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What Is an SEO Specialist? Experts Answer Your Burning Questions!

Last updated: March 4th, 2024

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What is an SEO specialist?

A search engine optimization (SEO) specialist improves a website’s visibility in search results on Google, Bing, and other search engines using research, writing, and analytical skills.

If your site won’t rank and your leads tank — who you gonna call? A search engine optimization (SEO) specialist!

Equipped with proton packs an arsenal of marketing tools, SEO specialists can get your site to the top of search engine results, so you earn more leads and revenue.

But what is an SEO specialist, and what does an SEO expert do? Whether you’re looking for an SEO specialist job description, you’re aspiring to a career in SEO, or you want to hire an SEO expert, this post answers all your burning questions.

Keep reading to learn more, or choose an option below to get started!

Bonus: If you’re looking to hire an SEO pro, we’ve got the guide for you! Claim your free SEO request-for-proposal (RFP) template and use it when reaching out to your shortlist of SEO pros!

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Key takeaways

  • An SEO specialist improves a website’s visibility in search results on Google, Bing, and other search engines using research, writing, and analytical skills.
  • Major aspects of an SEO specialist’s job are auditing websites and existing SEO strategies, identifying and implementing optimization strategies, using data to evaluate and improve SEO and rankings
  • Some of the day-to-day tasks of an SEO professional include conducting keyword research, analyzing competitor websites, consulting with clients about their business goals, and more.
  • To become an SEO specialist, many people pursue a Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, journalism / communications, or related field

What is an SEO specialist?

An SEO specialist improves a website’s visibility in search results on Google, Bing, and other search engines using research, writing, and analytical skills.

What job responsibilities do SEO specialists have?

SEO experts job descriptions vary based on the type of company and whether the position is in-house or with an agency, but some of the major aspects of an SEO specialist’s job are:

  • Auditing websites and existing SEO strategies
  • Identifying and implementing optimization strategies
  • Using data to evaluate and improve SEO and rankings

Some of the day-to-day tasks of an SEO professional include:

  • Conducting keyword research
  • Analyzing competitor websites
  • Consulting with clients about their business goals
  • Optimizing client websites for search engines with keywords, backlinks, etc.
  • Calculating ROI and preparing monthly SEO campaign reports
  • And more!

Some SEO pros have different expertise, focus areas, and processes — especially in-house vs. agency SEO specialists.

Insights from the experts: What’s the role of an SEO specialist?

To give you an inside look at what an SEO expert is and what SEO specialists do, our experts weighed in.

Expert insights from webfx logo

Trevin S
Trevin Shirey Vice President of Marketing

An SEO specialist is somebody with a wide range of skills within the SEO realm: The ability to make changes to a website to help it perform better in search engines.

 

This could involve many things, including making changes to the content of a website, making server-level code changes, adjusting the structure of a site, and more. Search engines take a look at many different factors when they evaluate a site, so an SEO specialist needs to have a variety of skills to help improve search visibility. A talented SEO specialist has both technical skills and marketing know-how.

Expert insights from webfx logo

Cheyenne F
Cheyenne Ford Lead Internet Marketing Consultant

The role of an SEO specialist is to monitor trends and new releases related to the core algorithms for key search engines such as Google and Bing to determine a strategy for ranking websites better in organic results across the web.

 

Based on this analysis and industry research, we then determine the best course of action for the website and make updates to things from the page content, headings, and user experience — all the way to more technical items such as page speed, HTML code, title tags, meta descriptions, and more.

 

Ideally, the goal is to meet the expectations of a user based on their search query with the information that we provide on the page that they land on.

 

On a day-to-day basis, we monitor websites to ensure there are no overarching issues, perform competitor analysis, review rankings, dive into Analytics tools to track traffic and performance, and monitor lead/revenue data and then report back to and update clients on the actions taken.

How to become an SEO specialist

If you’re looking to kickstart your SEO career, we have some tips for you too! To become an SEO expert, many people pursue a Bachelor’s degree in:

  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Journalism / Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Statistics
  • Or a related field

However, the specific requirements for working in SEO vary depending on your employer and SEO focus area.

What skills does an SEO specialist need?

Our expert Senior Talent Acquisition Coordinator, Emily Livingston, shared the top skills you need to succeed as an SEO specialist.

