also added a comparison from 5th January 2012 to show how much things have changed in the past 18 months. There are a couple of important notes about the data:

  • We take no responsibility for the accuracy of this data, the numbers are from searchmetrics (we wish they did a quarterly award like Hitwise)
  • We merged & last year so we added the visibility for both sites together for January 2012 to get a fair comparison
  • Some SEO agencies have changed domains and/or rebranded in the past 18 months so we have taken that into account and used the old domain for the 2012 figure and the new one for the 2013 figure
  • Some companies (like Bronco & have a blog and a main website (like we used to) so we have added those figures together
  • If anything on this list is incorrect or somebody is missing please let us know in the comments and we will update the post

SEO Agencies

It’s really great to see how alive the SEO industry is with lots of brand new companies doing really well in the rankings. Branded3 is the most visible on the list this week but we face stiff competition from agencies that have only been around a few months and are already seeing great rankings.

If there is a lot of interest in this we might update the list once a month or so. All feedback welcome.

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • Chris Gedge

    Crazy to see that Distilled have dropped so significantly, considering they promote content marketing so heavily.

    • Will Critchlow

      See my stand-alone comment – I haven’t dug into what the visibility breakdown has done, but our organic *traffic* is up strongly so I’m not too bothered.

      • Chris Gedge

        Fair enough. We used to use Sistrix and I always took the figures with a mountain sized pile of salt.

  • Chris Gedge

    Also I wonder if many of those new ones will still be there in 3 months!

  • Butler

    site-wide footer links on client websites and 0 comment blogs don’t appear to be cutting it any more 😮

  • Chris Gedge

    I was thinking exactly the same thing Butler!

  • SEO Doctor

    Proof spam still does work!

  • James Norquay

    Will be interesting too see how many are around in 12 months, or have a new name once more =)

  • Will Critchlow

    Well now, that’s interesting. I haven’t dug into the breakdown, but I can tell you that our organic *traffic* (which is more important to me than “visibility”) is *up* by about 140% over the time period you reference.

    Eh. Whatever.

  • Richard Baxter

    Hey – we switched TLD not long ago, hence the drop. Interestingly, very few of our top referring keywords (via ga) are in the search metrics data set (~10%), so the data’s not representative. Finally, the seo keywords drove horribly crappy leads, so I’m quite relieved to not have that traffic. Our business is primarily generated by recommendations and speaking (incidentally I’m writing this after speaking at Mozcon, a conference in Seattle from Moz), and we’re just as focused on the US market (from our offices in San Francisco) as we are on UK growth. We’re up on revenue at around 110% YOY.

    Thanks Patrick!

    • Sam

      If “seo keywords drove horribly crappy leads”, why are you bidding on “SEO agency” in Adwords?

  • Rajesh_magar

    Nice and shocking at some point to see such big players like distilled, seogadet are accruing at the bottom of the list. Little confused whether stats are perfect or not, as Google is providing more and more complex personalized search results per user.

  • Malcolm Slade

    While SearchMetrics is a great tool for lots of things, their Visibility Score isn’t one of them as it is generated from garbage terms such as “phone book”, “compare the meerkat” and “lycos” as well as semi brand terms such as “epiphany”.

    Visibility and Turnover are Vanity, Leads and Profit are Sanity!

  • SEOsherlock

    Quickest way to piss off a load of SEO’s?

    Tell them their visibility has dropped 😛

  • IrishWonder

    It’s fun to see every company mentioned commenting on this explaining their stuff – ego bait at its classic Patrick, you’re bound to get at least 28 comments, likely even links from like half of them :) on a serious note though, surely it is difficult to come up with some plausible way of measuring an SEO company’s size, reach, brand awareness or success so it takes us right to the opening paragraph of this post – it’s far from search visibility alone.

  • Andy Kinsey

    I love the fall out from this here and on twitter ( ) – in all honest as @willcritchlow:disqus has said this isn’t all that important of a stat, plus how its measured may have changed and even more than that it doesn’t take into account social as a visibility factor (yes i know this is just search) … interesting and redundant?

  • Allan Gaddi

    I was thinking about it since last week.

    If I were a company looking for an SEO, would I trust one that isn’t ranking well? Right?


    • Daniel

      On the other hand, it may appear that the agency in question is spending all their time working on the clients rather than trying to rank themselves.

  • Daryl Cygler

    Patrick, WOW. this post was always going to attract some attention. SEO’s are naturally competitive people so i would say that extends through to an agency level as well. I completely understand the rationale behind expecting an SEO company to be in the SERP’s because that is what we do. What about Jellyfish, just checked our metrics and according to this we are at position 15, so very happy with that. I think the point here is each company has it’s own internal measure of metrics, targets and success. Judging at at top level will not always reflect a companies true direction and successes.

  • David Eaves

    I am surprised that is in 17th place, got a serious penalty on my homepage right now.

  • Williamsearch

    Yeah these are really very good agencies. They should be on the top in the list.

  • Robert Smith

    i want some seo projects can you help me.

  • michael bian

    This interesting..thanks for this info..

  • michael bian

    Thank you for posting this lists..

  • Jorge Santos

    “we might update the list once a month or so”
    Did you? I’m really curious to know how’s the ranking today. Just started working at and I would love to see if they rank 😀

  • Dave Fowler

    One of the top 10 visible sites is advertising SEO packages which include up to 120 blog spam links, 70 forum profile links, 2,000 social media links, etc etc per month.

    If the search engines want to hammer low grade SEO tactics they might want to look more closely at the sites that are still peddling that stuff.

    It horrifies me to think of the future penalties being sown for some unsuspecting businesses.

  • Jonny Pink

    As someone searching for an SEO company / individual it’s tough differentiating between the “fly by nighters” you mention and legitimate SEO agencies. Unfortunately as a small business or individual £5k a month is in another league – would you have any recommendations for smaller firms that take on smaller clients?

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