Why is it so hard to find a good full time SEO Account Manager for my agency?


Aug 17, 2015
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Just starting a discussion to hear other people thoughts about building a small SEO team for a small web design agency. I have 2 people in SEO department, one technical SEO and one account manager (and me with 20 years experience) but I can't find anyone else normal to join us. Tried for 3 months now with adverts and even contacting local people on LinkedIn and everyone who I found on monster.co.uk, reed.co.uk and other similar sites seems wrong for the job. Either no experience in tech SEO, or bad in account management or speaking to clients. I even have link assets (good link network for many years) that helps get even hard one word results very quick for clients so I can charge clients more money, but still it's very hard to find people so I can't grow the team. I have already maybe 20 clients now paying monthly fee, so 2 staff is getting hard to manage so many clients, and clients leaver not because we have bad results (they all do well), but because we can't be organised enough to look after clients and send proper ranking reports and we are very messy. Does anyone else own a small SEO or web design business in London and have the same problem as me? It's impossible to find good SEO staff (with good experience and ALSo who can manage clients expectations and is smart enough to show 'clever' reporting to show mostly positive results when needed, who wants to work in an SEO agency, even for good money (£30k+ or even more if they are very good all round). Is it because everyone who actually knows SEO is making this much money or morel themselves by being freelance, or is it because SEO people you have to start with juniors only and hire and train yourself (and then after a few years they leave and do their own business? My problem is a good one (im lucky) because I can sell even more SEO (because we have excellent positions ourselves in the UK so always get enquirers) and so I can get more clients, but I'm worried if I get more clients I will continue to lose older clients because only 2 staff are not enough to keep them all happy.

Would love to hear other small agencies thoughts on this, how they recruit how many staff you need per how many clients, and any ideas on how to recruit more people (and then manage the workload properly). Also, anyone has a good idea on ratios of types of SEO staff and what should each do do building a small team.

I'm 24 turning 25 living in New York City, and I pulled $68k USD revenue in 2015 on my own through a combination of freelance client work and large affiliate marketing sites. That number will swing up and down this year as I rank sites and lose them to google penalties, but I expect it to continue growing as I continue to learn new tricks outside of the public eye.

I get drowned in LinkedIn offers on a weekly basis, due to a screenshot collection of the keywords I've ranked top 10 (Where to Buy Garcinia Cambogia, Green Coffee Extract, etc.) along with the corresponding WHOIS info. However, the recruiters usually slink off to nowhere after I tell them to top what I can pull on my own. The fact is, most people who are worth their salt in SEO can make way more on their own than a typical small agency can afford to pay them.
I worked for a marketing agency in NYC for about a year doing PPC management, but I did work with some of the SEO team. From what I learned, £30k (roughly $41k USD) is not that great for an account manager. Anyone with REAL experience can get more at a bigger agency, or freelancing on their own.

With that salary you're attracting Juniors with little to no experience - which isn't all that bad. All of the SEO guys I was working with started off as Juniors - hell, even the PPC staff came in as Juniors and the company did very well. With proper training (and patience), you can make it work. My advice for you is to find someone with great communication skills who actually wants to learn the craft and put in the time. Bump up their salary as they progress and you can keep them around for 2 - 3 years. They will leave onto bigger things once they evolve and grow, but that's just part of the game.
ya, i started off at a small agency just like yours at 35k. left after 1.5 years for another agency at 55k. Got promoted 1.5 years later to 65k. Left 1 year later to 75k lol. I get drowned with linkedin offers as well which is why it's so easy to jump around for higher pay. It's going to be hard to find anyone with experience at 30k or so, but look for the hungry ones and you can train them up. Try out an intern program first to give em a trial run.
Think you have hit the nail on the head and perhaps also one reason you hinted at. The money on offer isn't exactly "nothing" but for that type of expert it is probably pretty low. In addition, London - what kind of salary is that in the City? Do you need someone to actually be in the office? Could it be remote working? As an example, up here in Scotland (soon to be independent of course so you would need to pay in Euros - change the f*in record Nicola!) £30k is a pretty reasonable salary which you can actually use to pay a mortgage. English is the first language of most people - although some areas of the country you might wonder (Aberdeen for one)! Just a thought.
I have the same problem Dozvold.I've started and before worked SEO all of kind freelance and was freedom at any corner now when I get in Legal Frames the matters changed.It very hard to find good ones account managers.I\m telling this from my own experience.I've drop you also PM.Regards/
30k pounds per year means more or less 82 pounds per day or a little more than $100 ($112 with the current rate) per day, which is a piece of cake to achieve for someone that isn't even experienced enough on SEO and read a few threads in BHW only & took action. So yeah, most people make much more on their own and wouldn't bother working on a 9-5 job (unless you allow them to work remotely) when they can earn the same amount of money (or more) from the comfort of their homes.
the recruiters usually slink off to nowhere after I tell them to top what I can pull on my own. The fact is, most people who are worth their salt in SEO can make way more on their own than a typical small agency can afford to pay them.

This sums it up perfectly, thus those who are left and actually get hired are the bottom 50% of the talent at best.

What you offer for a year I would make in 6 weeks. Anyone who is awesome at SEO is probably in a position to pass that offer by with no regrets. Either up the offer or reframe the position to "teach a new skill to enthusiastic entry level candidates"
30k may not sound attractive to someone who know SEO.

You can easily make more than that by offering web2.0 pyramids in places like SEOclerk, Fiverr with no startup cost ! Not to mention you have no boss, no traffic and you can do everything in pyjamas.... . You get what I am saying?

I have no offline staff now. If I were to employ one with that budget, I would hire people with skills similar to administrator and data entry. I can then train them to do specific seo tasks and as time goes on, they will be as good as any SEO guy :)
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