SEO jobs are among the youngest professions today. Search engines came into existence during the dot-com boom of the late 90s, while today, the term “Google” is a regular part of our vocabulary. Every online user knows what it means to “google” things. Moreover, with the rising popularity of the internet, online shopping platforms, and various ecommerce websites, the need for SEO specialists is greater than ever.
For these reasons, we decided to compile a filtered list of the top jobs in this industry to help your job hunting endeavors. In addition to the job listing, you’ll find all relevant information about SEO and what these jobs offer.
Top Search Engine Optimization Jobs to Apply for in 2020
About SEO Careers
Before we delve into the specifics of what SEO professionals do, it’s essential to understand what SEO is and why it matters in today’s tech-driven landscape.
Decades ago, ranking your website at the top of search engines’ results only took stuffing your site with your targeted keywords. If your competition’s site featured your targeted keyword 50 times, you could place it 100 times on your website. The result of this practice was poor content all around.
Meanwhile, manipulating the number of links to your site was all it took to boost your ranking. That’s no longer the case today, and an SEO specialist job description now requires the use of white-hat techniques only. Part of the reason for this is because Google took measures to punish sites that heavily relied on black-hat techniques.
As Google’s search engine algorithms become more sophisticated to increase the quality of search results, ranking websites now require actual analytics. This change led to an increase in demand for SEO specialists.
With modern society’s dependence on search engines, and with as many as 93% of online experiences beginning with a search engine, embarking on a career in SEO is undoubtedly a viable option.
So what exactly do these experts do? How do you get into the SEO industry? How are SEO companies helping businesses and site owners? We’ll discuss all of that and more below.
What Does SEO Stand For?
SEO means search engine optimization. It refers to the process of optimizing a website to boost its ranking in search engines, and therefore receive more organic, unpaid traffic.
It matters because of the sheer volume of people who use search engines like Google. Most people tend to only click on the first few links that appear in the results. Companies who want to drive more visitors to their site have to be at or near the top of the search results, making SEO specialist’s job quite tough and demanding.
What Factors Affect a Website’s Search Engine Ranking?
Boosting a website’s ranking can be complicated, but the following are some of the main factors that an SEO expert will work on to improve a site’s position in the search engine results page:
- Content – As the saying goes, content is king, and that is certainly true when it comes to SEO. Part of Google’s efforts to deliver the best results for users is by ranking websites with great content higher. Part of the services offered by SEO agencies is providing quality content. If you have the knack for writing, you can find plenty of SEO writing jobs that will allow you to work on this aspect of SEO.
- On-Page SEO – These are elements of websites that also factor in the search engine’s algorithm. These include title tags, meta descriptions, internal links, sub-headings, image names, and alt tags. SEO specialists ensure that the site owner’s targeted keywords strategically appear in these elements.
- Off-Page SEO – These refer to links from outside sources as well as social media signals such as shares and likes. This is considered one of the toughest aspects of SEO, and knowledge or experience with off-page optimization is often mandatory for many SEO specialist jobs. Social media specialists and digital marketers can also help in this part of SEO.
- Site architecture – Is the website user-friendly? Is it optimized for mobile users? The overall architecture of the site also matters in its rankings. SEO professionals can work with web developers to improve this aspect of a website.
Most of the duties of SEO specialists revolve around these factors that impact a website’s search engine rank.
What Does an SEO Company Do?
An SEO company offers services to improve search engine rankings and the quality of site traffic. Being able to reach a significant volume of targeted audiences is a boon for any business establishment, hence the high demand for SEO services.
It’s also common for SEO companies to offer other services like website creation, meaning they also employ the services of web developers, designers, and graphic artists. It’s a thriving industry, so searching for the words “SEO jobs near me” should yield plenty of work opportunities, especially for those living in major cities.
Important Skills and Qualities
To become a successful SEO specialist, you must possess the following skills and qualities:
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills – You will work with a variety of personalities, from employees in other departments to external clients. You have to be able to articulate your SEO plans and strategies clearly. Written skills are also crucial since part of SEO is creating quality content.
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills – The primary duties of SEO experts include evaluating a client’s website, analyzing traffic, keyword research and analysis, developing link-building strategies, and making recommendations for site improvement. To succeed in your search engine optimization job, you’d need to possess sharp analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
- Multi-tasking skills – SEO companies work with multiple clients at once. Specialists should be able to properly manage their time to be ready to serve the needs of several clients concurrently. Their tasks are also not limited to one or two things, so being able to juggle multiple tasks while still performing them efficiently and effectively are must-have skills.
- Fast learner – This is especially true for entry-level SEO workers. You’ll be figuring out many things as you advance with your SEO career, so you have to learn fast. Google also periodically updates its search engine policies. SEO consultants must be able to keep up with them to come up with efficient strategies taking into account these policies.
- Detail-oriented – Optimizing a website requires you to pay attention to every detail, from keyword placement and traffic analysis to the overall design and architecture of the site. An SEO consultant must have a keen eye in spotting a site’s weak points to be able to create effective strategies for optimization.
SEO agencies mainly look for these skills when hiring, even for entry-level SEO jobs. Having these will help you navigate and succeed in the fast-paced world of SEO.
Growth and Employment Rate
The growth of the SEO industry has been steady for the past few years, with SEO-related jobs up by 43% from 2017 to 2018. It also grew six times faster than the overall US job market in 2018, and its upward trajectory should only continue rising.
How to Get a Job in SEO?
Getting a job in an SEO company doesn’t need months of study before you send your resume, but it also doesn’t mean that you can simply apply without any background knowledge of SEO. You still need to educate yourself first about the fundamentals of SEO, and there are plenty of tools available online to help you.
