Will Work-From-Home SEO and PPC Teams Be the Rule Going Forward?

Woman working from home.

Working from home has been a growing trend for years now. By 2018, nearly a quarter of the workforce already worked from home in some capacity. Other research shows the number as high as 43 percent.

With the pandemic we’re now facing, the number of remote workers has exploded. A recent survey shows that 85 percent of employers are encouraging employees to work from home now.

Crisis aside, this could be a welcomed change for many. Research shows that employees want to work from home. Eighty-two percent of working professionals would like to work from home one day a week or more. Fifty-seven percent want to work from home for three or more days.

Unfortunately, the recent crisis has thrust many ill-equipped businesses into a work-from-home (WFH) scenario.

So we’re facing an experiment. Those who can work out the tweaks now may be prepared for a future where WFH could be the norm. And there are a lot of benefits that come with that.

Of course, some industries and job roles are better set up for WFH than others. Luckily, digital marketing is one of those industries that can thrive … if you can get it right.

How Remote Work Creates Opportunity for Search Marketing Agencies

A couple of years back, Bruce Clay Inc. started exploring the idea of a remote workforce. But the concept wasn’t just to let regional employees work remotely. It was to find talent outside our location to employ workers wherever they lived.

We knew that if we limited our talent search geographically, there was less of a chance we could continue to build a high-caliber agency team.

See, the typical SEO company/agency scenario goes like this: After competing for seasoned pros in the local talent pool, you start hiring entry-level pros and interns.

Then, you have the monumental task of training them, mentoring them, and getting them up to par to work on accounts.

But this employee only lasts so long. Many new professionals want new roles with more money and better titles. Then comes the turnover, and the cycle begins again.

In this environment, if you are restrained to one location for talent, the workforce implodes.

That’s why we decided to create a work-from-home (WFH) workforce. This has allowed us to hire only the most seasoned digital talent. Right now, our team extends throughout the U.S., and all of our analysts have a minimum of 10 years of experience, with an average of over 15 years.

As a result, we’ve found employees to be very happy working with our company but with the flexibility of living where they want. Client satisfaction is up, too, because our clients work only with experts.

The Pros and Cons as Search Agencies Face WFH Mandates

A remote workforce has been shown to be more productive. For instance, one in four workers quits a job because of the commute. But remote workers put in the equivalent of 1.4 additional days per month on average (16.8 more days per year).

One study suggests that WFA employees (work from anywhere) are even more productive than WFH workers.

Remote working is not without its challenges. But if you know what those challenges are, you can be better prepared to address them.

And surprise: The biggest challenges have nothing to do with distractions, being in a different time zone or staying motivated.

Instead, remote workers cite unplugging after work, loneliness, and communication and collaboration as the top issues:

Bar graph showing biggest struggles with working remotely survey data.

Technology rules here. Making sure that employees have the right equipment and stay connected is key, as “cabin fever” is an issue now, too. We’ve found that using tools like Slack and Basecamp and having daily huddles helps.

The sudden changes that many search marketing agencies are facing now create more challenges (versus a properly planned WFH program).

For instance, many agencies are going to find that a workforce of entry-level professionals who need mentoring is going to fail in the current environment.

In our experience, seasoned pros fare much better in a remote situation. They don’t need the same level of guidance.

Can this be addressed with virtual learning solutions? Sure, but perhaps not quickly enough in this situation.

This article has good tips on managing a newly remote workforce. And this one gives advice on the logistics.

We Can Do This

This wasn’t a planned exercise. But many are proving that WFH can work. The technology is there; the blueprints are available.

For many search agencies, the new challenge will be: How do you keep them on the farm when they’ve been to the big city? Many employees will prove they can be just as productive working from home and happier doing it.

In the meantime, as you work through the logistics, free resources are here to make working from home go smoothly.

If you could use expert assistance with your paid or organic search marketing, contact us for a free quote.

FAQ: What are the top challenges of remote work for search agencies, and how can they be overcome?

Remote work has recently become the new norm, offering flexibility and convenience. However, it poses unique challenges for search agencies that rely heavily on collaboration, research, and client interactions. In this article, we will dissect the top challenges of remote work for search agencies and offer practical strategies for conquering them.

  1. Maintaining Team Cohesion: Search agencies thrive on collaboration and brainstorming sessions. In a remote setup, it’s challenging to replicate the spontaneous exchange of ideas that happens in an office environment. To overcome this, foster a virtual teamwork culture by scheduling regular video meetings brainstorming sessions, and using collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams to encourage communication.
  2. Client Communication and Trust Building: client relationships are pivotal for search agencies. Remote work can hinder face-to-face interactions. To tackle this, leverage video conferencing for client meetings to maintain a personal touch. Additionally, ensure timely and transparent communication to build trust.
  3. Data Security Concerns: Handling sensitive client data is a significant responsibility. With employees working remotely, data security becomes a paramount concern. Implement robust security protocols and VPNs, and ensure employees are well-educated on data protection measures to mitigate risks.
  4. Monitoring and Productivity: It can be challenging to monitor employee productivity remotely. Implement time-tracking software and establish clear KPIs to ensure everyone is on track. Trust your team but verify their progress to maintain productivity levels.
  5. Employee Burnout: Remote work can blur the boundaries between work and personal life, leading to burnout. Encourage employees to establish clear work hours and take regular breaks. Promote a healthy work-life balance to prevent burnout.

Step-by-Step Procedure to Overcome Remote Work Challenges for Search Agencies

  1. Schedule regular video meetings and brainstorming sessions to maintain team cohesion.
  2. Use video conferencing for client meetings to build and maintain client relationships.
  3. Implement data security protocols and VPNs and educate employees on data protection.
  4. Utilize time-tracking software and set clear KPIs for productivity monitoring.
  5. Encourage work-life balance and regular breaks to prevent employee burnout.

Remote work presents unique challenges for search agencies, but these hurdles can be overcome with careful planning, communication, and the right tools. Search agencies can thrive in remote work by prioritizing team cohesion, client relationships, data security, productivity monitoring, and employee well-being.

This article was updated on December 20, 2023.  

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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3 Replies to “Will Work-From-Home SEO and PPC Teams Be the Rule Going Forward?”


When the pandemic hit all of us. We were all confuse that how will we manage work from home. How we will attend office from home. Everything shifted online. That time I started my own business for affordable shearling coats in the USA. I managed my whole team virtually because I was already working virtually so I t was not difficult for us.

You have given some very insightful information regarding work from home culture. These days many SEO agencies and digital marketing agencies are allowing work from home for their employees. It is important for professionals to adapt to these changes. The best thing I like about working from home is that it gives a lot of flexibility.

It took me three years to establish enough policies and process in place to run teams more efficiently remotely. We failed over and over. Always with enforcing communication breakdown rules until it became known in culture that working from home still means you are at a computer. Unfortunately, our biggest hiring advantage was that we are US based and hiring WFH FT for US employees. Now.. we will see!


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