The role of a SEO Specialist

Because search engines play an increasingly prominent role in our lives and we can hardly go a day without them, we see an enormous growth in business with the demand for SEO Specialists. It used to be that companies wanted to have a website with their web agencies that was delivered "SEO-proof", but nowadays it is a sizeable enough full-time job and the focus of an SEO Specialist is no longer only on the search engine giant Google. In this article we explain exactly what the role of an SEO Specialist entails.

Erik Lindeman

by Erik Lindeman

Published: August 22, 2021
Last modified: December 16, 2021

What is a SEO Specialist?

An SEO Specialist is an inbound marketer who ensures that information from a product or service is displayed as visibly as possible within the results of a search engine on relevant searches by a specific target group.

An SEO Specialist analyzes on the one hand the search behaviour of a target group and on the other hand the algorithm of the search engines in order to adjust the website data in a smart and structured way.

The goal of an SEO Specialist is to get as many high and striking positions in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) as possible, which leads to more traffic and therefore more sales or other important business results.

The effect of the work can contribute to a huge positive impact for a company. For example, the difference in being found for important search terms between position 1 (page 1) and position 11 (page 2) can amount to millions of euros in turnover.

SEO Specialist working behind desk

An increasingly diverse function

SEO Specialists are no longer only used to generate more relevant visitors, which should lead to more sales or leads. We are also seeing increasing demand from companies to deploy SEO specialists to recruit new staff.

Furthermore, the SEO Specialist focus is no longer only on the Google search engine. Over the years, the role has expanded to include search engine specialism for search engines such as YouTube, Amazon and Pinterest that are specially used to respond to the algorithms of these search engines. However, these roles are often called differently, such as; Amazon Specialist, YouTube Specialist, etc.

What are the duties of an SEO Specialist?

An SEO Specialist ensures that the information of a website is delivered to the search engines in a structured way and uses various factors to strengthen and strengthen the positions.

An SEO specialist leads this process by mainly working together with web developers and content creators such as copywriters and graphic designers.

The duties of an SEO Specialist:

  • The (continuous) analysis of the search behavior of the target group for the services and/or products that must be findable for the employer or client. These search terms are used in a keyword plan.      
  • Mapping the online competition for these search terms and plotting a route to match or catch up with this competition.      
  • Ensure that the website can be optimally crawled and indexed by the search engines.      
  • Optimize On-Page. This includes realizing and optimizing interesting and informative content that can be captured by the search engines. This often takes place in collaboration with copywriters and content creators such as videographers, photographers and graphic designers.      
  • Monitor the algorithm updates and analyze the positive and negative impact within the industry.      
  • Obtaining all possible organic positions such as 0 positions and implementing Structured Data using JSON-LD or Microdata.      
  • Off-Page Factors to monitor and improve the authority of the website and key landing pages. Think of optimizing the backlink profile at domain level and page level. SEO Specialists often work on the basis of media budgets to spend on smart link building or domain purchases. In addition, a disavow list is periodically submitted to the search engines to keep the backlink profile “clean” and the SEO specialist is well aware of which backlinks play an important role among the competitors.      
  • Map the performance of the website and make improvements. This is often done in collaboration with the developers. Often a Senior SEO Specialist is able to improve the performance with Open-Source CMS systems such as WordPress.      
  • Can think like a search engine. So know how to substantiate why a page does not want to rank for an important search term and know how to respond to this.      
  • Together with the Brand Manager, ensures optimal and optimized Meta Tags.      
  • Is engaged in ORP (Online Reputation Management) to improve and monitor business listings within the search engines. This includes listings such as Google My Business and the collection of Google Reviews.      
  • Makes frequent 0-measurements and knows how to map the growth in positions within the search engines.      

Difficult choice: hire or outsource?

SEO Specialists are often hired externally from external marketing agencies. However, because the number of online purchases and searches continues to increase in recent years, more and more companies are choosing to employ SEO Consultants or SEO Specialists internally or in-house.

Type of companies that hire SEOs:

  • e-Commerce companies with a wide range of products and product categories.      
  • Organizations that are enormously dependent on periodic mass searches of supply and demand. Think of health insurers and the travel industry.      
  • Comparison sites such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor and Thuisbezorgd.      
  • Marketing companies that offer SEO to their clients.      
  • Companies that want to offer and sell their product line on, for example, Google, Amazon or Bol.com.      
  • Business service providers serving a large nationwide audience.      
  • For other types of companies it is more interesting to hire this knowledge on a project basis.

What does it cost to hire an SEO Specialist?

SEO Specialists often work on the basis of a fixed and flexible number of working hours per month.

If you decide to hire a SEO specialist, you can choose from a Freelancer or an Agency.

Hourly rate Freelance SEO Specialist: +/- € 50-75 euros per hour excluding VAT.

Hourly rate SEO Specialist at a marketing agency: € 79-125 per hour excluding VAT.

What does an SEO Specialist earn?

Of course, a salary depends on multiple indicators such as age, experience and location. However, if we assume a mid-thirties, experienced SEO consultant working in the Randstad, then you should take into account a gross monthly salary of € 3,500 – € 4,500.

How do I qualify a SEO Specialist?

The SEO industry is known for the many unqualified freelancers and companies that pretend to have a lot of knowledge about SEO, but in practice this turns out to be very disappointing. As a result, companies lose many working hours and valuable positions, which can add up to enormous amounts of expenses.

That is why you read a number of tips to qualify a SEO Specialist before you hire or hire this person or company and once you employ it;

Tips before hiring or hiring a SEO Specialist:

  1. Request at least 3 projects for reference where a demonstrable growth in organic traffic has been achieved. An SEO Specialist should be extremely proud of his or her work and are only too happy to share these results. Ask for search terms that have increased significantly with a high search volume (minimum 1000 searches per month).
  2. Ask for substantiation of how these results came about. Were these Lucky shots or is there strategy, knowledge and skill behind this?
  3. Ask this person what the most recent algorithm updates have been and what affected websites should respond to to get these rankings back.
  4. Is this SEO Specialist really able to improve rankings on competitive search terms with high search volume or is this SEO Specialist only focused on expanding content on search terms with extremely low/no search volume?

Tips for assessing a SEO Specialist – once employed:

  1. 0 measurement of the keyword plan. Periodically draw a comparison with then and now.
  2. View monthly Google analytics -> Acquisition -> Organic traffic to see a growth in relevant visitor numbers.
  3. Check every quarter whether your market share in the search engines is improving. This is easy to do with this handy tool from SERanking :
    https://seranking.com/competitor-traffic-research.html
  4. Matches or trumps competitors in physical search positions within the search results.
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