The Rising Demand for SEO Talent in 2021

Throughout 2021, the demand for SEO specialists has grown significantly. Here are our reflections on 2021 and predictions for 2022.

4 Jan 2022

SEO demand

Throughout 2021, the demand for SEO and paid media specialists within digital marketing teams has grown significantly. Whilst the demand for SEO talent has been competitive for years, paid media has almost always been the most in-demand skillset across the two channels. But what we’ve seen since 2020 is a huge shift. That’s not to say that the demand for paid media is diminishing. Rather, the digital marketing industry is starting to see a real benefit to investing in SEO.

The significant rise in demand for SEO started around Q2 of 2020. The global pandemic saw a huge number of businesses turn off their paid media spending instantly to save money. Whilst this led to several redundancies across paid media, digital marketing teams were looking at ways to drive acquisition in a more cost-effective and consistent manner. The value of technical SEO, content, and digital PR was finally being realised.

So what does this mean for the industry?

We’re currently entering 2022 and there’s still no sign of the demand for SEO talent slowing down. In fact, those with strong technical SEO skills are typically being approached as often as 10 times per week by recruiters or businesses directly. We’ve seen asking salaries increase by around 10-20% across the industry, with salaries edging closer towards those within paid media. Many businesses are now looking to bring skills in-house too. For businesses with SEO specialists in the team, retaining talent is key. The main drivers for SEO specialists looking to leave their role are salary increases, 100% remote working, and being valued for the ROI they deliver. Employers who are offering pay rises before staff ask, or as a counter-offer when an employee resigns, are retaining more staff than those who act too late. One thing’s for sure: SEO specialists do know that they are in demand right now.

Predictions for 2022

The signs are still very much there that demand will be high for SEO talent in 2022. We expect there to be a lot of demand for technical SEO skills due to the short supply we have seen in the industry for years. Whilst still in its infancy in many ways, we expect 2022 to be a big year for digital PR, with several agencies evaluating their service offering and wanting to follow in the footsteps of other very successful digital PR agencies. SEO is an exciting place to be right now, and we look forward to seeing the channel continue to rise in popularity in 2022.

Photo by Tim van der Kuip on Unsplash

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