SEO Specialist

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What does an SEO specialist do?

A search engine optimization (SEO) specialist utilizes an expert's knowledge in content creation and technical website optimization to improve website rankings on search engines like Google and Bing. These specialists are typically involved in conducting research on traffic, researching the keywords target audiences most often search, creating content and updating websites to draw in more traffic, usually focusing on one part of the equation at a time while working with SEO managers and analysts. Due to SEO specialists having a major impact on search engine marketing, they often collaborate with sales and marketing teams to ensure SEO implementation are leading to customer conversions and contributing to the financial well-being of the company.

How do you become an SEO specialist?
Answer Part 1

A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and work experience are needed to be qualified for an SEO specialist position.

Answer Part 2

Although SEO classwork is only beginning to gain in popularity, those looking to break into the field should still begin by completing a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as marketing, English, communications, analytics or business. These fields can help students gain the writing and research skills needed to succeed as an SEO specialist.

In many cases, an SEO specialist role is considered an entry-level position, but professionals should still display some degree of SEO experience to be considered qualified for the role. Creating, optimizing and writing content for a website is an excellent way to put SEO early skills, such as SEO copywriting, into practice. Those with writing, marketing or analytics experience of any kind are also natural fits for transitioning into a career in SEO and will quickly pick up on SEO content marketing principles. Supplementing a bachelor’s degree with SEO knowledge will allow applicants to stand out as qualified candidates for an SEO specialist position.

What is the salary of an SEO specialist?
Answer Part 1

SEO specialist roles based in the United States pay an average base salary of $52,865 in 2022 while setting professionals up for a promising future in the SEO field.

Answer Part 2

SEO specialists in the U.S. earn an average base salary of $52,865 in 2022, according to Built In. However, the average total compensation for this role rises to $57,703 once an additional cash compensation averaging $4,838 is factored in. While the SEO specialist role is often considered entry-level, the SEO field is continuing to grow in prominence, leading to high-performing SEO specialists earning up to $130K in certain circumstances. Additionally, professionals in this position develop necessary skills that set them up for success in future roles in their SEO careers. Built In collects salary figures based on responses submitted by anonymous SEO specialists in the United States, with salary data updated in real time.

What skills does an SEO specialist need?
Answer Part 1

SEO specialists must harness technical SEO and content creation knowledge while demonstrating critical thinking skills on the fly.

Answer Part 2

SEO is a field that requires a great deal of technical knowledge, meaning SEO specialists must master a selection of skills to succeed in the field. Strong writing capabilities, along with keyword research and traffic analysis abilities, should come as second nature to those looking for a role as an SEO specialist. Because SEO is a developing field, SEO specialists should also be prepared to embrace new technologies, such as AI SEO tools, as they become available to streamline processes.

Besides tech-focused abilities, SEO specialists must also possess strong critical thinking abilities. SEO strategies are based on user research and data collection to determine the right audiences and content to focus on, so SEO specialists must be able to identify patterns in information and accurately determine the reasoning behind these patterns. Cultivating a complete skill set rich in content and technical capabilities allow SEO specialists to go beyond the numbers to creatively solve problems related to consumer behavior and back up decisions.


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