What Does an SEO Specialist Do?

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become more important because of the power that search engines have. By raising their rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs), companies can be found by more potential clients. But it isn’t easy to get on the first page, which is where SEO specialists come in. These professionals develop, design, and promote websites. While they don’t usually build the site, they will often consult with the web developer. So how do you enter this exciting career? Keep reading to find out.


Experience with optimizing for search engines is a big part of the qualifications for many SEO specialist positions. Expect to need at least one to three years of experience in online marketing. Having a bachelor’s degree in a field like communications, marketing, information technology, or business is also required. It’s also helpful to know programming languages like CSS and HTML. Many students choose to take out private student loans to pay for the degree. Although you will learn many important skills during your formalized education, many positions will offer on the job training. You’ll need to have ongoing education as well. The field changes so rapidly that you’ll need to update your skill set nearly constantly. Search algorithms get changed to provide more objective results. That means you’ll need to reshape your clients’ digital profiles, so they rank better. 

What You’ll Do

You will have many responsibilities, depending on the company that you work for. But you’ll likely need to be able to analyze the website. Expect to look at areas like backlinks, keywords, content, and formatting. You will need to research keywords and use them naturally on the website. If you don’t use the right keywords, the site won’t get found, but search engines also penalize sites that use keyword stuffing techniques. That’s why content is so important. You or a copywriter will create graphical, textual, and informational content that makes up the page. One of your most important jobs is understanding what the most common search engines are using as criteria for making results pages. That will influence the design choices that you make. Since you’ll be updating the site, you will need to have a background in programming languages and know how to use a range of hardware and operating platforms. 

Specific Skills 

As an SEO specialist, you might focus on a certain part of optimizing websites. You might take on roles like:

  • Content Writer: This is a skill that many specialists gain early on in their careers. It doesn’t require as much technical knowledge as other roles. Producing unique content is important when it comes to raising a client’s rank in SERPs. Expect to produce web dialogues, short articles, and other kinds of text. 
  • Building Links: Many search algorithms have adopted backlinking. A backlink is just a link to your client’s website from another site. You’ll combine your human management skills with your expertise to get reputable sites to link to your client’s. 
  • Research: You will often provide background for content writers and web developers.