1. Passion and curiosity for the industry

Becoming a true SEO expert means you stay on top of the industry — and not just because you have to! Finding success in SEO means you enjoy learning about everything happening in the ever-changing industry. You have a passion for staying updated on the latest information and use that insight to empower your work.

Expert insights from webfx logo

Black and white portrait of a smiling woman with long wavy hair, wearing a blouse with a V-neckline and a delicate necklace.
Emily Livingston Senior Talent Acquisition Coordinator

“The best SEO specialists keep tabs on industry changes and trends because they like to stay up to date with the newest advancements in the field! They do great work because this is the work that they love to do.”

2. Interest in analyzing performance metrics

A key part of being an SEO expert is analyzing performance metrics. You need to look at how your website performs in search engines, so you need to have interest in analyzing performance metrics and a desire to learn how to improve them.

3. Resourcefulness and creativity

If you want to become an SEO specialist, you need to be resourceful and creative. SEO requires a lot of testing and experimenting with new ideas, so it’s good to have skills in those areas.

Expert insights from webfx logo

Black and white portrait of a smiling woman with long wavy hair, wearing a blouse with a V-neckline and a delicate necklace.
Emily Livingston Senior Talent Acquisition Coordinator

“Our best marketers tinker and aren’t afraid to try new things. We use A/B testing to compare which strategies might work best so we can create personalized recommendations for each client.”

4. Being an ongoing learner

The marketing industry is continually evolving and changing — SEO evolves just as fast. It’s important, as an SEO pro, to be an ongoing learner that wants to continually find new ways and opportunities to improve your SEO strategy.

Expert insights from webfx logo

Black and white portrait of a smiling woman with long wavy hair, wearing a blouse with a V-neckline and a delicate necklace.
Emily Livingston Senior Talent Acquisition Coordinator

“Our top SEO specialists love to do independent research and ask questions. In an industry that changes quickly and often, every project is a learning opportunity. There’s no limit to the information we can explore.”

To learn more and view open SEO positions at WebFX, head over to our careers page and apply to join our team!

What roles are similar to an SEO specialist?

If you’re looking to become an SEO pro, you’ll likely rub shoulders with other digital marketing-related roles. At some businesses, several of these roles might be merged with that of the SEO specialist.

At others, the roles will be separate, and the SEO expert will simply be working with the people in these roles.

The roles in question include:

  • Digital marketing manager: Digital marketing managers are in charge of handling a variety of digital strategies, with SEO being one of those strategies. People in this position might single-handedly manage all digital marketing, or they might oversee the team of people who do.
  • SEM specialist: Search engine marketing (SEM) specialists are similar to SEO pros since they focus on search engines, but their focus tends to be more on paid advertising than on organic SEO.
  • Email marketing manager: Email marketing managers handle all email campaigns, developing and sending out different types of marketing emails to leads and customers.
  • Social media specialist: Social media specialists run campaigns on various social media platforms to draw engagement and spread awareness of the company.

How do I find and hire an SEO specialist?

Want to work with an SEO expert to boost your site rankings, but not sure how to get started?

Here are some quick tips to hire an SEO expert:

  • Ask questions about their experience with SEO
  • Look at reviews to see what people say about their services
  • Check their pricing to make sure they fit in your budget
  • Ask what their first steps would be if you hired them
  • Ask how they communicate about their projects

Need some more help hiring an SEO expert? Check out these resources:

Pro tip: Before hiring an SEO expert, make sure you know what their plans and pricing include. At WebFX, our SEO experts follow the R.O.C.K.E.T. SEO process, which includes:

  • Research
  • Optimization
  • Content
  • Keywords
  • Earned media and links
  • Testing

To learn more about our transparent pricing and what it’s like working with SEO specialists at WebFX, check out our custom SEO packages!

Independent research from Clutch has named WebFX the

top SEO company in the United States.

Clutch has personally interviewed more than 250 WebFX clients to discuss their experience partnering with us.

Read More Clutch Reviews arrow right
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Take the next step in your SEO journey!

Hopefully, this post answered your burning questions about what an SEO specialist is and what they do. If you’re ready to take the next step in your journey, choose an option below:

VIEW OPEN SEO JOBS

GET MY FREE SEO QUOTE

Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions — we’d love to hear from you!

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