Hiring a qualified in-house SEO is very difficult. I myself have been working from home on my own projects for the past 7 years and had very little time to take on contract work for other folks. Because my lifestyle changed (kids are growing up) and I was feeling very socially isolated I decided to feel out what was available in the job market in Toronto, Canada where I could use my SEO/SEM skills. I was quite picky about which job postings I would submit my resume too and in fact only sent in approximately 10 over a period of 6 months. I took a job with a local public software company a few months ago and am really enjoying it.
One thing I have noticed is that SEO/SEM is really in its infancy insofar as mainstream business understanding it’s concept and it’s enormous ROI potential. Another thing I have noticed is that most business owners, marketing managers and definitely human resource folks don’t have a clue as to the value an experienced SEO brings to a company. Many companies are listing a wide range of requirements, like below:
· 5 years experience optimizing SEO campaigns through “White Hat methods”, with a minimum of three years successfully creating and managing Google AdWords and Yahoo! Sponsored campaigns;
· Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, Advertising, Business or other related field;
· Track record of leadership, coaching and mentoring abilities, with proven experience in managing people;
· Excellent analytical skills, including experience reviewing campaign performance results and making recommendations for future action;
· Strong knowledge of search engine algorithms, organic searching, and ranking strategies for Google;
· Experience with Landing page conversion optimization (A/B testing, multivariate testing and offer testing background);
· Proficiency with Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.);
· Minimum of 3 Years Management Experience, with demonstrated proficiency in the competencies for Senior Leadership (achievement orientation, team leadership, adaptability, business acumen)
· Experience hand coding HTML and CSS are definitely a plus;
· Working knowledge of web analytic and bid-management tools such as Atlas One Point, SearchIgnite, Webtrends, Hitbox Professional, Omniture, Core Metrics;
· Experience with online display advertising, banner advertising, Affiliate Marketing, Web site Analytics and Web site Conversion Metrics (CPM, CTR, CPC, CPL, CPA) is a bonus.
• Organic Search Program Management
• Monitor overall SEO program success with regards to ranking, indexed pages, back links, traffic acquisition and report to senior management
• Analyze sites for opportunities in optimizing architecture, usability, conversion and navigation results
• Audit the website’s technical infrastructure and identify obstacles that may cause spider accessibility issues
• Perform competitive analyses to monitor weakness and opportunities and help improve natural results
• Identify editorial/keyword opportunities and assist in the content strategy and execution to acquire traffic for targeted terms/phrases
• Optimize various website components to improve visibility/rankings as well and traffic conversion
• Examine the linking environment and craft a plan for the acquisition and optimization of inbound links
• Ensure the necessary tracking is in place to monitor the performance of the optimization program
• Ensure Web analytic tools (Omniture and Google Analytics) are correctly implemented and managed as to ensure reporting is available to key stake holders
• Analyze and create reports that highlight the progress against key performance indicators.
• Experience developing, implementing and maintaining a search strategy, with a strong emphasis on organic search
• Experience with SEO reporting, web analytics tools and multivariate testing
• Experience working in both a B2B and B2C internet space, with an emphasis on transactional/ecommerce
• Extensive knowledge of primary and secondary search engine mechanics
• Ability to interact with a variety of departments and different levels of management
• Strong computer skills, including extensive knowledge of MS Excel and PowerPoint
• Organized and attention to detail is a MUST. Ability to work independently and as part of a team, pro-active versus reactive, ability to problem solve and to work successfully within a set process, and coordinate as needed with multiple internal clients and vendors.
• In-depth knowledge of search engine technologies (algorithms, ranking strategies and industry trends)
• Ability to understand HTML code for title tags, meta-description tags, keyword tags, ROBOTS.txt files, redirects, etc
• Strong understanding of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
• Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing or Business Administration is preferred.
• Minimum 2 years SEO relevant work experience
• Familiarity with how web browsers and servers work and interact
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills
• Strong analytics and reporting skills
But then they offer salaries in the range of $35k-$45k – I think it will take a while yet till those doing the hiring catch on to the fact that SEO and most of SEM is not taught in school and only comes from specific experience and following the trends and changes on a daily basis. Many parts of proper SEO is still an art and not quite a science, so offering a low salary while requiring tons of specialized experience is the recipe for having a position sit empty for a long, long time.
I currently see five positions that have been searching for someone for more than six months. I can’t even imagine the opportunities (and $$) they are losing in the meantime. I would also guess that many of these SEO positions will be filled by unqualified candidates that will either harm the websites or do nothing for them. There are two major barriers which seem to be causing this problem; firstly, many of the people doing the hiring don’t know very much about SEO – other than, they have heard their business can leverage it to increase the bottom line. Because of this lack of knowledge it is hard for them to differentiate between candidates and it also makes it difficult for them to offer substantial salaries because they are not sure what type of ROI it will achieve. Secondly, many of the good SEO’s make considerable hourly income just offering consultations or running and optimizing their own sites, so the talent pool is very thin in almost every job market world-wide. Thirdly, a decision maker in this process may have come across some sort of advertisement online where a company is offering SEO services from overseas as ridiculously low rates and they figure if they could contract it out for X amount of money they should be able to get someone locally quite cheap. What they don’t realize is that 99.9% of these overseas operations offer zero value and are just doing low-quality directory submissions or submitting poorly translated articles or making spam comments in blogs to build up a few backlinks, which might have an end result of a search engine penalty or ban.
My advice is that every single business that has a web presence would benefit substantially by hiring an in-house SEO expert but don’t scrimp on the salary you are offering. If you find the right candidate don’t lose them over a few thousand dollars because long-term SEO can double, triple or add even more to your bottom line. The salary for an SEO professional should be in the $75k-$100k range and even more if you are asking them to take on marketing management duties in addition to SEO/SEM. If you have any doubts that those salaries are a ‘real’ bargain then take a look at our SEO pricing section.
The web is the wave of the future and if you wait too long to hire the right person you are not only losing tons of potential business but will have a lot of catching up to do and it will prove very costly.