I Analyzed 52 search engine optimization Specialist Job Listings. Right here’s What They Do and How You Can Turn out to be One


search engine optimization specialists are accountable for enhancing an internet site’s visibility in natural search outcomes. However what precisely do they do? What abilities and {qualifications} do they want? And how are you going to turn into one?

To seek out out, I regarded via 52 search engine optimization specialist job listings on Certainly and SEOJobs.


I solely centered on job descriptions that requested for “search engine optimization specialist.” Meaning no “search engine optimization content material specialist,” “technical search engine optimization specialist,” and the like. (Although job listings for Senior search engine optimization specialists have been included.)

The most typical duties I discovered are:

  • Key phrase analysis (90.4%)
  • search engine optimization efficiency monitoring and evaluation (75%)
  • On-page and content material optimization (69.2%)
  • Reporting (67.3%)
  • Technical search engine optimization (61.6%)
  • Collaborating with different groups (61.5%)
  • Staying up-to-date with search engine optimization developments and Google updates (61.5%)
  • Develop an search engine optimization technique (55.8%)
  • Hyperlink constructing (53.9%)
Chart showing responsibilities SEO specialists are in charge of


On condition that it could have been inconceivable to test every itemizing for lots of of potential duties, I received ChatGPT to assist. I gave it ten job posts from the record and requested it to establish the commonest duties. I then went via all 52 listings and checked how frequent every duty was.

It looks as if search engine optimization specialists are anticipated to do the whole lot. Some listings even count on SEOs to run conversion optimization, and there have been even listings the place SEOs have been answerable for PPC.

Job listings where SEOs were expected to do CRO and PPCJob listings where SEOs were expected to do CRO and PPC

Rather a lot to ask for, for my part, since there are individuals who really concentrate on every aspect of search engine optimization.

That being stated, it is also the case that the majority of those job listings are in-house. In line with my colleague Despina, who has been an search engine optimization specialist herself, it’s extra frequent for an in-house search engine optimization specialist to be an all-rounder since they’re usually both the one individual doing search engine optimization or a part of a really small workforce the place versatility is rewarded.

Despina reminds us:

The way in which I see it, being an search engine optimization specialist isn’t about what you do. It’s concerning the outcomes you’re accountable for, i.e., rising natural visibility and, ideally, natural income. At this time, you may plan technical, content material, and link-building duties that will help you get there. Tomorrow, it is likely to be model constructing, UX, and even CRO duties.

Despina GavoyannisDespina Gavoyannis

Listed here are the frequent abilities I noticed:

  • Expertise with search engine optimization instruments like Google Search Console and Ahrefs (75%)
  • Communication abilities (61.5%)
  • Information of search engine optimization finest practices, search engine optimization developments, and the way Google works (57.7%)
  • Analytical abilities (48%)
Chart showing skills SEO specialists needChart showing skills SEO specialists need


I additionally enlisted ChatGPT’s assist to reply this query, utilizing the identical methodology as earlier than.

Once more, this corroborates Despina’s expertise. Right here’s what she stated:

It’s a mixture of comfortable and onerous abilities that the majority employers are likely to search for in my expertise. These comfortable abilities are more and more useful: communication, initiative, the power to study and adapt shortly, time and mission administration, and the power to deal with and make sense of plenty of knowledge. For onerous abilities: capability to place a technique collectively and the power to advocate search engine optimization actions.

Despina GavoyannisDespina Gavoyannis

One factor I discovered attention-grabbing was that there have been two job listings that particularly requested expertise with AI instruments.

A job listing that requested for experience with AI toolsA job listing that requested for experience with AI tools

Though it was solely a teeny tiny pattern (for now), I see it as an indication. AI abilities—particularly associated to utilizing AI for search engine optimization—will turn into extra essential sooner or later.

Excellent news: You probably don’t want one since 61.5% of the job listings didn’t ask for a university diploma.

Chart showing whether SEO specialists need a degreeChart showing whether SEO specialists need a degree

For the remaining, they sometimes ask for a bachelor’s in search engine optimization (does that exist?), advertising and marketing, enterprise, or one thing associated. This jives with what Despina has seen, too.

