The ten skills you need to be an SEO specialist

Do you want to become an SEO expert? Whether you are already a consultant or not, in this post we review the 10 most important skills to develop your work efficiently in the area of SEO.

In addition, we tell you why each of them is important and how to improve, develop and enhance them.

1. Ability to work as part of a team

In any digital marketing agency, or in any company that has its own internal marketing department, SEO work involves collaborating with other areas such as technology, design or content.

There must be synergies between all of them so that the sum of the work of each of the parts leads to excellent results for the organization.

One of the essential skills an SEO must have is the ability to work in a team.

Communication between all company departments involved in a project is key to achieving the expected results. Therefore, a good relationship between them is important.

As you can see, being an SEO consultant requires daily teamwork that involves planning, coordination, reflection and joint work. This is the only way to reach the proposed objectives and achieve successful results.

2.Continuous learning and training

To become a subject matter expert, experience alone is not enough. In this sector, which is constantly changing and updating, training and continuous learning are key.

It is common to see how Google is continuously changing the rules of the game. That is why it is important to keep abreast of all the changes and understand where the search engine is evolving.

With this continuous learning:

  • You will discover new relevance factors with a direct effect on ranking (e.g. Core Web Vitals) or others whose impact on ranking decreases, such as data markup.
  • You will know which tools will no longer be available (e.g. Structured Data Testing) and you will discover new ones that will help you in your analysis work (e.g. Google Analytics 4).
  • You will be up to date with algorithm updates (Google usually announces some of them officially through the channels it considers. He usually does so on Twitter and in his blogs).
  • You will offer a better service to your customers by correctly understanding how the search engine works, its requirements and the platforms and tools at your disposal to do your job more effectively.
  • You will be trained in other fields where you do not have as much experience to streamline your daily tasks.
  • You will draw solutions from real examples and case studies from experts applicable to your industry or any of the projects you manage.

Don’t stop learning and absorbing all the knowledge you can. Sign up for webinars, courses, lectures, conferences… there are many free ones given by experts. If you prefer, there is also a wide variety of masters and advanced courses to go even deeper into the subject and specialize.

3. Communication skills

When we talk about communication skills , we refer to both oral and written skills.

An SEO consultant must be in constant contact with his teammates and with other departments with which it will be necessary to work side by side. The fluidity of communication and knowing how to transmit ideas well is key to speed up the development and implementation of tasks.

In SEO, having good communication skills is key to be able to transmit the message well to the receiver.

But communication does not only take place in the company environment. We must also talk to our clients and explain clearly the deficiencies detected in their project and how to solve them. At this point it is very important to take into account the customer profile: does he/she have knowledge of SEO or is he/she completely unaware of terms such as “robots.txt”, “meta robots” and other professional jargon?

If you have little knowledge of SEO, we must have the ability to adapt our language for an effective transmission and reception of our message.

As for written communication, strive to produce clear and understandable reports.

As you can see, having communication skills, both written and oral, will facilitate the presentation, explanation and justification of the recommended measures and actions, both in reports and in calls and meetings with the client.

Some tips to improve your oral communication skills

  • Speak slowly.
  • Always be an active listener.
  • Let your interlocutor speak and present his or her ideas.
  • Do not interrupt. If there are many people involved in the meeting, ask for the floor.
  • Adapt your language to the customer profile.
  • If you are presenting a report, as you go through the presentation, ask if there are any questions.
  • If you find it difficult for the client to follow your explanation, we will address him with “Sorry, I didn’t explain myself well, I meant […]”. We will never start the sentence with “I don’t think you understood me”.
  • Try to modulate your tone of voice for efficient communication. Do not lose sight of aspects such as expressiveness, the volume used, the rhythm… This will allow you to connect with your client and be more influential.

