In a layman’s term, an SEO specialist is a digital marketer that is—-as the name suggests—-specializes in search engine optimization (SEO). An SEO specialist’s job desc consists of a wide range of SEO-related elements from auditing, analyzing, and reviewing a website to implementing various optimizations on and off the website.
The main objective of an SEO specialist is to improve the organic traffic generated to the website, which is achieved by improving the website’s ranking in the search engine results page (SERP), especially Google’s SERP.
SEO Specialist: Job Description
In recent years, however, the job desc of an SEO specialist has now evolved quite significantly from their predecessors. Now, due to how fast the internet is moving in real-time, the modern SEO specialist is required to have sufficient decision making and problem-solving capabilities, especially regarding content creation and prioritization.
With how the search engines and especially Google have significantly improved their algorithms to better understand the context and relevance of a website’s content, SEO today can’t be separated from content marketing. Content is not only king in the field of SEO, but content is everything.
“It is the job of the SEO specialist to make your website show up at the top of the search engine results.”
With that being said, an SEO specialist must be able to find the keywords that are going to be relevant and valuable for both the business and the business’s target audience, develop content (or work together with a content creator) that is optimized for this target keyword, and then optimize the website’s technical factors with three objectives:
- Ensuring Google’s bots (and the other search engines’) can properly crawl and index the site and recognize all the elements in the site
- Optimize the site’s content to deliver more relevance and value to the target audience
- Improve the site’s user experience factors to keep visitors for as long as possible
Due to the wide scope of responsibilities of an SEO specialist, they often also serve as a liaison between several departments (content marketers, website developers, social media managers, and so on).
Responsibilities of an SEO Specialist
Here are the important responsibilities of an SEO specialist:
- Audit, review and analyze the website for areas that can be optimized according to the latest search engine algorithms
- Identifying the target keywords that are going to give the most value to the business and at the same time manageable, competition-wise
- Planning the overall SEO strategy and preparing detailed strategy report(s)Compiling and communicating SEO plan and guidelines to the related teams
- Developing and executing link-building strategiesSupervising and/or executing content development and content promotion processes
- Executing competitive SEO analysis to analyze keywords and SEO techniques used by competitors
- Developing powerful call to actions (CTAs) to convert visitors
- Planning and running PPC campaigns to assist SEO performance
- Updating themselves on the last SEO strategies, search engine algorithm changes, and the latest trends surrounding SEO
Key Skills of an SEO Specialist
An SEO specialist requires a sufficient skillset including knowledge about the search engine, leadership, and marketing, among others, with the objective to optimize the website so that it can rank higher on the SERP.
Knowing the factors that are going to affect the website’s performance in search engine rankings, and the ability to analyze a website according to these factors. This will include keyword optimizations, backlinks analysis, structure and layout, and the overall content quality. Also, this might involve revamping and even rebuilding a website from the ground up.
Defining and researching target keywords and naturally including them into the content of a website while paying attention to the current SEO best practices.
Understanding of ranking factors:
Probably the most important task of an SEO specialist and SEO marketer is to maintain an updated understanding of the current search engine algorithms and ranking factors, and how they should optimize and adjust the website’s various elements to optimize for these ranking factors.
Developing high-quality and relevant content that can provide value to the target audience that is also optimized for the target keywords.
If the SEO specialist is working in an agency, then they must maintain an up to date knowledge of the client’s objectives. The objective of the SEO campaign must align and assist the overall business strategy.
The ability to analyze existing problems, assess the available resources and find required resources, and develop solutions to achieve the SEO objective.
Possible Branches and Specializations of an SEO Specialist
Since the SEO specialist’s responsibilities are pretty wide, generally an SEO specialist might be positioned into a specific focus, such as:
SEO Content Developer:
Responsible for the production of unique and new content that fulfills the SEO best practice and required optimizations to ensure the desired SEO results. Many SEO specialists acquire this skill relatively early in their careers since it requires fewer technical requirements.
Responsible for finding opportunities to get new high-quality backlinks. Developing authentic and relevant backlinks to the website can be the most challenging process, but also the most important aspect of SEO. This might include processes like influencer outreach, finding guest posting opportunities, building relationships with other sites and press, and more.
The research component is SEO now deserves its own specialist due to the increasing complexity and dynamism of the internet in general. Responsible to provide important insights for content developers and web developers, and to keep the SEO guidelines up to date.
Average Salary of an SEO Specialist
As of February 2020, the average annual salary of an SEO specialist in the U.S. is $53,352 a year.
During our research, the highest annual salaries we’ve found is $83,500 and the lowest is $23,000. The majority of SEO specialists in the US currently have a salary range between $42,000 ($25th percentile) to $64,000 (75th percentile).
Since the average variation for an SEO specialist salary is fairly modest (around $22,000), this suggests that there are fewer opportunities for advancement based on skills.
Advancements in pay are generally made available through increased years of experience and/or change of location.