A job listing that requested for a related degreeA job listing that requested for a related degree

Even so, I don’t assume it’s a must to disqualify your self from a selected itemizing simply since you don’t have a level. In spite of everything, Despina has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Sociology and Schooling. Little doubt it’s a level, nevertheless it’s so far as you possibly can think about from being associated to search engine optimization.

You’d be higher off worrying about tips on how to acquire precise search engine optimization expertise.

What about search engine optimization certifications? Disregard. They’re not essential in any respect. Solely three job listings requested for them.

Chart showing whether SEO specialists need certificationsChart showing whether SEO specialists need certifications

Each companies and corporations rent search engine optimization specialists.

Nevertheless, in accordance with our pattern, there’s presently extra demand for in-house search engine optimization specialists (63.5%) than at companies (36.5%).

Chart showing who hires SEO specialistsChart showing who hires SEO specialists

One cause is likely to be that the time period “search engine optimization specialist” is used interchangeably with “search engine optimization guide” or “search engine optimization skilled” within the company world, a minimum of in accordance with my colleague Chris Haines, who has ten years of search engine optimization company expertise.

He additionally famous that company roles are sometimes extra hierarchical and have this frequent development (in UK companies):

A common career progression in a UK SEO agencyA common career progression in a UK SEO agency

As you possibly can see, there’s no “search engine optimization specialist” position in a normal company profession ladder.

The most typical annual wage vary we noticed was $50,000 – $54,999. This was adopted by $45,000 – $49,999 after which $40,000 – $44,999.

Chart showing how much SEO specialists makeChart showing how much SEO specialists make

That is consistent with Despina’s expertise, who stated a junior search engine optimization specialist makes round AU$60,000 – $70,000 (~US$40,000 – $46,000). It additionally corresponds to our search engine optimization wage survey, the place the median wage was $49,211.

The one outlier quantity (>$100,000) was a senior in-house search engine optimization specialist position at a tech firm. They required a minimal of 5 years of search engine optimization expertise.

A job listing for a senior SEO role that required at least 5 years of experienceA job listing for a senior SEO role that required at least 5 years of experience

Among the many job listings I checked out, barely any have been entry-level. Most of them required a minimum of a yr or extra of search engine optimization expertise.

Chart showing how many years of experience SEO specialists needChart showing how many years of experience SEO specialists need

This creates a catch-22: You want work to get expertise, however you possibly can’t get expertise with out work.

Meme about how you need work to get experience, but you can’t get experience without workMeme about how you need work to get experience, but you can’t get experience without work

How, then, are you able to turn into an search engine optimization specialist? I turned to Despina and Chris for solutions.

1. Study the fundamentals of search engine optimization

You don’t must be an skilled to get an internship (or perhaps a job), however you do must know a bit about search engine optimization. So, kickstart your training by studying the fundamentals of search engine optimization.

There are such a lot of free search engine optimization programs nowadays, so that you received’t even have to fret about your pockets. I like to recommend beginning with our free search engine optimization course for newbies, which covers the whole lot you must know, from key phrase analysis to technical search engine optimization. If you happen to desire studying, then you possibly can learn our free newbie’s information to search engine optimization.

That ought to provide you with a very good grounding of the essential search engine optimization fundamentals and ideas.

2. Construct your individual web site

There’s no higher method to acquire fast sensible expertise than by constructing your individual web site.

In the long run, search engine optimization is a sensible talent. There’s no quantity of studying and watching that can put together you for actuality than really doing the factor.

Constructing an internet site and optimizing it for search will educate you tips on how to navigate content material administration methods like WordPress, acquire expertise with search engine optimization instruments (you possibly can all the time begin with free ones), and follow every side of search engine optimization. All essential issues you must know in your future as an search engine optimization specialist.

3. Get an internship at an search engine optimization company

Regardless of most job listings being for in-house positions, each Despina and Chris advocate that you just get an internship at an company.