Some tips to improve your writing skills

  • Review your reports before submitting them to correct spelling mistakes and check that important ideas are clearly expressed. Or better yet, ask a colleague to read it and let you know if there are any points that could be improved.
  • Write clearly so that the information is easily understandable.
  • When you first use an acronym in the report (CPA, CPC, ROI, etc.) define its full meaning in parentheses.
  • Try to make the actions described in the document descriptive.
  • Organize the content correctly so that your reports have a clear and logical structure.
  • When communicating by e-mail, be respectful and polite when addressing your interlocutor.

4. Proactive behavior

Often, in the online marketing sector and, specifically, in SEO, professionals are required to have a high capacity to respond to unpredictable circumstances and a proactive attitude towards a specific situation. For example, let’s imagine that the e-commerce whose positioning we are managing suddenly loses the most profitable product family.

In this situation, the SEO consultant must take control of the situation and decide what to do to minimize a negative impact on organic traffic.

The ability to anticipate future problems and to be constantly on the lookout for opportunities is also a plus for an SEO consultant position.

5. Analytical skills

Undoubtedly, this skill is essential if you want to become an SEO expert. If you consider that your analytical skills can be improved, we recommend that you work on them, as they are a key pillar for the successful development of your clients’ SEO campaigns.

One of your tasks as an SEO consultant will be the collection of data and its subsequent analysis to evaluate the impact of the implemented actions. You will have to analyze daily traffic, position evolution and other relevant visibility indicators to monitor your campaign.

Analysis is one of the exercises you will have to put into practice if you want to become an SEO expert.

There are many measurement tools such as Search Console or Google Analytics essential for the analysis of any website, but where we should really put the focus is on selecting the data and metrics really necessary to establish clear conclusions and take the necessary measures.

Understanding what is happening on your site will help you make informed, data-driven decisions and establish an effective strategy for your SEO campaign.

These are some of the most common analysis tasks for an SEO consultant:

  • Analyze changes in the site’s organic traffic channel, investigate why they occurred and whether it was the result of any specific action.
  • Study the impact of algorithm changes on traffic and other visibility indicators, and analyze their causes.
  • Track the positioning of target keywords.
  • Discover and adapt your actions to the best access devices.
  • Investigate the most visited, most shared, most commented contents…
  • Review the pages with the best organic positioning.

6. Strategic vision

Having a strategic vision is key to identify potential opportunities, weaknesses and strengths by analyzing and observing the environment and trends in the sector.

Having a strategic vision will lead you to achieve optimal results in the online marketing sector.

For example, one area of opportunity in a physical, local restaurant during the Covid-19 pandemic might be to include home delivery and delivery service.

In most cases we will have to deal with projects where we have to design the strategy to follow, that is to say, determine the key actions to achieve the objectives set at the outset: increase organic traffic from mobile, improve the positioning of the home page for generic keywords, increase the number of mentions on authority websites, etc. The key to everything is to understand where we are and where we are going. This way we will know whether or not we are doing the right things to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.

The proposed actions must be well thought out and must be communicated, explained and shared with the client.

It is interesting to draw up an action plan that will guide us in achieving, within a given time, the objectives set at the beginning.

7. Research profile

This skill is key if you want to become an SEO expert, as much of the work done is research.

These are some of the tasks where this capability is most relevant:

  1. Selecting the right keywords for your campaign. This is the main task we must work on. It consists of identifying those keywords that users use to find our products or services. This way we will focus on writing content and creating interesting pages for our target audience and, if we manage to position well, we will have high chances of receiving organic traffic. There are many tools available for the development of this keyword research exercise. We highlight, Google’s Keyword Planner and SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool. You can also try the free keyword tool from Sistrix.
  2. Analyze the competition to detect weaknesses, strengths and opportunities in our project. Competitor research should be an essential exercise in any SEO project. With this analysis we identify, for example, the keywords where our competitors are better positioned or for which other queries are being visible and we are not. Once the opportunities and improvements have been identified, we will establish an action plan to increase the visibility of the project in search engines.
  3. Identify trends in the sector in which we are working. Identifying trends also requires a research exercise. At this point it will be useful to use the Google Trends tool that shows us, in a very visual way, the evolution and interest among users of a search over time.
    Google Trends chart showing the evolution of the term toys over time.
    Google Trends chart showing the evolution of the term toys over time.

