I went to Australia last December to visit my sister who had recently moved to Aussieland and I also wanted to check out the search market. I had been working in London for 6 years and therefore wanted to see what search was like on the other side of the globe.
I spent most of my time on the west coast, in Western Australia, the biggest state in Australia. There were quite a few perth seo agencies I came across while I was in Perth. Most are boutique and specialised, there are no multinational agencies yet on the west coast. However, this can be an advantage to those looking for an agency as you will get more personalised services. No disrespect to some of the bigger agencies but they have a lot of clients on their books and they might not be able to deal with smaller and more specific client enquiries. But of course, it really depends on the project.
Perth has gone through a huge growth recently, partly due to the mining boom and search engine marketing in Perth is no exception. A lot of the agencies work with local businesses and are keen to drive through a clear ROI. This is even more important in an industry that is not well known. I think PPC is easier to understand as people can relate that back to display and also other forms of traditional advertising. However seo does struggle to show a clear ROI for the work as it is more about having a good partnership with an agency.
I run Search London in the UK and have been to many events such as Brighton SEO, SES and SMX. In Australia, there are not as many search marketing events as in the UK or US, but that is looking to change. Until recently there was no SMX in Australia, but now it is in Sydney and Melbourne every May. There is a big opportunity in Australia to host more search marketing events. It has grown phenomenally in the UK and I am sure Australia will see the same pattern of growth over the next couple of years.
Search is an area that is constantly developing. I was not in the industry when it first developed in the UK more than 10 years ago, but I can witness and be part of the growth in Australia.