Why? Three causes:

  1. Businesses sometimes have a training course of for interns. That’s a good way to be skilled from scratch in the whole lot search engine optimization.
  2. Businesses will let you be uncovered to quite a lot of search engine optimization experiences throughout completely different shoppers, whereas you’ll be extra “specialised” in an in-house position.
  3. There’s a likelihood you’ll be the one search engine optimization individual in an in-house position, particularly should you’re working for a small enterprise or startup. You’ll nonetheless have to determine the whole lot your self with none mentor’s steering. I had this expertise myself in my first job—I joined a startup as a advertising and marketing intern, and I used to be the one marketer.

To seek out internship alternatives, go to LinkedIn or Certainly and seek for “search engine optimization intern” or “search engine optimization graduate.”

A LinkedIn search for SEO intern jobsA LinkedIn search for SEO intern jobs

You may arrange alerts for these positions so that you’ll be notified of latest ones in your inbox.

Work onerous, acquire expertise, and you might end up transformed right into a full-time position. Or use the work expertise to use for future jobs as an search engine optimization specialist.

What occurs subsequent after you’ve efficiently turn into an search engine optimization specialist? It is determined by your targets and the way you see your profession panning out.

Nonetheless, I requested Despina and Chris, and these are the frequent progressions most search engine optimization specialists take:

Turn out to be an search engine optimization lead

You may intention to get promoted inside the company or turn into an search engine optimization lead/head of search engine optimization in a corporation with bigger search engine optimization groups.

In a way, that is essentially the most simple, as you’re merely climbing the search engine optimization profession ladder.

If that is the trail you’re focused on, the excellent news is that Chris himself was an search engine optimization lead in an search engine optimization company. He wrote an article sharing ten ideas that superior his profession and helped him turn into an search engine optimization lead. I extremely advocate studying it to study what made a distinction in his profession.

Turn out to be an search engine optimization guide

Being a guide will probably earn you more cash and provide you with extra management over your time. But it surely’s not for everybody. As Despina says:

Despina GavoyannisDespina Gavoyannis

You’ll need to get used to placing your self on the market, promoting, dealing with rejection, dealing with all types of administrative work (e.g., accounting, taxes, and so forth.), and extra. If understanding this doesn’t faze you, then it might be a path you think about.

Learn the information beneath to find out how Nick LeRoy transitioned from an search engine optimization worker to a full-time search engine optimization guide.

Begin your individual company

When you’ve got entrepreneurial beliefs or dream of being your individual boss, this might be a possible development.

Nevertheless, I’ll quote Despina once more right here:

This isn’t an instantaneous subsequent step. You progress into this after consulting for some time, and also you get so busy that you must rent extra folks.

Despina GavoyannisDespina Gavoyannis

You additionally need to know that beginning an company probably means not doing search engine optimization. Loads of company house owners I’ve talked to spend most of their time managing folks, dealing with admin, and promoting. In case your love is search engine optimization and never operating a enterprise, then rethink this path.

One closing be aware: Regardless of what number of inspiring tales you’ve learn, know that being an entrepreneur is no straightforward process. Each story you’ve learn is a sufferer of survivorship bias, and the world is affected by companies that didn’t work out. Nevertheless, if listening to this makes your ardour burn brighter, then hey, this might be for you.

Closing ideas

Whether or not you’re an search engine optimization specialist, search engine optimization guide, or run your individual company, three issues are true:

  1. search engine optimization adjustments quick — Keep up to date with what’s occurring with Google, its rivals, and the business itself. Observe sensible SEOs on X and LinkedIn, take part in search engine optimization communities, and attend search engine optimization conferences.
  2. By no means cease studying — You may all the time enhance your search engine optimization abilities or comfortable abilities like managing a workforce, being an efficient chief, and extra.
  3. At all times be networking — People are in the end social creatures. We need to work with folks whom we belief and may vouch for. Making mates within the business can provide you with a warning to the most recent search engine optimization ways, discover useful folks to rent and associate with, commiserate when issues aren’t going effectively, and have fun when issues are.