Let me start this by saying I have been doing SEO and online marketing work ever since I was around 17. I am 37 now. Basically, I did anything you can imagine, from writing content to choosing keywords and creating SEO strategies.
And I did it as a freelancer and in agencies. Some agencies were great. Some were bad. Some work was white hat. Some was black hat. But, it was rather enjoyable. Overall enjoyable.
The problem is everything in this industry eventually becomes boring. And this is just one of the reasons why a career in SEO might not be what you have been looking for.
I took a look at several job ads and freelance projects that included some type of search engine optimization work. And every single opportunity is presented as being something incredible. So many hype words that it seems the descriptions were written by paparazzi. And the truth is SEO work is not really that.
Once you get over the initial satisfaction of helping clients get rankings, you start to do other things. You start to question the industry and learn more and more. And the more you learn, the more you realize you learned nothing.
But, I am getting off track. The idea is that all SEO work-related descriptions are so optimistic. They are just too good to be true. And you surely know what they say about things being too good to be true.
Why Might SEO Be A Bad Career Choice?
It is actually hard for me to properly organize my thoughts, in a way that is linear and can easily be followed. So, please bear with me a little.
I will try to present the main reasons why a career in SEO might not be a good option, as organized as I can.
The Work Is Dull
It does not really matter what SEO work you do. Eventually, it gets dull. You end up doing the same thing every single day. You just do it for different clients and different websites.
If you have any problems with things getting too monotonous and doing the same things over and over again, SEO might be a terrible decision that will make you depressed. Yes, it can be that bad. Obviously, not with everyone.
The best example of this is most likely doing keyword research. You use the same tools and take the same steps. It is just the words that change. And you give your reports to someone else or you use them to then do the same things. Eventually, the only thing you can do is do something else in SEO. And that will become dull too.
SEO Might Soon Disappear As An Industry
This is something nobody in the industry will ever admit. And they will fight hard to convince you that SEO is a long-term career option, that SEO will always be needed.
While it is completely true that SEO will always be needed, as the search engines get smarter, it becomes more and more complicated to trick them into getting a site ranked higher. This is what you are actually doing with most SEO work. You try to get higher rankings and you usually do it with content that is not the best.
SEO tools are already incredibly easy to use and fast, even for people with limited knowledge. And they are constantly improving. Eventually, all you will need to do is read a couple of articles online and then start using the tools to do very effective SEO work.
Also, more and more marketers are already doing SEO work. And more will do SEO work in the future as they optimize their landing pages for the traffic they get from search engines and even from ads.
What I am trying to say is that SEO will eventually become a small part of the work needed to promote a website of any kind. Traffic will be generated organically and the actual optimization work will be automatically handled by SEO tools.
A successful company no longer needs the SEO expert. Anyone in the company can get the knowledge needed to do the work. And SEO agencies do not want you to know that because you could do it cheaper if you were to do it yourself.
It Is Very Hard To Grow Your Career
When you get a job, you eventually want a promotion and better pay. This is completely normal and SEO is no different. But, those who are already at higher levels in agencies do not want you to reach their level.
Marketing as a whole is a very competitive field filled with people who are secretly afraid of losing their jobs. They know younger people know more than them and they do all that is possible to stop them in their tracks. This is, again, one thing that nobody will really admit.
The big problem here is the manager, the person in charge. They want results and eventually blindly end up believing the people they worked with for the longest time.
Once, I worked for an SEO agency and the main manager asked me to send some emails to a database of contacts. He wanted me to use a specific SEO template created by the main SEO guy there. (I will call him an SEO guy because I cannot consider him an expert in any way, shape, or form). I instantly told him that the template will not work because it was a really old way to contact people, one that is simply not effective these days. I brought it up with the SEO guy and he kept saying this is what works. We got into an argument and challenged him to prove it. To do it himself and if he gets the results he claims, I will give him my salary for the entire year.
Guess what. He did not do it. But, he was so good at kissing ass and making it seem that he knew his stuff that the higher-ups believed him in everything. Even if his tactics were quite old. And he did sabotage my work and diminished it as much as possible in the following weeks.
Eventually, the SEO agency started to have problems with clients. Of course they were. Rankings were not going up with all those ancient tactics and a focus on the wrong things. And I was the first to get my pay cut, even if I did my job perfectly and I knew much more already than the SEO guy. Luckily for me, I expected it and was already looking for other options. A couple of months later and I already had another job. That one turned out to be better.
Have you heard of any new, young SEO expert that is recognized in the industry? Exactly. The top of the ladder is always the same.
You Make More Money Working For Your Sites
This is not necessarily related to the SEO career as a whole. It is just to present an alternative.
There are many different ways in which you can make money. You can, of course, also start in an SEO agency, or do whatever you want. And you can take a part of the money to build your own sites. This is actually the best thing you could do. Not work for an SEO agency or do SEO work for others.
Who do you think makes more money? The SEO agency, its employees, or the business that hires the SEO agency?
If you already have the SEO knowledge to do it, start your own sites and you will eventually make more than you could with an SEO job. Why do it for others?
I could write a lot more but I think this is enough. Whether or not SEO will still exist in 10 years or that SEO agencies will still exist in 10 years, if you are looking for a good career option, there is a pretty good possibility SEO is not it. There are definitely other better options out there. And I do hope you will look at those.