What’s the high-income skill you can learn online? If you said SEO, you’re right.
Whether you want to become an SEO professional or looking to grow your SEO skills, you’re in the right place.
Hands down, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the best way to increase your website’s search traffic, conversions, and overall sales.
According to HubSpot, SEO is the top priority of 61% of marketers.
Also, 68% of all trackable website traffic is sourced from Organic and paid search traffic (Source: Bright Edge).
So if you’re looking to discover what skills are needed to become a search engine specialist, this guide is just for you.
Let’s discover the essential SEO skills without much ado.
Table of Contents
SEO Skills: 7 Skills Needed for a Search Engine Specialist [2023 Updated List]
1. Keyword Research
Hands down, keyword research is the ESSENTIAL skill to learn and master if you want to become an SEO professional. Strong keyword research skills help you with better website search rankings.
Keyword research is all about finding the words and phrases your target audience use in search engines.
By understanding how to identify and target the RIGHT keywords, you can make sure that your content is seen by the people who are most likely to be interested in it.
The most important thing is to start with a list of relevant topics. You can use your competitors to come up with ideas. Once you have a list of topics, you can then begin to identify the specific keywords that relate to each topic.
Here’s a simple illustration of finding great keywords;
Here are some tips for doing keyword research:
Use keyword tools: There are a variety of keyword research tools available such as Semrush, Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, etc. These tools can help you to find popular keywords that people are searching for in search engines.
Target long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are those that are more specific and less competitive than shorter, more general keywords. They tend to convert better as they are more targeted toward what people are actually looking for.
Research your competition: One of the best ways to find good keywords to target is to see what your competition is targeting. Use a tool like Semrush to see what keywords they are targeting on their website. This can give you some great ideas for keywords to target yourself.
Consider your audience: When doing keyword research, it’s important to consider who your target audience is. What terms will they be using when searching for information on your topic? Try to think like your target customer while doing keyword research.
If you’re looking for a FREE guide, read our how to do keyword research like a pro tutorial.
2. Expertise In Using SEO Tools
What’s the ONE thing you’ll do the most as an SEO professional?
If you said “using SEO tools”, you’re right.
One of the must-have SEO specialist skills is the ability to use SEO tools like a pro.
Whether you’re running a website, or agency or working as an in-house SEO specialist, you’ll be using a lot of SEO tools.
So you need to learn and master how to use popular SEO tools like;
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
Let’s briefly talk about these tools so you’ll understand the benefits of using them.
Google Search Console: Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool provided by Google that helps you check your website’s indexing status, search queries, crawl errors, performance reports, and more.
Make sure to connect your website to GSC to better understand how it actually works. You can rely on YouTube videos to learn how to use GSC like a pro.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics is another popular free tool offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Almost all SEO professionals have to learn how to use Google Analytics.
Semrush: Semrush is an all-in-one SEO toolkit used by over 10 million people around the world. It offers you over 50 tools under one roof including;
- Keyword research
- Competitor analysis
- Content marketing
- Social media management
- PPC ads
- Site audits
- Position tracking tool and much more
You can read our in-depth Semrush review to learn how to use Semrush like a pro. In case you want to try Semrush for FREE, use the following link.
Activate Semrush 30-Day FREE Trial (Worth $119.95)
3. Competitor Analysis Skills
There’s A LOT of competition in SEO. No matter what niche you’re in, you’ll often face a lot of competitors who’re already ranking on the first page of Google search results.
To succeed in your niche, you need to find ways to outrank your competitors. Here’s where competitor analysis skills come into play.
Competitor analysis is all about finding the strengths and weaknesses of your current and potential competitors.
In competitor analysis, you need to identify several important things;
- Who your competitors are?
- What keywords are helping your competitors generate the most amount of traffic
- What keywords are helping your competitors generate sales
- How many backlinks do they currently have and which websites are linking
- Second-page ranking keywords (often called “low-hanging fruits” that you can use to outrank your competitors)
Again, you need access to powerful competitor tools like Semrush to easily conduct competitor analysis in your industry.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how you can do competitor analysis to succeed as an SEO professional.
- Analyze how your competitors optimize their web pages. Find out how many keywords they’re ranking for each page.
- Make a list of all the websites that are linking to your competitors.
- Make a list of all the broken links to your competitors’ websites so you can reach out to the site owners who’re linked to them.
- Observe how they build their backlinks as link building is extremely important in SEO.
- Look at their social media metrics on their blog posts. Most of the time, social signals such as Facebook likes, Tweets, etc can help with better rankings and user engagement.
Above all, make sure to spend enough time performing a detailed SWOT Analysis to learn their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Here’s a simple SWOT analysis illustration that you can use to improve your SEO skills.
4. Basic Coding Skills
Although you don’t need to learn coding as an SEO professional, if you want to stay ahead of others, learn basic coding skills such as;
- HTML & CSS skills help you make changes to your website’s design, page layout, etc.
- Implementing structured data skills help you implement schema markup, website optimization, etc.
Apart from the above, learn how to conduct website audits to find and fix technical issues on a website. You can also use powerful tools like Semrush to easily conduct in-depth audits of any website.
If you want to improve your basic coding skills as an SEO, here are a few best programming blogs you can follow.
