The SEO Economy: A Search Marketing Recruiter’s Perspective

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Sometimes it seems that you cannot go a day without reading a story about the economic challenges faced by our country. On one day the headline news is the declining housing market, the next it is a debate about if we are or are not in a recession, and the next it is about the latest financial company that needs to be bailed out. But what does that mean if you are a search marketer?

I thought I would take a moment to give you a view on the pulse of the search marketing industry from a search marketing recruiter’s perspective. As a forewarning, this analysis involves no economic indices, advanced algorithms, or other quantitative analysis or statistics. What it does include however is a picture of the search marketing industry based on the view of those of us that are out there in the market talking to job seekers and hiring managers every day.

In the course of an average week my team and I speak to hundreds of internet marketing professionals and hiring managers. We speak on a number of topics: the economy, new SEO project initiatives, their family life, the previous night’s Olympics competitions, the latest news from Google, and more. What I am not hearing right now though is that job seekers are having a hard time finding work, or that companies have stopped hiring. My overall takeaways are very positive. The hiring managers we speak to are looking to hire SEM/SEO professionals, or they are fully staffed and as busy as can be. On the other side of the fence, right now any good search marketing candidate starting a job search is not likely to be on the market long.

Currently we are working with several companies across the country which range from Fortune 500s to small-to-medium businesses and some of them have hiring freezes… except in their internet marketing teams. I believe businesses have realized the impact of internet marketing and continue to invest in growing these teams. Hiring managers are able to justify this growth because search marketing provides very clear and measurable ROI for their business. In a slow economy, you still need to drive sales, and you cannot drive sales without investing in marketing. What is usually one of the most cost effective ways to market something? That’s right — search engine marketing.

Likewise, I feel that job seekers in this industry should feel very enthusiastic about their options. For the “newbies” entering the market I feel good about the direction the industry is going. I still see a number of opportunities to break into the market for new talent and this will only continue to grow as the economy turns around. For those with experience, you have a lot of career mobility ahead. Companies are always and currently looking for talent at the manager, director, and vice president of search levels.

So what is my takeaway? From the recruiter’s seat, search marketing continues to be a great career choice whether you are looking for your next job or responsible for managing and / or executing your company’s search marketing strategy. I hope your experiences mirror what my recruiters are seeing in their day-to-day business.

I’d love to get any feedback from you. Please feel free to contact me at

Josh Gampel is the Vice President of Staffing Services for Onward Search, the Leading Provider of Search Marketing Jobs

Josh Gampel
Josh Gampel is SVP for Onward Search, the leading provider of interactive, internet marketing and mobile marketing professionals.
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  • Pablo Palatnik

    I could’nt think of a better industry (maybe oil) to be in than anything to do with online-marketing, seo/sem, etc.

  • Todd Mintz

    I know just by the number of recruiters that contact me that there is a serious imbalance between the supply of SEM talent and the demand and this imbalance favors the employee.

  • Trezora – Art Glass, Fashion Jewelry

    I’m not in the professional SEO/SEM biz but my day time job is a director of product marketing for a high tech company. I can tell you that most if not all of our competition is completely ignorant and even my own company is only mildly aware (I’ve been trying to raise awareness). There is a huge demand, it’s just that most companies are not even aware of their deficiency in this area.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    The SEM industry is much like the IT tech boom of the early 1990’s and the web designer/developer demand of the late 1990s.

    Even though our industry is much in demand, its only a matter of time where the experts (10+ years of SEM experience) have to compete with cheaper salaried kids with SEM degrees out of school.

    SEM is something that can be taught but not something that can be learned well, without years of experience and trial and error with current trends…

    Thought I would leave my 3 cents on the topic! :o)

  • Ben Hancock

    Thought I’d give you a customer’s perspective. You want better Google ratings? Sell products that don’t suck. People are becoming more savvy, and the smell of marketers is getting more noticeable, to the point you people are actually paying established bloggers for their good reviews of your crap – you think people don’t see this? Your greed is reeking.