Career in SEO: Skills Needed, How to Start, How to Get an SEO Job [2023]

The digital revolution has transformed the business world profoundly, especially the field of digital marketing, and has opened up new opportunities for a career in SEO. Entire new toolkits within marketing have emerged, which was unthinkable a couple of decades ago. SEO is one of those vital functions within marketing today that has seen a tremendous push over the last decade, in both the number of SEO job opportunities as well as in their growing critical importance to companies.

In today’s times, the digital marketing industry is growing and seeing exponential growth. The market growth for digital marketing is expected to reach USD 65.33 billion in 2022. There are various domains in digital marketing, and one of those is SEO, naturally, SEO jobs are also seeing a spike.

Organisations are turning digital and with the rise in various platforms, they want to establish a stronghold online presence. A team is dedicated to improving the online presence of their digital web pages,  and to making sure the website comes in the first place on a search result. And that team is the SEO team.

The growth and demand for SEO job roles are going to increase in the coming times. There are already many employers that pay competitive salaries to retain and acquire their talent. In the coming times, there is going to be an increased number of employers. So, the aspirants having the apprehension “Is SEO a good career?” should be satisfied that yes, it is a good career and must be explored.

First, let us understand – what does SEO do?


As more and more businesses move online, they are producing even more content daily, and it has become challenging to stand out and gain visibility for your blog or article, especially if you are new in the space. For example, according to the tech jury, in March 2019, around 4.4 million blog posts were published every day. 

SEO aims to gain traffic on the website which eventually helps in revenue growth. They work on algorithms and use certain strategies to make sure their website or piece of content ranks higher. 

The SEO job aims to improve the business ranking by increasing organic search traffic and results. The professionals carry out various tasks in order to achieve their aim. The tasks may include changing the website, optimization of content, etc. 

SEO primarily helps a website rank high – by focusing on a two-pronged strategy – the entire website, as well as individual webpages for business-relevant keywords when the users ( prospects for the business) type them into the search bar. 

Without visibility, it will become difficult for businesses to reach their target audience, build their brand presence, and attract prospects by building trust and offering a strong value proposition through their website. Hence, a career in SEO will demand you to focus on increasing brand visibility on search engines through organic methods. If you are serious about digital marketing, check out our digital marketing courses.

Some of the skills required from SEO professionals are-

  1. Technical 
  2. Analytical 
  3. Tools understanding 
  4. Critical thinking
  5. Problem- solving 
  6. Collaborative
  7. Self-starter

These sets of skills are highly useful for developing a holistic overview of the ongoings and leading the SEO domain effortlessly. To get better job opportunities and ace the SEO career, it is important to be fully equipped with the skill sets to beat the competition.

How does SEO work?

With SEO career opportunities, you will fundamentally work along with two core principles – developing highly relevant keyword-rich content and generating quality backlinks for the website and the web pages. 

For each keyword that the searcher inputs into the search engine, the search engine has built up an extensive index, ranked in order of relevance to the search query. Thus, when the user enters a search query, the search engine quickly runs through its index and delivers the result immediately. 

For indexation, these search engines rely on crawlers, named so because like a spider, they crawl the entire web directory. As an example, Google Bots crawl the entire web directory for any new content that is added. 

Backlinks help Google bots quickly discover your content since they crawl into more authoritative sites more frequently. Also, good, organic backlinks are a metric of trust and relevance for your website, which helps to boost the presence and rank accordingly. Hence, getting backlinks from a relevant, authoritative site, are essential aspect of SEO career opportunities.

Also, it is necessary to get backlinks from multiple domains instead of from a few domains only. Quality backlinks can provide a massive boost to your rankings in a quick period, and also provide large amounts of referral traffic from all these different authoritative websites. 

In order to boost traffic, SEO professionals make sure to create content that is original yet relevant to the target audience. If the content would be inauthentic and irrelevant, then it would not gain the traffic as expected. 

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Remember that with a career in SEO, you will need to put in efforts that will take time to build up and start bearing fruit. You need to keep working and convincing the stakeholders concerning your plan and objective. Once you make concerted changes to your website, the search engine will start picking them up, and over some time, it will reflect in your rankings.

Moreover, like SEO, your activities around generating quality content and getting high-quality backlinks are also time-consuming and a painstaking tasks. Hence, you will need to work with a plan and remain patient.  

Read more: How to Build your SEO Strategy from Scratch

How will your career in SEO create an impact on the business?

With a career in SEO, you will be working on the front lines of the business, helping to shape your business trajectory and growth subtly. Therefore, it also provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the nitty-gritty of business, since your effort will result in improved bottom lines for your business.

Let us understand the marketing funnel:

  • Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
  • Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
  • Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

Search engine optimization aims to get more people at the top of the funnel, by coming to your website and discovering the content for themselves. Ultimately, it will help increase and push more people into MOFU, and BOFU, which will eventually turn into marketing qualified leads then enter into negotiations with your business representatives. Hence, more bottom-line growth will result from the overall efforts that you put in.

