SEO is a young and rapidly developing niche. Specialists who have committed to it must daily increase their expertise to keep up with all the updates, provide experiments and acquire practical skills. On this path, you need to master both Hard and Soft Skills for SEO Professionals.
What are the responsibilities of an SEO specialist?
Experience and practical skills are fundamental values for an SEO position. SEO optimization is a complicated process, but it also has a more prolonged and tangible effect.
An SEO specialist has to understand the specifics of ranking algorithms for different search engines. It would be beneficial to have working experience with Google, Yandex, Yahoo, and Bing.
While Bing and Google share similar SEO and ranking factors, there are a few key differences you should be aware of. SEO for Bing is unique in a few different ways. First, the large majority of people who use Bing are from the US.
Secondly, people who use Bing also use Internet Explorer, the default search engine pre-loaded on Windows devices. Most likely, they are less tech-savvy, and an entirely different demographic than the typical Google user.
Ensuring that your website is optimized is the safest way to guarantee that your site can be found by your potential customers, no matter what search engine they’re using.
However, balancing on-page and off-page optimization is often necessary when adjusting to search engines’ algorithms.
Furthermore, specialists from this niche need to confidently work with serious software and SaaS services (Serpstat, Netpeak Spider, Netpeak Checker, Ahrefs).
What are the primary responsibilities of an SEO specialist?
- help a brand to become a leader in SERP;
- attract traffic;
- adjust the site to the requirements of search engines;
- collect keywords for semantic core, categorize and sort them via SEO tools:
- set up website analytics;
- optimize the web resource collectively with editors, marketers, designers, and developers.
As part of these responsibilities, the specialist also checks the usability, makes an assessment of the visibility of the resource in the search engine, develops a content strategy, determines the budget for promotion, writes meta tags, sets up technical specifications for copywriters, and constantly monitors changes in search engine algorithms for the timely adaptation of the site for new requirements.
The skillset and responsibilities of SEO specialists depend on the level of qualifications, the characteristics of the team organization, and the type of company.
In this article, we will adhere to the gradation of specialists, which, according to the Serpstat survey results, is found most often: Junior, Middle, and Senior.
Basic skills of specialists from Junior to Senior
A junior-level specialist should know the basic concepts and trends of SEO (check our “SEO Glossary“), understand the references and documentation from search engines, and carry out a set of on-page and off-page optimization steps.
Junior SEO should easily analyze a niche and competitors, collect semantics using several methods and cluster the semantic core.
When specialists take on a new project, they start with a technical audit. The primary purpose of the analysis is to assess the technical condition of the website, its performance.
The audit should also be carried out while changing the structure, moving, or redesigning. It is better to analyze the website for errors at least once every 1-2 months, even if there are no visually noticeable technical issues.
In the field of external optimization, a specialist with the analyzed level of competence will find websites for placing links, select high-quality donors, and analyze the dynamics of link building. The tools and reports required for this task can be found in the Backlinks Analysis tool in Serpstat.
Junior SEO is also able to implement micro-markup in tags and attributes, which helps search engines find content on the site faster and understand it correctly.
Every SEO specialist should understand how to track optimization results. For demonstrating to the client how the work is progressing and what goals have already been achieved, an SEO professional must use reasonable metrics.
For these purposes, there is a standard recommendation to work with specialized web analytics and reporting services: Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google Data Studio.
How does Middle SEO differ from Junior?
Middle SEO specialists have more in-depth knowledge and can quickly work with regular expressions, use Google Tag Manager to set up individual events (for example, e-commerce), and optimize the site locally.
Such a professional will help in promoting Google My Business, Google Maps, or using subdomains.
Who is a Senior SEO Specialist?
Senior SEO are confident specialists who perform all tasks efficiently, and autonomously and automate the processes as much as possible.
They can work with Google Analytics using HTTP requests and Measurement Protocol, use SQL for working with databases, and DAX for Power BI.
Such professionals will be able to remove the site from search engine filters, restore traffic, and determine the reasons for its decline.
Personal skill set of an SEO specialist
In addition to communication skills, teamwork skills, time management, and self-presentation, a good SEO specialist needs extra Soft skills to work effectively and increase professional competence.
