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What Is an SEO Professional in 2019? An Identity Crisis Averted

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What Is an SEO Professional in 2019? An Identity Crisis Averted

Picture this: You’re an SEO professional, and someone asks you what exactly it is that you do.

What do you say?

I’m a:

  • Search analytics guru
  • Content strategist
  • Site developer
  • UX designer
  • Paid search synergist
  • Educator
  • Who knows? It really depends on your organization and what it needs.

SEO pros are often forced to become jacks of all trades, with varying levels of mastery across all kinds of different digital marketing and website-adjacent skills.

And in 2018, Conductor (disclosure: I work for the company) found that SEO professionals need to master many of the skills listed above in order to have successful careers in digital marketing. That sure seems like a lot for one person, though.

SEO Should Be a Function Across Many Roles, Not Just Your Job

Think of SEO as a kitchen knife (you know, one of those really nice ones people like to talk about randomly at dinner parties).

Today, many organizations are like a kitchen full of chefs with only one “knife guy” – with only a single designated SEO.

But knives should be used in some way by all chefs. They are super helpful for so many things.

The same is true for SEO in an organization. SEO should not just be one person’s “thing” or responsibility.

The burden of optimization is on the organization, not on any single individual.

People with the word “SEO” in their title should focus on helping others make use of search data and strategies.

They should help the:

  • Analytics person figure out how to surface actionable search insights.
  • Content strategist make use of search data to target audiences.
  • Developer understand how things like page depth and internal linking can influence the authority of key site pages.

And so on.

Empower Your Team with the Context of Your Organization in Mind

In order to do all of the above, SEO pros need to make their team, website(s), organization, and industry their specialty.

It’s important to see the whole picture to know how to make a big impact with SEO.

But SEO professionals don’t often get to see their work come to fruition from start to finish. They often provide recommendations that require many other stakeholders to take action.

To be successful, SEO pros need to create informed recommendations that take into account the specific context of the business itself.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as an SEO that will give you the context you need to provide better solutions for your organization:

Team

  • Who do you work with?
  • What do they do?
  • What skills do they have?
  • How can you empower them with SEO?

Website

  • What CMS does your site use?
  • What are the limitations of your site from a development perspective?
  • How can you provide specific SEO recommendations with CMS and dev in mind?
  • What can you do in the future to lessen these limitations?

Organization

  • What are your organization’s goals?
  • What makes your brand unique?
  • How can you leverage search data to highlight strengths and achieve goals?

Industry

  • What is your industry?
  • Who are your competitors? What do they do well?
  • How does your organization fit into the industry as a whole?
  • What data does your industry find valuable?
  • How can you use search data in a way that your industry will find valuable?

How to Get Your Whole Organization Onboard

Great! You have a plan. You know the players and the game.

Now all you have to do is convince your organization that SEO is more than optimizing title tags and meta descriptions.

This will be so easy.

Right?

It should be.

Search is ubiquitous. It’s integrated deeply into our lives.

There is no greater source of customer intelligence out there. It seems so obvious and so simple. But some organizations still do not value SEO or the data behind it.

Agencies and marketers are happier investing millions in targeted digital display impressions when millions of users use an ad blocker.

It is not always easy to get your org on board, but you can make the best case for yourself by setting the metrics for your success.

To win over those more concerned with attribution than innovation, show how you will measure the success you will have working together.

Set goals and measure your results in metrics that are curated for your org and team using the knowledge you have cultivated. You will win them over.

Optimize Your Organization for the Customer

When people think about SEO, they’re probably thinking about something like optimizing a page or examining the backend of the website.

But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what SEO can or should be doing across a business.

The real purpose of SEO is organizational optimization. Every individual in every role across your business should have a clear understanding of how SEO can help them execute on their goals and roll up into the larger vision of the organization.

There are unique insights into your customers, competitors, and industry trends that only organic data can provide.

By spreading these insights across your organization, you can be the catalyst for new processes that align intent and streamline efficiency across teams to deliver powerful marketing messages anchored in a deep understanding of your customers’ need and the future of your business.

Evangelizing the value of SEO and organic insights across your company will empower every part of the organization to better align with your customers, the industry, and the future of the business.

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Matt Liljegren

Matt is an SEO & Content Manager at Conductor. Besides creating informative and engaging content for the Conductor website, he ... [Read full bio]

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