BRIEF OVERVIEW OF SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is any activity that is targeted towards optimization and driving traffic to a website. The aim is to drive relevant traffic to the website and create organic results, enabling the website to rank high on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Some of these activities include keyword optimization, content writing and management, design and layout of a website, HTML codes, and a host of others.
It is important to note that SEO is part of a larger frame of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The three major search engines are Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Over the years, the SEO landscape has evolved and is still evolving, so it is also the SEO specialist’s role. Think of an SEO specialist as a chameleon. The job has to do with constantly changing with time and trends. The SEO specialist always has to adjust and change their color to be in sync with the Search Engine. While an SEO specialist ten years ago would have been concerned with the only optimization of links, an SEO specialist today will probably be focused more on content optimization. An example of this evolution is the Penguin Algorithm launched by Google in April 2012 and has since been constantly updated.
WHAT IS A SEO SPECIALIST
An SEO specialist as of today would be involved in the following practices:
- Determining which search queries are important to the brand’s niche.
- Understanding user behavior behind searching – why do users search a particular word or phrase, what do they search for, are they searching for a phrase more than a particular word.
- Developing strategies for optimization that would improve a page’s ranking – an SEO specialist is involved in everything that has to do with optimizing a site.
- The SEO specialist performs keyword optimization, recognizes branded keywords that are relevant to the brand/business being promoted – keyword research is very important to SEO as the search engine spiders or crawlers (spiders are bots that go through a page gathering data) are always looking keywords that are closely or exactly related to a search query.
- The specialist drives targeted and relevant traffic to the website – the importance of driving relevant traffic to a website cannot be over-emphasized. Relevant traffic has the ability to convert into a particular goal. They can help close a sales funnel or perform a needed action or goal. This can range from downloading a PDF file to completing an order online.
- Organizes the website in clear language that the search engine can understand – when a website is stripped of all its design, themes, and layout, it is important that the search engine still understand what is on the page, this can involve practices like adding an ALT to all images on the website, implementing clear subject themes e.t.c
- Builds links for the website and is in charge of obtaining inbound links and optimizing link inquiry.
- Creates strategies for the layout and design of the website.
- A good SEO specialist understands the Content Management System – content is indeed king for Search engines. The Penguin algorithm that was put in place by Google favors a content-rich website. Google realized that the SEO specialists were only interested in building links and tweaking the codes on their client’s websites to deceive the search engine spiders into thinking that they were rich in content. Hence the birth of the Penguin algorithm. All this means that the SEO specialist is tasked with optimizing a content-rich website that attracts the search engine.
- Demotes negative ranking on the website by optimizing other domains such as social media, press release, links e.t.c.
- Optimizes internal links and on-page elements
- Identifies current trends and continually look for ways to enhance user experience.
- Identifies current server statistics software.
- It makes the website keyword-rich and introduces keyword-rich texts and key phrases to ready the website for variance in search queries.
- Creates unique title tags for each page on the website to provide the search engines with quick reference and understanding – an SEO specialist knows that optimizing a page for the search engine’s spiders or bots is as important as optimizing a website for the target audience. A good SEO strategist knows that the two go hand in hand. Not optimizing the website enough for the spiders or crawlers is losing out on ranking high on the Search Engine Results page. Not optimizing it for a satisfactory user experience is losing out to create a website simultaneously. It is the job of the specialist to find a balance between these two.
- Works with the marketing team to create media content like newsletters, blog posts, podcasts, PDF’s, press clippings to maintain the inflow of inbound links. The more organic inbound links a site gets, the better the search engines rank the page. This is because the search engine believes that a page that receives inbound links and sharing is content-rich and that it will be relevant to its users.
- Works with the content writing personnel or team to employ search phrases in the first 100 words of content.
- Maintains the search engine saturation and makes constant comparisons with competitor websites – a good part of an SEO strategy is researching and understanding the competition. The SEO specialist understands this and monitors the competition. This is not to say that the specialist focuses on the competition but studying the competition allows the specialist to stay up to par, develop ideas and improve the brand/business’ website.
- The SEO specialist optimizes HTML constructs for search engines.
- The SEO specialist has a vast knowledge of using online resources such as Google Trends and Google Analytics to understand current online behaviors and patterns, including trends.
SEO Specialist Salary
According to PayScale, the average salary for a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist is $46332.
The job description of an SEO specialist might seem daunting at first, but SEO is quite an interesting field, and the more you practice, the more you get the hang of it. If it’s all too much, an SEO specialist can decide to specialize further or pick a niche. For instance, an SEO generalist can become a blog specialist, a keyword research specialist, or a Content Management System (CMS) specialist. The field is large and challenging enough to accommodate niches and specializations if only one is ready to dip their legs in the waters of SEO.
Also read How I Discovered My Calling as an SEO Consultant