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Trends in SEO jobs and the competencies businesses need

SEO, and therefore SEO jobs, are rapidly evolving because Google is always updating their algorithm. As a result, each year marketers are forced to re-evaluate the SEO trends shaping the search engine landscape. If you’re searching for new SEO professionals, you need to understand the main forces affecting their industry in 2023. 

Of course, it’s not only Google that’s changing – it’s also the expectations of SEO professionals. To find the best fit and retain the talent you find, you need to understand what candidates are looking for and the challenges they face. Let’s get into what you need to know.


SEO is now one of the most dynamic areas of digital marketing

Because Google is always updating their algorithm, SEO professionals need to be constantly learning to stay on top of the space. This means employers need to foster an environment that encourages learning – otherwise they will lose out on the knowledge they need and potentially the people too.

SEO professionals looking to move companies often cite they are not learning or being developed enough – particularly when they’re working in-house rather than at a speciality SEO agency. As an employer it’s your responsibility to counter this by investing in them and developing their skills.


It’s about value more than search terms

Google’s ability to evaluate signals and determine what content meets the standard gets better each and every day. 

Web pages don’t necessarily rank because of keywords – they rank because search engines want to serve the most value in their top results and now Google is aiming to ensure users are also satisfied by the content they click on in the SERPs. So the days where any volume of content can make the front page for traffic’s sake are long behind us. 

That said, the importance of search page position is changing now that it’s easier to scroll fast on mobile and desktop. The majority of clicks has historically always gone to the first three results, but now sites can now be on the second or even third page and still see good CTRs. 

SEO is affected by experience, expertise, authority, and trust

Google’s quality guidelines for ranking is EEAT: Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust. Experience is the newest of the elements, and was introduced to demonstrate the importance Google is placing on the first-hand, real-world experience the author has in their space. Websites need to take a closer look at their content creators – not just at who they are, but also whether their topic focus is a fit for their experience.

AI is a double-edged sword for the SEO specialist

Simultaneously brilliant at generating briefs and terrible at generating words for a website, AI is one of the reasons Google is focusing so much on author authority. They want to make sure the content that ranks isn’t automatically generated – and that means human-generated content is king. 

Good marketers will understand when to use AI to save time and when not to. Some SEO automation will take care of basic tactics so that SEO professionals can focus on strategy, for instance: 

  • Keyword research tools – these automate tasks that once required a lot of manual spreadsheet work.
  • Site auditing and monitoring platforms – like SearchAtlas and Content King, these automatically detect changes and technical issues on websites.
  • Website graders – these help the less SEO-savvy to identify needed optimizations and prioritise accordingly.

The role of a SEO manager is not necessarily to write content

When SEO managers lean into AI, it’s usually because they’re tasked with producing a huge volume of words for content. Sometimes this is because the budget isn’t there for a larger content team – other times SEO roles can be a bit isolated and nobody around them knows how to reach out and offer the right support.

Both of these combined mean that SEO professionals aren’t getting the resources they need to deliver results and learn. Moving to a specialist agency with higher budgets and more variety is therefore often an appealing option. So if you’re a specialist agency, lean into the learning you can offer. If you’re not an agency, you might need to provide support beyond what you’d normally consider to hire and retain the best SEO professionals.


The environment is also playing a part

The tech industry is making major strides to tackle its data carbon footprint, and Google is no exception. The company is aiming to operate on carbon-free energy by 2030 – and as a result it’s crawling sites less in order to conserve computing resources.

Google’s reduced crawl rates are less likely to affect the discovery of new content. If you optimise static pages from the get go, you’re less likely to be impacted. On the other hand, updates to your site may take longer to get picked up by refresh crawls. Once again, this means that companies looking to attract and keep the best SEO talent need to show candidates they can be realistic about their expectations.


Voice and video are on the rise

With the rise of devices like Alexa and Cortana, voice search optimisation has changed the way people search for content – they phrase questions differently, often using more natural language and long-tail keywords. Websites will need to be optimised with this in mind, if they are to reach these potential customers.

Video is also playing a big part of SEO these days. 82% of content is expected to be video in 2023, and people stay longer on websites that have videos embedded – which means that Google will reward those sites.

For SEO professionals moving up the career ladder, these trends will be key areas to master. And for the companies looking to build their bank of SEO talent, providing the opportunity to develop in those areas will be just as crucial.

Before you start looking for a new hire, look internally first – is the way your company operates conducive to pushing for top-notch SEO results? Do you foster an environment where employees are excited to learn and improve their skills?

Organisations don’t always understand the time SEO takes to generate results and it can feel like a dark art from the outside. If you’d like recruitment support from our expert consultants, don’t hesitate to get in touch