10 Important Skills an SEO Specialist Should Have

Elen Mesropyan
24 April 2024
5 min read


If you're considering a career as an SEO specialist or trying to hire a link builder, it's important to understand the specific skill set you’re seeking. As a community, we recognize that a successful SEO expert possesses a unique combination of skills, each of which is integral to that work. Almost every SEO specialist's job description will have the majority of the skills below. Why? Let’s delve into this profession and understand the significance of each skill in the SEO landscape.

Hard Skills for an SEO Expert

To be a qualified SEO expert, one needs to have a number of hard skills, from technical and analytical to content research and writing. So, let’s talk about some hard SEO skills that can be obtained through work and experience and name some tools that can be helpful!

  1. Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the foundation of the SEO skills every SEO expert or link builder should have. It doesn’t matter if you’re an on-site or freelance SEO expert, broken link builder, or analyst. So, what is technical SEO? Technical SEO is the combination of website infrastructure optimization and coding. Technical SEO is also intended to improve search engine performance, as well as traditional SEO. Technical SEO skills will help you find broken links, improve the site’s loading speed, or detect duplicate content. These are some of the common issues that every experienced professional should know how to fix (or at least identify). What kind of tools are specialized to help SEO experts improve their technical skills? 

  • Screaming Frog
  • Google Search Console
  • Ahrefs 
  • Google's PageSpeed Insights

As the basis of technical SEO instruments, these are the must-know and must-use ones.

  1. Market Analysis

The second fundamental skill in an SEO specialist's job description is market analysis. Market analysis, especially competitor analysis, can provide valuable insights, find new opportunities, and help create win-win SEO and marketing strategies. 

Market analysis is also used for keyword strategy, which is also an essential part of SEO. With market analysis, an SEO manager can learn a lot about the target audience, customer behavior, and preferences. A lot of SEO-related tools can help with market analysis; some of them are our favorites:

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Moz

SEO experts should pay attention to these classics of market analysis.

  1. Keyword Research

Keyword research and content strategy planning are the main responsibilities of an SEO specialist. Sure, it’s a skill everyone can obtain through time and effort. A good SEO specialist should know how to find the best keywords and how to use them in content strategies. Sometimes, keyword research also includes the understanding of how to create keyword-rich content that will improve search rankings. 

Why is keyword research important in SEO? At first, it directly influences website visibility and content visibility itself. Secondly, proper keyword research and implementation on the content can increase overall website traffic. 

What kind of tools should you choose for keyword research? 

  • Ahrefs Keyword Research
  • Ubersuggest
  • Google Keyword Planner

Each of these tools suggests various helpful features so that any expert can choose the best and most suitable ones.

  1. SEO Analytics Management

SEO analytics management is one of the most critical SEO skills a specialist can learn. It is something quite common in an SEO specialist job description. Knowing how to manage SEO data helps you understand whether your website performs well in search engines. The main SEO analytics metrics are: 

  • Keyword rankings
  • Organic traffic
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Click-through rate (aka CTR)
  • Domain authority (aka DR)
  • Referring domains
  • Backlinks

Here is how those metrics will look on Ahrefs:

Understanding and analyzing these SEO analytics metrics is crucial. Firstly, you can improve your site’s search engine performance. Secondly, you will be able to make better decisions and find flaws. 

  1. Content Writing

The content writing skills of an SEO expert directly influence how a website will rank in SERPs. Do an SEO specialist have to know how to write perfect content? Not necessarily. There are some fundamentals that a good SEO specialist should develop: 

Writing for Search Intent: Search intent is the information a user is looking for. Understanding how to write search queries is an extremely important skill for an experienced SEO specialist. 

Creating Call-to-actions (CTAs): Another important content-writing skill concerns creating Call-to-actions (aka CTAs). CTAs persuade and encourage users to take certain actions. Those actions can differ from registration to purchase. 

These content-writing basics are important, especially for a freelance SEO specialist or a broken link builder. What about tools that can help write in general? Let’s talk about some of them!

