SEO in Nigeria: Everything You Need to Know About the Nigerian Market

The future of SEO in Nigeria:

Table of Contents

With over 200 million inhabitants, located right in West Africa, Nigeria is an interesting market, with a high potential for growth.

This is evident in the likes of Paystack, Flutterwave and many other Fintech startups thriving and making ways even beyond Africa.

No thanks to the global pandemic, but it has opened many businesses, especially the e-commerce sector to leverage the full power of digital marketing.

As more and more businesses take their products and services online, Nigeria registers an ever-increasing demand for content marketing and SEO services, which are delivered by agencies across the country and sometimes, freelancers from outside or within the country.

Many successful campaigns have been carried out not only for SMEs but for major market players as well. And Semola Digital has played a pivotal role in this growth.

An Overview of the Nigeria Market

In terms of economic development, Nigeria has come a long way, and it currently places itself as the largest economy in Africa. The country is considered business-friendly and its macroeconomic policies are perceived as sound. Although the nation faces lots of security challenges and more dependency on importation, it still remains the top of investors' choice when it comes to doing business.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which struck the global economy, has undoubtedly taken some toll on the key market indicators in Nigeria...

  • We see unemployment rising, 
  • inflation rate increases at a much faster rate,
  • interest rates are seeing their bottom levels,
  • and above all of these, the national currency−Naira is losing its value and the prices of commodities are skyrocketing

Certain measures were taken by the government to mitigate the imminent crisis, but only a few benefited from it.

This global pandemic, which forced lock-down in almost all nations across the world, has proven quite beneficial for businesses operating in the online space to sell their products or services. 

As the traditional points of sales got temporarily closed and consumers were kept under mandatory lockdown, many companies started using online media to maximize sales. Businesses who before now, had not felt the need or understood the gain of creating a website – finally began looking for experts and learning to adapt to the rapid-fire changes in the process.

...Quite necessary though if they must remain in business.

The rapid growth in interest in online marketing as a means of doing business has inevitably forced every business to turn its head towards paid advertising, SEO services, and content marketing. Despite the pandemic causing an economic crisis, many SEO agencies, including freelancers are seeing their businesses growing as never before.

Thus, confirming the saying...every cloud has a silver lining.

Current Situation in the Nigerian Market

The day the military handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1999, marks the beginning of democracy, thereby, creating a free market - opening doors for private investors and changing the face of the country the colonial master created.

Although nothing changed in the mode of advertising as TVs and radio stations and newspapers used to be the only means businesses reached the world - their audiences.

However, Nigeria has caught up quite quickly with the modern-day infrastructures and technological advancements with many businesses opening up. This has created room for fierce competition, demanding consumers, and saturation of products in the market.

The Nigerian market has become an indispensable tool in business. 

Let’s take a quick overview of the current situation in the Nigerian market.

How Consumers Behave

When making purchasing decisions, consumers in Nigeria take several factors into consideration with prices the number one factor. But the market is experiencing a shift whereby consumers are now willing to pay for better quality in products, convenient packaging, quick delivery, easy payment method, and friendly post-sale service. Consumers now have a strong loyalty to their preferred brand in the marketplace.

In terms of advertisement, word of mouth, TV, and radio ads are gradually being replaced with online marketing and advertising tools.

Demographics Stats of Nigeria

Nigeria has 11 cities with populations of over one million. Lagos is by far the largest, with a population of around 14.8 million. Jos and Ilorin are believed to be well over one million in 2022.

Demographic - SEO in Nigeria - Semola Digital SEO Marketing Agency

Let's take a look at this table:

Port Harcourt3,171,000
Benin City1,782,000

The life expectancy in Nigeria is, unfortunately, the lowest in all of West Africa. The average life expectancy is around 54.5 years of age according to WHO data, with men living an average of 53.7 years and women living an average of 55.4 years.

People between 18 and 45 represent the largest population group.

Advertising in Nigeria

Nigeria is one of the largest advertising markets in Africa. In 2017 Nigerian ad revenue reached 425 million U.S. dollars. The only two countries that generated more ad revenues that year were South Africa and Morocco – 2.7 billion U.S. dollars and 820 million respectively.

TV advertising still remains strong in Nigeria however, internet advertising expenditures are expected to surpass any traditional means of advertising in the coming years.

SEO in Nigeria

The term Search Engine Optimization” was used at the University of Stanford in February 1997 for the first time. And some years later, it became a talk in Nigeria - mostly among the early adopters of the internet, especially in the blogosphere.

On July 27 and 28, 2017, Google held its first Google for Nigeria event. It was a time of many firsts, as the CEO, Sundar Pichai visited Nigeria for the first time ever. 

Since then, the SEO industry has grown massively and more businesses are investing in Google ads to promote their brands.

