The Day Search Engine Optimization Became a Legitimate Profession

Recently MSN UK listed an SEO job. Danny also spotted a post about eBay and Yahoo! looking for SEOs.

For a while these networks (and especially Google) have painted SEO as being shady and/or illegitimate. Google killed SearchKing's PageRank for years, only starting to show PageRank again this week.

Yahoo! has long been a buyer of links, Google cloaked itself, sold kiddie porn ads, openly funds piracy, and steals clients.

As companies that openly manipulate their own databases they have no credibility talking trash about SEOs. After actively seeking workers in the SEO field they won't have much credibility going forward when they try to talk it down.

In that regard I think SEO is going to seem far more legitimate.

As SEO keeps getting more exposure year over year and offline ads become less profitable huge media companies are starting to notice SEO. Yesterday the NYT admitted that they write titles with SEO in mind.

After a couple more months or years of declining offline profits more newspapers will write about SEO in positive articles as they tout their new value model to investors.

Sure there will still be isolated incidences, but as an industry as a whole I think SEO has just became legitimized.

Published: April 11, 2006 by Aaron Wall in internet


April 13, 2006 - 8:38pm

The people making money off SEO for many years have always thought it legitimate - seems the general public is catching up. ;-)

April 11, 2006 - 2:37pm

Hi Aaron

Certainly in the UK there have been quite a few publishers and companies who have started recruiting people with SEO skills. I actually went to an interview recently with a well-known UK charity that apparently wanted to employ an in-house SEO consultant. I was a bit perplexed when they told me they were in the middle of changing SEO agencies! I think they may have got the job description a bit mixed up. I also think the problem is that these large companies or organisations want to employ people but are not quite sure what they want or who they want.


John Timmerman
April 11, 2006 - 6:39pm

I definitely think that SEO is gaining much more legitimacy in the minds of US corporations and institutions, but I also agree with David that many companies don't know exactly what they're looking for. In my own experience - for large corporate entities - it takes someone on the inside to really sell the bureaucracy on the SEO concept.

Not to long I worked for a technology company in a very competitive field that spent $40 - $60 per click on PPC ads for their primary keywords. It took two years to convince senior management to buy into SEO. I hired an SEO company to help us out and within six months we cut our Internet advertising budget by 90% and increased lead flow by 30%.

Then I moved to my current job, where they also had been talking about SEO for past couple of years. The only reason I was able to sell them on it was because I could show them specifics of what we had done with my previous employer's web site. It still took me several months to get them started, but now we're well on our way.

Corporate senior management - often not very web-savvy - tends to require hard data from a person they trust in order to buy into SEO. They like the concept, but have a hard time understanding it. So the best thing we can do is to educate. They'll come around eventually.

February 3, 2007 - 6:49pm

I am new to the whole SEO field. I am looking at several courses and online certificates. I am also concerned about what my certification would mean to a potential employer. Since no college seems to offer this type of accredited course what is a person supposed to do?

February 3, 2007 - 10:53pm

I think personal experience and an open mind are the best trainers in this field.

April 12, 2006 - 10:46pm

It is good. SEO is a way how to decrease advertising expenses.
Probably competition will increase among websites using SEO.

May 11, 2006 - 8:07am

I think the demand has just been a little slower within some industries, but let me assure you, it certainly isn't slow across the board. This is what allowed me to retire at 33, so SEO is a blinding fact of faith within the current WWW. The money has been within the mid range business sector for a long time now, its just the upper and lower sectors that are slow, either because they didn't believe they needed it, or just couldn't afford the quality services people and companies provide.

I think its great that companies such as Yahoo, MSN, Ebay and so forth are employing inhouse SEO's. What a great step forward for the industry as a whole.

I still fail to see web accreditation as any sort of reputable endorsement of a company. Accreditation needs to come from certifying local bodies, not an online want to be body, ie. SEMPO, SEO Pro's, etc. Certification of any industry falls with Country and State education systems. Certification needs to be government accredited, and backed by those educational institutions that award such schooling bodies to perform. I myself am an accredited instructor for competency based certification programs of any kind, any level, and I know what is required to build an education competency structure, guidelines, learning materials, instruction and testing.

Online organisations such as SEMPO and SEO Pro's do not carry the educational structure to do such practices, thus the certification would still mean nothing from the paper it is written, unless the above criteria is met.

May 11, 2006 - 8:13am

Added: Certification from a non-endorsed institution, is like saying that your degree was just a few checks from some online name, with a few ticks in the box, and heres a logo to put on your site linking back to us. A degree in IT for example changes across the world, from institution to institution, state to state, country to country. Very few are often the same, so to speak.

If anyone could do it, I believe it would be SEMPO, but they would have to have an educational institution endorsement and certification, along with structure compulsary training and testing for each certification. Not the current method... yep, your site reads ok, nothing inadequate their, you have a company name and your address is legitimate, APPROVED! WTF?

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.