SEO Growing Pains – What the Search Industry Should be Searching for
Search Engine Optimisation

SEO Growing Pains – What the Search Industry Should be Searching for

12th September 2012

Things continue to grow and evolve at such rapid pace, in our previously tiny industry. And to be quite honest, one of the major struggles we’re all facing is trying to keep up! I’m not talking about keeping up with life-changing technological advancements, Google’s mind-boggling algorithm updates, or even with the challenges of working in such a competitive industry. Instead, I’m talking about business 101 – recruitment challenges.

SEO blogs across the web have been voicing their ideas on what makes the perfect SEO team. Articles such as The Ideal Digital Marketing Team, written my friend and fellow blogger, Barry Adams, echo the industry’s thoughts.

Recruiting the right people, whilst growing an agency and keeping clients happy, is never an easy task. But what’s amazed us most about our recent burst of recruitment has been how we have changed.  We’re simply not looking for the same people we were looking for this time last year. We’re not even looking for the same people we were looking for this time 6 months ago.

Gradually, it appears that Google’s work to make things “less evil” is beginning to be reflected, not only in the industry’s approach to SEO, but also in the faces of the people we’re interviewing. The tech-minded people that ruled the industry in its infancy, capable of developing short-cuts and gaming the system, are no longer the only people needed. We are no longer just looking for mathematically or technologically minded people, who focus on quantity and automation.  Instead we’re looking for people who think in letters, words and real-world communication; they don’t see the divide between SEO and Social. Instead they see how it works together, as one organic system. The people we want now don’t just “build” links, they create inspiring content and build relationships, and finding people that understand this, or are at least capable of understanding it in the future, is vital for any modern SEO agency.

I’m not saying that we no-longer need technical SEOs, we do. I’m just saying that there is a greater need for great writers and creative minds than ever before. We need people that can communicate. Gone are the days where you could write a half-assed guest post and place it quickly on, and rank well. No, now ALL of our guest posts are written on real blogs, run by real people and, more importantly, read by real people (at least for the most part). Content isn’t just about getting links anymore – it’s about representing clients online, managing their content strategy, adding value and providing great quality traffic.

So what are we looking for?

Our search for Creative Content Writers has become a bit of an obsession over the last few months. We’ve finally worked out what we need, but it’s so hard to find. Although we’ve been advertising for “Creative Content Writers”, amongst ourselves we refer to the role as “Creative Tailor”. Someone who can not only write exceptional content, but someone who can also tailor their work to fit the needs of the site we want a link from, whilst also maintaining the tone and character of our clients business. After all, our clients have worked too long and hard to have their reputation weakened with low-quality content outreach.

The Link Builder Becomes The Creative Tailor

seo-growing-painsAs an industry we should be looking for people that are passionate about content writing and also able to strategise ideas that will benefit clients. We need people that can be methodical and “sniff out” great sites in our niche whilst charming them into publishing their work. We need emotive and creative personalities that also think logically and understand the technical, robotic aspects of SEO.  The new breed of SEOs need to open their mind and let their imaginations run wild, whilst remaining level headed enough to maintain spreadsheets and other project management systems, to stay organised and accountable. You might say we need to look for an anomaly or perhaps a contradicting personality, even.

The New Breed…

Whatever you’re looking for, you need to be conscious of what you are doing and why you are doing it. Don’t hire people just because they have the same skill set as the last 5 SEOs you hired – Google has changed more in the last 18 months than it did in the previous 3 years put together. As an industry we need to be willing to keep an open mind when recruiting, it’s not about taking risks, it’s about moving with the times.


Written By
Ben Holbrook is Head of Content at Verve Search and has a particular interest in content marketing and developing sustainable link development strategies.
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