Top Skills SEO Professionals Need to Succeed

SEO Skills: Essential Knowledge for Success

Discover the key skills needed to excel in the dynamic field of SEO, from Junior to Senior.

Search engine optimization is a young and rapidly developing field. To keep up with all the updates, conduct experiments, and acquire practical skills, specialists must constantly improve their expertise. It is essential for you to master both hard and soft skills in order to succeed on this path.

1. What is the role  an SEO specialist: the primary responsibilities
2. The required skills for a Junior-level SEO
3. Who is a Middle and Senior SEO Specialists?
4. The personal skill set for professionals
5. Conclusion

What is the role of an SEO specialist: the primary responsibilities

Experience and practical skills are fundamental values for an SEO position. SEO optimization is a complicated process, but it also has a more prolonged and tangible effect. 

An SEO specialist has to understand the specifics of ranking algorithms for different search engines. It would be beneficial to have working experience with Yahoo or Bing as well. 

Even though Bing and Google share similar SEO and ranking factors, there are some key differences you should be aware of. There are a few things that make SEO for Bing unique. First, most people who use Bing are from the US. Secondly, people who use Bing also use Internet Explorer, the default search engine preloaded on Windows devices. Most likely, they are less tech-savvy.

Ensuring that your website is optimized is the safest way to guarantee that your site can be found by your potential customers, no matter what search engine they're using. However, balancing on-page and off-page optimization is often necessary when adjusting to search engines’ algorithms. Furthermore, specialists from this area need to confidently work with SEO software and SaaS services for advanced analysis.

The primary responsibilities of an SEO specialist are:

➡ help brand to become a leader in SERP (Search Engine Result Page);

➡ attract traffic;

➡ adjust the site to the requirements of search engines;

➡ do keywords research, categorize and sort queries via SEO tools:

➡ set up website analytics;

➡ optimize the web resource collectively with editors, marketers, designers, and developers.

As part of these responsibilities, the specialist also checks the usability, makes an assessment of the visibility of the resource in the search engine, develops a content strategy, determines the budget for promotion, writes meta tags, sets up technical specifications for copywriters, and constantly monitors changes in search engine algorithms for the timely adaptation of the site for new requirements.

The skill set and responsibilities of SEO specialists depend on the level of qualifications, the characteristics of the team organization, and the type of company. In this article, we will adhere to the gradation of specialists, which is found most often: Junior, Middle, and Senior.

The required skills for Junior-level SEO

A junior-level specialist should know the basic concepts and trends of SEO, understand the references and documentation from search engines, and carry out a set of on-page and off-page optimization steps. As part of the role's job, such individuals must quickly analyze a line of business, pick competitors, collect semantics with a variety of methods, and perform topic clustering not only to make your website appear authoritative in specific topics but also to determine how your content relates to the hierarchy on your website.

Technical audits should be conducted by SEO experts before taking on new projects. The primary purpose of the analysis is to assess the technical condition of the website and its performance. The audit should also be carried out while changing the structure, moving, or redesigning. It is better to analyze the website for errors at least once every 1-2 months, even if there are no visually noticeable technical issues. A junior SEO needs to be proficient at controlling valuable parameters of a website's performance through technical audits using automated services.

In the field of off-page optimization, a specialist of the analyzed level of competence will find websites for placing links, select high-quality donors and analyze the dynamics of link building. The tools and reports required for this task can be found in the specialized SEO platforms as well.

Junior SEO is also able to implement micro-markup in tags and attributes, which helps search engines find content on the site faster and understand it correctly.

The ability to track optimization results is a crucial skill for any SEO specialist. SEO professionals must use reasonable metrics to demonstrate to clients how their work is progressing and what goals have already been met. It is recommended to use specialized web analytics and reporting tools such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google Data Studio for these purposes.


Equip yourself with in-demand skills and earn a certification

Enroll today and open doors to exciting career opportunities.

Who is a Middle and Senior SEO Specialists?

