What is an SEO Specialist: Salary, Skills & Career

What is an SEO Specialist

Most marketers and organizations recognize the significance of search engine optimization (SEO) in their marketing efforts.

A 2021 survey found that 69% of marketers invested in SEO, with 75% stating that their SEO strategies helped them meet their marketing goals.

However, not all marketers are SEO experts or well-versed in the field. Companies often need to enlist the help of an SEO consultant who understands how to ensure their website and content rank well on search engine result pages (SERPs) and attract traffic.

This article explains the role of an SEO specialist, outlining the essential attributes they need to help businesses succeed.

What is an SEO Specialist?

An SEO specialist is someone who carefully analyzes and enhances websites to boost their visibility on important search engine results pages.

They focus on improving “organic search” results, which are listings not paid for but considered by Google to be the most valuable and fitting content. Their role involves crafting an SEO strategy to enhance user experience while aligning with the latest search engine algorithms.

Beyond just securing a higher search ranking, an SEO specialist ensures that your web pages show up for relevant search queries rather than irrelevant ones.

For example, when you search for “running shoes,” you’ll see brands like Nike offering running shoes and trusted publications ranking the best ones. These outcomes are all driven by effective SEO strategies.

An effective SEO strategy can benefit any business, no matter its size, by attracting more users and generating high-quality leads. This, in turn, boosts conversion rates and revenue.

However, many business owners only have a basic understanding of SEO. While they recognize it as a marketing term, they may not grasp its various components, such as on-page, off-page, and technical SEO, and how they impact search engine rankings.

They may also struggle to differentiate between SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing), both aiming to boost traffic and revenue from search engines, but employing different components and strategies. Due to their lack of awareness, they often make poor hiring decisions and set unrealistic goals in these areas.

This is where SEO professionals come in handy. They handle all the necessary steps to enhance your search rankings.

What Are the Job Responsibilities of an SEO specialist?

Every SEO consultant holds specific responsibilities tailored to their industry and employer. However, most SEO experts excel in the following:

Keyword research

A keyword relates closely to the primary topic discussed on your webpage. It’s a term or phrase that users search for to locate relevant online resources and information. This could be a simple word like “shoes” or a more specific phrase like “running shoes for women.”

An SEO consultant conducts keyword research to identify the optimal keywords for each page of your website. They then assess the potential for each page to rank well for its designated keyword(s).

Without conducting keyword research, your content becomes a blend of topics you think your audience might like. Regrettably, many websites fall into this trap, leading to a startling finding in a study from 2020: 90% of these sites fail to attract organic traffic from Google.

It falls on the shoulders of the SEO specialist to perform keyword research diligently. This process helps identify precisely what users are seeking and the reasons behind their searches. Subsequently, they tailor your website’s content to match the search intent.

On-page optimization

On-page optimization encompasses various tasks performed by an SEO specialist to improve different aspects of your website. This includes optimizing meta titles and descriptions, using header tags effectively, incorporating relevant images, maintaining a clean HTML structure, implementing internal linking, and ensuring fast website loading times.

The goal is to make sure that each web page targets relevant search terms, provides a seamless user experience, and ultimately guides users towards conversion.

Additionally, optimization involves testing different variations of webpage elements to identify those that boost lead generation. For example, a more compelling call-to-action button might outperform a simple “Click Here” button.

Mobile optimization

At the close of 2021, over 92% of global internet users were accessing it through mobile phones. It’s essential: your website needs to be mobile-friendly for both user experience and SEO. Each web page should be easily accessible and functional on mobile devices.

In 2022, search engines will prioritize mobile-friendliness. Google, for instance, has long employed mobile-first indexing, lowering rankings for websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. They offer a free tool to assess a website’s mobile-friendliness.

An SEO consultant needs to evaluate how to enhance your mobile user experience and ensure your web pages are easy to navigate on any device.

Link building & off-page optimization

Link building is a strategy to show Google the value of your content or webpage. It involves getting links to your site from other websites to boost your authority.

These links could be from someone mentioning your blog post in an article or a reviewer including a product link in a positive review.

Having a network of links from various sources enhances your website’s likelihood of ranking higher. A recent study discovered that top search results had significantly more backlinks than lower-ranked results.

An SEO expert devises a link-building plan encompassing guest posts, content-based assets like infographics and statistics, among other strategies. While some may contemplate buying links, this practice poses issues as it breaches Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, relying on the seller’s integrity to deliver.

For link building to yield results, it must complement other SEO elements. Merely having numerous backlinks to a page won’t suffice if the content lacks quality, impacting lead generation adversely.

Content marketing is a great method to boost your online presence beyond your website. By building connections with fellow bloggers in your field and producing valuable content, you’ll naturally attract many high-quality, relevant links over time.


Every SEO expert should grasp the importance of analyzing their campaigns’ success, selecting relevant metrics, and interpreting the data. This task may seem daunting, but it’s essential for effective SEO strategy.

While observing leads or website traffic can indicate campaign success, there are several other crucial metrics to consider. Each metric offers insights into various aspects of your SEO strategy’s performance.

SEO professionals analyze these metrics meticulously, drawing insights to inform their campaign decisions. If one aspect underperforms, they must experiment with other components or tweak processes to enhance results.

URL naming & titles

SEO experts need to utilize custom URLs for gathering accurate data and monitoring campaign performance. These URLs provide insights into the traffic sources, whether it’s from a backlink, advertisement, social media post, or marketing material like a newsletter.

Imagine hiring an SEO expert to boost your search engine traffic. When there’s a sudden surge in visitors, they need to distinguish whether it’s a result of meeting your set objectives or external factors like a social media contest.