    As SEO consultants we must be able to detect trends and seasonal patterns in different sectors to adapt our content strategy, linking… For example, for the search “toys”, the popularity of the term increases considerably in December, coinciding with Christmas.

    As SEOs, we must be able to identify all these trends in order to, in the case of having an online store of baby clothes, accessories and toys, focus all the efforts of content creation, linking strategy, etc, on the “Toys” category when December arrives.

8. Basic knowledge of HTML

Although to be an expert in SEO you don’t need to know how to program, having some basic notions of HTML will not be superfluous and will allow you to speed up your day-to-day work. It is important to be familiar with some key tags such as the rel=”canonical” link tag or the “robots” meta tag, among others.

Although this information can also be consulted from crawling tools such as Screaming Frog, sometimes it is quicker and faster to make the relevant checks from the source code of the page itself. For example, if in our project we use the Google analytics tool and suddenly we detect a problem in the accounting of home sessions, we should check if the tracking ID is correctly implemented. A quick way to check is to access the source code of the page and look for the literal “UA-“.

From the source code we can also check whether structured data has been implemented on the page and whether an optimized title and meta description have been written, among other things.

For a successful SEO project it is important to have basic knowledge of HTML language, even if only to know how to “read” parts of the code and even to be able to detect possible errors.

Basic knowledge of HTML code will help you in your day-to-day work as an SEO consultant.

Therefore, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the code but do not become obsessed with learning to program because, normally, it will not be our task to touch the code but the responsibility of the IT department.

Only will be in analyzing page performance and making recommendations for improvement when it is necessary for us to understand the HTML structure and programming code. The diagnostics performed by tools such as Page Speed often focus on the optimization of critical JavaScript and CSS elements, among others, and we should be able to prepare a report with recommendations to be passed on to the corresponding department.

9. Critical thinking

In any field, both professional and personal, it is important to develop critical thinking to analyze, question and reflect on the information that reaches us. But without a doubt, this exercise becomes more relevant in the digital environment, where the amount of information on positioning and techniques to improve ranking is overwhelming. We must absorb and attend to it all but filter the data through our critical thinking. In this way we will stop being passive subjects and we will solve problems in an active, efficient and reflexive way, based on our own criteria.

In your work as an SEO consultant you will be faced with questions and problems for which it will be essential to apply critical thinking, that is, to analyze the reason that has caused it, what would be the best way to solve it and the implications it would have. Research and gather information, do tests and keep the information you have been able to verify.

10. Active listening

Another key factor to keep in mind if you want to become an SEO expert is active listening. It is important to understand the message they are trying to communicate, whether it is the customer, a teammate or another department. This will allow the needs of each party to be properly addressed and compromise solutions to be reached.

To be an SEO expert, it is important to always be an active listener.

As we have seen, to become an SEO expert and manage online projects effectively, it is important to have certain skills, or at least several of them. Work to improve the less developed ones and try to apply them in your daily work to improve them.

And remember that, although it is not necessary to have all these skills to be an expert in SEO, perfecting them will help you in the performance of your tasks as a consultant and to obtain excellent results.

Finally, it should be added that, even if the success of a SEO campaign depends on many other factors, the person in charge of the project and the way he or she sets out the strategy, makes decisions and establishes a plan of action will be decisive in ensuring the stability and positive evolution of the project in the medium and long term.

  •  | 
  • Published on
Rocío Rodríguez
Rocío Rodríguez
Senior SEO Consultant at Human Level. Graduated in Advertising and Public Relations with a Master in Communication and Creative Industries. Specialist in digital marketing and comprehensive SEO audit. Professor in the Professional SEO-SEM Master of Kschool.

What do you think? Leave a comment

Just in case, your email will not be shown ;)

Related Posts