SEO Specialist: Job Description, Salary & Training

A career as a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist may be a good choice for individuals interested in assisting organizations with maximizing their online presence. This article will cover the primary job duties, educational requirements, and job outlook for SEO specialists.

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Career Definition of an SEO Specialist

An SEO specialist utilizes various marketing practices to increase an organization's appearance in search engine results, such as Yahoo or Google. While increasing web traffic is the primary focus, SEO specialists also develop ways to engage customers and focus on conversion rates. They are needed in a variety of industries, such as technology, marketing, or management firms. SEO specialists usually work full-time in an office environment.

SEO specialists focus on creating effective ways to promote products, services, or content via Internet-enabled devices or mediums. They do so by examining statistics or data on a target market to better understand customers' needs and determine strategies for continued search engine optimization. A primary job responsibility is monitoring and analyzing website data, such as page views per visit, click-through-rates, time spent on a site, and cost per click. Other job responsibilities can include collaborating with web development staff to enhance site design, overseeing placement of listings in directories and search engines, and managing online marketing activities like email promotions or sponsorship programs. SEO specialists may conduct keyword research on competitors' sites to determine effectiveness. They can also determine relevant improvements for landing pages or blogs that will enable search engines' ability to recognize both purpose and information.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Strong technical abilities, analytical skills, excellent communication skills, and creativity
Median Salary (2017)* $44,326
Job Outlook (2014-2024)** 2% - 4% (search marketing strategists)

Sources: *PayScale.com,**U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Individuals will need a bachelor's degree in marketing, business, computer science, or an information technology-related field to work as an SEO specialist. Relevant web work experience will be beneficial. Interested individuals can join a professional organization like the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO). It is a global organization dedicated to promoting growth through awareness, networking, and education, in addition to underscoring the importance of SEO in marketing.

Required Skills

Strong technical abilities are the most essential skill for an SEO specialist, as their primary focus is utilizing web marketing strategies to increase an organization's online presence. SEO specialists will need a broad range of technical skills, including programming in HTML or PHP, database management software like MySQL, data mining software like Google Analytics, and marketing software like Google AdWords or Marketo Marketing Automation. They should have strong analytical skills in order to determine the effectiveness of marketing strategies, as well as analyzing competitors' websites. Excellent communication skills are needed to collaborate with other creative personnel to develop streamlined messages across multiple mediums. Along with excellent communication skills, SEO specialists will also need creativity to develop effective messages intended to generate web traffic and customer interest.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect information on SEO specialists; however, they reported a 2% - 4% growth for the category of search marketing strategists during 2014-2024, which is slower than average for all occupations. In October 2017, PayScale.com reported a median annual salary of $44,326 for SEO specialists.

Related Careers

Individuals considering a career as an SEO specialist might also be interested in one of the related careers profiled below. They offer candidates the opportunity to utilize their skills in other technical or creative positions.

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