SEO is a challenging and rewarding career for people from a number of different types of backgrounds.
It requires a degree of comfort with numbers, as SEO professionals should be able to look at the data coming in and understand how to make adjustments to improve the success of their campaign.
SEOs should also understand how to take the big picture– of business goals and objectives– and be able to translate it into a marketing SEO strategy. Professionals need to understand where their SEO efforts should thrive to help the brand achieve the stated goals.
SEOs also need to excel at experimentation. If there is one constant in the world of online marketing, it is that it is always changing.
Google regularly issues new updates, customer preferences change and the technology updates, all forcing marketers to be able to work well within these parameters of constant change. The professionals that can judge trends and make accurate predictions about how websites can prepare for impending changes are the ones that will see the most success.
Being comfortable with this level of experimentation and uncovering new paths towards success also attracts candidates who are capable of thinking outside the box. These successful marketers are not only flexible, but they are imaginative and creative.
These skill sets, however, can serve professionals beyond SEO. As the industry continues to grow and mature, professionals are going to have to find a way to work with members of other marketing departments.
Walls between marketing silos are coming down, which in turn is adjusting workflows and methodologies. Professionals who already have the skills needed to reach across these marketing silos are well-positioned for both organizational and personal growth.
Why the future is bright for SEO hybrids
According to the 2014 Digital Marketer Report by Experian Marketing Services, an estimated 80 percent of marketers worldwide say that they will be running cross-channel marketing campaigns over the next year. These brands have to learn how to bring their different platforms together so that they can function as a single unit.
Additionally, 61 percent of marketing leaders surveyed for the same report indicated that collecting and managing structured and unstructured data is among their biggest challenges.
Given that 88 percent of B2B and 76 percent of B2C organizations say they use content marketing, however, the need is now greater than ever for brands to learn how to use SEO, measure their progress, pinpoint opportunities and remain relevant. Online marketing is no longer a guessing game. Instead, analytics are a big part of this system.
Hybrid marketers are able to take the skills that make them exceptionally good SEOs and expand them into new roles so they can maximize the full potential of the marketing department and produce genuine changes.
Since SEO helps brands improve the relevancy of the company’s marketing efforts for the search engines, these hybrid marketers can expand the usage of these optimization practices throughout the organization, improving the success of campaigns.
Last year at Share15 Adobe shared great insights and discussed a hybrid approach to SEO. The company spoke about progress from 2006, when it was still just doing basic, fragmented SEO, to what it termed the ONESEARCH effort in 2015.
During this push towards integrated SEO, Adobe brought together teams and worked together towards the same goal. These joint efforts yielded spectacular results, with a 73 percent decrease in cost-per-subscription, a 106 percent increase in subscription volume and a 45 percent decrease in SEM spend.
Despite the growing interest of brands in cross-channel marketing, there remain talent gaps within the marketing industry. Thirty percent of respondents on a recent survey said that finding candidates with the right qualifications can be a big problem.
The SEO professionals who are able to hone their skills and expand their professional expertise will be the ones who are best-positioned for the future of online marketing. They will be able to elevate the importance of SEO within their organization while also being able to bridge the divide that separate the different areas of marketing. They will help their brands advance while also growing their own careers.
How to elevate SEO and advance your career
Strengthen your skills in analytics and measurement
Measurement is crucial to any successful marketing campaign, yet according to the Online Marketing Institute, there is a 37 percent talent gap in analytics. This makes learning about data an important first step in the journey to becoming a hybrid marketer.
Understanding analytics inside and out –including measuring your successes and failures, how your campaigns are impacting conversions and the bottom line as well as how to present this information to your business leaders– is crucial to helping everyone else understand the important nature of SEO.
The entire marketing team, from social media to content development, needs SEO to shine against the competition, and understanding analytics is an important step in making this need clear.
Analytics will also help you and your team create more effective and efficient campaigns, responding directly to the numbers, thereby improving the brand’s position.
Cultivate relationships with those in other areas of marketing
It is also important to cultivate your relationships with professionals in other areas of marketing. Get to know the people who work in social media, paid marketing and lead nurturing roles– such as email marketing.
You want to understand their strategies and goals to see how they correlate with your own ideas. Start to build the bridges that will help you overcome divisions and work together. Find opportunities to collaborate on projects or seek each other’s advice when appropriate to set the foundation of working together.
Personally take the time to learn skills and earn certifications
Maturing within the online marketing industry is also about personal growth. Use your own time to learn skills and earn certifications in other areas of marketing. There are a variety of online resources available to help you master the latest strategies and techniques.
Learn how to use the entire technology stack employed by your organization so you are not confined solely to the tools used in SEO. For example, learn how to use Google Analytics through the Google Analytics Academy.
Look for opportunities to expand professional experience beyond your title
Let your managers and bosses know that you have earned new certifications and that you are interested in putting them to use for your organization.
Look for opportunities to collaborate with marketers from other specialties and use your new insight to help your marketing campaigns reach the next level of success.
Working on these collaborative projects will not only help you practice and improve your skills, but they can also be excellent resume builders.
Use your SEO skills to evangelize your success
Use your hybrid marketing skills to create a personal brand online. Use keyword research to uncover the types of positions that you would be most interested in reaching and the terms related to your ideal industries.
Optimize your personal online space, such as your website and resume, to help demonstrate your expertise in SEO and hybrid marketing to employers when they look for people in your field. This can be your key to upward mobility within the industry.
The marketing world is rapidly changing as consumers’ channel agnosticism forces brands to become more sophisticated and more integrated in their marketing efforts. Professionals themselves have to be willing to change and adapt to these situations if they want to remain relevant in their field.
Casting light on the relevancy of SEO while also working to expand your experience and knowledge beyond one specialty into a hybrid marketer is an effective way to evangelize and elevate your value and position in your organizations.