Middle SEO specialists have more in-depth knowledge and can quickly work with regular expressions, use Google Tag Manager to set up individual events (for example, e-commerce), and optimize the site locally. Such a professional will help in promoting Business Profile on Google, Google Maps, or using subdomains.

Senior SEO are confident specialists who perform all tasks efficiently, autonomously and automate the processes as much as possible. They can work with Google Analytics using HTTP requests and Measurement Protocol, use SQL for working with databases, and DAX for Power BI. Such professionals will be able to remove the site from search engine filters, restore traffic, and determine the reasons for its decline.

The personal skill set for professionals

In addition to communication skills, teamwork skills, time management, and self-presentation, a good SEO specialist needs soft skills to work effectively and increase professional competence.

At the Junior level, the essential skills are self-learning, perseverance, and tenacity. At first, you will have to perform a lot of routine and monotonous tasks, and in order not to get stuck at this stage for a long time, you need commitment and a strong desire to grow.

Self-organization is another helpful skill. At the beginning of your career, it will help to quickly fulfill work duties and organize the future processes for teamwork.

For a Middle SEO professional who is autonomously managing projects and responsible for decisions, independence and consistency are essential. Establishing a systematic approach will help ensure control and continuous monitoring of work performance, making client reporting more manageable.

Among the top skills are:

➡ Delegation as ability to assign tasks, you're accountable to the team members.;

➡ The desire to automate processes.

➡ Task decomposition skills.

➡ Work in a multitasking environment.

At the Senior SEO level, project management and process establishment skills are a must since you will work with larger projects. You are supposed to act as both a specialist and manager, independently conducting communication with the client. Senior SEO needs to grow independent specialists to build a strong team, to then train and manage it.

We will share several basic rules of SEO specialists for effective communication with the customer:

✅ Information on the task should be in one document, task tracker folder, technical requirement file.

✅ During the meeting, the organizer must keep record of all the decisions made and the workflow of the discussion to send a follow-up to all participants. This rule will help to keep an eye on the required result during the work process.

✅ The teamwork and task tracker services will assist you in synchronizing your work areas.

✅ Set tasks in writing, since verbal agreements are often lost in the process. You need to duplicate them, for example, via email or your service for teamwork.

✅ It is not always necessary to immediately respond to messages from customers in messengers, mail, or other channels. It would be best to fully formulate the answer/question or topic for subsequent discussion.

✅ Likewise, it's better not to accept tasks or agree to meetings on the same day unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Don't interrupt your workflow with additional subtasks.

✅ Learn to answer complex questions of customers comprehensively, give a clear answer, attach screenshots with references or examples immediately, if necessary.

✅ If the same question was asked two or more times, create a FAQ for a preliminary discussion.


Hard skills and employee expertise are considered essential, but not the only factor that matters. Concerning SEO specialists and their qualifications, complex qualities must be leveled daily, along with practical and soft skills.

You need to objectively assess your strengths and weaknesses because skills, abilities, and knowledge are the first characteristics of a candidate for a position. Soft skills can determine how a person will cope with tasks, and hard skills illustrate general expertise and area of ​​competence.

The gradation of SEO specialists is conditional and depends on the company, but the general characteristic is as follows:

➡ Junior Specialist: promotes the site, understands the terminology, can put theoretical knowledge into practice;

➡ Middle Specialist: promotes, analyzes actions, and draws conclusions. They know the structure of popular CMS: WordPress, Open Cart, CS-Cart, can find the necessary files, and implement changes on the site.

➡ Senior Specialist: draws conclusions and builds hypotheses, tests them with minimal investment of time and scales. This title means you can work with large amounts of data and analytics, programming languages, scripts, and BI platforms.

Most companies have knowledge requirements for a specific work position. Such a "Professional Development Plan" allows you not to diffuse and elevate your skill set, focusing on your progress.

author photo
Ekaterina Hordiienko

Blog Editor

With the help of search analytics data and other sources, I conduct SEO research and analyze different lines of business. My content is derived from extensive data for SEO specialists and digital marketers. My past years have been filled with specialized courses in SEO, programming basics, and digital marketing. Throughout my career, I have also spoken at various conferences.