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Digital marketing is a requirement of any business or organization that wants to get noticed by today’s consumer. It offers a world of possibilities when it comes to career choices spanning a wide variety of skill sets. One of the most sought-after skills in digital marketing is the SEO expert.
Search Engine Optimization has become a must for any company that wants to be found on the internet. An SEO Manager has a list of skills that are highly regarded in the industry. Although many experts can create content and even a content strategy, the efforts of the content team are all wasted without the right SEO. If you are interested in becoming an asset to the digital marketing community, an SEO Manager role might be right for you.
The Mysterious World of SEO
Every search someone makes on Google depends on keywords. Keywords are used to determine what content best suits a search inquiry based on the words entered in the search field. Google uses many different search techniques to find the best possible information. The better the source, the higher it will appear on the rankings.
The coveted top spot is hard to obtain because Google uses an everchanging list of algorithms to find the best results to show their users. That makes it difficult for most companies to get noticed. SEO optimizes the keywords most likely to be searched for a business so that the website is found. The better the optimization, the higher the ranking. As an SEO Manager, you will oversee the research of SEO to help the digital marketing team run effective campaigns, as well as to optimize the company's website, social media pages, and other content efforts.
Rallying for a Position
Fighting for a position on the internet is only one aspect of online marketing. You can drive all kinds of traffic to a website, but if it's not the right traffic, the company is no further ahead. SEO Managers consider all aspects of a search and provide the strategies required to find visitors who will need a particular service. SEO assists in converting a visitor to a customer. With billions of web pages available, the SEO Manager helps target the right content to attract the right people to a website.
The Role of the SEO Manager
At first glance, a job description for an SEO Manager might not seem that much different than a Marketing Manager. Both have the same goals, which is to drive awareness and sales. However, the SEO Manager has a more technologically driven role, which makes it a far more specialized job. The overall tasks of an SEO Manager would include:
- Website, social media, and content optimization
- Managing website content
- Building and nurturing an online community
- Negotiating backlinks
- SEO strategy
- Campaign organization and planning
- Website monitoring and user analysis
- General digital marketing project management
- Keyword research
- Market analysis
The Skills & Education of an SEO Manager
SEO Managers tend to require not only business and marketing training but also training in some form of computer science. According to Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-Founder of Moz, this type of role is all about T-shaped marketing. “T-Shaped basically refers to having a light level of knowledge in a broad array of skills, and deep knowledge/ability in a single one (or a few)," says Fishkin.
It is a very results-driven role, and it will be necessary to provide evidence you have successfully increased a company’s position in search rankings. You will be expected to offer content creation ideas and planning based on analysis and data. You will need to understand the analytical tools used in the industry specifically Google AdWords and Analytics.
What to Expect on the Job
Your world will revolve around websites and all the words that will drive people to click a link. Most new positions will entail an assessment of the site and other content collateral the company has in order to look for opportunities for improvement. It will also involve analysis, so you can identify the best places to make some fixes, and once done, you pretty much will start all over again.
However, there is far more to it than that. “What you really need to do is you want to be more incrementally based, but you need to be informed by and you need to be evolving your tactics and your work based on what is the business need right now,” says Fishkin.
SEO is an evolving process that changes based on what’s required today and what will be required in the future. You will have to create lists of projects you can take on that will help you fight your way up the proverbial Google rankings. These tactics can include:
- New blogs, blog categories, and content
- Creating a new online community
- Posting evergreen e-books and white papers
You will also have to identify your audience with research to identify targets. That plays a pivotal role in SEO as you have to ensure the keywords and strategy are designed to meet your audience’s needs. You will focus on learning what they search for and how they search in order to find the best keywords to help drive content. “It could be content pieces, could be video, could be some combination of those things in social media, all forms of content. It could be tools, whatever you want, an application,” says Fishkin.
As each new tactic is in play, you then have to measure progress and see where it can be improved. Improvement is a constant in this position, and it will even affect your targets. If your market is changing, you might find new opportunities with different targets that you never worried about before. SEO Manager is a position in which as much as things change, they also stay the same.
Honing the Skills for Success
To be successful as an SEO expert, you need to build on the momentum of that T-shaped ideal. Here are some areas to hone your skills:
- Strategy: You must take a strategic perspective, so you can define a plan that has a long-term vision aligned with the goals and objectives of the business. You'll need insight and the ability to recognize goals, identify trends that might impact those goals, and have a vision that will be shared by the senior players in the company.
- Updated Tactics: Every strategy requires tactics artfully used to help you meet your goals. In SEO, it's all about the most effective organic search tactics, which are constantly changing thanks to the challenge of algorithms. You have to remain up to date on everything going on in the industry because what works today will not work tomorrow. Having a thirst for knowledge is a must, so you are continually relearning the business.
- Content: You might very well find yourself at odds with the content marketing team in some companies. That is because the company structure is not always created to get the best digital marketing results. Understanding content marketing is a must as it is a tactic that goes hand in hand with SEO. Demonstrating you can handle both will work in your favour. An SEO Manager who can handle keyword research, campaign planning, overseeing quality content, content distribution, and analysis is the supreme being of the digital marketing world.
- Data Analysis: SEO Managers have to be able to analyze their own data in order to maintain credibility. If you can show how you’re performing and how it fits into the strategy you recommended, you can save your job again and again. You also need to benchmark your performance and show clear results that you are improving rankings and taking advantage of areas to improve.
- Branding: This is an overarching skill that will do wonders for your career. With an appreciation for branding and brand management, you will see the big picture and understand how it fits into the overall objectives of the business. Without it, you cannot be useful in setting up your SEO strategy.
- People Skills: This can be a job done in isolation but is often dependent on a wide selection of players across many different departments and levels. Either way, you have to demonstrate people management skills, and more specifically, your ability to manage people across all levels. It’s all about dynamics, optics, and politically correct communication. You have to manage expectations and motivate and persuade without alienating any major players. In this role, you will need people at high levels onside to get your plan into action.
Although SEO management can prove to be a cyclical job that creates a plan, analyzes results, and rebuilds the plan again, it is also highly strategic. You will discover a challenging position that is highly rewarded in the industry with many opportunities for advancement.