What does an SEO Specialist do?

SEO is an integral part of the modern marketing mix and growth strategy.

A search-engine optimisation (SEO) specialist analyses websites and implements changes, i.e. optimisations, to improve their rankings within the world’s major search-engines such as Google.

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Why SEO matters: Demand is high

According to recent studies, the SEO industry was worth $65 billion USD in 2016 in the United States alone, which is the amount companies spent on optimising their SEO performance. The studies also suggested industry growth to reach $79 billion in the year 2020, making this one of the most promising job fields to be in.


Looking at the wider global picture, the Asia-Pacific market is now reportedly Google’s highest growth region with near 30% Year-on-Year growth and has become one of the chief strategic focuses on the company. More so, in one study by Google and Temasek, they found that the South-East Asian region which is home to over 300 million people, is projected to grow to its internet economy to $200B USD by 2025. 


SEA Internet Economy Growth

The high demand for SEO skills has also become apparent in recent studies by LinkedIn where it ranks in the Top 25 most in demand skills overall (in 2018, but has been ranking consistently in the top 10 since 2015

Now what does a SEO specialist do exactly and is it something you would enjoy doing? (Because enjoying your work is equally as or even more important than just the financial aspect) 

Breakdown of what SEOs do

Data Analysis:

Without analysing data, any attempt to optimise a website to increase its search-rankings would be futile. SEO Specialists do keyword research, look at current website rankings and try to find relevant opportunities that can drive traffic to increase a brand’s sales. While there’s more to it than the listed tasks here, we just need to highlight that being able to interpret graphs and numbers is one of the most important SEO skills.


Content is king. And that is also true for SEO. Google’s algorithms have become more and more focused on providing its users, i.e. Google users, with the most relevant and informative web pages. The most prolific and successful SEO specialists do not only know how to analyse data, but they also know which content adds value to users and has a chance of ranking highly. While SEO specialists do not necessarily have to write content themselves, it is definitely helpful if they know how to rewrite as well as guide content writers on SEO specific content creation and optimisation.


Being a true SEO marketer means to also have a basic understanding of how web technologies work. Some of the most common technical SEO principles one needs to understand are basic HTML, how Javascript works, pagespeed, server response codes as well as other basic web development. 

How do you get a job in SEO?

SEO is unlike other more traditional jobs like accounting or medical professions. A lot of practitioners come from a variety of backgrounds, however what really brings them into the industry is a thirst for learning and keeping up with ever-changing challenges of Google’s algorithm changes.

To be successful in SEO, you don’t need to know everything, but you should have a natural curiosity for search and be able to wear different hats (analytical, creative, technical). But don’t worry if you like one more than the other. Even in SEO, people tend to specialise after some time because the industry itself is broad and various.