Search Engine Optimization skills or SEO skills are in high demand. But what is SEO? Say, you have written an article or a blog post on how to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookies or the effects of social media on teenagers.
Naturally, you would expect your article to feature among Google’s top results every time a user searches for the phrases “baking cookies” or “effects of social media.” But, how do you ensure that your article always shows up on the front page of Google? Well, that is where the concept of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO comes in. If you are interested to learn more about SEO, check out our top digital marketing courses.
Millions of blog posts and articles are published on the internet every day, and over 2.2 million searches are conducted each day on Google. Pretty tough to make your content stand out successfully among the multitudes out there, right? So, how does SEO help in deciding the fate of your article, and what are the SEO skills needed for efficient search optimization? Well, this article seeks to answer all your queries.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the art of having the topmost ranks among the free, organic, or natural search results on a search engine. In simple terms, SEO is the process of developing or optimizing your online content in a way that a search engine shows it as one of the top results for searches of a particular keyword.
Research says that nearly 75% of users start their search on Google and the top five search results on the Google page get almost 67% of all the clicks. If your article, blog post, or product makes it to Google’s any other page other than the first search result page, then you know that your content isn’t well-optimized.
But, to make sure that your content shows up first in a search engine result, you have to know about the job description of an SEO specialist and the SEO skills that go behind making well-optimized content.
Read more: Must Read 73 Google Analytics Interview Questions
Who is an SEO specialist?
The job of a Search Engine Optimization specialist with SEO skills is to analyze and review websites and optimize in a way that they will be picked up by search engines. The SEO specialist aims to ensure increased traffic to a website by developing content with appropriate keywords and phrases.
To gain organic traffic, an SEO specialist runs various tests in designing, layout, and advertising techniques and ensures that the content is enriched with keywords to feature among the top hits of a search engine result.
In a nutshell, the responsibilities of an SEO specialist include:
- Evaluation and analysis of client sites that need improvisation and optimization
- Identifying strong keywords to get the most valuable traffic
- Preparing comprehensive strategy reports
- Operating PPC campaigns
- Maintaining powerful SEO content websites, blogs, and social media accounts
- Enriching websites and online content with effective keywords
- Converting visitors through strong calls-to-action
- Keeping a tab on SEO techniques and keywords employed by competitors
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Read: Top 133 SEO Interview Questions & Answers
Skills of an SEO specialist
After introducing the basic ideas of SEO and SEO specialists, our next focus will be on the SEO skills that employers are looking for in ideal candidates. SEO Manager and SEO Specialist are the most coveted job titles an SEO expert can expect to bag. Reputed job search sites like Monster and Indeed have recorded around 3000 SEO job vacancies in 2019 with job offers in the USA, UK, India, and Canada.
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So what does it take to be an SEO specialist? Let’s have a look at the skills:
- In-depth knowledge of Google tools such as GA and GSC, as well as analytical skills, are crucial for an SEO specialist to stay updated about the latest SEO trends.
- Given the importance of the ever-changing search engine algorithms, an SEO specialist must be adept at fixing the technical issues to gain the perfect visibility of the websites. For this, knowledge of CSS and HTML are mandatory and are not to be overlooked at any cost. Learn more about technical SEO.
- H1, Meta tags, XML sitemaps, status codes, robots.txt, and the ability to solve crawl issues are among the other essential technical SEO skills.
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Also Read: SEO Salary in India
- Prioritization: All SEO experts must have a strong understanding of the steps that they must take to make an SEO campaign successful. Not just that, each step should be prioritized according to their difficulty and relevance.
- Critical thinking: An SEO expert should be able to think critically while considering what works for a campaign versus what the rival’s strategies are. Since no two SEO plans or websites are alike, a site’s search engine position is influenced by several factors that require critical evaluation.
- Analysis: Data analysis is as vital as reading and interpreting data, and as such, SEO experts should be proficient in both the skills.
- Research: Keyword research demands that SEO experts meticulously plan out keywords that are relevant as well as of high value. A skilled SEO expert should know the importance of well-researched keywords that are relevant to the product or service.
- Writing: SEO is a strategy driven by quality and content, and thus, any SEO campaign manager should have strong writing skills. SEO experts should be skilled in writing content for blogs and web pages in a manner that appeals to Google as well as the target audience.
- Communication: Effective communication with clients is crucial for winning their confidence. SEO experts must maintain strong links with clients and reassure them of successful SEO results.
- Flexibility: There is no clear-cut SEO formula that works with every company or campaign. Hence, SEO experts must be flexible enough to switch strategies anytime without losing momentum.
In-demand Digital Marketing Skills
The SEO landscape is ever-evolving. From having a thorough understanding of keyword research, Search Engine Optimization copywriting, and the behavior of the search engines, an SEO specialist needs to learn and evolve continuously.
It is not enough to have technical SEO skills; non-technical abilities count equally while determining the worth of an ideal SEO expert. So, if you want your online content to stand out, take the first step towards acquiring the requisite skills today!
The career opportunities in digital marketing are plenty; you get to choose what you want to become. If you are curious to get into the world of digital marketing, check out upGrad & MICA’s Advanced Certificate in Digital Marketing & Communication.
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What makes a good SEO specialist?
A good SEO specialist has several years of experience working with a variety of brands across industries. The SEO professional will have a thorough knowledge of all three SEO tiers – the technical that includes site structure, on-page optimization along with off-page optimization strategies, techniques and best practices.
Additionally, a well-rounded perspective of the domain along with keeping an eye out for evolving trends in the segment is the mark of a great SEO specialist. Having an understanding of digital marketing at large and how the SEO objectives helps to fulfil business goals gives an experienced SEO professional that extra edge.
What are the key techniques that all SEO professionals need?
Other than simply banking on the basics of SEO, a professional in the space needs to go beyond techniques like keyword research, optimizing title tags and meta tags and developing optimized content.
Advanced SEO tactics today demand professionals to keep abreast of their competition by tracking their best performing pages. Using the keyword gap analysis technique, SEO specialists can formulate a robust content strategy for the business along with developing content that highlights the brand’s topical expertise.
Do you need to know coding to be a good SEO professional?
No, you do not need to have coding knowledge in order to be an SEO specialist. Whilst there is no direct requirement, having an understanding of programming is a useful skill to possess. Most businesses have access to a development team who can take care of any programming related needs. However, an SEO professional can communicate the requirements better when extending website enhancement requests to the development team.