SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) specialists develop strategies to increase visitor numbers to websites and to obtain a high ranking in search engine results pages. They decide on the most appropriate techniques and monitor results.
You could be:
carrying out keyword research to determine the most effective ones to include in the website content
writing content for websites that is tailored for the target audience and includes the most valuable keywords
building backlinks (a link from another website to the one that you are working on) to improve search engine rankings
managing pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to increase revenue from sponsored advertising
assessing websites and SEO strategies of competitors
using web tracking tools such as Google Analytics to monitor and measure the success of SEO strategies
using social media to attract more users to the website
keeping up to date with search engine changes and SEO techniques.
The figures below are only a guide. Pay rates vary widely, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
The starting salary for SEO specialists is in the range of £22,000 to £24,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to around £35,000 a year and salaries for senior positions can be up to around £40,000 a year, sometimes more.
If you work freelance, your income will vary, depending on the contracts you get.
You generally work normal office hours from Monday to Friday, but might sometimes have to work weekends or evenings to meet deadlines.
You might sometimes have to travel to visit clients.
You might also attend exhibitions and events to network with other professionals.
Many entrants have a degree (SCQF Level 9-10) or HND (SCQF Level 8) in a subject such as advertising, media, IT, communications, marketing or business.
For entry to an HND course you normally require 1-2 Highers plus some subjects at National 5. For entry to a degree course you need 4-5 Highers.
Although not essential, a number of Scottish universities also offer postgraduate qualifications (SCQF Level 11) specialising in digital marketing, which includes SEO.
You might get in through a Modern Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing at SCQF Level 6.
Knowledge and experience of social media platforms is useful.
There are jobs in almost all sectors, including retail, IT, education, the media, central and local government, the marketing and communications industry, and hospitality and tourism. Jobs are advertised in the press and on the internet.
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
excellent written communication skills
creative skills for generating ideas
a good understanding of how search engines work
organisational and project management skills
excellent IT skills.
You need to be able to:
analyse and interpret data
work accurately under pressure and meet tight deadlines
understand your client's business needs
work well as part of a team and individually
keep up to date with new trends and developments.
Training can be on the job with part time study.
If you complete a Modern Apprenticeship, you work towards the Diploma in Digital Marketing at SCQF Level 6.
You would usually complete other short courses whilst working, for example training in Google Analytics or Facebook Insights, Google AdWords or email marketing tools.
You can work towards professional qualifications in digital marketing through a number of organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) and the Institute of Practitioners in Marketing (IPA). See the individual websites for details.
With experience, you can move from an assistant level role up to executive or manager.
You might specialise in a particular digital marketing channel, such as paid media (which includes PPC, Google AdWords and Facebook ads).
You could work freelance or do contract work (usually jobs lasting for a few months at a time).
You may use your experience to move into other roles such as copywriter or digital marketer.