Red – some of you are seeing red. Some are panicking and some are waiting for the justification behind the words. Most of those whom I know though secretly are agreeing with me and for a variety of reasons, only a few of which I will put to paper (or electrons).
There are many reasons why you should expect your SEO to be moonlighting. After a year or even two of training and learning their craft, they should be proficient enough to start earning a second income from something. Affiliates, MFA, blogging, or whatever, your SEO should be doing something besides showing up to work, working on clients (or in house) and going home.
With In-House SEOs, moonlighting is essential because it gives them experiences beyond their immediate work and gives them a platform for experimentation. With agency staff, their own projects also offer the opportunity for experimentation. Better that they try and fail on a test site than a live site. Better to get a blog banned than a multi-million pound e-commerce site.
SEO is an art and a craft. It takes skill, knowledge, understanding and learning. Training is sparse once beyond the beginning stages, only available at conferences and through testing. Reading, reading and more reading combined with testing and a skilled, sharp mind is needed for SEO. With this discipline, both the art of marketing and the skill of technical knowledge and expertise combine together.
A passionate SEO, someone who is bitten by the bug and craves to learn more, will go on to do more SEO in their free time. That is the SEO that you want – someone who has passion and strives to learn more. This is the SEO that you will want to find and keep. The professional who will test, push boundaries, experiment and learn more in their free time is valuable and should be kept and nurtured. This SEO will bring more to an organisation than you may be able to utilise however they are worth their weight in gold over the long term.
Without this outside interest, your SEO is restricted to only eight or so short hours in the day to both work on projects and learn. Experimentation is on live sites and training is whatever they are able to snatch. They walk away from search each day and only return to it upon returning to work.
The passionate SEO will go beyond just search and diversify. They will be a treasure to find and keep. If your SEO is moonlighting, perhaps it is possible to nurture that passion and therefore benefit from it within your business. Send them to conferences like SES, SMX, Pubcon, or A4U with its strong SEO track. Utilise their strengths and nurture their passions and your business will benefit greatly.