Key SEO Strategist Skills

SEO Strategist

An SEO strategist needs a blend of technical proficiency, creativity, and communication skills to be successful.

What Is an SEO Strategist?

An SEO Strategist is a key player within the digital marketing landscape, specializing in crafting and executing comprehensive strategies to optimize a website’s organic search performance. Their primary objective is to elevate a website’s visibility and ranking within Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for targeted search queries.

Here’s a closer look at their core functionalities:

  • Keyword Research & Competitive Analysis: SEO Strategists conduct in-depth research to identify high-value keywords with relevant search volume. They delve into competitor analysis to understand the current search landscape and identify opportunities for differentiation.
  • Technical & On-Page SEO Optimization: They oversee the technical health of the website, ensuring factors like website speed, mobile-friendliness, and crawlability meet search engine best practices. Additionally, they optimize on-page elements such as title tags, meta descriptions, and content structure to enhance the website’s relevance for targeted keywords.
  • Content Strategy Development: SEO Strategists may play a role in developing a data-driven content strategy that aligns with search intent and user needs. This ensures the website offers high-quality, informative content that resonates with both users and search engines.
  • Link Building & Backlink Acquisition: They design and implement link-building campaigns to acquire high-authority backlinks from relevant websites. Backlinks serve as a crucial trust signal for search engines, significantly impacting a website’s ranking potential.
  • Data-Driven Performance Monitoring & Optimization: SEO Strategists continuously monitor website traffic, user behavior, and keyword rankings. This data analysis allows them to assess the effectiveness of their strategies and make data-driven adjustments to optimize website performance for organic search.

By effectively implementing these strategies, SEO Strategists play a pivotal role in driving organic traffic growth, augmenting brand awareness, generating qualified leads, and ultimately propelling business growth through the power of search engine optimization.

What Does an SEO Strategist Do?

An SEO strategist uses a variety of tactics to deliver measurable results.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is a fundamental tactic for any SEO strategist.
It’s the cornerstone of understanding what people are searching for online and how to optimize your website’s content to rank higher in search results for those terms.

Here’s a breakdown of why keyword research is so crucial:

  • Uncovers User Intent: By researching keywords, you gain valuable insights into what users are looking for and the intent behind their searches. This allows you to create content that directly addresses their needs and questions, improving your website’s relevance.
  • Identifies Opportunities: Keyword research helps you discover high-volume, relevant keywords that your target audience is actively searching for. This empowers you to target these keywords strategically and attract more organic traffic.
  • Informs Content Strategy: Keyword research guides your content creation process. By understanding the keywords your audience uses, you can develop content that directly targets those terms, making your content more discoverable in search engines.
  • Measures Performance: Keyword research enables you to track your SEO progress over time. By monitoring your rankings for targeted keywords, you can gauge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and identify areas for improvement.

User Research

While keywords tell you what people are searching for, user research helps you understand the “why” behind those searches.

Here’s how user research fuels effective SEO:

  • Deepens Keyword Understanding: User research goes beyond just search terms. It helps you understand the context, pain points, and goals users have when searching for those keywords. This allows you to optimize content to truly answer their questions and provide solutions.
  • Informs Content Structure and Design: By understanding user behavior and preferences through research, you can tailor your content structure and design for optimal user experience. This includes factors like readability, scannability, and content type (articles, videos, infographics) – all crucial for keeping users engaged.
  • Identifies Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities: User research can uncover specific questions and long-tail keywords that traditional keyword research might miss. These long-tail phrases often have lower search volume but higher conversion rates because they target users with a clearer intent.
  • Improves User Engagement Metrics: Strong user research can lead to content that resonates better with your target audience. This translates to better user engagement metrics like time on site, bounce rate, and click-through rate, which are all positive SEO signals for search engines.

Link Building

Link building is another crucial tactic in the SEO strategist’s toolbox.

It involves acquiring hyperlinks from other websites that point back to your own site. These backlinks, as they’re called, act like votes of trust and credibility for your website in the eyes of search engines.

Here’s how link building contributes to strong SEO:

  • Boosts Authority and Trust: Search engines like Google consider the quality and quantity of backlinks to be a significant indicator of a website’s authority and trustworthiness. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the more authoritative your site appears, potentially leading to higher rankings in search results pages (SERPs).
  • Increases Organic Traffic: Backlinks from relevant websites act as gateways, driving traffic to your site. When people click on a link from a trusted source, they’re more likely to be interested in your content, leading to increased organic traffic.
  • Improves Crawl Budget: Search engines use crawlers to navigate and index websites. Backlinks can act like signposts, helping search engines discover and index your website’s content more efficiently. This can be especially beneficial for larger websites with a complex structure.