At the Junior level, the essential skills are self-learning, perseverance, and tenacity. At first, you will have to perform a lot of routine and monotonous tasks, and in order not to get stuck at this stage for a long time, you need commitment and a strong desire to grow.
Self-organization is another helpful skill. At the beginning of your career, it will help to quickly fulfill work duties and organize the future processes for teamwork.
For a Middle SEO professional, who autonomously manages projects and bears responsibility for the decisions, independence and consistency are essential.
A systematic approach will help establish project processes, ensure control and continuous monitoring of work performance, and report to the customer.
Among the top skills are:
- The desire to automate processes;
- Work in a multitasking environment;
- Task decomposition skills.
At the Senior SEO level, project management and process establishment skills are a must since you will work with larger projects.
You are supposed to act as both a specialist and manager, independently conducting communication with the client. Senior SEO needs to grow independent specialists to build a strong team, to then train and manage it.
There are several basic rules for effective communication with the customer:
- Information on the task should be in one document, task tracker folder, and Technical requirement file.
- During the meeting, the organizer must keep a record of all the decisions made and the workflow of the discussion to send a follow-up to all participants. This rule will help to keep an eye on the required result during the work process.
- Use services for teamwork and Task Trackers (Trello, Asana, Notion).
- Set tasks in writing since verbal agreements are often lost in the process. You need to duplicate them, for example, via email or your service for teamwork.
- It is not always necessary to immediately respond to messages from customers in messengers, mail, or other channels. It would be best to fully formulate the answer/question or topic for subsequent discussion.
- It’s better not to accept tasks or agree to meetings on the same day unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Don’t interrupt your workflow with additional subtasks.
- Learn to answer complex questions of customers comprehensively, give a clear answer, and attach screenshots with references or examples immediately, if necessary.
- If the same question was asked two or more times, create a FAQ for a preliminary discussion.
Serpstat has a functionality that allows you to control the work on a project using checklists. This tool was developed by leading SEO professionals and contains step-by-step instructions and guidelines.
The checklists include necessary steps for promoting an online business, technical audit and building a link profile.
For preparing reports for contractors Serpstat offers fully branded reports with the company’s logo – the White Label option.
And the custom reporting tool will allow you to create beautiful and convenient reports from ready-to-use blocks or personal templates and project data. In addition, the Data Studio service connector will help you visualize reporting using the public API.
Senior and Middle SEO will control the entire workflow with the Team Management Mode. Serpstat can activate access to shared projects for a group of users simultaneously working on tasks.
The primary account in the team has access to advanced analytics, distributing plan credits, controlling Checklists, receiving reports, and much more.
Discounts on Serpstat are valid until the Christmas holidays, you can see the current offers on this page.
It is believed that hard skills and employee expertise are essential but not the only factor that matters. Research conducted by Harvard University and Stanford Research Institute states that up to 85% of a specialist’s success depends on his soft skills.
But when it comes to SEO specialists and their qualifications – intricate qualities must be leveled up daily, along with practical and soft skills.
Hard and soft skills are complementary. You need to objectively assess your strengths and weaknesses because skills, abilities, and knowledge are the first characteristics of a candidate for a position.
Soft skills can be used to determine how a person will cope with tasks, and hard skills illustrate general expertise and area of competence.
The gradation of SEO specialists is conditional and depends on the company, but the general characteristic is as follows:
- Junior specialist: promotes the site, understands the terminology, can put theoretical knowledge into practice;
- Middle: promotes, analyzes actions, and draws conclusions. They know the structure of popular CMS: WordPress, Open Cart, CS-Cart, can find the necessary files, and implement changes on the site.
- Senior: draws conclusions and builds hypotheses, tests them with minimal investment of time and scales. This title means that you can work with large amounts of data and analytics, programming languages, scripts, and BI platforms.
Small checklists will help you increase your professional competence. For example, some companies have knowledge requirements for a specific work position.
Such a “Professional Development Plan” allows you not to diffuse and elevate your skillset, focusing on your progress. An example of such a checklist for an SEO specialist you can examine closer in this blog post.