What Is An SEO Specialist?

Aaron Haynes
Jun 14, 2021

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

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Your website is only as profitable as the number of visitors it receives. If you’re not getting the traffic coming to your website, then you can’t make sales.

An SEO specialist solves this issue.

An acronym for search engine optimization specialist, an SEO specialist, is a professional with the skillset to make websites outrank their competitors in search engines.

This article takes an in-depth look into what an SEO specialist is, what they do, why they’re important, and answer the most frequently asked questions surrounding SEO specialists.

What Is An SEO Specialist?

An SEO specialist is many things. They are researchers, digital marketer, copywriters, and webmasters all in one. The role demands a highly refined skillset with a clear focus.

They are professionals who understand what makes search engines, such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing function. They use their skillset to make changes to a website’s on-page and off-page characteristics, to make that website rank higher than competitors in search engine results pages (SERPs).

SEO specialists may be hired in-house by a company or can work on a freelance basis. The hiring arrangement depends entirely on the size and needs of the company.

Why are SEO Specialists Important?

SEO specialists are essential to the success of any business that requires an online presence.

This is because of how internet users find websites online.

BirghtEdge research recently conducted a study assessing the origins of website traffic for websites in various industries (vertical segments). Across the board, organic traffic, or traffic from search engines, is by far the most significant portion of a website’s traffic.

This shows that if your website isn’t optimized for performance in search engines, you’re missing out on the largest possible amount of traffic you could be receiving – demonstrating the importance of SEO specialists.

What is the SEO Specialist Skillset?

To be effective, SEO specialists need a fundamental understanding of search engines searcher psychology.

While many people perceive SEO experts are pure technicians, SEO specialists need to be able to empathize with countless demographics of target audiences. To make their SEO strategies and SEO campaigns effective, SEO experts must create a desirable user experience on the websites they are working on.

As far as hard skills go, a top-tier SEO specialist needs many skills for technical SEO:

  • Deep keyword research skills
  • Content analysis
  • High-quality copywriting
  • Understanding of marketing strategies
  • Ability to lead pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns
  • Web design, web development, Javascript and WordPress

To put these hard skills into practice, the best SEO consultants have conceptual knowledge of:

  • Search engine algorithms
  • SEO tools such as SEM Rush, Ahrefs and Moz, Google analytics
  • Backlink building
  • Search engine marketing

SEO Specialist FAQ

What does an SEO specialist do?

An SEO specialist optimizes websites to rank highly in SERPs. This includes developing SEO strategies and campaigns that improve a website’s content, on-page optimization metrics (such as loading speed, layout, conversion rate optimization, meta tags, title tags, HTML slug writing), and backlink profile. An SEO professional essentially runs or informs a comprehensive content marketing and website optimization plan.

Do I need an SEO specialist?

Whether or not you need to services of an SEO specialist depends on your desired outcomes and how stiff your competition is.

Suppose you’re happy to generate traffic to your website purely through word-of-mouth referrals, through social media posting on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram, or even from a physical business card. In that case, an SEO specialist might not be necessary for your efforts.

However, if you want to attract the roughly 60% of web traffic that finds particular web pages through search engines, investing in SEO is an absolute necessity.

Depending on the scale of your project, business, and how competitive your niche is, you might consider learning some of the SEO basics on your own – you can achieve a lot by optimizing your website’s HTML slugs and meta tags, something that isn’t particularly difficult to achieve.

For most business, making small-scale changes yourself will achieve some measurable positive results. But the real results come from a full-scale content, backlinking, and on-page optimization strategy. This is when it is wise to at least consult with an SEO specialist.

How do I become SEO certified?

SEO is one of the most rapidly growing industries today. Currently, the industry is worth over $80 billion, but unlike most other industries, there isn’t a particular certification people can earn that qualifies them to be SEO specialists.

Learning SEO is more of a process of acquiring skills through experience and gradually taking on and earning more responsibility.

Having a background in marketing and digital advertising is a fantastic foundation for pursuing a career in SEO, as many of the concepts of buyer psychology are the same. However, the technical skills mainly required depend on Google and other search engines’ algorithms – all of which are frequently updated and changed.

