March 26, 2009, 12:00 AM

Search engine optimization firm finds itself growing despite down economy

While other companies search for ways to avoid laying people off during the economic slump, search engine marketing firm SEO.com is hiring more help to keep up with demand.

While other companies search for ways to avoid laying people off during the economic slump, search engine marketing firm SEO.com is hiring more help to keep up with demand, CEO Dave Bascom says.

SEO.com has increased its staff more than five-fold since 2007, growing from about five to 26 people, he adds.

The company recently hired three new executives. Tamra Hamblin has been named account supervisor, and Scott Cowley and Greg Shuey have been brought on as an optimization specialists.

“We’re excited to welcome Tamra, Scott and Greg to our search engine optimization team,” Bascom says. “We have extremely high standards and only bring in those who will help us achieve great results for our clients. Even in our hiring, the goals of our clients come first.”

Hamblin has more than nine years of Internet marketing experience including founding her own web marketing company, Web Marketing Optimizers. She’s also worked for various companies as director of e-business and as marketing manager.

Cowley brings market research experience to his new post from past projects. He’s worked on industry research and strategic consulting projects for the Salt Lake Hilton Hotel, health care consultancy KLAS Enterprises, Powder Mountain Ski Resort and the BYU Annual Fund.

Shuey comes from search marketing firm ioVentures, where he was a search engine optimization specialist, and survey research data collection company Western Wats, where he recruited and developed affiliate relationships and generated leads.

SEO.com also provides paid-search marketing services.

A recent research report from the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, commonly known as SEMPO, shows overall spending on search engine marketing, including paid search as well as search engine optimization for natural search, is still growing during the recession, but more slowly than earlier predicted. SEMPO estimated North American spending on search engine marketing in 2008 was $13.4 billion–down from the $15.7 billion the group had forecast for the year. In addition, the organization revised its earlier forecast for search marketing spending in 2009 from the earlier projection of $18.8 billion to a lower $14.7 billion.

Longer term, the SEMPO says it believes spending on search marketing will grow to $26.1 billion by 2011 as the economy recovers.

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