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Google Finds SEOs Are Getting More Work During COVID-19

In the latest episode of Google’s Search Off the Record podcast, Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes goes over some surprising poll findings.

Google’s Gary Illyes polled SEOs about changes to their work life during COVID-19, and the results were not what he expected.

Illyes asked SEOs about their workload, what it’s been like working with developers lately, and whether SEOs have had to pitch more work in order to stay afloat.

The poll results were discussed in the latest episode of Google’s Search Off the Record podcast, which just released its second full episode.

Before we get into that though, it’s worth bringing up an interesting point that was made at the beginning of the podcast.

Google is Always Watching

Even when Google’s webmaster outreach team isn’t actively engaging with people on Twitter, they’re still monitoring and reading tweets.

So don’t think because they haven’t responded to a tweet that they haven’t seen it. Chances are they know more about what’s being said on Twitter than we realize.

Here’s how Illyes addressed this:

“What we all do is observe what people are doing on Twitter, and what their problems are, and sometimes answering questions.

One thing that I noticed when this COVID-19 thing started is that some people started to post much less. Then other people started to post much more…

I wanted to figure out why or how is this happening. So I set up a survey.”

Now, let’s take a look at said survey. Here’s more about each poll question and why Illyes was surprised by the results

SEOs’ Workload: Increase or Decrease?

Illyes asks, “With this COVID crap, my SEO related workload…”

By a sizeable margin, poll results show that the workload of SEOs has increased.

A fair share of respondents say their workload has stayed the same, and the fewest number of respondents say their workload has decreased.

Illyes explains why these results surprised him:

“I was very surprised by the results. I was surprised because SEOs’ workload actually increased instead of decreasing, which I can’t yet explain.

We have some theories why this would happen and it could be, for example, that more businesses moved online and then they need the extra help from SEOs.”

For more on why SEOs’ workloads are going up and not down, see this article:

Are SEOs Pitching More Work?

Illyes asks, “With this COVID crap, I am pitching SEO work…”

The results of this poll are as split as they could possibly be, with each response having virtually the same number of votes.

Illyes explains why these results surprised him:

“A second poll shows that SEOs are not quite pitching more for businesses. That roughly stayed the same.

That’s also an interesting fact because I would have expected that people have to pitch more to stay afloat, to have more business, to have more income, or to maintain their income.

But I would have been wrong if I said that. The poll shows that it stayed roughly the same for them.”

These results suggest that SEOs’ workloads are not necessarily increasing because they’re pitching more work, as only 33% report doing so compared to the 48% who say their workload has gone up.

SEOs are likely receiving more clients through inbound leads, or existing clients are doubling down on their SEO efforts.

Working With Developers: Easier or Harder?

Something that’s not getting better for SEOs is their interactions with developers.

Illyes asks, “With this COVID crap, working with developers on SEO projects…”

Once again, the results did not go the way Illyes expected:

“One thing I would have expected that got better is that [SEOs] could work more easily with developers. Because you have an online setting and developers are more comfortable with online settings in general. There are various studies that confirm that.

I would have expected that it got easier to work with developers, and that was actually not the case. Most people said that it stayed the same, roughly the same.

I guess that’s good, but many people said that it actually got harder. That’s kind of surprising to me.

Usually, at least on our side at Google, we do lots of video conferences. We work with software engineers quite a lot, and our go-to medium is video conferences and it works really well I would say.

So I was kind of surprised that, for SEOs, it actually got harder to work with developers.”

These poll results were just one of several topics discussed in the new episode of Google’s podcast.

If you’re interested in hearing more, you can listen to the full episode here.

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

Google Finds SEOs Are Getting More Work During COVID-19

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