An SEO manager is someone typically within an Agency, or Company with their own SEO department, who will undertake much of the day to day tasks relating to an SEO campaign, plus coordinate other key stakeholders within the campaign.
They should have a good understanding of SEO building blocks but do not typically get involved in strategy which would be left to a Senior SEO.
There are four main areas for SEO: 1. Technical, 2. Onsite, Content, and 4. Off-Site, and it is possible to be a specialist in each of these areas individually never getting in involved in the others. However, the role of the SEO manager is to typically have a good working knowledge of all areas.
What an SEO Manager Does
There are many facets to SEO in 2019, and everyone cannot be expected to be fantastic at everything, though the following lists some of the key areas where an SEO manager would typically have strengths:
- Execute Successful SEO Strategies — carrying out activities such as those lists below, achieve successful results for your clients in the search engines.
- Coordinating an SEO Team — liaise and coordinate team members relevant to the SEO campaign, such as developers, content writers, outreaches, plus other specialists.
- User Intent — understand the mindset behind search queries to ensure that your client’s search results and destination web pages best match the visitor’s true intent behind their search.
- Competitor Research — know how to gain key insights from top online competitors, from their target keywords, page content, backlink profiles, user experience, and more.
- Keyword Research — how to find relevant keywords that people are typing into the search engines, ones that your clients need to target in their SEO campaign and rank for.
- On-page Optimization — have an excellent understanding of makes up good on-page optimization in 2019. From meta titles and descriptions, H1 headings, page text, image, and all other page content.
- Calls to Action — from your understanding of user intent, knowledge of how to make it easy for website visitors to know what to do next.
- User Experience — from your knowledge of top-ranking competitors and user’s intent, advise on how the website should be laid out on mobile and mobile to ensure the site is a joy to use and navigate.
- Structured Data Markup — ensure that all relevant data on each web page is correctly market up, for example, reviews, events, people, and more.
The above points relate to the users, clients, and creating a website that meets these needs. Though if the website is not technically well set up, then all these above work could be in vain, so your technical SEO expertise should include:
- Crawling — understanding how search engines crawl websites, so ensuring your clients’ sites are fully explored by search engine spiders.
- Indexing — understanding search engine indexing, so ensuring their indexes show the correct results for your client.
- Speed — understanding the importance of speed for both users and SEO, and how to diagnose problems, and instruct improvement to site speed.
- Mobile — knowing the importance of a mobile-friendly website, and the diagnosis of issues that may make the site less usable for visitors.
- Site Structure — advise on the optimal URL structure for the website, such as folder structure, and internal linking.
- HTML — whilst most SEOs do not do any web development, it is, however, useful to be able to understand basic HTML, and to look at the code of a webpage to be able to diagnose possible problems.
The skills to ensure a technically perfect site that is well optimized for the search engines is still not enough, the site needs highly engaging content that the user is looking for. So, you will also need to provide
- Content Team Direction — from the market understanding you have gained from competitors and keyword research, direct content teams for engaging content that meets the user internet.
Though for most sites to drive organic traffic, especially in competitive markets, they will need to build off-site authority. So, you will need to be able to:
- Link Analysis and Strategy — from looking at competitors, understand the links and authority your client site will need in order to rank for its target keywords.
- Link Diagnosis — understand when there are ‘link problems’, and how to resolve these with ‘disavow’ and other means.
- Outreach — to liaise with content writers and outreach teams to target and build links from relevant and authoritative websites.
With the above knowledge client’s website should start gaining traction and visitors, however without the tracking of relevant data, much of the above good work could be lost, so an SEO should also be able to understand:
- Analytics — a detailed understanding of Google Analytics and its many facets, understanding how visitors use the website and how important metrics can be improved. This understanding will help diagnose problems, which you should be able to do, plus the definition of fixes.
- Search Console — you should also have a very good understanding of Google Search Console (and the other the search engine equivalent when relevant), so you can fully understand websites are performing in Google. Again, to diagnose areas of untapped potential and problems.
All the above are excellent knowledge to have, but if your client is a local business, the key area where you can add value is:
- Local SEO — knowing how to optimize Google My Business, managing the setup of Citations and directory listing, understanding the importance of reviews, etc.
So, we have covered the areas of particular knowledge that you should start building towards, however, the following lists specific activities which you should also be building towards:
- SEO Audit — you should be able to analyze a website, diagnose any problems, the solutions, and areas of untapped potential that is being missed.
- Website Migration — you should be able to undertake all the key checks to ensure that the web website is updated, or put live, that all the important SEO elements remain intact. And if not, diagnose the problems and propose solutions.
How to Become an SEO Manager
Having read all the above you are probably now overwhelmed as the sheer extent of knowledge that you need to be an SEO manager?
Do not fret, because most people that start in SEO do in fact know relatively little! Bear in mind that SEO is not generally taught in colleges and universities so it is generally something that people learn on the job and pick up as they go.
So, the best way to start is to be proactive and start reading. For example, see here a list of the best SEO blogs. Or attend free SEO events such as Brighton SEO.
Another great way to immediately start learning is to also set up your own website, and start trying things straight away.
Then to be willing to ‘start at the bottom’ to learn the job. There are so many manual tasks in SEO that in fact do not require any previous experience, so if you are willing to start with basic tasks and have a great attitude, then there will always be an SEO agency who will be keen on your services.
You then need to then be a sponge and learn as much as possible.
It typically takes two years to learn to a good level of SEO, though how quickly it will take you to learn the appropriate amount to become an SEO manager will very much depend on you, how quickly you learn, and the company you are working for.
SEO is an extremely interesting career, and we hope you have found this article informative and useful, all you need to do now is start implementing and learning.