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We are working with Academy Sports + Outdoors in their search for an SEO Manager based in Katy, Texas, just 36 minutes from Houston. This is one of the coolest Houston SEO jobs around: Ranked #119 in Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies, Academy Sports operates 161 stores across the southeastern United States. These stores offer a broad selection of equipment, apparel, and footwear at everyday low prices — a formula that has allowed the company to become a leader in the sporting goods industry. Check out Academy’s latest TV ad

The company seeks a world class SEO Manager to create and implement strategic action plans; manage team members, measure and analyze program results, and iterate on program changes to optimize results.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: Academy Sports + Outdoors is a sporting and outdoor goods retailer based in Katy, Texas.

Apart from operating 161 retail outlets, Academy launched its ecommerce website, Academy.com, in 2011. Academy also provides services such as credit cards, gift cards, and hunting and fishing licenses. The company’s product portfolio includes footwear, outdoor sporting and camping apparel and equipment, sports equipment, fitness accessories, golf, hunting, fishing and boating accessories, in addition to offering pet care products such as beds, carriers, kennel, toys, food and training products.

The Academy Sports + Outdoors’ vision is to be the premier sports, outdoor and lifestyle store of choice, continuously adapting to its customers’ changing needs. The company’s mission is comprised of three parts:

  1. To deliver an unparalleled shopping experience by providing convenience, offering a broad selection of quality products, delivering exceptional customer service, and selling at everyday low prices.
  2. To know its customers. Customers are Academy’s number one priority as it strives to be the retail destination they can trust.
  3. To respect its associates by creating opportunities for personal growth and career advancement, while promoting teamwork in an enjoyable and rewarding work environment.

Each aspect of Academy’s mission statement informs what the company seeks to accomplish through its digital commerce initiatives. The stakes are really high: The US retail sporting goods industry includes about 20,000 companies with combined annual revenue of about $38 billion. Major players in this space include Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and REI – a veritable murderers’ row of omnichannel commerce retailers. Each of these players is formidable, but Academy has accomplished amazing things in a very short period of time.

About the Role

Without getting into specifics, Academy Sportswear’s ecommerce business has exploded since its rollout 3 years ago. And incredibly, the company has never formalized its attempts to grow its presence in organic search. With this role, all that’s changing.

This is a fantastic opportunity for an established, thought leading SEO top gun to make a significant impact on a large, high-growth retail business. Organic search accounts for a significant portion of Academy.com’s traffic, yet many of those clicks are from branded terms. The real potential for Academy.com lies in nonbranded terms like “football cleats” and “softball glove” – especially in digital disciplines like mobile and local.

Given that SEO is a brand-new initiative for Academy Sports, the new SEO Manager will be responsible for either working with other departments that either 1.) completely control some digital disciplines that can impact organic search, or 2.) share responsibility for these initiatives.

For example, social media marketing resides in Academy’s Marketing Department, even though social media has a significant impact on organic search. On the other hand, XML site maps and on page optimization will be co-managed by ecommerce and IT.

According to Rand Fishkin and Thomas Høgenhaven of MOZ, there are 12 functional disciplines that comprise a worldclass SEO operation, and at Academy only 5 of those will be controlled 100% by Academy’s Ecommerce Department. Meaning, the new SEO Manager will need to able to “work a building” and “make the nice” with coworkers in other areas.

What to expect in your first 100 days …

Lots of white space. Lots of opportunity. In your first 100 days, we’d like to see you completely up to speed on Google’s most recent (and most likely) updates, and what those mean for the company. Like, what does Hummingbird mean for ecommerce and specifically Academy? Additionally, we know local search will be important for the broader company. Anything that drives physical store traffic is hugely important, regardless of how (or whether) it can be reliably measured. So, what are some best practices for local search as they’d apply to Academy Sportswear?

You will be the Answer Man (… or Woman).

The first 100 days will be about creating a strategy and executing around that. Management does not have a game plan for you to execute. That’s your job. You need to develop one and make it happen. Naturally, you’ll need to be strategic yet hands-on at the same time.

Bottom Line: Like all high growth businesses, the mantra at Academy Sportswear seems to be “First be effective; Then be efficient.” Academy.com looks to blow by $100 million this year, and this company is on a tear. Great stuff is happening, and this is a wonderful environment for someone who can take the reins and make order out of chaos. (GOOD chaos, that is.)


  • SEO content development
  • Link development
  • Performing on-page audits and implementations
  • Managing external partner relationships, including the search engines
  • Training team members;
  • Keyword research, mapping and analysis;
  • Identifying new traffic opportunities
  • Recommending landing page changes to optimize conversion
  • Utilizing performance and web analytics data to prioritize next steps for short- and long-term planning purposes
  • Partnering with members of the creative team, marketing team, external departments and vendors to effectively and efficiently produce all projects.
  • Duties may change and associates may be required to perform other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree in relevant field of study or equivalent years of related work experience
  • Must have data analysis skills and ability to make data-driven decisions and comprehensive analyses of program performance
  • Must have solid experience in web analytics (Adobe/Omniture, Coremetrics, Google Analytics, etc.)
  • MS Excel advanced user
  • Experience with SEO Clarity, SEO Moz, Majestic SEO, Conductor, Bright Edge, and other enterprise tools a plus!
  • Proficiency in HTML and CSS
  • Ability to work with various types of data to develop and analyze trends and insights
  • High attention to detail, excellent organization skills and efficient problem solver.
  • Learning and following company policies, procedures and safety rules.

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Richard Pirkle. To apply, CLICK HERECandidates, please be sure to email Richard for a packet of market research and company / competitive intel that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.

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