Quality matters more than quantity. Building links from low-quality or irrelevant websites can actually harm your SEO.

  • Focus on Relevance: The best backlinks come from websites that are topically relevant to your own. This reinforces your website’s expertise in a particular niche and sends stronger signals to search engines.
  • Prioritize Quality: Building links from high-authority, trusted websites holds more weight than links from spammy or low-quality sites.
  • Utilize Diverse Link-Building Strategies: There are numerous strategies for acquiring backlinks, including guest blogging, creating link-worthy content, broken link building, and online PR efforts.

Content Brief Creation

A well-crafted content brief acts as a roadmap for your content creators, ensuring they produce content that’s not only informative and engaging but also optimized for search engines.

Here’s how content brief creation empowers SEO:

  • Aligns Content with SEO Goals: A strong content brief clearly outlines the target keywords, audience persona, and desired outcomes for the content. This ensures the content is strategically optimized to rank well for relevant search terms and resonate with your target audience.
  • Improves Content Quality and Consistency: A detailed brief provides a clear direction for content creators, minimizing confusion and ensuring content adheres to brand voice and style guidelines. This leads to higher-quality content that maintains consistency across your website.
  • Boosts Content Efficiency: A well-defined brief saves time and resources by providing a clear direction for research, writing, and formatting. It streamlines the content creation process and reduces the need for revisions or back-and-forth communication.
  • Optimizes for On-Page SEO: An SEO-focused brief can specify elements like title tags, meta descriptions, internal linking structure, and image alt text. This ensures the content is optimized for on-page SEO factors that influence search engine ranking.

Here are some key components of a strong SEO content brief:

  • Target Keyword(s): Specify the primary and secondary keywords the content should target.
  • Target Audience: Clearly define the ideal reader for the content, including demographics and interests.
  • Content Type: Outline the format of the content, such as blog post, article, infographic, or video.
  • Content Goals: Define the desired outcome for the content, such as increased brand awareness, lead generation, or improved website traffic.
  • SEO Considerations (Optional): This section can specify desired word count, title tag and meta description suggestions, and internal linking recommendations.

Local SEO

It focuses on optimizing a business’s online presence to increase visibility in local search results. This is particularly important for businesses with a physical location or that serve a specific geographic area.

Here’s how local SEO benefits businesses:

  • Increased Local Visibility: By optimizing for local search, businesses can appear higher in search results for relevant local keywords. This means people searching for products or services nearby are more likely to find the business.
  • Attract More Qualified Leads: Local SEO targets users with local intent, meaning they’re actively looking for businesses in their area. This translates to higher quality leads with a greater chance of converting into customers.
  • Improved Brand Awareness: Strong local SEO presence strengthens brand recognition within the local community. When a business consistently appears in local searches, it establishes itself as a trusted and relevant local provider.
  • Boost Local Traffic and Engagement: Effective local SEO drives more local website traffic and online engagement. This can lead to more phone calls, store visits, or online inquiries from potential customers.

Here are some key strategies for local SEO:

  • Claim and Optimize Google Business Profile: This is crucial, as Google Business Profile is a primary source for local search information. Ensure your profile is complete, accurate, and includes high-quality photos and positive customer reviews.
  • Local Keyword Research: Identify relevant keywords with local intent, including city-specific terms and phrases like “best [service] near me”.
  • Optimize Website Content: Integrate local keywords naturally throughout your website content, including product descriptions, service pages, and location pages.
  • NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) Consistency: Ensure your business name, address, and phone number are consistent across all online directories and listings.
  • Positive Online Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on Google, Yelp, and other relevant platforms.
  • Local Link Building: Build backlinks from local websites, chambers of commerce, or industry publications relevant to your area.

Social Media

Depending on the client, a strategist may use social SEO platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to improve organic search ranking and visibility.

While social media doesn’t directly contribute to search engine rankings, engagement on these platforms builds customer loyalty and trust while driving exposure. All these factors can boost web traffic.

To help with social SEO tasks, strategists can use a tool like Social Media Marketing Platform, an all-in-one solution to build a brand’s presence. Strategists can connect clients’ social profiles to get insights like total audience, engagement, and comment counts.

Content Strategy

It’s the overarching plan that guides all your SEO content creation efforts. An effective content strategy ensures your content is not only discoverable by search engines but also valuable and engaging to your target audience.

