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Professional and Education Backgrounds of SEO Professionals

Kristen Fowler Lindsey - Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Are you curious about the professional and educational background of your SEO professional? Maybe you should be.

There was a fantastic post last week on the Search Engine Watch forums about the professional and education backgrounds of SEO professionals and a debate on what types of experience are best. This is a very interesting conversation, because most SEO professionals are self-taught; there are very few if any programs training in this area.

Generally, most SEO professionals get started in one of two areas - either they have a web technical background or else they have a marketing background. Here is a sampling of backgrounds that many who posted listed as their own:

  • BS Sociology/Psychology; MS Research, Measurements, and Quantitative Analysis
  • Finance/ Personal Interest in the web and computers
  • Bachelor's degree in Journalism; Master's Degree in advertising; Professional background in public relations
  • BSc in Web Development at the University of Teesside in the UK; Diploma in Corporate E-Commerce Development
  • Bachelor's in Marketing, with a concentration in Information Sciences/Internet
  • Technical education and data/statistical analysis background and have been in web development since the 90's.

Very diverse! Which begs the next question: Is there a better background to product effective SEO results for your organization?

Some of the forum participants assert that a technical background is vital to being a successful SEO professional. Others press that a marketing background with technical support provides increased big picture perspective on how SEO fits into an overall marketing program.

My opinion? I lean towards the latter - a technical background is important, but as online marketing continues to grow and is an ever larger percentage of marketing budgets, SEO must have relevance to the overall program or else it will be de-emphasized. Ideally, a professional with a marketing background and with some technical experience will provide that big picture perspective but also provide technical execution (or the ability to hire someone with the technical experience).

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