Demand for SEO Professionals Has Never Been Greater [Study]

Demand for SEO Professionals Has Never Been Greater [Study]


Close followers of the online marketing world know the trends in the last 12-18 months show the space is hot.  Recent research by Shareaholic shows organic search drives nearly half of all traffic, 5x more than social networks combined and leads other channels in conversion percentages.  Tools and technology available to Search Marketers continue to improve and our day to day conversations with enterprise marketers show they are now approaching organic search with high expectations, devoting greater attention in the form of budget, headcount and mindshare than ever before.

The result of increased Marketer focus on natural search as a sales and marketing channel is that the demand for professionals with SEO skills has never been greater.  I could go on, but sometimes less is more, so I’ll just let the data do the talking:

In July 2011, 249,595 people had ‘SEO’ listed in their title or in their description.  One year later 528,642 do:

SEO jobs on the rise

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the same data a different way, people with ‘SEO’ in their title or description on Linked-In grew by 112% in 12 months:

SEO jobs increasing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job listings with ‘SEO’ in it have increased on job site Indeed.com by 1900% since 2006:

SEO jobs since 2006

 

Wanted Analytics reports more than 3,800 jobs were advertised online that required SEO skills in March 2012, a 24% increase compared to March 2011:

wanted analytics seo jobs

 

 

 

 

 

Where does all the demand for SEO professionals come from?  From Marketers’ focus on SEO as a channel (Google Trends, searches for ‘SEO’):

SEO insight trends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what’s it all mean?  We think the data suggests that, increasingly, Marketers get SEO.  That is, there is a maturation of the industry that is occurring as the value of natural search as a channel is being recognized and Marketers demand both tools that help them get the most from it, and employees that understand it.

The result of increased focus on natural search as a sales and marketing channel is that the demand for professionals with SEO skills has never been greater.

One final point to support the view that the industry is maturing:  Increasingly, along with proficiency with sitemaps, robots.txt and A/B testing, employers are looking for SEO professionals experienced with mature toolsets.

SEO skill set
In the SEO industry, the future is now.

About Nathan Safran

Nathan is the Director of Research at Conductor and leads Conductor’s research and content team. Nathan is a monthly columnist at Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch. Nathan’s research on digital marketing has been widely covered in both industry publications and mainstream media such as Techcrunch, Venture Beat and the Washington Post. Prior to joining Conductor, Nathan was an analyst at Forrester Research.

  • http://solution.stone-crusher.org Jaw Crusher

    Yes, i agree with you about that and i am one of India seoers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jayesh.pau Jayesh Pau

    Agreed…value of SEO & natural search will never down,.,. just SEO is becoming more tough. google has made changes to reduce spam over internet..and from now its big challenge for every webmasters to get the natural links and quality content.

  • http://www.samuellavoie.com Samuel Lavoie

    Agreed. I’ll add that local markets are really taking off recently. All the we agencies I can think off are looking for SEO’s folks with open position.
    Also look out for the rising trend of inbound and the related skills; seo, social and content.

  • http://www.financialsamurai.com/how-to-make-money-quitting-your-job/ Financial Samurai

    What I’m curious to know is how much y’all make? I get BOMBARDED by SEO all the time due to my site and the Yakezie Network I created.

    Perhaps we should all join in and become part-time SEOs at least!

    Cheers,

    Sam

    • http://www.conductor.com Nathan Safran

      Sam–without giving away too much :) , all I can say is stay tuned, we may have some answers to your question on this blog soon :)

      -Nathan

  • http://www.missionwebmarketing.com Eric Petersen

    I agree completely. With so much buzz over “social media” lately, I think SEO has been overlooked way too much. The reality is that search, paid or organic, generates much higher quality traffic than social media and this traffic is far more likely to convert into customers. I would put my money on search any day of the week.

    • http://www.conductor.com Nathan Safran

      Eric, We agree–Conductor’s CEO, Seth Besmertnik–wrote a data-supported post that makes just this point:

      http://www.conductor.com/blog/2012/04/organic-search-leads-traffic-and-conversions-yet-trails-in-budgets-and-mindshare/

      Nathan

    • http://vabulous.com Vania

      I think that social and SEO go hand in hand, you almost can’t do one without the other these days, you need to be where your customers are and social media does that, but it also allows you to have links from different places where many congregate, so doing that is going to help you also.

