What’s The Skill Set Of Your SEO Manager?
SEO Skills Importance
When people search for something online, and Google gives it to them, they think it is their discovery and their decision to buy. That’s where reverse psychology kicks in. Nobody really thinks about the fact that the marketing team spent day and night getting that website in the top 10 search results. Nobody also gets angry as if they were aggressively sold something. And the conversions feel good if that’s the case – they say the less you know, the better. For SEO marketers, naturally showing a supplement startup or a car parts distributor to the right audience requires some skill. That’s what we’re here to talk about. Let’s dig into essential SEO skills to help you score the best hires.
Your Business Needs An SEO Expert If
Going into 2023, marketers are exploring which tactics and distribution channels will bring more success in full swing. SEO is on your list of priorities for this year. And for a good reason – organic search has higher click-through rates than paid search ads (27.6% CTR for organic vs. 3.17% CTR for paid). Plus, around 50% of all traffic comes from organic search, with only 5% coming from social media. Typically, SEO would take about 6 months to start showing results. Sometimes, it takes years (yes, you heard it right) to show up on Google’s first pages. If your SEO efforts aren’t bearing fruit in at least a year, you might wanna run a reality check and hire a designated SEO specialist. There isn’t a perfect time for this hire, but here are some signals you can rely on:
- Starting with the obvious: you lack strategy. One-size-fits-all hacks you’ll find in blogs have little to no effect in the long term – because every SEO strategy is different. The end goal is a strategy that highlights your brand’s previous efforts or fills the gaps in underperforming areas. Here are a couple of success stories to inspire you: Eventbrite reached a 100% increase in year-over-year traffic growth, and Viacoding increased its conversion rates by 340%. That’s what well-founded SEO brings you.
- Number two – your website doesn’t rank well on SERPs. Let’s say you have a website up to scratch, a 20-person sales team, captivating content, and a strong product-market fit. And still, your website doesn’t make it to the first pages – or any pages – because there’s so much competition. Hiring an SEO specialist when you have all the product and market knowledge gives you the upper hand. With this data, SEO experts can really spread their wings and work up a custom, detailed strategy for your brand.
- Another good reason is when your budget’s tight. Paid marketing like PPC is effective and gets you results faster than SEO, but it’s hella expensive. SEO agency fees are often high, plus there’s extra spending for full-time SEO positions. Many CEOs have second thoughts about hiring an SEO expert due to a long time it takes to get results. Still, in 2022, 75% of marketers viewed SEO as highly effective in reaching their goals. So where’s the golden mean, then? Well, if your budget is tight, we recommend relying on freelance SEO specialists or a marketing agency that can fill your needs with in-house and external staff. An extra tip: SEO is an area where a lot of people claim to know more than they actually do. So if you’re hiring externally, it doesn’t hurt to have someone on the team who’s versed in SEO.
Skills To Look For
On a larger scale, an SEO expert develops strategies to get content to rank high on SERPs. The end goal? Scoring more visitors, leads, and conversions. In practice, SEO specialists are expected to do more: gather metrics, report, and forecast growth. Given the variety of tasks, SEO specialists often work hand in hand with content folks and even developers. Whether you work with a freelance or an in-house SEO expert, the right skill set is the main ingredient.
One of the main things your SEO expert should be able to do is illustrate their findings’ effect on all team processes. Strong SEO campaigns stem from clear communication and instructions, short response time, and structured data.
Competitor research is another critical skill. To outrank the competition, SEO specialists crack which keywords beat yours. These are the questions they should be able to answer readily:
- Does their content engage the audience and fit the SERP’s requirements better?
- Is their website faster?
- Why do they rank higher?
Now, for small brands to beat corporate giants like Amazon or Uber would be way off – they just don’t have that level of recognition yet. But on a smaller scale, such brands could put the local rivals in the shade. Competitor research could uncover some weighty truths – maybe your best keyword is a phrase, or you’re missing out on a potential paying customer segment.
