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What skills do you need to be a SEO specialist?


Do you want to become an SEO expert? Whether it is so or if you are already a consultant, in this post we review the most important skills to develop your work efficiently in the area of SEO.

1. Learning and continuous training

To become an expert in the field, experience is not the only thing that counts. In this sector, which is constantly changing and updating, training and continuous learning are key.

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

With this continuous learning:

  • You will discover new relevant factors with a direct effect on the ranking (e.g. Core Web Vitals) or others whose impact on the ranking decreases, such as the marking of vocabulary.org data.
  • 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 kept up to date with algorithm updates (Google usually announces some of them officially through the channels it considers. It usually does it through Twitter and in its blogs).
  • You will offer a better service to your clients by correctly understanding the operation of the search engine, its requirements and the platforms and tools at your disposal to do your work more effectively.
  • You will be trained in other fields where you do not have as much experience to speed up your daily tasks.
  • You will extract solutions from examples and case studies of real experts applicable to your sector or to any of the projects you manage.

Don’t stop learning and absorbing as much knowledge as 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 deeper into the subject and specialize.

2. Communication skills

When we talk about communication skills we mean both oral and written.

A SEO consultant should be in constant contact with his teammates and other departments with which he will need to work side by side. The fluency 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 transmit the message well to our receiver

But communication does not only take place in the company’s 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 client’s profile: do you have knowledge of SEO or are you completely unfamiliar with terms such as “robots.txt”, “meta robots” and other professional jargon terms?

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

As far as written communication is concerned, make an effort to produce clear and understandable reports.

As you can see, having communication skills, both written and oral, will make it easier for you to explain and justify the measures and actions recommended, both in reports and in calls and meetings with the client.

Some tips to improve your oral communication skills

  • Speak slowly.
  • Always keep an active listening.
    Let your interlocutor speak and expose his or her ideas.
  • Do not interrupt. If there are many people involved in the meeting, ask to speak.
  • Adapt your language to the client’s profile.
  • If you present a report, as you go along with the presentation, ask if there are any doubts.
  • If you see difficulties in the client following your explanation, we will address him/her with a “Sorry, I didn’t explain myself well, by this I meant […]”. We will never start the sentence with “I don’t think you understood me”.
  • Try to modulate your tone of voice to achieve efficient communication. Don’t lose sight of aspects such as expressiveness, volume used, rhythm… This will allow you to connect with your client and be more influential.

Some tips to improve your writing skills

  • Check your reports before sending them to correct spelling mistakes and make sure that important ideas are expressed clearly. Or better, ask a colleague to read it and let you know if there are any points that can 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.
  • During e-mail communication, be respectful and friendly when addressing your interlocutor.

3. Analysis capacity

Without a doubt, this skill is fundamental if you want to become an SEO expert. If you consider that your analysis capacity can be improved, we recommend you to work on it, since it is a key pillar to successfully develop your clients’ web positioning campaigns.

One of your tasks as a 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, evolution of positions and other relevant visibility indicators to monitor your campaign.

The analysis is one of the exercises that you will have to put into practice if you want to become an expert in SEO

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

Understanding what is happening on your site will help you make justified decisions, based on data, and establish an effective strategy for your positioning campaign.

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

  • Analyze the changes in the organic traffic channel of the site, investigate why they occurred and if it was the result of some concrete action.
  • Study the impact of the 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.
  • Research the most visited, most shared, most commented content…
  • Review pages with better organic positioning.

4. Research attitude

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

These are some of the tasks where this ability is more relevant:

  • Select the right keywords for your campaign. This is the main task we have to work on. It consists of identifying those keywords that users use to find our products or services. In 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 a high chance of receiving organic traffic. There are many tools for the development of this keyword research exercise. We highlight keywordtool.io, Google’s Keyword Planner and SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool.
  • Analyze the competition to detect weaknesses, strengths and opportunities in our project. Researching the competition should be an essential exercise in any SEO project. With this analysis we identify, for example, the keywords where our competition is best 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 aimed at increasing the project’s visibility in search engines.
  • Identify trends in the sector in which we are working. Identifying trends also requires a research exercise. At this point we will find the Google Trends tool useful, which shows us, in a very visual way, the evolution and interest among users of a search 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. Google Trends graph showing the evolution, over time, of the term toys. As SEOs, we should be able to identify all these trends so that, in the case of having an online store for clothing, accessories and baby toys, we can focus all our efforts on content creation, linking strategy, etc, in the “Toys” category before December arrives.

5. 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 won’t be out of place 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 tracking tools such as Screaming Frog, sometimes it is more agile and quicker to make the relevant checks from the source code of the page itself. For example, if in our project we use Google’s analytics tool and we suddenly detect a problem in the posting of home page sessions, we must check if the tracking ID is correctly implemented. A quick way to do the check is to access the source code of the page and look for the literal “UA-“.

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

To achieve the success of a SEO project, it is important to have basic knowledge of HTML, even if it is to be able to “read” parts of the code and even to be able to detect possible errors.

Having basic notions about HTML code will help you develop your day-to-day work as a SEO consultant

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

It will only be at the time of analyzing page performance and giving improvement recommendations when it is necessary for us to understand the structure of the HTML and programming code, since the diagnosis performed by tools such as Page Speed often focuses on optimizing critical JavaScript and CSS elements, among others, and we should be able to prepare a report with recommendations to be transferred to the corresponding department.

Closing thoughts

As we have seen, to become an expert in SEO 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 in order to perfect them.

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

Finally, I would like to add that, although the success of a SEO campaign depends on many other factors, the person in charge of the project and the way he or she proposes the strategy, makes decisions and establishes an action plan, will be decisive to ensure the stability and positive evolution of the project in the medium and long term.


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