Is SEO A Good Career Choice?
5 Possible Career Paths
Leigh Gillatt • Careers Advice
IS SEO A GOOD CAREER CHOICE?
Tips From A Recruitment SEO
Many young people who're looking for a career path wonder if SEO is a good road to take.
The exciting (and perhaps daunting) thing about SEO is that there’s no clear, single or defined SEO career path.
I strongly believe that,
SEO is an excellent career choice if you’re passionate about digital marketing and 'all things internet'. It’s certainly a career of continual learning and development, great financial reward potential, and appeals to those with a competitive streak.
Although the industry itself is still relatively young - about 18 years old, Forbes have cited that it is currently poised to reach a net worth of $80 billion dollars by 2020 .
Yet when you take a closer look at the industry you can quickly see that it contains many successful professionals from a range of different backgrounds. It doesn’t seem to matter too much whether you studied Marketing, English, law, science or engineering at university. So long as you have the skills and experience, your academic credentials aren’t usually the main consideration for employers of SEO professionals.
What are your career path intentions for progressing within an SEO career? What has been your story so far?
5 promising SEO career paths
Below, I’ve outlined 5 promising SEO career paths you might choose to take.
Option #1: Stay at analyst level
I’ve met plenty of SEOs who really love what they do. The process of increasing a website’s ranking performance within Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), increasing conversions such as Click Through Rate (CTR), and enhancing landing page conversion rate optimisation (CRO) just seems to hit the spot for them; satisfying their thirst for beating the competition!
However, this causes a stumbling block when someone just wants to keep performing these SEO tasks, but they also want to progress within their career. Entering management, for instance, often means the individual ends up doing these technical SEO tasks less often (see below).
So what does an ideal SEO career path look like for this person?
There are actually some good options available. You can move from agency-side to client-side, or vice versa. You can switch companies, or work in a different niche/industry. In essence, your job description doesn’t really change. However, your experience accumulates and gives you more value in the eyes of employers, allowing you to climb the pay scale.
Option #2: Enter into management
Some people hone their SEO art so much, they are put forward to manage other people who do this job. This can present some amazing new opportunities for you, as well as the chance to increase your earnings. For many people, this is the dream SEO career path.
For others, the thought of ‘leaving SEO’ and taking on this level of responsibility sounds like a nightmare. It really depends on the person. Do you look at the business and think you should be in charge, putting new measures in place and holding the reins? Or do you see yourself as ‘just one of the team.’?
One thing you need to consider, if you decide to go down this path, technical SEO will certainly take up less of your time. You need to be okay with that. Your time will become more filled with things like budget setting, HR meetings, and board planning sessions. If this sounds exciting, then it could be for you. If not, perhaps consider one of the other options available to you.
Option #3: Move into fresh channels
SEO is quite a broad label. It covers all sorts of things including schema markup, keyword research, video and social media marketing. However, it also overlaps with content marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) and other marketing channels. In essence, the outlook for succeeding in SEO in 2020 and beyond appears to require an ‘Omni-channel’ approach. Although it may be obvious to most, it’s worth noting that despite Google’s dominance in the US and Europe, SEO can more often than not involve multiple search engines, particularly with businesses that have an international scope.
What this shows is that there are lots of opportunities for you to specialise in different areas. Could you focus on mobile / touch device marketing or YouTube / video marketing?
What about the data driven analytics side of things, or even moving into AdWords / PPC as a full-time profession?
These different areas lend themselves well to shared skills, such as A/B testing and expertise in MS Excel. So you have quite a lot of room for manoeuvre if this is something you’d wish to do.
Option #4: Fill an industry niche role
As an almost $80 billion industry, search presents plenty of career opportunities for SEOs. Many niche roles exist to be discovered. For instance, there are freelance roles, industry analysts positions, search association jobs, recruitment roles, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) certification programmes and more which benefit from people with a background in SEO. Take a look around and find an area that you are passionate about.
Option #5: Join the Engine / Vendor side
Search engines cater to search marketers. So there is great value for vendors in employing SEOs within their ranks! Joining Google or another large digital brand might seem far-fetched. However, there really is no reason why this cannot be an option for you to consider
”Now just imagine how great that would look on your CV!!”