Speaking of keywords, that’s another staple. No SEO campaign runs smoothly without in-depth keyword research. Whether it’s your website, social media, or even a blog post like this one – they can all place you higher in the SERPs. Globally, keyword research is the top skill an SEO expert is expected to show at work. An expert knows when to use high-intent keywords instead of high volume. We’re talking about more precise “SEO manager rates in Florida” versus “SEO specialist.”
Empathetic analysis, on the flip side, lets SEO specialists produce better results. Understanding that there’s a person behind every search inquiry enables the team know how to best give the audience what they want. Ideally, an SEO expert would consider:
- Long-tail and short-tail keywords
- Search volume
- Content ideas
- What affects website traffic increase & decrease
With that, experts can target phrases better and help you rank higher. In the long run, SEO is about combining cold hard facts with the user intent and getting people hooked on your content, showing them something they can relate to.
Besides, a skilled SEO manager will understand how your business operates. With organization and product knowledge, your hire can pick keywords more accurately and repurpose the content you already have. Here’s what’s even cooler: this skill enables your SEO person to forecast revenue and engagement and build content that enables sales.
Technical SEO and link building are other important skills to have. Technical SEO mainly deals with your website. That’s how it loads faster, stays secure and visible to SERPs, features little to no dead links, and has minimal duplicated content. Technical SEO ensures your website is well-constructed for Google. Since 2021, Google ranks your page based on these 7 signals:
- Loading speed
- Interactivity (First Input Delay or FID, the time from when a user first interacts with a page to the time when the browser begins processing and responding to that)
- Visual stability (the page stays solid without the images, buttons, and content moving chaotically as it loads)
- Safe browsing
- Encryption (HTTPS/SSL)
- Intrusive interstitials (the content is easily accessible to the user)
As for link building, the pages where you include links are critical in determining how high your page ranks in search results. SEO experts add backlinks at a slow pace with internal and external links. This can be done through guest posts, quotes, case studies, testimonials, and images, for example. Since there are both bad and good links, an SEO expert should have a backlink strategy as part of their SEO strategy.
Writing and editing skills are also necessary. SEO experts work hand in hand with content creators. They’re expected to supervise content writing and join in to clarify the requirements. All the content a brand can publish should stick with the right content angle and be memorable – we often think SEO is about the strict and dry text, which is not true.
Let’s Follow Up With Some eCommerce SEO Advice
eCommerce businesses may struggle with content. Oftentimes, they’ll stick to showcasing their products exclusively. But here’s the thing: SERPs can only read text and code, not images. If, say, a category page is made up of nothing but images, the search engine will have a hard time figuring out what the page is about and how to rank it. Although retailers may draw back from writing because it’s demanding and plenty of it is needed, investing in content helps you rank higher – which is rewarding in the long run.
So, you’ve decided to include more written content on your pages. When your products are listed on more than one website or sold by more than one vendor, their descriptions should be distinct. This stays true equally for manufacturers, distributors, resellers, and drop shippers. Why? When the same product description is used over and over again, it puts you in competition with other businesses.
For example, when 6 different websites have identical descriptions of the same web camera, and the search engine is trying to decide which page to rank higher for the “buy web camera” keyword, determining the number one page becomes impossible. And then, you run the danger of not getting ranked at all.
Hiring an SEO makes sense when you’re starting to work on your website. If developers are left unattended, they’ll optimize for a visually stunning page, but rarely for SEO. It’s just a different skill set, after all. Developers may create duplicate pages, which works for them but dismisses the entire point of SEO. And if you hire an SEO manager to fix this later, you might face issues like losing traffic. Launch it once and entirely, and you won’t need changes.
Of all the signs that should push you towards hiring an SEO manager, your website’s visibility – or the lack of it – should be the main one. As we said before, SEO takes time to show results. But once you find a perfect hire, consider yourself lucky – you’re getting a chance to transform your business.
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