SEO Jobs Salary
Several factors determine the average salary of an SEO specialist, including work experience, company size, location, and the type of work agreement (full-time, part-time, freelance, etc.).
The average annual salary of SEO specialists in the United States as of December 2019 is $52,539. The pay can go as low as $22,500 for entry-level positions to as high as $83,000, with a standard SEO specialist salary coming within the $41,000 to $62,000 range.
The Creative Group (TCG), Robert Half International’s staffing solution, published a 2019 report on the salaries of creative and marketing professionals, which includes those working in SEO.
The median salary of SEO professionals, according to their report, is $62,500. Those in the 25th percentile are making around $52,000. Those in the 75th percentile are earning $72,750, while the ones in the 95th percentile are making approximately $94,500.
SEO jobs that require remote work aren’t paid the same wages as the regular jobs in the office.
TCG’s report came from a survey of over 1,000 respondents from all over the United States, allowing an accurate representation of the salary of SEO workers. It is worth pointing out that the pay for remote workers can vary widely.
SEO and SEM experts typically work in tech startups, which is mostly composed of a younger workforce. The hours are similar to regular jobs, with a 40-hour workweek for those working in an office setting.
Remote SEO jobs are becoming popular these days, as more companies realize the cost-effectiveness of having employees work from the comfort of their own home.
Depending on the agreement between the company and the home-based SEO workers, some work on a more flexible time instead of the fixed 9-to-5 schedule of office workers.
Working for an SEO company can also be stressful as specialists must essentially be jacks of all trades in design, development, data analytics, and content writing. It’s not the job of specialists to do everything, but they must at least possess the technical know-how to be effective at their job.
SEO jobs also require specialists to work closely with clients and give updates, as well as explain progress or any possible setbacks that they may encounter. This can be a significant cause of stress, depending on the personalities that they’re dealing with.
SEO technology is ever-evolving with Google’s constant updates, so specialists must also stay updated to stay productive. While SEO experts work in a fast-paced environment, it holds much promise as this profession continues to grow.
Notwithstanding the changes in Google’s algorithm, the job outlook for SEO specialists remains optimistic. It is worth noting that the standard SEO jobs description is something that is changing all of the time.
Before Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, companies mainly hired SEO workers to build as many backlinks as they can. Google’s updates changed the nature of these jobs, but the demand never diminished. Today, SEO workers have taken on more of a hybrid role, building quality backlinks while also providing excellent content.
More work options are now available for those who want to pursue a career in SEO. They now have the option of doing freelance or contractual SEO jobs from home. It all depends on each person’s preferences. Eventually, SEO employees can move to other related jobs as well, like becoming a content writer or business marketing consultant.
Establishing a career as an SEO expert may not guarantee you large paydays in comparison to other tech jobs like web development and software engineering. However, you’re sure to have a stable career within the industry should you choose to work in it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is SEO a good career?
Considering that around 4.5 billion people browse the web, and with more companies realizing the importance of having an online presence, SEO is undoubtedly a great career to have. The demand for SEO services will only continue to grow in the coming years, and there are many different ways to work in this industry.
There are also several paths you can take in your career, from working as a digital marketer or content writer to a marketing analyst or SEO manager. As long as you continue to learn as much as you can in this fast-paced and ever-evolving industry, you won’t have a hard time finding available jobs.
What is an SEO job description?
SEO pros aim to maximize the incoming traffic to a website by optimizing its content and structure.
The primary responsibilities of SEO professionals include analyzing a client’s website, link-building, keyword research, ensuring websites contain optimal keywords, producing high-quality content, consulting with web developers to enhance the site architecture, and preparing strategies and reports.
Another part of their job is keeping abreast of search engine updates to ensure that they don’t violate policies, which can negatively impact their client’s website ranking.
How much does an SEO specialist make?
This varies depending on factors such as experience and location. Salary also depends on the size of the company or the type of work you might be tasked with. On average, SEO specialists make anywhere from around $40,000 to a little over $60,000, with a few making close to $100,000. Entry-level positions may see earnings of about $22,500 per year, while most regular full-time employees report earnings of about $83,000.
How do I become an SEO specialist?
The great thing about embarking on a career in SEO is that you don’t need a degree to get started; just a degree of tech-savviness as well as determination. There are online SEO courses you can take to get started and accrue a more detailed overview of what SEO is and what specialists do. There is also a wide selection of books on the subject of SEO.
You don’t need to be an expert to land your first job. You only need to demonstrate enough knowledge of how search engine optimization works. There are many entry-level digital marketing jobs and other SEO work opportunities that don’t require prior experience.
All you need to do is put your mind to it, devote time and attention, and you just may become an expert on the SEO matter.
It’s incredible to think that the term “search engine optimization” didn’t even exist until the late 90s but is now an integral part of having a successful website, and that there are now thousands of SEO jobs online as a consequence.
As people continue to spend an increasing amount of time browsing the internet, more businesses inevitably realize the necessity of having an online presence. Having a website optimized for search engines is the best way to attract a significant audience to their products or services.
This is why SEO services aren’t just fads that will wane in time. This is an industry with increasing demands and lots of contract SEO jobs that will only continue to rise as websites compete to get the best position in search engine results pages.
Becoming an SEO specialist is, therefore, an excellent career choice for those who desire longevity and career stability. With no required degree and plenty of available tools such as online courses, books, and tutorials, it’s relatively easy to get started.
With close to two billion websites and over four billion web users around the world, there will always be people and companies who will seek search engine optimization experts, and this will ensure that SEO jobs continue to thrive.