I’ve been sent a couple of emails from people looking to get a job in search, and one of the most commonly asked questions is: what exactly is the job description?
In my experience, exactly what a role includes differs from agency to agency, or business to business. In my previous agency, the role of a content strategist was no where near as techincal as my role as a content strategist is in my current agency. I never thought I’d been looking deep-diving into techincal search aspects of a website now this time last year, when I was busy writing reams and reams of content with no clear understanding of what it was used for.
One of the best things about working in SEO is how quickly you can learn. It’s not really something that you need to have an especial aptitude for: all you need to do is know how to do it. I’ve learnt how in less than a year, and there’s no reason why you can’t either.
For those who emailed me, and anyone interested, I’ve come up with a list of requirements for certain roles within search. Of course, they aren’t set in stone; but could be a good starting point if you’re thinking of changing your career.
This is one of the roles that you do need to have an aptiude for. Not everybody can write content – and even less people can write lots and lots of it.
A content writer is an excellent role to start with if you’re new to SEO. You’ll need to:
- Be able to write content quickly, with good grammar and spelling
- Write according to briefs as specified by your agency or client
- Be able to research subjects which you aren’t too clear on
- Have a good grasp of whichever language you specialise in
- You don’t necesarily need to have a good grasp of SEO; this usually comes with time.
Outreach or PR Specialist
Roles like this are about finding links for clients. It is essential to:
- Build good relationships with webmasters and journalists
- Answer a great deal of emails
- Have good communication skills
- Understand what content is most shared, or most linked to
- Play a key role in campaign conception
Analyst or Strategist
There can be a bit of a crossover between these roles. You need to:
- Have a strong understanding of search, algorithms, and Google
- Keep up to date with industry news
- Be able to construct techinal site audits and understand techinal aspects of a site
- Be able to use Google Analytics, and other auditing tools
- It certainly helps to have an understanding of HTML and PHP
- Be comfortable talking to clients
Depending on the agency, there may be account executive, account managers and account directors. If you’re considering a role like this, you’ll need to:
- Understand everything which an analyst or strategist does
- Talk to clients, and keep in constant contact with them
- Have good experience in sticking to budgets, and ticketing
- Advise and guide clients
- Be VERY organised
As I noted before, this is VERY broad.
On a side note, this quiz by Kissmetrics was floating about at work. It’s only a bit of fun, but it told me I’m an SEO Manager so I’m not about to complain.