Here’s why a strong content strategy is essential for SEO:

  • Focuses on User Intent: A well-defined content strategy prioritizes creating content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience. This means understanding user intent behind search queries and crafting content that directly answers their questions or solves their problems.
  • Aligns with SEO Goals: Your content strategy should be aligned with your overall SEO goals. Whether it’s increasing website traffic, improving brand awareness, or driving lead generation, your content should be strategically planned to achieve those objectives.
  • Content Pillar Creation: A strong strategy focuses on building content pillars, which are in-depth pieces of content that cover a broad topic comprehensively. These pillars are then supported by cluster content, which are more specific articles or resources that delve deeper into subtopics related to the pillar. This structure improves website hierarchy and topical authority.
  • Ensures Content Variety: An effective content strategy incorporates a variety of content formats to cater to different audience preferences and learning styles. This might include blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, case studies, or white papers.
  • Maintains Content Consistency: A well-defined strategy establishes a content calendar that ensures consistent content creation and publication. This helps build audience trust, improve search engine crawl frequency, and maintain website momentum.

Here are some key steps for developing a winning SEO content strategy:

  1. Define Your Target Audience: Understanding your ideal customer profile is crucial. Research their demographics, interests, pain points, and preferred content formats.
  2. Set SMART SEO Goals: Establish Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals for your content strategy. This ensures your content efforts are aligned with your overall SEO objectives.
  3. Conduct Keyword Research: Identify relevant keywords with search volume that your target audience is actively using. Consider both short-tail and long-tail keywords for a well-rounded strategy.
  4. Develop a Content Calendar: Plan your content creation process by scheduling topics, formats, and publishing dates. This ensures consistency and streamlines content production.
  5. Measure and Analyze: Track the performance of your content using website analytics tools. Monitor metrics like organic traffic, engagement rates, and conversions to identify what’s working and what needs improvement.

How Do SEO Strategists Measure Results?

SEO Strategists meticulously track a comprehensive suite of metrics to gauge the effectiveness of their strategies and identify areas for optimization.

This data analysis empowers them to continually refine their approach and ensure the website stays ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving search engine landscape.

Here’s a deeper dive into how SEO Strategists leverage various metrics to measure success:

Traffic Acquisition:

  • Organic Traffic: This remains a gold standard metric, reflecting the total number of visitors arriving from search engines. A sustained increase in organic traffic signifies the SEO strategy’s proficiency in driving qualified leads through organic search.
  • Keyword Rankings: Monitoring the website’s ranking trajectory for targeted keywords is paramount. Improved rankings for relevant keywords indicate that the SEO strategy is successfully enhancing the website’s search visibility. However, SEO Strategists go beyond just looking at rankings for individual keywords. They take a holistic approach, considering factors like overall search volume and competition for those keywords to determine how well the website is capturing a slice of the organic search pie.

User Engagement and Behavior:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): A high CTR indicates that the website’s title tags and meta descriptions are compelling and effectively grabbing user attention in SERPs. SEO Strategists will A/B test different variations of title tags and meta descriptions to optimize CTR and entice users to click through from search results.
  • Bounce Rate: A low bounce rate suggests that visitors are finding the content engaging and relevant to their search intent. However, bounce rate needs to be examined in conjunction with time spent on page to get a more complete picture. If the bounce rate is low but time spent on page is minimal, it might indicate that the content is briefly holding attention but not delivering the depth users require.
  • Time Spent on Page: The average time users spend on a webpage is a strong indicator of their level of interest in the content. An increase in time spent on page suggests the content is valuable, informative, and keeping users engaged. SEO Strategists will use this data to understand which content types and topics resonate most with their target audience and tailor future content strategy accordingly.

Technical SEO and Backlink Profile:

  • Domain Authority: While not a direct ranking factor for Google, domain authority scores (often provided by SEO tools) can be a helpful gauge of a website’s overall SEO health and backlink profile. A strong backlink profile with links from high-authority websites can contribute to improved website authority and potentially lead to better rankings. However, SEO Strategists focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks from relevant websites, as opposed to simply chasing a high domain authority score.

Business Goals and Conversions:

  • Conversions: Ultimately, the true success of an SEO strategy hinges on how well it supports the overarching business objectives. This might involve tracking conversions such as online sales, lead generation form submissions, or newsletter signups. By demonstrating a clear link between SEO efforts and measurable improvements in conversions, SEO Strategists can effectively showcase the value their work brings to the business.

By persistently monitoring and analyzing this vast array of metrics, SEO Strategists can make data-driven decisions to continuously improve the website’s organic search performance. This ensures the website remains competitive, attracts high-quality traffic, fosters user engagement, and ultimately fuels business growth through the power of SEO.