Culture 9 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming an SEO Consultant

Diego Velázquez /

Diego Velázquez /

Main SEO Consultant Takeaways:

  • An SEO consultant is an expert on search engine optimization that businesses and site owners pay to advise about the topic.
  • SEO professionals plan, implement, and manage a business’s overall search engine optimization strategy.
  • SEO services include web marketing, web analytics, keyword strategy, strategy planning, and link building.
  • Along with knowledge of Google algorithms, SEO specialists usually require an extensive range of skills.
  • There is barely enough SEO talent to meet the current market demand.
  • As an SEO consultant, knowing your audience allows you to adapt your communication and tailor your recommendation.

Starting a career as an SEO consultant seems like a clever idea right now, and that’s not surprising.

Recently, search engine optimization transitioned from an added-value enhancement to a mandatory budget expense. This is especially true for businesses that rely on the internet for advertising, marketing, and sales.

It’s no wonder that a Microsoft study listed SEO as the most important hard skill for marketers. Before we delve into the details of providing SEO services, let’s begin with the basics.

What is an SEO Consultant?

An SEO consultant is an expert on search engine optimization. SEO consultants, also known as SEO specialists or SEO professionals, advice businesses and site owners on how they could improve their pages and offer better user experience. These include how to improve organic traffic and boost profits for their sites. Along with knowledge of the Google algorithm, SEO specialists usually require an extensive range of skills.

For example, you should have in-depth experience with web analytics tools such as Google Analytics and WebTrends, among others. Also, working knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is a bonus.

What do SEO Specialists do?

Image shows a man pointing at the various SEO processes
Gerd Altmann /

SEO professionals plan, implement, and manage a business’s overall search engine optimization strategy. In other words, such an individual is responsible for handling a brand’s search engine presence. As a result, the duties usually include web marketing, web analytics, keyword strategy, strategy planning, and link building.

Here’s a breakdown of what SEO specialists do.

1. Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation of search engine optimization and content marketing. In fact, using the right key phrase in your writing could make a massive difference in your search engine presence.

With that said, various SEO professionals have a varying approach to keyword research, depending on the strategy. And that’s fine. The key here is to have a rational explanation for selecting specific keywords.

2. On-Page Optimization

As an SEO consultant, you must know how to optimize website content — also known as on-page optimization.

The keyword research should help uncover some popular search terms and related questions on the search engine. After that, you simply have to apply these key phrases in various aspects of your website.

For example, SEOs optimize a page’s subheading, meta descriptions, and article body with critical phrases that they hope to rank for.

3. Identify Technical Hindrances

An essential aspect of an SEO consultant‘s responsibility is to uncover technical hindrances that may impact your website.

That means they usually have to conduct technical audits to identify these issues. Then, the SEO professionals must work closely with web developers to resolve them.

This aspect of SEO is critical to a website’s success. It’s not enough to produce relevant content if search engines can’t index it.

4. Analyze Performance

SEO professionals rely on platforms such as Google Analytics to analyze their content’s performance. This involves interpreting data and providing actionable steps to improve organic traffic.

Search engine optimization entails testing various strategies. So, you can only identify effective techniques by analyzing performance.

5. Stay on Top Industry Trends

The search engine optimization industry is continually evolving. So, it’s essential to have an up-to-date understanding of industry trends.

For example, Google rolls out major algorithm updates every few months. And SEO professionals must explore how these changes impact their client’s website and online visibility.

As you may have guessed, search engine optimization requires years of experience to go with the highly tuned skill set. That might make you wonder if this career path is worth the effort.

Is SEO a Good Career?

Image of a person typing on a laptop that shows Google Search Console.
StockSnap /

Of course, search engine optimization is an excellent career choice. In fact, there are barely enough talent to meet market demand. According to a 2019 LinkedIn study, 12,000 SEO job openings on the platform were looking for someone with mid-level experience and above. Accordingly, there were about 12,500 qualified professionals on LinkedIn.

In other words, search engine optimization is a seller’s market.

The study reads:

“In short if you are looking for an SEO role and have experience, this is a seller’s market. Know who your competition might and definitely don’t underprice yourself.”

