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The SEO industry has flourished over the past years. In the US alone, SEO spending has reached close to $80 billion, indicating the necessity of the digital marketing technique and demand for professionals to implement it. Today we are going to talk about how to become an SEO expert.

According to a LinkedIn report, digital marketing professionals, including SEOs, are among the top 15 in-demand jobs in 2021. Hiring for this job has risen to 33 percent year-over-year. For a US-based SEO specialist, the average annual salary is $60,548, with companies in California, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut paying over $70k.

If you’re looking to enter this in-demand profession, you need to develop and hone these 10 skills that are essential to becoming an SEO expert.

10 Essential Skills To Become An SEO Expert

Analytical Thinking.

You’ll find that some SEO professionals didn’t start with SEO. Some began their career as web developers, some were writers; others were programmers who worked with SEO experts. There’s no set list of skills that a person should have at once, but they at least need to have experience in fields like content, marketing, or web development so that they can continue to build on that and develop the essential skills necessary to become an SEO professional.

You need to have a wide range of skills to excel in this job.

Here are 10 essential skills you need to be an SEO expert.

Analytical Thinking

SEO specialists have to deal with a volume of data; analytical thinking allows you to process all of that data, which will come from tools like Google Search Console or Google Analytics. Gathering information is one part of it; the others involve eliminating the unnecessary, identifying the causes and effects, and organizing them into patterns and trends.

You need the ability to break down complex information into basic principles so that you’re able to work out a problem, from the plummeting ranking of a website to the loss of engagement for a specific page.

Critical Thinking

Whereas analytical thinking lets you process data, critical thinking lets you come to a sound conclusion. An SEO professional needs to think critically when determining what needs to be done for a campaign. You need to take into account competitors’ strategies, trends, and the brands’ own style.

You then need to interpret the information you have and come up with ideas to solve problems, considering alternative probabilities. In critical thinking, you, not only factor in the data you have but base judgment on your experiences as well.


Keywords are essential to a successful SEO campaign and SEO experts need to meticulously and strategically plan out the target keywords that are of high value as well as relevant to the business. You need to have research skills to know the importance and potential of a keyword and how to use it to a client’s advantage.

Mastery Of SEO Tools

Mastery Of SEO Tools.

More than half of the jobs in the market, according to a Backlinko jobs report, require experience with SEO tools because they allow for efficiency and accuracy. Knowing which tool to use and how will help you see issues that need to be addressed and opportunities to conquer. Tools save you time, money, and energy.

A lot of SEO tools have been developed over the years, but here are some of the tools most SEO specialists should be familiar with: Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Semrush, and Ahrefs. These tools are frequently used worldwide and are already equipped with the features that most SEO professionals require to execute their tasks.

Programming Skills

You may know some successful SEO professionals who don’t possess programming knowledge but are able to do a good job. However, this is an advantageous skill to possess since SEO specialists need to give advice about rendering, lazy-loading, page speed, server-side rendering, and basic tags. All of these will be easier if the SEO has a programmer’s insights.

The most common programming languages companies typically require are HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and SQL.

As an SEO professional, you can’t just rely on an SEO tool to give you the report and pass the data on to your client or developers. You have to gain an understanding of what these changes are, what they affect, and what issues or opportunities you’re going to have because of them.

Technical SEO.

Technical SEO

Search engine algorithms are always changing, that’s why it’s important to be aware of the technical elements of SEO so that you can fix any issues that arise and achieve higher rankings for a website. Knowledge of CSS and HTML is crucial, but you don’t have to be an expert in them; just enough that you can pinpoint the issues and fix them.


On-page SEO refers to optimizing pages in the website to improve visibility and traffic. This includes the skill to solve crawl issues, optimizing H1, meta tags, status codes, and XML sitemaps among other things. Technical SEO addresses things like duplicate content and site speed, but on-page SEO focuses on more specific URLs.

This is crucial because search engine crawlers need to understand your content to index and rank it properly. On-page optimization delivers the clarity that users and search engines need.

Link Building

Link building is a crucial part of SEO. You need to know how to get other websites linked back to a website. It’s one of the hardest parts of SEO, but also one of the most rewarding.

Writing Skills

Content is the fuel that makes websites work. An efficient SEO strategy is always partnered with quality content. This is why every SEO specialist has to have strong writing skills. As an SEO, you need to be skilled in writing content so that you can review blogs and web pages in a way that will appeal to search engines and your target audience.

Communication Skills

Strong communication skills are a valuable asset since they will allow your clients to understand the campaign. Clarity is key to winning your client’s trust and confidence.

Learn And Improve

Flexibility, eagerness to learn and curiosity are some key personality traits you must possess to be an effective SEO specialist.

SEO is an ever-changing field. You have to know how to relay content that’s engaging to your audience in a way that search engines will also be able to understand and take notice of. Since the SEO landscape is ever-evolving, you have to always be open to new SEO strategies and tips to improve your craft.

Sharpen the skills needed to become an SEO expert and help your clients get better and better results. Soon enough, you’ll see the work you’ve done on SERPs and be rewarded with the multiplying success of every project that comes your way.

Itamar Gero is the founder and CEO of, a global white label SEO and digital marketing solutions provider that empowers agencies and their local clients all over the world. When he isn’t working, he’s traveling the world, meditating, or dreaming (in code).

Categories:  St. Louis SEO

About the Author

James McMinn

Senior Digital Strategist

James is a savvy digital marketing specialist with a Masters of Science in Internet Marketing. For the past fourteen years, he has been specializing in SEO, PPC & Marketing Strategy. He has a super sharp analytical mind and a finely tuned creative eye for marketing initiatives that optimize brands.

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