What Is an SEO Manager? (With Job Requirements and Skills)

Updated March 21, 2023

Organizations hire SEO (search engine optimization) managers to create and implement strategies that help them improve their search rankings. When an organization achieves a higher search ranking, it can generate more leads and increase organic website traffic. If you're considering pursuing a career in SEO management, learning more about this role can help you prepare adequately. In this article, we explain what an SEO manager is, list their responsibilities, explain the job requirements, provide essential skills, share tips for getting started, and explore the work environment.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

What is an SEO manager?

An SEO manager is a person who manages and implements strategies to improve a website's search engine rankings and overall visibility. Their primary goal is to increase organic traffic to a website, which they achieve by optimizing its structure, content, and other elements to rank higher in results pages. These individuals have expertise in SEO techniques, such as on-page optimization, keyword research, analytics, and link building. They have experience in digital marketing channels, like social media, content marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. To excel, these individuals rely on their skills, like communication and project management, and stay up-to-date with industry trends.

Related: SEO Beginner's Guide (Including Approaches and Benefits)

Find SEO manager jobs

Search engine optimization manager responsibilities

In this role, your responsibilities may differ depending on the organization you work for, but might include:

  • Analyzing and reporting on SEO performance: In this role, you may monitor and analyze website analytics to determine whether your SEO efforts are effective. Using these findings, you may create reports that inform stakeholders of performance and areas that require improvement.

  • Collaborating with other teams: You can expect to work with other teams containing web developers, content creators, and stakeholders. Working together, you might ensure that you've optimized effectively for search engines and provided a quality user experience.

  • Conducting website audits: Performing routine website audits allows you to identify areas for improvement. This process can also help you ensure the website meets search engine and technical guidelines.

  • Developing and implementing SEO strategies: By anticipating, planning, and implementing strategies, you can improve the visibility and search engine rankings of a website. This process may involve optimizing on-page elements, conducting keyword research, monitoring analytics to measure success, and building links.

  • Managing external relationships: In this role, you're likely to work with external contractors or agencies to execute SEO campaigns and supplement their internal team's expertise. Relying on your communication skills, you may develop and manage relationships with vendors, partners, and additional external stakeholders.

  • Managing resources and budgets: If you work for a small organization, you might also manage resources and budgets to ensure that your SEO efforts are effective. Resources you might require include tools for research, on-page optimization, link building, analytics, content creation, and social media.

  • Staying up-to-date with industry trends: As SEO is a continuously changing field, keeping informed about the latest trends, best practices, and algorithm updates allows you to develop and implement effective strategies. You can also stay current by taking courses, attending industry seminars, and discussing SEO issues with individuals within your professional network.

Related: What Are the Responsibilities of a Manager?

Search engine optimization manager job requirements

The job requirements for this role differ depending on the industry and hiring organization. Before applying for the role, it's beneficial to review the job listing carefully to ensure you have the essential qualifications for the role you're considering. Ensure that you highlight the mentioned qualifications on your resume and in your cover letter. Most organizations expect their search engine optimization managers to meet the following requirements:

  • Education: Many SEO managers have at least a bachelor's degree in marketing, computer science, business, or a related field. Pursuing a master's degree can make you a more competitive candidate for this position and may help you earn a higher salary.

  • Experience: Most hiring organizations expect candidates to have several years of experience in digital marketing, SEO, or a related field. The specific number of years is likely to vary depending on the level of the position and the hiring organization.

  • Certifications: While most organizations don't require candidates to have certifications, pursuing them in SEO and other related areas is beneficial. For example, you might pursue a HubSpot Academy SEO certification.

  • Continuous learning: During the hiring process, hiring managers want to ensure candidates commit to continuous learning and professional development. This commitment might involve staying up-to-date with trends, learning new SEO strategies, and taking courses to develop essential skills.

  • Skills: Developing analytical and communication skills can help you perform your tasks and collaborate with other teams and stakeholders within the organization. Gaining technical skills, such as link building and on-page optimization, allows you to optimize websites effectively.

Related: How to Write an SEO Specialist Resume (With an Example)

Search engine optimization manager skills

To excel as a search engine optimization manager, develop the following skills:

  • Analytical: You can use these skills to measure the impact of your SEO efforts and determine which areas require improvement. For example, you might use your analytical skills to determine the return on investment (ROI) of your optimization efforts for a specific project.