With more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) shifting to e-commerce, the demand for SEO is now greater than ever. This makes SEO a lucrative career nowadays. According to one study, experienced SEO professionals tend to charge between $76 and $150 USD per hour, depending on the services they offer.

There’s no denying that SEO is an excellent career choice. But is it for everyone? Definitely not.

There’s always something new to learn in this field. So, if the constant need to stay informed feels overwhelming, SEO is not for you. Then, there are other issues, such as:

  • Client’s unrealistic expectations
  • Hard to maintain work-life balance
  • Misconceptions about how SEO works

On the other hand, SEO presents an opportunity to interact with industry experts who are willing to share their knowledge. Besides, the “test and learn” culture can be exciting and lucrative.

This brings us to the big us to the final subheading.

How to Become a Great SEO Consultant

Illustration of a hand pointing at a desktop computer.
mohamed Hassan /

As in any other profession, you need hard work, dedication, and constant learning to become a great SEO consultant. However, the suggestions outlined below can help take things a step further.

1. Outline Your Goals

Any good consulting relationship begins with goal setting. That way, the parties involved in the project have an in-depth understanding of the project. Besides, setting goals allows you to hold yourself accountable.

Some examples of goals in SEO services include:

  • Improving keyword visibility
  • Increasing organic traffic by X percent
  • Reduce bounce rate by X percent
  • Reduce the cost-per-click by half

Whatever your goal may be, it should be reasonable, measurable, and obtainable. Also, it would be best if you outlined the metrics that are essential for defining success.

2. Educate Your Clients

Education is a critical part of a client-consultant relationship.

The field of search engine optimization consists of several facets. These include technical SEO, external link building, on-page optimization, keyword research, among others.

What’s more, the landscape is continually changing. So, if your client wasn’t involved in SEO lately, there’s a chance that their knowledge of industry trends is behind the times.

Moreover, educating your clients could help them understand why they require your service. After all, you can’t value what you don’t understand.

3. Know Your Audience

As an SEO consultant, knowing your audience allows you to adapt your communication and tailor your recommendation.

Indeed, it’s essential to understand the prospect’s business. But that’s not enough. You must also know the landscape and the key competitors in the industry.

This may involve activities such as subscribing to the top industry publications and monitoring competitive activity. You may also want to set up Google Alerts to catch the latest content.

The effort pays off when you must demonstrate your expertise.

4. Show off a Little

As you may have guessed, this stage involves showing off your expertise to the client. That means you must demonstrate your knowledge of the account, the company, including its industry.

Instead of taking instructions, outline the steps required to reach the SEO goals at the lowest cost. Not only will this simple gesture help gain trust, but it’ll also prove your ability as an SEO consultant.

Remember, you’re the SEO expert — be confident.

5. Take Action

SEO services, by its very nature, involves controlling the execution of your recommendations. In other words, this is the part where you take actions that’ll help achieve your goals.

Consider clarifying the priority actions. That way, everyone can focus on the items that’ll have an immediate impact while others wait. It would help if you also stressed the importance of executing these recommendations.

Sometimes, a recommendation may not produce the desired result, and that’s fine. It would be best if you re-evaluate the strategy and devise a new approach in such an instance.

6. Use the Right Tools

Growing without the right tools and resources is challenging regardless of your skill and experience as an SEO consultant.

The tools at your disposal determine the amount of information and data that you can supply clients. Furthermore, it severely impacts your efficiency as a business entity.

Examples of tools that SEO professionals use include:

Choosing the right tool for your SEO services can be challenging. However, the options outlined above might be an excellent place to start.

Wrapping Up

Various characteristics define a great SEO consultant.

For example, you should identify the prospect’s persona to target their specific audience better. Also, you should be a team player, working well with web developers and the marketing team.

However, the main element that defines an SEO expert might be a willingness to improve. Since SEO is continually changing, there’s always something new to learn.

Admittedly, the constant need to stay informed can be tasking. But it’s the primary requirement of providing excellent SEO services.

Read More: Why Hire A Content Editor To Manage Your Website Content

First AI Web Content Optimization Platform Just for Writers

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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