SEO Career Path: SEO As A Career Option
Demand for SEO professionals is rising. Here is everything you need to know about SEO opportunities and the SEO career path in 2021 and beyond.
See the new 2023 Digital Marketing Jobs Salary Guide.
In 2021, the need for digital marketing experts and experienced online marketing professionals is exploding. With the boom of online shopping, companies jumping onto e-commerce and more people spending time browsing on their mobile devices, getting found through search engines is more important than ever for businesses that want to succeed.
That in itself is good news for the digital marketing industry. And the even better news is the increase in demand for SEO professionals and opportunities for content marketers seeking to pivot their career path, explore SEO as a career option or discover a new opportunity beyond their current area of expertise.
But how much has the market changed, and where do the opportunities lie? What are the specific SEO career opportunities?
Let’s learn more about the digital marketing industry, and specifically, the SEO career path and how to start an SEO career.
Top Career Paths in Digital Marketing
For digital marketers, the leading career paths include:
- Content Marketing
- Digital Marketing
Each career path requires a set of specialized skills and education. However, the crossover between paths can become a natural transition as professionals learn more and outgrow their roles. Most of these paths work in tandem, and together, the roles are complementary and contribute to a company’s digital marketing success.
However, with the growing complexity of learning algorithms and user behaviors, there is a clear upward trend in demand for SEO professionals. These evolving career options for those who want to work in SEO (or are seeking to hire high-quality SEO experts) are diverse and meaningful to the marketing field.
The SEO Specialist job outlook is positive and growing. In general, SEO Specialists possess the following skills:
- Search engine optimization: Knowledge and application.
- Social media marketing: How it works and how to succeed.
- SEM: Search engine marketing.
- Copy editing: An eye to identify great copy.
- Digital marketing strategy: An understanding of strategic marketing plans and decisions.
One in 10 SEO Specialists have an advanced degree, are 7.4 years post-college and have an average tenure of 2.2 years. An SEO Specialist salary will vary (see more in the report). The SEO Specialist career path will likely lead into more advanced roles as a worker improves their skills and gains experience.
The common confusion around this role is what SEO analysts do and how this role differs from other SEO professions.
An SEO Analyst will have mastered skills at the specialist level and have expertise in Google Analytics, conversion optimization strategies and digital marketing strategy. An analyst will have both an analytical mindset and a creative perspective that will allow him or her to see both sides of the “story.” They will be able to analyze quantitative data and qualitative data and extrapolate numbers that paint a picture of the current state and the direct strategies that will achieve the identified KPIs.
The salary for an SEO analyst varies, depending on certain factors. This generally commensurates with experience and varies with location.
If you want to figure out how to become an SEO manager, take a look at an SEO Manager job description and review the education, experience and certification requirements. Often, an SEO Marketing Manager role will require extensive knowledge. A search engine optimization manager will understand the advanced intricacies of SEO and SEM and have a mid-level understanding of PPC.
More importantly, a manager-level SEO professional will understand how digital marketing roles work together and how to bridge effective copy, social media marketing and paid advertising to create a consistent, effective brand campaign. The manager will also have an intermediate level of understanding of analytics and how to calculate and show campaign success.
SEO director jobs are often the career goal of SEO specialists and managers who seek work their way up the ladder to oversee all of SEO. The Director of SEO job description will often highlight lead generation and SEO copywriting since these high-level leaders are required to oversee the entire SEO function.
Directors may report to the VP of Marketing, CEO or other key stakeholders. Therefore, they must understand the KPIs, report results and offer ways to improve SEO strategies to increase the efficacy of the efforts and justify the budget. Directors must also understand how to accurately calculate the ROI (return on investment) for their efforts and work them into the larger marketing budget.
In general, an SEO Director salary will vary widely. However, there are always outliers, and the more valuable and skilled a professional, the higher their earning potential.
Growth Will Continue
The opportunities in SEO and digital marketing are accelerating as the demand for these skills grows. As businesses move online and a brand’s digital presence becomes increasingly essential, the need for businesses to be found by their customers will always be at the forefront of their business strategy.
There is no better time to get into the digital marketing and SEO world than now. And with multiple career paths all leading toward success, it’s a worthwhile journey that appears to pay off now and well into the future.
For more information about the digital marketing landscape and salary information, check out the 2021 US Marketing Salary Guide.
Check out these 6 Steps for Finding the SEO Job of Your Dreams.
For help writing or refreshing your SEO resume, read up on what employers are looking, review our resume recommendations, and take a look at the SEO resumes examples we’ve provided.