State of the SEO Job Market: Q1 2024

Is SEO Truly Dying? SEO job listings are down -37% in Q1 of 2024 compared to 2023.

When you log into LinkedIn, it’s not uncommon to read about someone being made redundant or companies conducting layoffs. With all the changes organic search has been going through lately, especially with the recent launch of “AI Answers” (previously SGE), one of the most common questions I get is, “What is the current state of the SEO job market?”

Today, I’m going to attempt to answer this question.

While I take pride in SEOJobs.com’s quality and relevance of SEO listings, the data set from this site alone would not suffice for this analysis. I want to thank the team at SourceStack for providing me with the data behind 80,000 SEO job listings posted directly by employers on their Applicant Tracking System (Workable, Breezy, Greenhouse, Workday, and many more).

Methodology

Answering this question about the state of the SEO job market requires explaining the methodology behind how the data was utilized.

The raw data represents 80,000 then-active job listings from ~4,700 employers published in 2023 and 2024 (through March).

In an attempt to isolate variables, I created two data sets. One looks at just Q1 of 2024 using job boards indexed through 2023 so that the increasing scale of Sourcestack’s database wouldn’t inflate the numbers. (~15k unique job listing data points)

I also isolated job boards indexed first in 2022 to normalize jobs posted throughout 2023 and Q1 of 2024. (~6k unique job listing data points)


What is the State of the SEO Job Market?

Using the known job boards indexed in 2022, the data suggests that SEO Jobs are down (on average) -37% in Q1 of 2024 compared to 2023.

 

The data further suggests that mid-level SEO roles are being impacted the most year over year. Q1 of 2024 vs. Q1 of 2023 shows an emphasis on hiring senior-level talent (+3%) and intern/entry-level talent (+1%), while mid-level is down (-6%). SEO contract roles also increased +1% in this same time frame year over year.

 


Additional 2024 Q1 SEO Jobs Insights

Going into Q1 of 2024, I isolated job boards indexed through 2023. Despite the small number of unique jobs published (~3k) these three months, I found a few additional insights worth sharing.

Did SEO Job Listings Increase In Q1 of 2024?

SEO job listings were down considerably in January compared to December—an additional decrease in February, followed by a slight rebound in March 2024.

How Did USA SEO Jobs Listings Trend in Q1?

SEO jobs in the United States are trending up month-over-month going into Q2 of 2024 but are down compared to Q4 of 2023.

How Did Non-US SEO Job Postings Trend in Q1?

SEO jobs outside the United States (87 countries) also trended up in Q1 but were down compared to Q4 of 2023.

Who Are The Top Countries Hiring SEOs (NON-US)?

Germany, the United Kingdom, India, France*, and Philippines are among the top five countries (not including the US) that have posted SEO jobs in Q1.

*Note: The data for March (France) is accurate; it undoubtedly skews the data for this chart. However, normalizing the listings between the three months would move the Philippines into position #4 and France into #5.

(US) Company Location By States

The top 5 US states publishing the most unique job listings in 2023 and 2024 YTD are New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Florida.   These are the locations of the companies and not where an employee resides (remote roles included)

Are Companies Still Hiring SEOs Remotely in 2023/4?

Reports indicate a significant increase in remote positions were published through Q3 of 2023. Despite the many non-remote roles published in Q4 (2023), Q1 has shown a resurgence in remote SEO roles across job listings.

Do SEO Job Listings Include Salary Transparency?

The SEO industry struggles with job salary transparency, with only 18% of all listings providing ANY monetary figure or range.  I anticipate this will slowly change as more (US) states legally require companies to be transparent with salaries.


My (Nick’s) Personal Thoughts

With economic uncertainty and the early adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), the data (as well as first-hand experience with SEOJobs) validates that a career in SEO is not as stable as it had been in the past 5-10-15+ years.

Results Are Harder To Achieve

The gap between SEOs who can provide meaningful results and those who can’t is more extensive than ever.  In the past ten years, we have seen massive growth in SEO agencies that offer teams that execute off SOPs (standard operating procedures). Successful SEO is so much more than publishing content and acquiring backlinks today.

Companies are abandoning their editorial properties due to their inability to achieve (and maintain) organic results, leading to massive layoffs.

The rise of artificial intelligence has caused many SEOs to doubt whether their career will continue to exist in a few years.

The Role of AI in SEO Careers

Tasks historically mapped to an entry-level position are now being done faster and cheaper with AI technology. Gone are the days of needing to map redirects or write metadata manually. This forces SEOs to level up in their careers quicker than previously required.

Historically, an entry-level SEO could provide immediate value by executing manual tasks (now taken over by AI technology) while learning how to manage clients, pitch to c-suites, and more extensive soft skills such as critical thinking and effective communication. These entry-level SEOs are now expected to have a base-level knowledge of search AND the soft skills to compete against their mid-level peers with 3+ years of experience.

The data at the top of this article shows that SEO roles at the “mid-level” have been impacted most. Companies want to “do more with less,” which means hiring cheap junior resources and paying for proven experience/results via senior SEOs.

The Future of the SEO Industry

If you’ve made it to this portion of the article, you’ve likely already decided that SEO is a thing of the past. SEO is not dead. Is it more difficult? Absolutely!

As of May 2024, Semrush shows that less than 1% of all queries across mobile and desktop platforms display AI Overviews (SGE). This number will undoubtedly rise, but the answer still holds true: SEO is not dead; it is evolving, as it has since the beginning of search.

Today is the day to push yourself as an SEO practitioner and hone your skills. I suspect the SEO industry will become much more turbulent before it improves. However, there will always be a job for an SEO who knows how to build a strategy, execute it, and effectively measure results.

My challenge to you is:

What makes you stand out from the hundreds of other SEOs with comparative “years of experience” applying to the same job?

This is the real question you need to be able to answer. No, ChatGPT isn’t going to do this for you either 😉

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