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Making An SEO Career Shift: The More You Know

As we near the end of 2011 and look to 2012 many people are considering significant life changes. Some may want to lose weight, others my want to stop smoking, and some might be thinking that it’s about time for a change of pace in the workplace. In the last year I have conducted a number of interviews to fill SEO and Social Media positions, and as I set out to fill yet another position in the coming months I began thinking about the importance of truly knowing the company that you’re applying to.

If you’re thinking of chasing a new SEO position in the coming year, here are some things you may want to consider before taking a leap to that new agency or company.

Know Who’s Hiring You

It’s funny, but every time I look into an SEO position I am considering applying for, I always do a quick audit of their website. Is it optimized? Are they using any spamy techniques? What’s their backlink profile like? Is it made up of a variety of links, or is it chock full of blog comments and forum profile spam?

These shouldn’t be deal breakers when thinking of applying for a job, but they are definitely things to consider when thinking of the company that is hiring you. Will you become just another evil minion knocking out link spam and shallow content, or are you the knight in shining armor that will come and save their website from the evil SEO curse previously cast on their site?

SEO Carreer

Know Who’s Interviewing You

The interview process is always the most nerve racking, but it can give some strong insight into the company and it’s inner workings. If you’re being interviewed by the SEO Manager, Internet Marketing Director, or someone who should be in the know about your line of work, be aware of the questions you are being asked and how they react to your answers.

  • Do they ask about your link building practices?
  • Do they bring up current or relevant topics related to the search industry?
  • If you mention Panda do they know it’s more than just a lazy bear from China?

Consider the questions you are being asked. If they are shallow, seem generic, or refer heavily to dated practices it may be a test, but it may also be a red flag that the company is simply behind the times.

When all is said and done, it might not hurt to ask some questions of your own. I personally like when prospects ask me questions. Oftentimes it can spark intriguing conversations during an interview and give me better insight into their personality.


Know Your Worth

When I made my first leap from one SEO role to another I made the mistake of not knowing what my skills were worth. In the end it hurt me because I fell well below not only the national average, but the local average. If you’re not sure what the average wages are in your area Onward Search just released the SEO Salary Guide for the Top 20 U.S. Markets.

If your area’s not listed, there are a number of sources online that can help you gauge what you should be making such as or that can help you get a ballpark

Know Yourself

Unless you’re totally new to the industry, you know your skill set and in most cases you’ll know if you’re on the right path with your SEO practices. If you think you’re bigger than the company that’s trying to hire you, that’s ok. At the end of the day wherever you decide to work will be the place you have to wake up and go to every morning and if it doesn’t align with your career goals or your beliefs in SEO then maybe it’s best just to pass on the opportunity.

The internet marketing industry is one industry that isn’t feeling the squeeze of the economy at the moment. There are a number of SEO and Social Media jobs out there, find the one that’s right for you and that will help you grow as an internet marketer. If a company switch or a new direction is in store for you and your SEO career in 2012, remember that you’re doing a disservice to yourself and a company that could really benefit from your talents if you sell yourself short.

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