So, you decided to step into the world of SEO? Before you do that, let me share with you some important facts and my personal experience.
Who I am? I am Manoj Maity, an SEO expert in Kolkata. Since 2017, I have been doing SEO & other digital marketing stuff either as a full-time employee or as a freelancer.
I have seen many changes in this industry that I am going to share a few with you now.
We all know that SEO or search engine optimization is one of the digital marketing channels through which a business can grow organically. The business has invested billions of dollars in SEO and still investing a lot. According to a report, the SEO industry was worth $79 billion in the USA only.
In India too. SEO is gaining steady momentum as businesses can realize its importance of it.
BUT, can you still get a job and growth in the SEO industry. My answer to this quest is “Probably NOT”.
SEO in India is highly competitive & saturated from a job hunters perspective.
Now you might be thinking that I don’t have a job or any project, so, out of disappointment, I am writing this.
But, believe me, I had a job until recently. Now started freelancing, have a handful of regular clients. And I don’t fear competition.
I just want to show you the reality. I don’t want you to waste your valuable time and money.
Another thing is, this article is not to demotivate anyone. Just to tell the reality that no one is going to tell. Neither those SEO “Gurus” on Youtube nor the offline institutes selling courses at a very high cost.
Now, this claim is not false at all.
I will share with you the reasons behind the growing competition and facts to support my claims.
The reason behind the growing competition:
Cheap Data Plans & Increasing Internet Penetration
Digital marketing in India started growing exponentially after JIO launched its free/cheap internet connection pan India. As of 2021, 45% of people are using the internet. In the year 2015, it was only 27%.
Besides economical tariff plans, handheld devices, smartphones became easily available for the economically weaker sections. Thus this leap in internet users.
This growth has had a tremendous effect on the Indian economy and society. The present govt.’s mindset towards building a digital India strengthen the digital revolution in India.
More Businesses & Startups Became Digital
The launching of payment wallets and the UPI payment systems made it easier for people to purchase goods and services online. People started spending more and more using their smartphones. According to this report on Statista, “In 2020, there were approximately 150 million online shoppers annually, compared to about 135 million online shoppers in 2019 in India.”
On account of these reasons, new startups popped up & existing businesses saw an opportunity to market their products and services online. This requirement emphasized the role of an SEO professional.
Previous SEO was treated like a data entry personnel in any agency and was the lowest-paid among other professionals. But, the growing opportunity, regular complex search engine algorithms updates, increasing cutthroat competition has given this job profile higher status.
Low entry barrier & Digital Gurus selling Fake Dreams
As a result of this, a flood of new students jumped into this career. Institutes launched SEO courses, some people turned to Youtube & other social media and started promoting their cheap courses and selling fake dreams.
Unemployment is a big issue in our country. So, called “Digital Gurus” took this opportunity to lure the graduates, lowered the entry barrier to join their courses and make them “rich”. SEO courses were sold as if it will make them “millionaires overnight”.
They overhyped affiliate marketing, freelancing and blogging as a regular career, saying people can earn lakhs per month from doing 1-2 hours of work from home. Even in 2022, they are doing the same.
Now I am not saying that affiliate marketing or blogging doesn’t work. It crossed its golden age and the success rate is very low in this field. ( here are some important stats ) It used to work like charm until 4-5 years back when online advertisement platforms were still was not so popular and was in the development phase.
But, it’s not like that anymore. Things have changed.
Why not choose SEO as a career:
It’s wise to avoid extreme competition
The main reason to avoid this career in 2022 is extreme competition as I already discussed above.
Now you may say, there is no career that has no or low competition in India. Yes, competition is everywhere and it’s a good signal upto a certain extent to choose a career. If no one is going to a career that means there is no money or dying career.
But, it’s wise to avoid extremely crowded careers. Because the chances of getting a job are low there.
Most of the SEOs are underpaid
As more skilled persons are available in the market now, the amount of salary has reduced dramatically. SEOs are not getting their expected remuneration, they are just surviving with the least amount they get.
During an interview, if one tries to negotiate a salary, his/her chances of getting that job are almost negligible. You know the reason.
The high number of applications for a single job or Project
As more people are available in this skill set, their value has degraded in the work place drastically. It’s like a content writer or a web design know how to do SEO. This may upset a lot of young guys.
If you ever apply for an SEO executive position on LinkedIn or Indeed, you can see how many applicants also applied there. On an average, I see 120+ application for SEO that requires a minimum of 1 year of experience.
This was not the case until 2 years back. So, you can calculate the chances of getting a job as 1/120.
Besides, a single SEO project on any freelance platform like Freelancer.com, Truelancer.com, Upwork etc, get flooded with 100+ bids.
The young guys who hope to get a job or a freelance project get disappointed with this.
The supply exceeds the actual demand in the market.
Companies Prefer Experienced SEOs Mostly
Another important fact is, companies or agencies now prefer hiring experienced candidates only as ranking on google and getting traffic is the biggest challenge now.
Google’s algorithm made it harder to rank any website on their search engine to keep the results on SERP spam-free and user friendly.
For a beginner in SEO, this may be a daunting task to rank a website and get traffic leads or sales etc. SEO can’t be learned doing any courses but implementing the lessons you learn on your own blog or others.
This is the reason, people who have at least some good track record or ranking website gets the job.
Even if a fresher gets an internship opportunity, all they do is create backlinks manually. Mostly are spammy or irrelevant in nature like blog commenting, forum posting, social bookmarking etc.
Small Businesses Prefers Fast Results
I have talked to many small business owners for a digital marketing consultancy. Most of them prefer those channels which can bring them fast results. Sadly for SEO, this is not the case. For a new website, even if you are targeting a small local area, takes around 5-6 months nowadays.
So, small businesses call me for providing either running paid advertisements on Google or Social media instead of SEO.
SEO Requires Regular Skill Upgrade
SEO is a very dynamic field compared to other marketing channels. Things in SEO changes more rapidly compared to other channels like Email, Social Media or PPC. Every now and then, Google release updates in the algorithm, thus new strategies are required to keep a website stay on the top.
This requires constant up gradation of your skills and knowledge. For a newcomer in the industry, it may sound overwhelming.
So, these are my point of view, my personal opinion. If I were to choose a career in digital marketing I would never choose SEO in 2022 & beyond.
I would say to the digital marketing enthusiast or newcomers, that learn skills based on their personal likings. If you have creativity, learn social media marketing or even graphics designing. If you love writing and reading, choose copywriting or content writing as a career, they have better career opportunities than SEO.
And always keep in mind, just because a trade is trending, you can’t just jump it blindly without analyzing yourself and the market.
Let me know what do you think in the comment section.