  1. Yoast SEO: The most popular plugin that helps to create SEO-optimized content is Yoast. It helps to check the main technical SEO issues, optimize for keywords, and improve readability. 

  1. Quetext: The second tool is all about assisting in creating unique content. How does it help? It finds potential plagiarism from other sources on the web and suggests paraphrasing options. 

  1. Grammarly: Finally, Grammarly! Everyone has heard of it. It is an ultimate writing tool that freelance SEO experts can use as well. Grammarly helps to find and correct any kind of error (from typos to grammatical and much more) and improves the clarity and style of the text.

     6. Voice and Search Optimization

It is not a secret that millions of internet users use images or speakers to search for something on the internet. Besides, people use image recognition to find specific products and identify objects.

Voice and visual search optimization are important if you want to expand your audience, boost SEO, and get a competitive advantage.

That is why voice and visual search optimization are essential SEO skills for an expert. Well, everything is clear about its importance, but how can you optimize visual and voice searches? Let’s take a look at two important aspects:

Image quality: Something extremely essential for visual search optimization is the quality of the visuals themselves. Now you can find hundreds of useful tools, to optimize the quality of images and make them smaller and compressed. One of the helpful ones is TinyPNG, which will make any visual search experience better:

Google Image Sitemap: The fact of how accurately Google indexes the images on your website is another important aspect of visual search. 

Here is an example: 

Having a image sitemap can help google index or discover the images used on a website. So, when users search for terms related to your images, they're more likely to appear in the results. 

Long-tail keywords: What about voice search? Something extremely important in voice search optimization is the usage of long-tail keywords. Voice search queries are natural sentences that people look for, and mainly, they are long. For example, instead of just searching for “link building”, the user will search for “best link building services near me.” So, every SEO expert should try using long-tail keywords,  to attract leads and increase their website's visibility.

Soft Skills for an SEO Expert

What else, except soft skills, can you find in an SEO specialist job description? Besides hard skills that can be obtained, employers concentrate on soft skills if they’ve decided to hire link builder. Soft skills, also known as interpersonal skills, influence how you interact with people. This is something extremely important for an SEO expert, who should work with diverse people. So, before applying for a job as a freelance SEO expert or a broken link builder, check the following out!

    7. Communication and Negotiation

Sure, if you don’t like working with people and communicating, SEO is not for you. SEO involves collaboration with designers, web developers, content creators, clients, and webmasters. Communication is needed inside and outside your company. What about negotiation? If you’re a link builder, strong negotiation skills will create tons of backlinks for you! 

    8. Adaptability

The SEO landscape is constantly changing, considering regular Google algorithm updates. This means that being an experienced SEO expert needs to be adaptable to that evolving environment. How can it be done? Firstly, specialists should keep up with any updates in search engines. Secondly, SEO experts should check industry trends and innovations. There are more tools and techniques to work more successfully every day. Checking for news or trends is not enough; they should be integrated into their work as well. Continuous learning should become a habit and help them become better day by day. 

   9. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is one of the most important SEO skills. It helps an SEO specialist in various situations, almost every working day. We have already talked about data analysis, and its important, but what can help with it? A very important critical thinking itself. It helps you make informed decisions by analyzing large amounts of data. On the other hand, if you’re a critical thinker, it will be easier for you to solve problems easily and evaluate any strategy.

   10. Time Management

Finally, the last essential SEO skill worth mentioning is time management. SEO specialists should power through a list of tasks. Managing time correctly is important to meet deadlines and be successful. 

For instance, a lot of SEOs multitask and handle keyword research, technical SEO, content creation and much more. Finally, keeping up with trends (an important aspect we have discussed before) needs much time. 

So, do you think you can handle that?


Being an expert in any field is more complex than it seems (especially in a field that is constantly changing, like SEO). This profession needs much work, effort, and time to specialize fully. Some of the mentioned skills can be easily obtained; others need more practice or innate skills.

As with any other job, SEO requires constant learning and energy. So, don’t give up on your quest to become a better expert, and always seek the help of professionals!

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