  • Communication: Being an effective communicator helps you establish and maintain professional relationships, collaborate with other individuals and teams, and explain insights to stakeholders. You can develop these skills by taking a communication course or observing an industry leader with exceptional communication skills.

  • Conversion rate optimization (CRO): CRO is the process of improving the percentage of website visitors that complete a desired action, like completing a contact form or purchasing an item. You can use this skill to maximize the ROI of your optimization efforts and fulfill specific campaign project goals.

  • Copywriting: Your copywriting skills allow you to create content that's optimized for search engines and user-friendly, ultimately improving your organic search rankings and driving more traffic to the website. For example, you might use this skill to optimize content for on-page SEO factors, like meta descriptions, header tags, and title tags.

  • Link building: Link building is an SEO technique you can use to improve the search engine ranking by having other websites link to yours. This strategy requires finding relevant websites, outreach to website owners, and relationship building.

  • Project management: Using your project management skills, you can develop an SEO project plan, which includes the goals, scope, budget, timelines, and resources required. During the project, you can manage resources, monitor progress, and make changes when necessary.

  • Website administration: You can use this skill to ensure that you've optimized a website for search engines and that it adheres to industry best practices for functionality and design. For example, using this skill, you may organize a website's structure and content so that users can navigate it easily.

Tips for getting started as a search engine optimization manager

Here are some tips to consider for acquiring the search engine optimization manager role:

Network with others in your industry

While networking can help lead to job opportunities, it's also crucial if you want to succeed as a search engine optimization manager. Networking with other people in your industry can expose you to new ideas and approaches that help you think more creatively. For example, you might learn a more timely way of completing a website audit from another professional and then implement the new procedure with your team. Through networking, you can also form relationships that lead to new collaborations, which help you fulfill project or campaign goals.

Prepare for your interview

If your resume impresses the hiring manager, they might invite you for an interview as a last step before you get the search engine optimization manager role. To prepare for this interview, perform an online search for SEO manager interview questions and practise your answers. The interviewer is likely to ask in-depth questions to determine your expertise in SEO. For example, they might ask a question like, What is the difference between off-page and on-page SEO? When answering questions like this one, provide examples of how you've used these tools in your previous role.

Read more: 7 SEO Interview Questions with Helpful Preparation Tips

Find SEO specialist jobs

Target entry-level SEO jobs

If you're just beginning your career in this field but aspire to become a search engine optimization manager, you can gain industry experience in entry-level SEO roles. For example, you might find work as an SEO specialist or a digital marketing specialist. In these roles, you can learn to optimize web pages for popular search engines, manage marketing projects, and develop skills to help you excel in a manager position. After gaining experience and developing your skills, consider applying to search engine optimization manager roles.

Related: Understanding Entry-Level Jobs

Find digital marketing specialist jobs

Search engine optimization manager work environment

In this role, you're likely to work in a fast-paced office environment, although you may work remotely or arrange a hybrid work scenario. You can expect to spend much of your time working at a computer, although this job can require meeting with other individuals, like collaborators or stakeholders. Expect to work a 40-hour work week, Monday to Friday, although you may work outside of these hours in certain circumstances. For example, if you have a project deadline approaching or work with international clients, you might be required to work in the evening or on weekends.


Explore more articles

  • How to Become an Insurance Appraiser (With Duties and Skills)
  • What Does a Credit Manager Do? (Plus How to Become One)
  • 5 AWS Security Certification Courses You Can Pursue
  • What Does an Internal Auditor Do? (With Average Salary)
  • What Does an Application Software Developer Do? (With Skills)
  • What It's Like to Work in Australia (Plus How to Get a Job)
  • What Does an Anaesthesia Nurse Practitioner Do? (And Skills)
  • Supply Chain vs. Logistics (Definitions and Key Differences)
  • 12 Policy Analyst Jobs (With Description and Salary)
  • What Is a Data Centre Technician? (With Skills and Duties)
  • Actuary vs. Accountant (With Similarities and Differences)
  • How to Use Indeed to Job Search During COVID-19