View Full Version : Search Marketing Jobs Slow Down?

12-08-2006, 02:10 PM
I've noticed a bit of a decline in the number of SEM jobs listed on the job boards and job search engines. Has anyone else noticed this? Is it just seasonal slowdown or is a more serious problem occuring? Any thoughts?

12-11-2006, 11:29 AM
I think the role of SEM appears to have a bit of a stigma attached to it. In many ways it is the same as affiliate marketing manager.

12-11-2006, 02:02 PM
I don't know if I buy that completely - based on everything I hear, there is a desperate need for qualified search professionals - both inhouse and at the agency level.

Just doing a quick search on Monster (http://jobsearch.monster.com/jobsearch.asp?q=search+engine&fn=&lid=&re=130&cy=us&JSNONREG=1), reveals about 1000 listings.

12-11-2006, 02:58 PM
I know I'm being run ragged by clients and want-to-be clients.

I also know that right now I simply don't have time to train someone new - they would have to be trained already.

I don't know if that's related to the question, but it's my experience right now.


12-11-2006, 05:21 PM
I'm in the "heck, no - it's not slowing down" camp.

I'm still getting4 - 5 e-mails a week from folks wanting me to work with them on projects, and as mentioned above, the jobs we're seeing now want qualified folks.

I feel the industry is suffering from too many instant experts - folks who accept clients, spew forth the jargon, then end up in places like this asking basic questions that they should know before ever taking on a client.

As for the job marketing cooling - I say it'll be a while before that happens. Skilled people are always in demand.


12-11-2006, 05:55 PM
I will say that the search engine watch job board doesn't seem to be as packed as it once was.

Chris Boggs
12-11-2006, 06:45 PM
Not here, in fact we need a good SEO Account Manager in Philly. ;)

12-11-2006, 08:06 PM
I think you are noticing a seasonal change. Most people do not change jobs around the Holiday season. Especially if your field is remotely related to consumer sales (online retail included). That being said, most HR managers slow down paid job ads until after the 1st of the year. Any decent retailers will spend the last quarter focused on their current assets (people) and maximizing sales. The first half of their year is focused on hiring, training and purchasing. Can you tell I use to be upper management of a regional retail company years ago?

Nice plug Chris! Tell Sean S. I said Hi!

12-11-2006, 08:26 PM
Not here, in fact we need a good SEO Account Manager in Philly. ;)

now talk about a shameless plug....

12-11-2006, 08:27 PM
I have seen a bunch of these controversial posts lately - are we being dragged into a test of some sort? like the more content and posts helps push up a links listing in organic?

kid disco
12-12-2006, 06:12 PM
I definitely do not think there is a slowdown....

I used to get calls daily from recruiters who found my information on Monster. I have since removed my phone number and still receive multiple emails a week that begin: I found your resume on Monster...

However, the majority of the better inquiries I receive are coming from recruitment specialist type people and referrals through search marketing acquaintances.

I think recruiters for search marketing jobs may be trying out different avenues... not just the big job boards.

From my experience with interviews and such, a good search marketer is apparently difficult to find. There is a ton of "spam" out there when it comes to the resumes of SEOs and SEMs... and because of this, it seems as though companies may be being more meticulous in their recruiting methods in an effort to find reliable personnel.

LinkedIn appears to be a growing avenue for recruiters, as well.

I also agree with others that it may be seasonal. I'd expect a surge in the availability of search marketing jobs at the turn of the year...

12-15-2006, 04:27 PM
I agree with kd, I don't think there's a slowdown, rather companies are finding new methods of locating talented SEMs. Justilien also made a great point for the retail market since this quarter is rarely spent hiring.

From personal experience, it's also a matter of vocabulary, I'm labeled an "e-commerce analyst" but I am really an SEM. How many companies are hiring for the SEM position under a new name to reduce the number of unqualified resumes that rush in with the old label?

12-15-2006, 05:44 PM
From east coast Canada there is definitely no slowdown. On the contrary, there is a definite shortage of qualified and competent SEM experts.

Furthermore there is a growing number of businesses and Marketing agencies that are looking to get in the game.

We should start to see an increase in job postings and demand for this type of work as awareness of the industry continues to increase.

Wavy Davy
12-15-2006, 07:37 PM
...... My regular ex clients all seem to be training "their secretaries to do SEO" of late.

Luckily enough I only work for small local biusinesses but the big ones (for me) are disappearing.

I don't need many clients to get by though so I'm OK.

Most are still still into shady tactics so I would want to drop them anyway


12-18-2006, 12:48 AM
I can tell you that I just accepted an in-house position and we're looking for another to join us - so no slowdown here.

If you do a search for "SEO job search" and click on the number one result there :D you can use a Google Co-op custom search engine and find plenty of SEO/SEM jobs.

I agree with those who believe it is seasonal slowdown if anything, but that wasn't true in my recent experience.

A.W., What is it about this thread that is "Controversial"? It seems like a legitimate question and certainly has several of us interested.

12-18-2006, 12:41 PM
I agree with kd, I don't think there's a slowdown, rather companies are finding new methods of locating talented SEMs. Justilien also made a great point for the retail market since this quarter is rarely spent hiring.

From personal experience, it's also a matter of vocabulary, I'm labeled an "e-commerce analyst" but I am really an SEM. How many companies are hiring for the SEM position under a new name to reduce the number of unqualified resumes that rush in with the old label?
I agree with you rdrysdale.

D Sarathy.

12-18-2006, 01:31 PM
Have to see it from two perspectives, one as a business owner and two from the perspective, that I have never managed to remove myself from the Agency lists, but here in the UK, it still seems to be fairly buoyant.

From an agency perspective, finding qualified personnel able to proactively jump in both feet first to do the job is becoming quite hard, with only a few "top-notch" online marketeers currently on the market, as many seem to have an account management background but very little hands-on experience.

