I have been here since the beginning. I have been called the “Father of SEO” in part because I have been here for so long — I started three years before Google! And the industry has certainly evolved over these 26+ years.
As a company, we have always taken our place as mentors and teachers of how SEO should be done. Often unpopular, frequently disagreeing with what “works” because cork bicycle zone it is just not right, and speaking up for SEO as a trade … that is us.
The industry has grown over the years as people have learned and prospered as SEOs. Many people with a lot of experience have become leaders of in-house departments as SEO became a many billion-dollar industry. I congratulate you all on your success. But with this evolution came the plague of all successful industries — demand exceeding supply.
BCI saw prospective clients complaining that they had gone through three or four other SEO agencies who knew less than the client did about SEO. The client was actually teaching their agency how to do SEO!
Clients now know even more about digital marketing, and these superficial SEO firms are struggling. Clients come to us looking for expertise they can’t find elsewhere. I guess our training courses, conference masterclasses and websites were successful.
The obvious solution for us was to build a company of experts — and so we did. Currently, our SEO and PPC staff average about 15 years of experience. We are leaders in our space and growing rapidly. Clients have learned the hard way that if you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. We are the agency companies call when SEO really matters. We are hiring remote staff and paying well above competitive wages. And we are not experiencing the knowledge gap plague.
But now, we are seeing a strange problem. Because of COVID, the demand for SEO competency has never been higher. And demand is driving up salaries for great SEOs. The SEO firms that were not hiring experts find even their novice staff wages dramatically increasing by up to 50% — and with no way to increase billings 50%. They are losing their skilled workers at a fast pace and paying more for what is left. Many smaller agencies may fold this year as margins fade.
Small agency survival depends upon reducing their time spent per project during a time when Google is changing 12 times a day and the competition is hiring SEO skilled people … a rock and a hard place for many smaller SEO firms. They cannot produce quality results in less time with amateur staff.
So how can we help our industry now?
We love teaching SEO. We built SEOtraining.com as a way to train continuously instead of once and done — we put our money into helping the entire industry. We are committed to continuing to build our industry. At our core, we are and will remain expert mentors and teachers.
I decided that what our industry needs is to properly develop senior SEOs into experts. There are many people that really are very skilled but lack 10+ years of experience. These folks are looking for challenging work solving SEO puzzles that excite them. And they are fumbling around in a pool of failing agencies.