The last two weeks I’ve had the pleasure to interviewing 20 odd search marketers for a couple of roles I’ve been recruiting for. I’ve noticed a number of trends and patterns in the process but one thing really stood out – the improvement in the quality of candidates. Of all the rounds of recruitment I’ve been involved in, over the last six years, this has been the strongest cohort.Many people claim there’s still be a skills shortage but I’d argue otherwise, of this batch each candidate has had to do more to stand out.What skills really were on my shopping list which I think search marketers should be working on to ensure their career goes far?
The first skill was public relations. The task of link building is looking more like PR every-day, and the more traditional link building skills continue to become an easily purchased as a commodity. They even seem to exert less influence over the search results. Now the ability to put together a story pitch which you can approach a journo’s that have a trusting relationship with, is what link building is about.
These abilities aren’t hard for a good link builder to pick up, especially if you can see the long-term value in that knowledge.
Second on my list is Analytics. I’m seeing more and more of my SEO peers job titles containing the word ‘insight’. Insight can mean a lot of things but in most cases it’s because they’ve become an expert in taking the data from Google Analytics and turning it into an actionable plan.
Every SEO I know has a pretty good working knowledge of Google Analytics, but in most cases, a little more effort and they could become among the top few dozen people in the world. Being in that elite few is going to be great for the projects you’re working on now, and have a huge impact on your earning potential in the next few years.
If there was one theme in the search conferences of 2011 it was ‘You should be building your own SEO Tools’ and while agree with Richard & James, that this isn’t appropriate for everyone, I do think it’s a skill which will be in demand. It goes without saying if you’re not interested in learning to code you’d be wasting your time. It’s also true you may be able to find a cheaper developer, but if in an interview situation with two candidates, one who could prototype a tool and one who could only specify it, I know which one is higher up my hit-list.
Project Management is another key skill, especially because a lot of search marketers are so poor at it. There’s so many moving parts in a SEO project: where are all of those hundred plus on-site recommendations in the development queue? When do you need to start the research for the infographic to turn it around in time to build up the links ahead of a seasonal peak in demand?
This is something I really struggle with and something I can see huge value in when someone has this aspect of SEO absolutely nailed.
Finally being more efficient, different SEO business charge for their services in different ways and in-house roles have different ways of resourcing projects; but in most cases, if you can get more out of every hour you spend in the office you’re going to be popular.
We could all do our job a bit better if we were a bit better organised. Do you follow inbox zero or have your own zen like email management system? How do you make sure those notes you made at an SEO conference get off your to-do list and find their way into your next month’s work plan? Making stuff happen is the mark of a great SEO.
Now being that I organise an SEO conference I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is on issues like this. So on the 12th of April the day before the next BrightonSEO conference I’ve booked five rooms and five excellent trainers to cover exactly these five topics, and for just £200 quid a ticket you’ll find you’ll be a lot closer excelling one of these areas. If you’d like to come along you can read more about it here.