- CSS Tricks
- HTML Dog
- David Walsh
- A List Apart
5. People Skills
People skills (also known as interpersonal skills) are essential if you want to succeed as an SEO professional.
In case you’re wondering, these people skills are the skills used to communicate with others effectively.
Whether you’re running a website or a digital marketing agency, you need a team to succeed. Here’s where having people skills come in handy.
You need to interact with your team members regularly about your website, PPC ads, or SEO campaigns. We all know that SEO takes time. That’s why you need to constantly stay in touch with others and communicate exactly what you want to get done.
SEO professionals with strong people skills are able to build strong bonds with others (be it clients or their team members), which can lead to increased productivity.
While people skills can be learned, they are also MOSTLY determined by personality. Those who are naturally outgoing tend to have strong people skills. However, even those who are introverted can learn to develop strong people skills with practice.
In case you’re curious, here are THREE excellent books you can read to develop people skills.
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini
Copywriting is what you need if you want to improve conversions and overall website sales.
Copywriting is using words to persuade people to take some action which can be anything from trying your services to buying products.
Whether you’re trying to sell a product, promote a business, or simply get someone to read your blog post, the ability to write persuasive copy can make all the difference.
The good news? You don’t have to become an expert in copywriting to get results but you need to learn a few effective copywriting techniques as an SEO professional.
Here are a few essential copywriting tips for SEOs in 2023 and beyond.
Focus on emotions: All great copywriters touch people’s emotions. The key is to focus on creating clear and compelling arguments that appeal to your audience’s logic and emotions.
Read copywriting blogs: Copywriting blogs help you create a persuasive copy. Here are a few essential copywriting blogs you can follow.
- Ben Settle
- Copy Hackers
Try storytelling: People connect to stories. That’s why all billion-dollar companies including Apple, Amazon, Google, etc tell stories to quickly connect with people.
Storytelling is a timeless skill that continues to engage and entertain audiences of all ages. So learn to tell stories in the form of your experience, skills, and mistakes to connect with people.
Here’s a great illustration of copywriting basics by Quuu;
As an SEO professional, one of the most important skills you can have is the ability to build backlinks.
Although Google algorithms are constantly evolving, one thing remains true in SEO: backlinks are still an important ranking factor. That’s why every good SEO strategy should include link building.
Backlinko found that backlinks remain Google’s key ranking signal.
There are a number of different factors to consider when you’re building links, but if you take the time to learn how to do it properly, it will be well worth the effort.
In case you already don’t know, link building is the process of acquiring links from other websites. These links serve as “votes” of confidence, telling search engines like Google that your website is trustworthy.
Although link building may sound simple, it can actually be extremely difficult to build links in 2023.
Why? Because there are so many factors that Google takes into account when determining the value of a backlink, such as;
- The quality of the site it comes from
- The relevance of the site’s content
- The context in which the link appears and more
That’s why link building is a complex SEO skill to learn and master.
Make sure to read the top SEO blogs to hone your link building skills.
With a little effort, you can quickly start building the high-quality links that your website needs to rank well in Google.
That being said, here are a few effective link-building strategies that work like a charm in 2023.
- Guest blogging is the evergreen way to build links. Make a list of all the guest posting sites in your niche. Analyze their top-performing posts and pitch ideas along the same lines.
- Write on Quora. Although Quora links are no-follow but they add value to your website. Most of the popular Quora answers also rank well in Google so if you can write answers on those topics, you can get better organic visibility.
- Get listed in link roundups in your niche. There are many bloggers who regularly publish roundup posts. Try to find and participate to build links naturally.
- Reach out to other bloggers through email. Link to their stuff and email them whenever you publish high-quality content. Sooner or later, they’ll also reciprocate.
FAQs | SEO Specialist Skills
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about what are SEO skills and SEO in general.
Here are a few essential SEO skills to learn in 2023;
– Keyword research
– Technical SEO
– On-page optimization
– Link building
– Using Google tools such as search console, Analytics, etc
Yes, SEO is certainly a good skill to learn and master in 2023. In fact, SEO is a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing rapidly. Millions of businesses across the world are looking for specialized SEO people to improve their business and search traffic.
As an SEO professional, you’re responsible to improve the search traffic and organic visibility of a website. You’ll have to take care of stuff like keyword research, technical SEO, PPC ads, content creation, link building, etc.
No, SEO doesn’t require coding skills. You can certainly become an SEO specialist without touching web coding. However, having basic knowledge in HTML, CSS, etc certainly helps you make necessary changes to your pages whenever you want.
The best way to learn SEO at home is to start a blog. Follow the top SEO blogs and sign up for free SEO courses to learn from the comfort of your home.
Here are a few top blogs you can follow to learn SEO from home;
– Neil Patel
Final thoughts on SEO skills for 2023
SEO skills are only confined by the limits of your own imagination. SEO is literally an ocean as there’s so much to learn as an SEO professional.
Wherever content can be created, there is a chance to use it toward your SEO advantage. Besides that, search engine optimization is a high-income skill and the demand is only growing.
So what are your thoughts on the SEO skills mentioned here? Do you want to become an SEO professional? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments.