Puzzle representing skills that make up an individual.

The Top 7 SEO Specialist Skills an Outstanding Professional Needs

Diana Aghumyan

Table of Contents

A stay home mom with a toddler or a business person managing a company of a hundred people – whatever your sphere is, you Google things a minimum of 4 times a day or 40, maybe 400. Search engines, Google, in particular, is our go-to tool in times of despair, joy, curiosity, or confusion. We trust the engines as a source of information, entertainment, and recreation. But do we ever think about how they show us the results we see? How do they operate? What runs under the engines? Why should we care? Maybe you’d like to switch your specialization by learning the answers to these questions. 

Let’s jump right into it. 

To understand how Google works, we shall understand SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is the baseline of what we see on the first SERP (Search Engine Result Page). SEO is the marketing branch responsible for improving the website quality, raising visibility on search engines, and boosting organic traffic. The aims of SEO can be summed up as to attract, lead, and convert. In marketing terms, attract, engage, and delight. 

Why not strengthen the skills of an SEO expert when they can help generate so many leads and organic traffic? In fact,  61% of B2B marketers claim that SEO boosts organic traffic more than any other marketing practice. 

An SEO specialist is a pro who works towards creating strategic techniques to fulfill the goals of ranking high. A business without visibility and recognition is doomed to go flat in no time. Forward-looking business professionals prioritize the role of a knowledgeable optimization specialist. However, a self-proclaimed one without real-world SEO specialist skills will be useless for the industry.

What are the must-have SEO specialist skills for success?

Since 65% of small businesses claim to have worked with at least one SEO expert, it is necessary to learn what a pro’s skill set should  be like. SEO is a sister branch with marketing and IT at the same time. Lapsing with both, SEO doesn’t limit itself to technical knowledge only but also opens the scope for theoretical, emotional, and creative skills. The skills of an SEO expert encompass both hard and soft skills for success. This article touches upon the most fundamental ones.SEO and marketing teams discussing a project

Analytical skills

SEO specialists answer a hundred questions before, during, and after optimizing a website. The expert must clearly understand the what, when, who, why, and how. They need to draft a plan to tackle the ranking problems. What’s the process called if not analyzing? Analytical skills are required to:

  • Identify factors that influence website’s organic traffic
  • Analyze competitors’ progress and plan a strategy
  • Examine a website’s search ranking
  • Research and select the appropriate keywords
  • Craft the future content ideas

Analytical skills form a big part of the kit of skills of an SEO expert since you can understand the humans behind the searches with thorough and empathetic analysis. An SEO specialist can reach the desired search ranking by combining the analysis data and the target audience’s search intent. Analytical skills help an SEO specialist grab potential buyers and compel them to follow the path of the sales funnel.

A great professional in SEO has analytical thinking and questions the roots of issues and after-effects of the actions.

Technical skills

Even the elementary knowledge about page speed is already technical knowledge. An SEO specialist skills will only be complete with the technical skills aspect. At least some understanding of the basic HTML tags, how URLs are made and work, microdata, server redirects, and lazy loading will accompany an SEO specialist during the work path—being technically aware assists in understanding how to put the data into action.

Technical skills and knowledge doesn’t necessarily mean being able to code but understanding how coding works. SEO specialists will be more professional in a field that overlaps with IT if they know how developers tackle the problems. Consequently, they will make more realistic task requests. 

Moreover, SEO has an entirely separate branch, technical SEO. The pro of technical SEO is responsible for the website’s optimization concerning speed and security, being crawlable, link health, and unique content. This knowledge implementation results in high organic traffic and a boost in leads. Technical SEO experts should also be able to improve JavaScript indexing, sitemaps, meta tags, and other elements running backstage.

Digital Marketing skills

A technically powerful SEO specialist, with comparable technical skills is demanded only with digital marketing skills. Naturally, SEO is done as part of Digital Marketing to boost the business digitally. An SEO specialist must know how the digital world works. They create a maximum appealing marketing piece for attracting customers and leading them to sales. 

