Also known as...
Organic Search Executive; Natural Search Executive; SEO Strategist; SEO Analyst.
The role in brief...
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Executives make their clients’ websites more visible in ‘natural’, organic, search engine rankings. This is the main body of the search engine results page, outside of the sponsored listings, with the rankings determined by website content, tagging and links to and from other websites. Depending on the agency, an Executive level Search role may involve responsibility for both SEO and Pay Per Click (PPC), the sponsored results delivered by search engines. In larger agencies the SEO Executive role may be a discrete position. (See the PPC Executive role described separately.)
- Internal: Media Planners; Digital Planners/Strategists; Web Analytics Consultants; User Experience.
- External: Client Marketing team; Client Data team; Search engines, well known bloggers etc.
- SEO Executives will report into the Head of SEO, Head of Search/Search Director or Head of Performance Media.
- Analysing search data and identifying potential keyword opportunities in a given market, to drive business to a client website.
- Optimising website copy and code to ensure a client’s site appears in a prominent position when potential customers search Google and other engines.
- Tagging content and writing page and site descriptions (metadata) using consumer language to describe the visible content.
- Promoting a client’s website to increase the number of inbound links from other sites, which has a big impact on search engine rankings.
- Collecting and analysing site data, and reporting to the client on campaign performance.
- Setting targets and making recommendations to improve commercial performance.
- Working with influential bloggers and liaising with product sales staff to promote a campaign or product launch.
- Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of search engine algorithms and their impact on SEO strategies.
Those who succeed are...
- Both logical and lateral thinkers who enjoy problem solving.
- Comfortable using mathematics in their problem solving.
- Inquisitive, with an experimental approach to using technology and to learning new skills.
- Good writers with an understanding of consumer language.
- Able to interpret search engine algorithms and how these affect approaches to optimising specific websites.
- Technically competent with an understanding of programming languages used for building websites e.g. HTML and CSS.
- Interested in human behaviour and interaction with technology.
- Up-to-date with technological developments, particularly developments in search and search engines.
- Commercially minded and able to understand the role of search and Social Media in a client’s business.
- Well organised, efficient and able to work to tight deadlines.
- Able to work individually and as part of a team.
Where they come from, and where they go...
Many agencies will offer entry level SEO positions with on-the-job training. A relevant university level qualification, possibly but not essentially, in a technical subject will help. These positions are filled by those passionate about the web and interested in how the internet works. They may have already dabbled in running a website or keeping an online blog, and have had some experience in web-development and spreading ideas with social media. After gaining some experience, SEO Executives can choose to focus entirely on SEO, with some eventually becoming SEO Director for their agency. Others choose to develop wider expertise, moving from the SEO team into the broader spectrum of digital marketing, including PPC, display or social media, with some eventually becoming Digital Strategists or Media Account Directors.