  • http://twitter.com/ryanbradley Ryan

    Though the number of seo jobs listed has increased, I’m afraid the quality of the position and pay has decreased for the most part. This will likely raise the price of the experienced whitehats but will lower the pay of the majority of seo’s.

  • http://www.agicoicemachine.com/ agico

    SEO is more and more harder today, grey and black hat will provide less effect, but white hat is too slow to get result.

    • http://www.confluencedigital.com Eric Layland

      @Agico – slow and steady wins the race. It is the overall body of work curated over time that pay dividends for the brand and the SEO.

  • http://www.williamalvarez.com William Alvarez

    Nathan,
    The rapid growth of the channel and bigger budget allocations to it has made more people turn their eyes and interest into a new “career option”, in response to little opportunities in other fields I´m guessing. I´m always hiring Search Marketing professional (both Organic and Paid), and based on my own experience, 9 out of 10 candidates who say they know or do SEO actually don´t know much about it. They just want to try their luck at it, and although some of them might learn by doing and get it right, I see a large percentage of them lacking passion for the “art of SEO”.

    It´s sad to see that so many unprepared talent is jumping into the SEO wagon just to take advantage of the situation, and do little to nothing to educate themselves in the matter, so the figures that you show above in your comparison of 2011 vs. 2012 might be a response of people adding the keyword to their resumes and LinkedIn profiles as a catch-all type of job search strategy. Every day I come across profiles of people who stuff their pages with SEO-related keywords.

    I see this a big opportunity to create more and better, and organized ways to teach SEO. All these people don’t know or undertands that SEO is a piece of marketing and that they should have a career in both traditional marketing or digital, and then make a choice of career path. In the same way that SEO is not done in a vacuum, it’s not learned by osmosis nor memorizing lines from the Google Webmaster Blog or from blog posts at SEOMoz.

    • http://www.conductor.com Nathan Safran

      William,
      Thanks, appreciate the perspective you bring from the recruiting side. I think you make some good points about making a distinction between those that practice SEO (or add it to a Linked-In profile) and those that are highly knowledgeable in it and understand the various nuances of the field.

      Luckily, there are so many great resources and communities out there where people can learn and the barrier to entry to tinker with a site and create good content is near zero.

      What I think the Linked-In data represents is a growing demand for SEO professionals in the market: people are adding SEO to their profiles because the market demands it.

      Nathan

      • http://www.williamalvarez.com William

        That is true, people are adding it to their resumes because the market demands it, I think more businesses are becoming aware of the importance of Search.

        We need to educate more marketing professionals on the matter so they do a good job when they practice this “art”.

    • http://www.confluencedigital.com Eric Layland

      Agree 110%. SEO is a piece of marketing. As marketing has evolved new skills were/are required. We try to find well rounded marketers with a passion for digital and provide both the tools, mentoring and freedom so that the passion can flourish. Neither tactical SEO execution nor skills development can happen in a vacuum. From the agency owner perspective who has been a hands on practitioner, it only takes a question or two to identify the fakers.

      • http://www.williamalvarez.com William

        That’s right Eric, 8 out of 10 interviewees I talk to are fake SEOs, 1 is too junior and 1 is really good. When I ask about how they learn SEO, they never know what to say, or “I read SEOmoz/Rand Fishkin” as if that was the Bible, it’s just awful. Sometimes they come so prepared with answers to technical questions that when I get into the strategic/creative section of my questionnaire they are caught out of base, they show that they cannot produce ideas or think business.

        Another recurrent situation is a high number of professionals changing careers (a noticeable number of lawyers, btw) and moving to SEO because “the opportunity is there”.

  • http://www.gtslinkbuilding.com Joshua Cabe Johnson

    Perfect season for aged and mature Link Builders to do a good job. Shake off the ole bots and get some real link building done the right way.

    Great post Nathan,

    Cheers!

    • http://www.conductor.com Nathan Safran

      Thanks Joshua

      • http://www.gtslinkbuilding.com Joshua Cabe Johnson

        For sure, we appreciate pros like you taking the time for this stuff. :)

        Cheers

  • http://webarti.st Robin Solanki

    I totally agree with you Nathan, I have been working as an SEO for past 4 years but it was global, now I have jumped back to India(from where I operate) because in the past year I have seen a tremendous change in the online market and people in India are willing to conduct SEO for their site with more optimistic approach.

