Like any market, there comes a point where saturation is reached, this is the peak of the product life cycle:
I’ve also noticed things get more and more competitive in the SERPS recently, with local search being increasingly targeted by SEO’s. For instance I’ve seen 3 new domains this year that have been created purely to target local SEO search volumes: seospecialistbirmingham.co.uk (damn him he knocked me down to #5 for SEO specialist, fair play though), seoyorkshire.org.uk (which I believe was started earlier this year and knocked Dave Naylor down to #2 for “SEO Yorkshire”) and finally the new kid on the block, seoleeds.org (which was created by Branded3 and appears to have been registered in the past week and is obviously targeting SEO Leeds).
So things are really hotting up! Everything is becoming much more competitive, and it’s going to become increasingly time consuming and expensive to rank for SEO terms whilst also trying to work on current clients.
Combine this with the fact that doing freelance SEO (i.e. not for an agency) is becoming increasingly time consuming and competitive, (Patrick Altoft has recently commented on this also with his post on SEO Freelancers) and I think we are going to see a lot of freelancers die off. Instead the SEO agencies that perform are going to grow and as a result the reputation of the industry will improve, a lot – which is certainly what we need right now!