From the "jobseekers" perspective, I personally have had a lot of phone calls over the last months from recruitment agencies recruiting online marketing personnel

May just be the North West of the UK, but still seem fairly buoyant out this way

12-18-2006, 01:40 PM
I know there are more jobs than good talent in the NY area. I get a bunch of calls and emails every month.
It is possible the entry level jobs are not as prevalent as companies realise they need someone with some skills.

12-18-2006, 06:26 PM
I think it may be simply due to the season. We took down our SEM ad last month until after the year-end because we simply were not getting applicants and needed to spend time with year-end details, etc... (I'm not with an SEM company though).

I fully expect the market to pick up for "Qualified" SEM and SEO folks after the new year. I also agree with the other person who wrote about the lack of time I have to train someone. AND, if i need to make time, a newcomer to the industry should expect the whole "learning curve" type-work and slave wages. :)

Webmaster T
12-18-2006, 06:49 PM
Well, this is definitely a slow time as most etailers are neck deep in orders, or if they aren't, will be lining up to get qualified SEMs early in the new year. Also there is the issue of budgets as by this time of year most will have spent this years marketing budget and are waiting to develop and spend a new budget early next year. Therefore Feb-April are always good months for SEOs.

IMO, 2007 may be slow as the last economic slowdown did affect business to some extent however the growth of the net at that time did smooth that to some extent. This time I don't think there is as many clients looking to set up initial web presense and the corresponding SEM spend to launch the presense. However, IMO, those who are qualified will have no problems maintaining their current revenues. The lower quality firms will feel the real pinch as they won't have the opportunity to pick up slack from the qualified firms that are maxed out and being more selective in the clients they work with.

As to the inhouse movement I do agree this is happening, but... IMO, this will be short lived as inhouse often means it gets put on either a marketer or IT/programmer persons plate ususally with other duties crucial to the well being of the company. PPC often is in this category and to say most "inhouse" campaigns pi$$ extraordinary amounts of cash away on poorly targetted and researched campaigns is very true in my experience. The smart way is to set up a new dept that works with the IT and Marketing dept. So... in most cases "inhouse" do a good job for a short time but they are not as focused and eventually the returns dwindle and these companies will realize this is a full time job requiring more then a passing interest to be successful long term.

All the references identifying "insourcing" as a trend IMO are sampling a very limited audience and the extent that this will/is affecting the industry is grossly over stated by those seeking attention for less than extensive or meaningful industry data. The myriad of sources providing less then extensive industry sampling passed off as actionable info and data is staggering and distorting the actual size and trends for the industry. Hence, this thread!

To say most of these industry reports are narrow in scope is a gross understatement. Is it possible that spend was flat because the firms in their report have flat revenues due to the fact they can't grow because they can't find qualified people to do so without lowering the quality of service they provide? I bet the churn of firms in that report is low and actually is a very small percentage of the firms out there. This industry, IMO, is much larger than anyone has portrayed it. No one seems to look past the 200 or so firms in the various orgs and rags portrayed as industry references. IMO, 200-300 that are listed in various SEO rags and orgs isn't even 10% of the real total of firms with over $100,000 in sales/yr.

I've seen revenue double Yr over yr without even trying, and most of the firms I've talked to are seeing revenues grow as expected or beyond their expectations. Not one has seen flat or low growth, most are held back by the shortage of employable qualified SEMs. By employable I mean those who would consider something other than self employment. Face it, most of the people who actually know what's what have no interest in "working for the man" for less money. Sure the "wage", the elimination of book keeping and pressure of owning your own firm are nice, but... with the wage guarantee and less stress comes a smaller paycheck with less "expenses" that can be legitimately claimed as business expenses.

12-18-2006, 06:56 PM
IMO, 2007 may be slow as the last economic slowdown did affect business to some extent however the growth of the net at that time did smooth that to some extent.

Funny you should say that, there was a documentary on british telly this evening regarding the movement of Christmas shoppers towards other forms of shopping with internet shopping featuring high on that list.

Surely in the UK at least, this should (hopefully) serve as a catalyst to raise the profile of the benefits of having search engine friendly websites, and thus drive the industry forward as a whole

12-18-2006, 08:31 PM
I think there's a combination of a few things said above that make sense the most when thought of in general terms.

Obviously the fact that it is the end of the year has a lot to do with it - however my inbox hasn't slowed down. I've already started scheduling projects for February and March start dates. It seems they're happy I'm too busy to start right away since they weren't intending to do anything until '07 anyway.

Another thing in regards to companies hiring in-house, or having their secretaries "do SEO" - I agree that to some extent that's true, but they're hiring SEO agencies to consult and train quite a bit more than in the past.

Personally, I see things growing, developing, and changing in terms of what agencies are offering for services. I think that SEO itself is going to be just a small part of larger, more intensive marketing packages being offered by agencies, or the majority of "SEO only" companies are going to start welcoming more consulting gigs than actually doing the work for their clients.

Prior to founding my agency, I worked for two others that had always offered "full services" in terms of design, development, SEO, and marketing - one of which has been doing that for over 10 years. Those are the more successful, well rounded, and strong companies in my opinion, because they tend to have a varied staff (which means LOTS of free flowing ideas) and are capable of doing everything a client may need done for their online presence.

Just some thoughts... :)

01-10-2007, 01:32 PM
Hey all, thanks for all the great advice. I wanted to let you all know that since the new yeara began I have begun to receive lots of calls form recruiters. I definitely think that the lull I was experience was due to seasonality.

That being said, I will note that most of the calls are coming from head hunters acting as agents for search engines, sems and interactive agencies. These sorts of companies definitely seem to be favoring thirs parter firms over online job postings.