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Career profile: Search engine optimiser (SEO)

Career profile: Search engine optimiser (SEO)Are you competitive, technical and good with words? If so, perhaps it's worth considering a career in search engine optimisation.

A what?

A search engine optimiser is a type of industry consultant who makes changes to a company’s website to make it appear higher up in a search engine list.

On the job

Search engine optimisers use their skills and expertise to make websites search engine-friendly.

This helps businesses be more successful because the higher up a search engine list they are, the more likely customers are to find them and buy/use their products or services.

Search engine optimisation tactics include making changes to a website’s design, structure or content. This involves researching the key words that people use to search for similar products and services, and using the most popular key words around the site.

Other tactics involve creating more internal links within the website, incorporating social media applications and getting other organisations to link to the client’s website.

What skills do I need?

IT and search engine literate

For this you need to be IT literate and understand how search engine directories index and rank websites.

Analytical skills

You need to understand how search engines work and what people search for. You will have to work out why some sites rank higher than others fairly quickly and to do this you have to analyse data.

Web design

Being able to transform an outdated design into something that is attractive and engaging is an important part of the search engine optimiser’s job.

Having the skills to do this yourself rather than relying on a web designer or developer is useful though not essential.

Research latest advances

The industry changes daily so you have to be quick to adapt. Keeping updated with emerging SEO and online trends such as blogging, Twitter and other social media applications will be crucial for a successful search engine optimiser.

Specialist expertise

Depending on the area of search engine optimisation you specialise in, you may need expertise in copywriting and indexing images, audio and/or video.


Understanding programme codes such as html is important for a search engine optimiser to be able to add key words to a website’s content.

Business and marketing skills

Search engine optimisation is a form of marketing and so knowledge of this field is crucial to show that you understand how the job fits in with the rest of the company. Often a search engine optimiser will work with the marketing team.

How much does it pay?

Depending on where the job is in the country, starting salaries range from £17,000-£20,000 pa.
However, if you are successful, this can rise quickly to an average of £25,000. A search engine optimisation manager can earn about £30,000 pa.

How do I get there?

You don’t need any formal training to become a search engine optimiser.
You can learn what you need by reading up on the subject.
Having an IT or marketing background will help. You will need experience in web design and general IT skills.

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