Online courses such as those on Udemy can teach students SEO skills and concepts – however, this isn’t a formal certification. There are other agencies offering online courses teaching SEO. However, most of this information is available online for free.

If you would like to pursue a career in SEO, we suggest learning what an SEO roadmap looks like and focusing on learning single stages of the process. Content writing is a good segue into SEO, as learning to write SEO content is a foundational pillar of any SEO campaign.

Learning how to create backlinks is another essential skill in SEO. Once you’re able to create backlinks and write SEO content, you can start to think about selling your SEO services to other local businesses and helping them grow their customer base.

What skills do I need as an SEO specialist?

Fundamentally, a good SEO specialist needs content writing, link building, and basic web development skills.

Many SEOs excel at one or two of these skills, which is why many often collaborate with other SEOs or outsource some part of the process to SEO agencies.

Backlink Building

One of the most notoriously difficult parts of SEO is backlink building, which is why many SEOs choose to outsource the backlink building process to agencies.

Backlink building is a time-intensive process. There are several ways to secure backlinks, but the two most reliable and worthwhile are guest posting and public relations outreach.

Guest posting requires having personal relationships with editors at many different publications and writing high-quality content that these editors will accept as guest posts. In return for writing an article for the publication, editors will give you a backlink from their site.

Public relations outreach works by contacting journalists to offer expert insight in return for a quotation in an article linking to your business.

Both these approaches are time-consuming but can secure valuable backlinks that will make your business rank much higher in the SERPs. As an aspiring SEO,

Content writing

Content writing for effective SEO means writing engaging, readable articles that contain keywords to attract your target audience.

The content you write needs to offer value to the reader while encouraging them towards profitable action for the business. Getting this balance correct is not easy, as people don’t want to reach a sales pitch!

Instead, learn to write from the perspective of your target audience and link to your services when they come up naturally in the discussion.

Freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork are great places where you can develop your skills as an SEO content writer and slowly build your portfolio at the same time.

Local SEO

Having a firm grasp of how to help local businesses rank well in search engine results pages gives you a jump start into SEO. If you can help a local business, they can vouch for your skills and give you recommendations and testimonials.

How do I become an SEO specialist?

Becoming a successful SEO specialist capable of running a profitable SEO business is best done with experience.

We recommend first learning the steps involved in an SEO campaign, then focusing on building your portfolio of SEO content, as there is an ongoing and high demand for good SEO content.

Once you know how to write SEO content, you might have encountered other SEOs who can help teach you how to optimize a webpage for CRO and tweak on-page metrics to maximize page loading speed.

Finally, learn how to build backlinks and grow your network of editors who will accept articles from you as guest posts. Once you can offer these three services, you’ll be a very employable in-house or freelance SEO specialist.

How much do SEO specialists earn?

SEO specialists earn around 80-90k per year.

In-house SEO specialists earn a set wage, which is generally around $90,000 PA. Freelance SEOs with outstanding portfolios are in high demand and can more or less earn as much work as they are willing to take on.

With the SEO industry growing exponentially and more and more businesses moving online, SEOs are in good stead to continue to make close to a six-figure salary.

Don’t forget: check out the other definitions (over 200) in our growing SEO glossary.


Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of SEO specialists, what they do, and what it takes to be an SEO specialist.

To recap, SEO specialists use their skillset to get websites ranked well in search engines. They do this by creating keyword-targeted content, enhancing the backlink profile of a website, and optimizing the website’s technical aspects for SEO.

For businesses, working with an SEO specialist can be a profitable step towards generating more website traffic, which leads to more sales and profitability.

For individuals looking to pursue a career in SEO, the industry is expanding rapidly and has plenty of room to grow.

If you have any questions about SEO or would like to look into the services we offer, then please contact us and see how we can help.

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Aaron Haynes on June 14, 2021

CEO and partner at Loganix, I believe in taking what you do best and sharing it with the world in the most transparent and powerful way possible. If I am not running the business, I am neck deep in client SEO.