  • http://speechrep.,com Jim Peake

    Basically anyone who publishes something online is into SEO in some way shape or form. Businesses who hire 1 SEO thinking they are getting the ultimate solution are mistaken. It takes a team of people who not only optimize the website and the technical side but others who are constantly pushing new and fresh content relevant to the strategy. I tell clients to get multiple websites and have FB, Blogger, Pinterest and Twitter accounts feeding each website. Everyone is looking for cheap traffic while not optimizing their existing traffic for conversions.

  • http://www.brandignity.com Maciej Fita

    More and more businesses that might have built their business for a greater part of its life span without the internet are starting to realize that they need digital marketing to continue growing. I don’t think it is just SEO professionals people are looking for but also web based marketers that can attack the entire digital space with great force.

  • http://www.inforseo.com Inforseo

    SEO professionals are everywere

  • http://www.krinalmehta.com Krinal Mehta

    Being a SEO Professional for over 5 years, now is the time to rejoice :)

    Come the penguins and the pandas, and create panic at the zoo, we as SEO professionals would always come up with solutions to make this web a more beautiful place.

    Long live Google ..!!

  • http://www.inboundbistro.com JesseCWalker

    Woo hoo! I particularly like that 1900% figure. I think big brands have caught on to the power of SEO. Unfortunately I’m not sure small and microbusinesses have figured it out.

    Basically the more analytics savvy a group is the more likely they are to spend appropriate amounts on SEO. In my experience mom and pop shops they still spend like a lot more on traditional advertising.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mubashirshafikhan Mubashirshafi

    Great Man…

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  • http://seodesk.org Alex

    Yes, the demand for SEO professionals has increased, but the presence of not-so-serious and not-so-knowledgeable SEO consultants has increased as well…

  • http://www.tuknov.com/ Mikhail Tuknov

    I Agree with Alex. A lot of non experienced so called “SEO professional” have increased. They promise the golden apples to their clients but in reality never deliver them. Client is getting frustrated and now tells everyone around that SEO is a bad thing. By the way, the word SEO has increased Yes, but it doesn’t mean that the job market for seo professionals have also increased. Many site owners are now aware of SEO and they are trying to research more about this field. The word SEO is too generic, it is informational and educational term, not a transactional.

    • http://www.conductor.com Nathan Safran

      Agree. These days natural search is too important a channel so that site owners who outsource their SEO might consider in investing in technology (whether Conductor or something else) to maintain their peace of mind over their progress in natural search.

  • http://dagmarmarketing.com Inbound marketing

    Hopefully the increase in demand will also allow for higher budgets for better SEO’s. Too many times companies go the cheap route first which creates a much costlier situation the second time around.

    Chris Gregory

  • http://www.gestpromedia.com gestpromedia.

    Thanks for your article.

    Companies need more search engine visibility and social media presence. Perhaps is the time for seo experts because competence is harder than a few years ago.

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  • http://firestarterseo.com Skyler

    The SEO industry is maturing, it is odd to think Google has only been around since 1999. The

    As for some of that data I am curious how many with SEO in their description are out side of the US especially India. I also wonder how many of those are spam….

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  • http://seoknucklehead.com Richard Robbins

    The personnel of the SEO industry look a lot like the pages they’re each trying to get ranked. I’ve noticed that there are tons of “me too” SEOs (the much less useful spam of the industry) who can use the buzzwords and talk like SEOs, and there are substantially fewer who understand the finer points of the trade and who add value to the Internet by partnering with Google to get good content indexed and ranking so that searchers have good experiences.

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  • http://www.eyeflow.com Chris

    Hey this post was so great it inspired us to create an infographic about it! Check it out here: http://www.eyeflow.com/growing-demand-for-seo-professionals-infographic/

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  • http://www.inetsoft/data_mining_software/ Ada Media

    Too bad employers are all looking for those with 3- 8 years experience. I am just starting out in SEO and I can’t get my foot in the door.

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    Cheers

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  • M.Rameez Ul Haq(SEO)

    Yes Its true, I still remember when I started my job in Search industry it was very difficult for me to tell people what I do :s but Today most of the people are aware of SEO and Search engine Optimization or some called that Google Marketing Thing :D

    nice report!

    http://www.rameezulhaq.com

  • Spook SEO

    You are absolutely right Nathan. In this particualr industry, SEO professionals are in demand and if you want o acquire this kind of job then you must have the required skills on SEO.

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