Today, we can say that the SEO service in Nigeria is as modern as in most developed countries - offering a wide array of services and companies employing SEO practitioners to get their brands on top of Google. The exposition by Google was indeed a massive one. Many people have since then understood the benefits SEO brings to businesses.

A typical service portfolio of the majority of Nigeria’s SEO agencies includes:

  • SEO audit
  • Keyword research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Google Search Console and analytics setup
  • On-Page Optimization
  • Off-Page Optimization
  • Link building
  • International SEO
  • Local SEO
  • E-commerce SEO
  • SEO for industries (SEO for healthcare, Real Estate, e-commerce, law firms, etc.)
  • Enterprise SEO
  • B2B SEO
  • SEO for SMEs
  • Google Penalty removal

A few years back there was a misconception around SEO. Many people in Nigeria though it doesn’t exist while some believed in its existence, though it doesn't really bring tangible results.

But that has changed now and in the last 5 years, there has been a demand for different SEO services in Nigeria.

Companies are gradually understanding that successful SEO requires patience, consistency and are beginning to make it a priority in their overall business plans.

Industries Currently Benefiting From SEO in Nigeria

Cost of SEO in Nigeria

SEO is unlike a product with a fixed price. It's a service that requires every website to have its own SEO campaign strategy. This is because all websites are not equal and only personalized, tailored approaches and strategies can yield a return on investment.

Therefore, the cost of SEO in Nigeria varies depending on clients, nature of business, stage of the website, It also depends on the SEO specialist's level of experience.

That said...

A Nigerian SEO specialist charges approximately N7,500 (15 USD) per hour. The bigger the website, the higher the cost.

Agencies monthly fees can range between N300,000 - N800,000 ( $600 - $1500) depending on the website.

Job Opportunities for an SEO Specialist in Nigeria

Nearly 2 out of 11 job postings in Nigeria is related to digital marketing with SEO at the core of the job description. The demand for SEO professionals is growing in Nigeria as companies realize the important role it plays in online marketing, opening doors for job young people.

The digital marketing space is widening by the day as companies now roll out vacancies for content-writers, Social media managers, affiliates marketing, website optimization and management role and SEO specialists.

Based on our survey on the SEO labour market in Nigeria, here are some interesting facts.

  • 57% of the SEO Specialists work in Lagos.
  • 31% of them work remotely.
  • Ahrefs is most popular SEO third party tool among the SEO followed by SEMrush.
  • Google Search Console and Google Analytics are the two most used tools.
  • Majority of the websites are hosted on WordPress.

Nigeria and SEO – 2022 trends

The latest SEO trends in Nigeria seem to go hand in hand with what’s going on globally. Here’s a short summary of the things that most definitely should be taken into consideration:

Google Webmaster Guidelines

The SEO space is experiencing a rapid-fire change in Nigeria. People and companies are aware of the Google webmaster guidelines and the need to strictly adhere to them. 

SEOs understand that if you must rank on Google, you must follow the best practices laid out for webmasters.

Voice search

The Nigerian SEO industry is relatively young and not just that, only a very few people use voice search, especially the Google assistant to search for information online.

However, with the growing use of smartphones among Gen Z, the use of this facility may be on the rise even before 2025.

Content marketing

The advertising and promotional approach to marketing is gradually taking a turn as businesses now understand the role content marketing plays in the life-cycle of a company.

Companies are prioritizing content marketing as a way to reach customers better than a direct advertisement.

Companies who understand the role content plays are saying high-quality content is more important than ever before and planning to improve on the quality of content they publish.


LinkedIn influencers, Instagram influencers, Twitter, YouTube influencers all have their roles to play in the overall digital marketing promotion strategy in Nigeria.

One of the most common tactics is celebrities using comedy skits to create awareness and online presence for brands, especially start-up companies.

It is a way of reaching a larger audience within a short amount of time. Nigerians love laughing and comedy is a go-to no matter how tense the nation is at that moment.

The awareness campaigns often resulted in people searching online for more information about the brand; helping them to improve their visibility on search engines.

Wrapping it up...

Nigeria might have joined the SEO industry later than some developed nations but they ain't late to the party!

Nigeria is becoming a full-fledged player in terms of the SEO services industry. Companies are realizing the need to train in-house members or hire professionals.

The youths in Nigeria are not holding back anything as they set out time to learn the skills, get industry-standard certifications.

In the coming years, we expect digital marketing and SEO to be part of the curriculum at business schools, universities and other higher institutions.

SEO is not dead. SEO is more than alive and it will continue to exist, playing a pivotal role in any promotional strategy.

If you're in need of an SEO expert service—who understand the Nigerian market, give us a call or fill out our request form and we'll be delighted to assist you.

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