The content has a lifecycle it goes through such as TOFU, MOFU and BOFU. The search behavior changes with the progress of prospects through the funnel. The search engine optimization jobs focus their energy on creating engagement on the website that a prospective customer transition into MOFU or BOFU.

Therefore, SEO career opportunities also require you to work closely with the marketing campaign and Conversion Rate Optimization folks at your enterprise to align SEO objectives with the overall marketing plan for the business. 

A career in SEO requires you to work with the content marketing strategy of your business so that your company’s content calendar and content objectives are aligned with the SEO. SEO career opportunities require you to fine-tune your content strategy, which will depend upon your research skills and execution. Even if the company has created outstanding content, it is of no use if it is not getting discoverable on the web. 

Not being aligned with the marketing team and other related vertices, would not result in bearing any fruits. Because bringing in traffic is not doable by one team working in isolation, rather it is teamwork. All the teams who are invested must be aligned in order to achieve the goal.

You need to drive traffic to your company’s blog/ articles. For this, you will have to understand what keywords are going to be relevant and competitive and how you embed the keywords into the article so that it gets picked up faster and higher in the search engine database. And also, how to rank for competitive keywords and get quality backlinks by tying up with potential partners. 

If it is well-written content but there is no use of keywords, there are chances of it going unnoticed. Being aware of keywords, and tools that give good keywords are really important as it all brings the efforts together.

There are several tools out there to help you grow with your career in SEO here. Semrush, Ahref, and Moz are the top ones.

To succeed with so much information, you will need a proper plan and follow up on the same with detailed execution. 


What skills are needed?

SEO is getting more and more complex as search engine algorithms are becoming sufficiently advanced. Hence, a career in SEO demands mastering multiple skills today. And, companies need their skills more than ever to understand and master how to rank well for relevant keywords. 

First and foremost, you need to be a dynamic learner to keep up with market trends. Search engines bring out multiple updates within a year and keeping a tab on how they might impact your business is going to be crucial since various updates keep on coming up.

Next, you need to build a strong foundation for yourself in core SEO skills. You need to understand the nuts and bolts of digital marketing and start developing business acumen. You need to keep an eye out and analyze how the competitors are moving, and research into this is again going to be absolutely sure.

You also need to have a solid grasp of web fundamentals, database technologies, and especially the front end, file management aspects of website management. 

Analytical skills are going to be highly valuable. A career in SEO needs you to understand and work with google analytics and google search console to keep measuring the impact and result of your efforts. You will be working with a lot of information, coming in every day from diverse sources. Hence, you will need analytical skills to not only make sense of it, but also prioritize the information, and remove the noise from what is going to be essential for your business growth.

A career in SEO will require you to understand the business landscape and perform in-depth competition analysis. Keep a tab to understand the backlink profile that they are building, what are the kinds of content that they are posting and what press releases they are doing. 

Communication skills are critical to growing within an SEO job role. Search engine optimization is about learning the tactics and mapping them to the overall business strategy to create a concerted push. For this, job opportunities in SEO ask for strong and clear communication skills, so that you can work with multiple stakeholders to come up with effective execution of the strategy. 

Job opportunities in SEO also focus site audits A site audit will give you an overview of your site’s health – and identify if there are broken links, and redirects on your website, which are taking away your rank equity. A site audit will also help you to assess if the outbound links are broken, which pages of your website are getting high traffic, from which pages the users are bouncing away, and what are top pages among many others.

It will help you to devise appropriate strategies around interlinking, which pages to focus on, what keywords should be targeted, where should the content be written around and how to improve your search engine presence, to boost your organic traffic and ultimately your revenue.

Once you have got a firm grounding in the fundamentals, you need to fuse that with strong applied knowledge by working on real case studies. Thus, with the valuable experience and skillsets, you will be able to make a successful transition to the world of business and marketing.

There are useful publications out there, such as Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal, which you must keep following to remain updated on how the latest trends are impacting other businesses, and how to minimize the negative impact of it on your business. 

The search engine algorithms have been growing more sophisticated and smart with rolling out more advanced. Google updates such as Penguin, Rankbrain, Hummingbird and Pigeon updates, on the back of the advanced neural net, and ever-improving AI technologies, have given search engines a much deeper understanding of incorrectly mapping the user intent to search results. 

There will be moments when the professionals would be required to deal with the content that is dynamic in nature, in order to handle that leadership skills should be an armour.

Having strong research skills in SEO is really important. Sometimes these research skills would become useful to find the solution to an error. Or sometimes they would come in handy researching for content and optimization.

Lastly, the professionals should be good communicators and collaborators. As mentioned before, the effort is of the team as a whole, if someone is a good communicator they can convey their meaning across. 

