As an SEO, what do you tell people you do for a living?

Posted on October 19, 2009

 

As the job title ‘SEO’ is relatively new, you’ll find that most people won’t have heard of it, and you’ll certainly never find it on credit check forms when you come to fill out your occupation. So, if you’re a professional SEO, what do you tell people you do for a living when you want to avoid the twenty minute explanation of what search engine optimisation actually is?

One option is to say that you’re in Internet marketing, as this covers all manner of online work from SEO to PPC and online PR. However, many people, when the hear the term ‘Internet marketing’, conjure up images of you selling merchandise over the Internet in a sort of cold calling for the Internet role. Telling someone you’re in Internet marketing may lead to a lengthy description of your actual job anyway.

You could tell people that you’re in IT, as all forms of Internet marketing obviously use computers, and an SEO will have knowledge of computers, programming languages and servers. However, once again this often misses the mark because people will assume you know how to network a printer, install an operating system and worst of all, solve problems with their computers… this is never good.

Web developer is another option you could plump for, or even web designer (as this is more common on credit check and insurance forms) but again this is fairly wide of the mark. Telling someone you’re in the web design/development industry could lead them to tell you about a website they want built, or someone they know who wants a website. This isn’t your area and isn’t going to be of interest.

No, it seems that biting the bullet and saying that you’re an SEO is the only accurate option, no matter how long it takes to explain.

If you’re an SEO, what do you tell people you do for a living?

  • This struck a chord with me as I moved into SEO from a technical background very recently so have been asked on more than one occastion, each time the answer varies – from “getting sites no.1 on Google when you search for something” to “messing around on Facebook setting up groups for websites” (tell people you use Facebook for a living and they are often genuinely shocked).

    It doesn’t really matter though as more often than not people will just surmise it was “works on the internet”.

    Back when I was a “web developer”, I used to say I was Spiderman (will get my coat), so currently looking for something as equally sad, geeky and amusing to myself to sum up SEO.

    Not come up with anything yet though.

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