How to Become an SEO Specialist

How to Become an SEO Specialist

If you like spending time optimizing web pages for the internet, then you might have a calling as an SEO specialist.

In this article, we will cover what an SEO specialist is and what they do, as well as the skills needed to perform well in the role. We will also take a look at an average SEO specialist salary and tell you how to become an SEO specialist. 

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What is an SEO Specialist?

A search engine optimization (SEO) specialist is someone whose job it is to improve a website’s rankings in search engine results.

These people are also known as “SEO experts” and in short, they are someone who knows how to get more traffic from search engines.

An SEO specialist performs search engine optimization across an entire website to ensure content is relevant. up-to-date, and leads to a positive user experience. That includes writing and creating content specifically for SEO.

Other duties include tasks such as implementing and maintaining title and meta tags, URL redirects, and 404 errors; analyzing competitors’ web presence; monitoring Google Search Console and similar webmaster tools; identifying link-building opportunities; and negotiating contracts with agencies and vendors.

SEO specialists often work closely with other members of marketing and creative teams to hash on new business initiatives as well as update and coordinate social media accounts to increase user engagement.

Learning how to be a high-quality SEO specialist can open a world of opportunities working for individuals and companies in need of SEO help.

SEO Specialist Skills

In order to be an SEO specialist, you will need to know what skills are common among SEO experts.

Each job has different requirements, but below are most of the key core skills that SEO specialists have:

  • Knowledge and understanding of high-volume, low-competition keywords
  • Knowing how and where to add keywords to a webpage
  • A basic understanding of HTML
  • Strong copywriting skills
  • Ability to promote and build links to key pages
  • Understanding of how technical SEO impacts rankings
  • Proficiency in visual media such as video and infographics
  • Knowledge of emerging SEO trends and Google algorithm changes

On top of these key skills, SEO specialists need to have great communication skills. They need to be able to identify the best course of action for a client and articulate their reasoning for that decision clearly to their client.

SEO Specialist Responsibilities

SEO specialists wear many different hats in their roles. 

Most SEO experts have a wide range of responsibilities such as:

  • Establish, implement, and develop optimization strategies that increase the company’s search engine results rankings
  • Perform keyword research to find valuable SEO keywords to use throughout the company’s website and marketing materials
  • Set and reach measurable goals that demonstrate improvement in marketing efforts
  • Monitor daily performance metrics to understand SEO strategy performance
  • Efficiently communicate with other marketing professionals to align goals
  • Collaborate with members of the marketing department to manage SEO strategy
  • Write strong, compelling, and high-quality website content such as blog posts and page descriptions
  • Maintain and update content and website links for maximum optimization and search engine rankings

SEO Specialist Salary

According to, as of January 2022, the average pay for an SEO specialist in the United States was $47,752 /yr.

However, the salary pays anywhere from $32k on the low end to $72k for top-earning SEO specialists.

Ultimately, an SEO specialist’s salary depends on a range of factors such as education and experience.

How to Become an SEO Specialist

If a career as an SEO specialist is something you are interested in but do not have experience doing, there are still many things you can do to work towards that career.

Below we will cover some of the best things you can do to set yourself up for a role as an SEO specialist.

Take SEO Courses

Taking SEO courses is a good way to quickly learn the basics of SEO and expand that knowledge until it becomes your area of expertise.

Because SEO is still a relatively new field of practice, most SEO experts didn’t learn what they know from a traditional 4-year college program. 

They might have a 4-year degree in related fields such as marketing or information technology, but schools don’t offer a degree in SEO yet.

That means that by taking SEO courses and earning SEO certifications you can present a viable piece of proof that you know what you are doing when it comes to SEO.

The more certifications you can get the better. 

Practice SEO on Your Own Website

If you want to market yourself it is essential that you have a website, and if you want to market yourself as an SEO specialist, it is essential that your website incorporates strong SEO best practices. 

Working on your own site is a great opportunity for trial and error. When you have your own website, you can make changes and try things out right away instead of waiting for the approval of your boss or the site owner. 

Use your site as a cycle to test, learn, and improve. Plus, when you operate and practice on your own site you get to see all of the factors and work that goes into making a site rank well such as using strong keywords and writing great content.

Work at a Marketing Agency

If you want to become an SEO expert then try to get your foot in the door at a marketing agency. When you work at a marketing agency, you are involved in a wide range of projects and have the chance to work with other marketing experts. 

You are surrounded by people who already know and practice SEO. Just being around them allows you to pick up on more and learn SEO quickly.

If you want to take this a step further, try to become your marketing agency’s in-house SEO specialist.

Since a lot of businesses don’t have someone committed to SEO, just knowing the most about SEO could open up opportunities for you to become the authoritative voice at your company when it comes to SEO.

Take on SEO Clients and Projects

Once you feel like you have a good understanding of SEO and would be able to effectively apply it to another website, it’s time to start taking on your own clients. 

Most small business owners haven’t even heard of SEO let alone hired someone to tackle it. 

If you can identify a business that would benefit from SEO, approaching them, showing them they have a need for it, and offering your services can often be all you need to get your foot in the door with a new client. 

When starting out, you can even offer to do SEO for free, then use the results of your hard work to prove your worth to future clients by showing them how much you improved the sites you worked on for free. 

If you can make a site stand out for free, imagine what people will think you are capable of when they pay you. 

An SEO specialist has the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to help websites improve their standings in search engine result pages. 

If you want to be an SEO specialist but don’t possess the skills needed to land the job yet, there are many steps you can take to transform SEO into your area of expertise. 

With training and practice, there’s a good chance you can land a job as an SEO specialist.

At the end of the day, almost all of the skills you will learn as an SEO specialist are highly transferable to other career paths. 

So even if you try to become an SEO expert and aren’t able to find a job in the field you desire, you will have a load of skills you can take with you to future jobs and opportunities.

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