Custom URLs play a vital role in tracking data across various campaigns, assets, and channels.

The Characteristics of an Effective SEO Specialist

If you’re aiming to become an SEO expert or hire one, here are six key qualities to look for:

#1. Understands the different levels of SEO 

Every SEO expert needs to grasp the three main SEO tiers: on-page, off-page, and technical.

  • On-page SEO revolves around content but extends to all aspects of your web page. It ensures that all content on your site includes relevant keywords, meta tags, title tags, and internal links. These elements signal to search engines the topic you’re addressing and establish your credibility on the subject.

SEO experts need to grasp the art of optimizing content and establishing connections between related websites, smoothly guiding users from one page to another, ultimately nudging them towards completing desired actions.

  • Technical SEO involves enhancing non-content elements, ensuring the website’s core structure is robust.

An SEO expert needs to analyze and enhance technical aspects like website speed, structure, indexing, accessibility, and mobile friendliness.

Enhancing these elements signals to search engines that your website is well-designed and provides an improved user experience.

  • Off-page SEO involves activities conducted externally from your website to improve search rankings. Backlinks play a crucial role in off-page SEO. They act as evidence of your authority on a topic and signal to Google that your website is trustworthy.

Besides backlinks, any external actions that can enhance your search ranking fall under off-page SEO. This encompasses activities like social media and traditional media promotions, brand references, and collaborations with influencers.

SEO experts often partner with marketing and public relations teams to craft external strategies that positively influence search engine results.

An SEO expert needs to be proficient in these crucial areas and grasp their impact on your ranking. Though they might not be directly engaged in every aspect, their comprehension enables them to supervise other team endeavors.

#2. Stays current

Google continually updates its search algorithm, impacting your rankings and domain authority. SEOs keep pace with these changes by staying informed. The SEO industry evolves constantly, with professionals discovering new techniques and strategies.

To strategize effectively, an SEO specialist must remain current with the latest developments, trends, and techniques. Outdated approaches yield poor results.

Staying abreast of industry trends ensures the delivery of relevant content to clients. For example, if the industry focuses on X, but your blogs center on Y, attracting significant traffic becomes challenging. Leveraging current trends enhances consumer engagement.

#3. Collaborates with other teams

Specialists in SEO typically collaborate with various teams due to the multifaceted nature of the field. They often work alongside social media marketers, content creators, and web developers to ensure comprehensive campaigns.

Effective communication and collaboration are essential skills for SEO experts to drive successful initiatives. They need to articulate objectives clearly to ensure alignment across teams.

Persuasion is a key aspect of the role. SEO professionals often need to justify necessary changes to stakeholders or web developers who may not be familiar with SEO principles. Building consensus and buy-in from these individuals is crucial.

#4. Has a marketing mindset

SEO and marketing are closely intertwined. Effective marketing efforts lead to higher search rankings.

SEO specialists approach their work with a marketing mindset, prioritizing the target audience and recognizing the role of content in achieving business goals.

Moreover, SEO consultants often work closely with a company’s in-house marketing team. Therefore, staying abreast of current marketing trends and strategies is essential. To achieve higher rankings, content must resonate with readers.

SEO professionals who also understand social media trends, consumer behavior, website development, and viral strategies can craft more engaging content and enhance website optimization for maximum visitor impact.

#5. Able to define and track SEO goals 

SEO experts need to grasp the broader objectives and establish suitable targets. Whether the aim is to boost brand visibility, enhance rankings, drive traffic, or increase conversions, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the overarching goal to set smaller SEO milestones accordingly.

For example, if the objective is to grow website traffic, one could set benchmarks based on the monthly organic search visits. Utilizing Ahrefs free website traffic checker can aid in this process.

An SEO advisor should possess the skills to articulate goals effectively, utilize relevant metrics for tracking progress, and analyze initial outcomes to refine strategies or improve efficiency.

#6. Adaptability 

You’ve crafted the perfect plan to propelling the company website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). But then, wham! Google updates its search algorithm, or a new viral marketing trend emerges.

This is a common challenge for SEO specialists, and they need to be prepared to handle it.

SEO specialists often work with companies across different sectors. Adaptability is key. Understanding your client’s needs, their industry, and how to elevate them to the top of search results for their chosen keywords is essential.

Where to Find SEO Specialists?

You can enlist the services of a freelance SEO expert or consultant for specific tasks. These professionals, often with extensive experience, typically work with companies on a project, contract, or retainer basis.

Yet, this option might not suit every company due to potential costs and uncertainties. Freelancers can be expensive, and there’s no guarantee of consistent results or long-term relationships. Moreover, while they excel in strategy, executing large-scale plans can be challenging for them.

Another option is to bring aboard a full-time SEO consultant who can collaborate closely with your marketing teams to achieve desired outcomes. However, this approach can be costly, and their expertise might be limited to specific aspects of SEO.

That’s why many businesses opt for a digital marketing agency like GREAT Guest Posts. These agencies boast a team of experts ready to tackle your needs. Plus, they work swiftly, helping you ramp up your marketing efforts in no time.

Moreover, agencies often offer cost-effective solutions, sometimes even on a subscription basis. This means you can tailor your spending to your precise requirements and make changes whenever necessary.

Final Thoughts

SEO is vital in today’s digital world, constantly evolving to keep up with changes. An SEO consultant isn’t just about boosting website visibility; they shape a brand’s online presence, making sure your message resonates in the vast digital landscape.

Whether you’re aiming to become an SEO expert or hiring one, remember, this role is pivotal in bridging top-notch products with their target audience.

Jugnu Nagar
Author: Jugnu Nagar

SEO Specialist

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