A search engine optimization (SEO) specialist is responsible for analyzing, reviewing, and implementing relevant changes to websites to ensure that they rank well in search engines. His/Her work entails maximizing website traffic by creating pages that address the needs of their user base.

In simple words, an SEO specialist’s job is to make websites show up on the first page of search engine results. 


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SEO specialist

Before we can go on to the nitty-gritty of what SEO specialists do, let’s go into the basics first.

What Is SEO?

SEO refers to the process of increasing your site’s visibility. From the SEO definition, you know it allows your website to appear in search results on Google, Bing, Safari, or other engines when people look for products or services your business provides. The more visible your pages are, the more likely your business will gain attention and attract potential customers.

As most businesses start going online, the need for an SEO specialist can only be expected to grow more. Here are some things you should know if you plan to become an SEO expert.

What Does an SEO Specialist Do?

SEO specialists have become a must for all companies that maintain corporate websites. But what do they do? Here are some of their responsibilities:

  • Optimize copy and landing pages for SEO purposes
  • Perform keyword research, including discovery and expansion of keyword opportunities
  • Research and implement content recommendations for organic SEO success
  • Monitor search engine algorithms and core algorithm updates

In a nutshell, an SEO specialist’s job is to ensure that his/her company’s website ranks high on search engine results pages (SERPs). It should appear as a top result for the keywords the business tracks. When people think of buying a laptop in New York, for instance, and type “buy laptop New York” into their browsers, the top results (those on the first page) should include your brand. That’s when you know your SEO tactics are working.

How Do You Become an SEO Specialist?


While the field of SEO continuously grows and changes, one can’t learn about SEO from a traditional college program. The best route to take is to enroll in several SEO courses until you get a feel of how it is done. As most experts would advise, the best way to learn SEO is to create a website and start optimizing it to see if the techniques you learned along the way convert.


In terms of skills, an SEO specialist must be a problem solver and a keen decision-maker. You must be well-versed in creating an editorial plan and crafting high-quality content. That means that each content you produce must be well-researched with keywords that address the target audience’s pain points.

An SEO specialist must also be patient as his/her work involves many tests and implementations that range from website layout to content creation to make sure that everything works seamlessly.

An SEO professional is also responsible for continually analyzing websites and identifying necessary improvements. He/She is also tasked to do relevant and in-depth keyword research.

Watch this interesting video that shows what happens on a typical day in the life of an SEO professional:

How Much Does an SEO Specialist Earn on Average?

Indeed says a U.S.-based SEO specialist can earn an average of US$53,846 per year. A digital marketing SEO job, meanwhile, pays an average of US$69,370 annually according to ZipRecruiter. Finally, freelance SEO experts can get at least US$63,701 a year.

Are SEO Professionals Necessary?

Many website owners, especially new ones, often believe they don’t need to hire an SEO professional since there are tons of free SEO tools they can use. But there are reasons why it is crucial to work with an SEO specialist, including:

Effective SEO Strategies Take Time to Bear Fruit

SEO specialists spend a lot of time to make websites rank. They dedicate a good percentage of their time to build backlinks and work toward establishing a reputation via blog and social media promotion. They also need to use metrics and analytics to measure success and tweak campaigns along the way.

Poor SEO Practices Have Consequences

Websites with inadequate optimization plans can suffer dire consequences. First, they won’t rank well in search engines. It is common knowledge that web users don’t go past the first page of SERPs to answer their queries. So websites that don’t appear on the first page can’t even start communicating with their target audiences. As a result, potential customers are bound to end up with competitors. 

Second, unethical use of SEO techniques or blackhat SEO practices is penalized by search engines. Some violators even receive lifetime bans.

Now that you know what the SEO definition is, you learned that what an SEO specialist does are vital to an organization’s operations. Without them, websites would often hide behind the shadows of their competitors. You wouldn’t want that to happen to you.

Key Takeaways

  • An SEO specialist analyzes, reviews, and implements relevant changes to websites to ensure they rank well in search engines.
  • SEO refers to the process of increasing your site’s visibility.
  • Some of the responsibilities of an SEO specialist are optimizing copies and landing pages for SEO purposes and conducting research and implementing content recommendations for organic SEO success.
  • The best route to become an SEO specialist is to enroll in several SEO courses until you get a feel of how it is done.
  • An SEO specialist can earn US$53,846 a year. The pay gets higher if he/she also does digital marketing.

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