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After seeing a tweet from +Justin Briggs about how he was considering changing his job title from SEO to Inbound Marketer, I got to thinking about the rise of this buzz word on the block Inbound Marketing.

The term first appeared a couple of years ago after being coined by the guys at Hubspot and with so many in the SEO and Social Media industry considering changing their job title to Inbound Marketing I thought I’d have a quick check with the Google Keyword Tool to see how many people were searching for Inbound Marketing Experts/Consultants/Managers/Jobs/Agencies compared to how many people are searching for Social Media or SEO Experts/Consultants/Agencies.

The graph below shows the number of Global Exact Searches for the past 12 months for the above search terms.

I understand SEO has earned a bad reputation thanks to a few snake oil sales men but is inbound marketer the right job title for right now?
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Christopher Grimes's profile photoAlessio Madeyski's profile photoNigel Keelson - Anfu's profile photoMalachi Threadgill's profile photo
16 comments
 
I think people are only asking for another term because they are not doing only STRICTLY SEO on daily basis. For example, right now I am involved in social media strategy , and some onsite stuff.
So, people think that "SEO" is not the right term to define themselves because of this.

Personally I consider myself an SEO, because my main focus is SEO. Another thing is that some companies don't want you to call yourself " SEO" because they don't want to let people know they are optimizing site for search engines (true story).

actually every definition is good and bad, but I like to be called "SEO".
 
I'm not denying that +Alessio Madeyski SEO has alot of negative connotations associated to it. But, as a business selling SEO I'm not going to re-brand my business when there are 40,000+ searches per month looking for SEO and only 300 are looking for Inbound!

I just think that because you see something a lot in a niche it doesn't mean that anyone outside that niche knows what the hell you are talking about.

I mean you walk in to a networking event...

Me: "Hi, I'm Chris and I do Inbound Marketing...."

New Guy: "Oh yeah whats that?"

Me: "It's a bit like SEO and Social Media Consulting..."

Anyways just searched for Infographic Designer and Content Marketing Agency and they both have the same amount of searches per month as Inbound Marketing Agency/Consultant/Expert combined!
 
well, I mean.. maybe "inbound marketer" is quite new, so for sure it's not searched as much as "SEO" . and to be honest, a lot of people don't even know what SEO is, so you imagine if they know "inbound marketing".


*Me:*"Hi, I'm Alessio and I do Inbound Marketing...."

*New Guy:*"Oh yeah whats that?"

*Me:*"It's a bit like SEO and Social Media Consulting..."

*New Guy:*"Oh yeah what are SEO and social media consulting?"
*Me:*"ok. take a seat and three days off and I'll explain"
 
You haven't been to my networking group events half the people in the room are Social Media Experts.... you soon catch them out with a question or two about Edgerank and there Social Media Strategy plans ... I agree Joe Public doesn't have a clue what SEO/Social is so using a phrase that is even more uncommon is a bit crazy, No?
 
yep. sure, in fact I like to call myself SEO, if I have to choose a title. But maybe in 1 or 2 years, inbound marketer will be the common title for this type of job. let's see.
 
Haha, cheers for adding that post Chris. Was impressed with Mike's experience and thoughts on the SEO industry.

I believe that the role of SEO is very different from 1 or 2 years ago however I can't stand the term 'inbound marketer'. Personally I think it's a nice new name given to a link builder. If I was involved in a strategy as a whole I would much prefer the term 'digital strategist'.
 
I suppose it's like dust bin men or traffic wardens they wanted to change their job title to improve their image so you get stupid job titles e.g. Domestic Waste Removal Expert and Parking Enforcement Officer but at the end of the day to the public they're still bin men and traffic wardens!
 
Exactly, to me Inbound marketer sounds like a one trick pony and silo's what effect a seo/digital strategist/internet pimp can have
 
Thanks +Rand Fishkin that's interesting I have noticed inbound marketer is a far more common term in the USA but here in the UK/EU its a lot less common.

I'm looking at this not just from a Job title perspective but as a business branding perspective.

I agree we need a title that reflects our changing world but alot of my customers are still looking for SEO they aren't looking for inbound... yet. I'm sure in 12-18 months time things may well have changed but I'm yet to see a benefit in rebranding my world for a little while.
 
+Justin Briggs firstly congratulations on your increasing responsibilities, and thanks for joining in the discussion.

I can understand companies like Moz & in-house SEO teams going for the rebrand now but until my potential clients start shopping for Inbound I don't think it's time for me to call myself an inbounder.

It'll be interesting to see how long it will be before most of the big US & UK agencies stop being SEO | Social Media | Digital Marketing to just being Inbound Marketing . It's an interesting time in the industry.


 
Opps sorry, deleted wrong comment. I'd jumped in to say that my thought on Inbound vs. SEO had less to do with one vs the other and more to do with a broader set of responsibilities in my job role. I currently am responsible for SEO, content, blogging, and some PR; but recently I took over social media and community management as well, including our forums. I'm working on building a team, which will have more channel specific titles like "Social Media Coordinator", "Community Manager", and "SEO Specialist" - but that left me thinking - what would be an appropriate title for me. SEO Manager didn't seem appropriate, and Inbound Marketing seems to be a more accurate description for the channels I have to report on.

And to jump on Chris' comment - I agree, if I were consulting, I'd still call myself an SEO. As an independent, I'd silo myself into strategy, link building, and technical SEO work. But I do think that "SEO" as a name is a horribly inaccurate term for what we do.
 
Re using job or regular search for comparison, doesn't that really depend on which perspective you're trying to look at. If you are looking at things from an industry insider perspective (ie Job search) then yes maybe "inbound" comes out better. However, from a client point of view they know what SEO or Internet marketing is, which is why I'm sticking with SEO.
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