Career spotlight: SEO specialist
Brought to you by the Villanova School of Business
Virtually every business or organization has some form of online presence. Company websites and social media pages are scouted via search engines, and companies with a dominant online presence—i.e. those that rank highest on search engines—will likely outperform competitors in their shared market space. Ranking highly on search engine platforms is not simply a matter of luck though—optimizing search engine results is often managed by individuals known as search engine optimization (SEO) specialists. These professionals may work for a marketing company, an SEO agency or even on a freelance basis. To learn more about this exciting profession, review the guide below.
Job description of an SEO specialistThe overall objective of this role is to boost search engine results for companies, thus improving visibility and subsequently business. SEO specialists will likely work for either an SEO firm or marketing agency, and will usually work on behalf of their organization for multiple clients. The day-to-day tasks can vary, contingent on the organization in question and the years of experience the specialist has. SEO expert Josh Steimle, writing in Forbes, explained that there are a number of duties that fall under SEO. Specialists working in the field, according to Steimle, may engage in all, some or a few of the following practices:
- Researching a new client’s online presence. This involves scrutinizing the company website, social media pages and other sites to determine what is working and what is not in terms of website appearance, marketing efforts, brand strategy and so on. The research is then used for comparisons against competitors to ascertain the kinds of marketing approaches that typically fare well in the field.
- Using analytics platforms to gauge the kind of content and websites that perform well in the market space. Google Analytics in particular can be harnessed to uncover the client’s success in terms of content posting, website visits, social media likes and so on. Using data in this way is crucial as it allows specialists to not only understand what works well, but also develop strategies for future growth and improvement.
- One of the most fundamental aspects of working in SEO is keyword research. The goal of keyword research is to uncover the kinds of words that customers in the client’s space are searching for, so that those words can then be widely used in website copy and content. A company that produces content rich in keywords will be more likely to rank higher on search engines.
- Producing website copy or content that is informed by keyword research. This may be tackled by SEO specialists in smaller organizations, although in many cases it will be the duty of a content writer.
- Developing SEO strategies that improve search engine results at both the national and local level.
- Building reputable links so that search engines continue to prioritize content. This also involves looking at other competitors in the space to gauge what is effective.
- Monitoring client performance over time using analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, HPE analytics, SAS, etc.
- Some SEO specialists may even work behind the scenes of a website, altering the code to ensure that the site is able to rank as highly as possible.