Trends and updates in the digital world are must-to-know for an SEO expert. They should walk with the digital changes to strategize the “engine hacking steps”. Digital marketing skills include social media and communication, understanding of design, CRM, SEM, and data analysis. The combination makes the kit skills of an SEO expert complete.

Research skills

SEO specialists are “researchers” of their own. Without researching the market, the innovations, and the marketing products, no expert can design the SEO journey of a business. SEO pops up with “keyword research” in mind. What SEO campaign without keyword research?

FYI keyword research is finding the “key” words specific to the brand content. These words can be long-tailed and short-tailed, primary and secondary. The marketing specialist will use the selected words in different types of content on the web, blog posts, social media posts, and landing pages to attack the search engines. Knowing how to conduct keyword research means knowing how engine algorithms work, the intent behind the searches, and what the target keyword intent implies.

For an SEO specialist, keyword research is like an art. A pro in SEO is a pro in keyword selection. When planning the SEO journey of a brand, keyword research is the first step. That’s what lies under every SERP. Researching is one of the skills of an SEO expert to make perfect since the rest of the process relies on it. 

Research is not one-sided but also involves tracking and analyzing the competitor and their strategies for ranking. In fact, by “competitors,” SEO experts understand competitors for a keyword, not the brand niche. SEO is, after all, the battle for engine visibility, not brand choices.

All SEO types skills

SEO is a technique evolving in more than one domain and from one perspective. It is a triple-layer process where on-page, off-page, and technical aspects combine to provide the maximum engine visibility. To succeed in landing on the first page of the SERP, an SEO specialist should work on the page, off the page, and technically. An empowered professional invests efforts:

  • optimizing the website for a fast and secure user experience
  • removing the broken/harmful links
  • building an easily crawlable web page with unique content
  • linking to authoritative websites and providing the website’s authority

Strategic link-building skills

Talking about the technical aspect of SEO, we cannot but mention link-building skills as one of the must-to-have SEO specialist skills.  Those overlap with the technical skills. To start with, what is link-building? Link-building is exchanging or earning links from another website to the website we want to rank.

Link-building doesn’t only involve links from other sites but also includes internal linking through the site. The purpose is to strengthen the link base of the website. 

An SEO specialist should be in charge of overseeing the link-building process or doing it themselves. The ranking is hugely impacted by the quality and quantity of your links, both externally and internally. They play a decisive role in page ranking. With links, engines understand the website has value. An SEO specialist deals with link-building by guest posting activities, testimonials, analyzing case studies, and exchanging links. An expert in link-building is also aware of the link’s quality, relevance, anchor use, and the host domain’s reputation. Here Domain Rating vs Domain Authority is an important concept to be aware of.SEO is like an underdone pizza without a strategic link-building approach. So is an SEO specialist skill kit.

An SEO specialist’s workplace

SEO tools skills

SEO starts and ends with tool usage. From keyword research to a website audit, one must master the necessary toolkits to fulfill the SEO campaign. If we start looking through the job descriptions of an SEO specialist, the most frequently required tool knowledge is that of Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics. The first one checks if a website is visible, crawlable, and indexed by the engine. The latter is to track the data, such as the website’s organic traffic, monthly visitors, bounce rates, etc. SEO has become such a wide practice in digital marketing that there are now all-in-one suites like SEMrush and Ahrefs to conduct keyword research, competitor research, and strategic planning for website optimization. An SEO specialist must have the pro tools on their sleeves to be confident and fully empowered.

Wrapping Up

In the digital battle for business visibility, SEO is the moving wheel. Behind every successful SEO campaign is a versatile expert. With a thorough understanding of how optimization works and having top SEO specialist skills required, one will succeed in ranking a website and bring in business reputation and recognition. The specialist’s expertise plays a vital role in conducting an awesome optimization. We compactly discussed the most required, essential, and critical skills an expert needs. Being in the intersection of digital marketing and IT, an SEO pro should be on the ball in both spheres and have the necessary toolset, approaches, and personality. Meanwhile, an open mind, curiosity, and a learner’s mindset are bonuses for the field is evolving so should an expert. 


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