SEO Career Path Options
Tips from An SEO Recruiter
The exciting (and perhaps daunting) thing about SEO is that there’s no clear, single or defined SEO career path.
The industry itself is still relatively young – about 17 years old. Yet it contains many successful professionals from a range of different backgrounds. It doesn’t seem to matter too much whether you did 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 SEO employers.
For our readers, what are your intentions to progress your SEO career path? What has been your story so far?
Below, we outlines 5 promising SEO career paths you might choose to take.
Option #1: Stay at practitioner level
We meet plenty of SEOs who really love what they do. The process of pushing websites’ SERPs higher, increasing conversions and optimising landing pages just seems to switch them on!
This can make things difficult when someone just wants to keep doing these things, but they also want to progress their career. Entering management, for instance, often means you end up doing technical SEO less often (see below). So what does an ideal SEO career path look like for this person?
There are actually some good options for you. 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 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 your other options.
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 marketing. However, it also overlaps with content marketing, pay-per-click and other channels. It also involves multiple search engines (although the main one is certainly Google for most people in the UK).
What this shows is that there are lots of opportunities for you to specialise in different areas. Could you focus on mobile marketing or video marketing? What about the 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 Excel. So you have quite a lot of room for manoeuvre if you want.
Option #4: Fill an industry niche role
As a $56 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, 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. It would look great on your CV as well!