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How can you get started?

Previously, setting up the website for search engine visibility and ranking used to be the domain of website developers and admins. It has changed now with the emergence of SEO as a separate domain and independent practice.

If you are passionate about marketing, blogging and analytics; then this is the right field for you to start with. 

There is excellent growth potential in this practice. As you keep acquiring more skills and build on your business and communication skills, you can expect yourself to become a digital marketing manager over time. A career in SEO also opens up several opportunities in the freelancing space.  

Since SEO is not something taught in the traditional curriculum at universities, the job is the best place to acquire skills and knowledge of the craft. 

SEO industry leaders such as Neil Patel, Brian Dean, Rand Fish, Barry Schwartz, etc. are well renowned for their thought leadership and are considered marketing experts in the modern age. 

Even if you do not come from a science background, it will not be impossible to get an entry into SEO career opportunities. There will be some technical concepts that you will need to master, but that will eventually come to you once you start getting your hands dirty. Our course will give you a sufficient grounding in technical concepts that you will need to master SEO, as a complete beginner.  

SEO is an essential aspect within the booming digital marketing market of today, and hence, the market is expected to generate significant SEO career opportunities. With excellent communication, your job will be to work with the stakeholders and get them aligned with your tactics and overall marketing objectives. 

On the web fundamentals aspect, there are important concepts related to database connectivity, file transfer protocols, and managing access files that SEO career opportunities ask for. 

Many sites today use WordPress, Joomla, or Wix as content management systems. Our course will teach you how to work using these. You will learn about the plugins that you must integrate to enhance your site’s functionality. 

Also Read: Digital Marketing Salary in India

Learning and being adaptable to changes such as schema markups, accelerated mobile pages, HTTPS 2 protocols, international SEO, pagination, etc. are going to be important for delivering a modern and contemporary web experience, while coming up high on the search engine results pages. 

Check out the courses on upGrad, which are taken by industry experts and delivered after close consultation with veterans, to give you a strong head start into careers in SEO. Robust theories are laced with applied case studies to give you a strong grounding and positioning. 

SEO helps to optimize your website or webpage so that your business and brand come out on the top results when users search for relevant keywords. 

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Wrapping up

Search engines have brought out several updates, which have made them a whole lot smarter. Since the dynamics of search engine algorithms keep changing, you need to keep your finger on the pulse by reading a lot. SEO career opportunities are on the boom today, and we invite you to check out our well-researched and comprehensive courses to walk you through.

If you wish to explore and become an expert in Digital Marketing, check out MICA and upGrad’s Advanced Certificate in Digital Marketing & Communication. Become an expert in social media marketing, content marketing, branding, marketing analysis and PR.

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What is SEO in digital marketing?

SEO stands for search engine optimization and is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy. It is the process of getting free, quality and organic website traffic into your website and getting to the top position naturally in the search result pages.
A good SEO involved many different activities, including:
1. Keyword research to identify potential keywords with potential search traffic.
2. Creating high-quality and engaging content for the website.
3. Visualizing site’s internal linking process and including relevant links from high-quality websites.
4. Tracking daily rankings of all your keywords in SERP and measuring the results

What is better, SEO or PPC in digital marketing?

PC stands for pay-per-click marketing and is an inorganic way of reaching the top of the Google SERP.
In SEO, the primary focus is on improving the page authority and taking it to the top of the search result naturally, whereas, PPC doesn’t help you in improving website ranking or authority.
PPC are Google Ads or paid ads that appear at the top of SERP to relevant searches. PPC helps connect to a wide audience online in a short period. Your SEO is not affected by PPC. The only time when your SEO is benefitted by PPC is when your PPC ad campaign performs well, which will help users to return through normal search and will influence organic traffic.

What are the top skills required to become an SEO specialist?

To become an SEO specialist, you need to be familiar with technical skills, doing keyword research, knowledge of search engine algorithms, critical thinking, Data Skills, link building, mobile SEO and knowledge of various tools.
For example, you need to be familiar with all the Google tools, knowledge of HTML and CSS. The tools that you need to be familiar with are SEMrush, Moz, ahrefs, Schema, Majestic, DeepCrawl, Net Insight, etc.

Is SEO easy to learn?

SEO is not the easiest domain to work in but definitely not the toughest. With appropriate guidance and good education, SEO becomes easy to learn.

Is SEO a technical job?

SEO is considered one of the IT-related jobs. There are certain IT skills that are required to be known by SEO professionals. Technical knowledge of the SEO tools and functions is required.

Does SEO have a future?

With the advent of the digital age and data taking the center of the place, SEO is going to see a rising trend. SEO is required by every organization to reach their target audience and it is going to see more interest from employers as the demand is going to be high.

Do I need coding skills for SEO?

Necessarily, SEO does not require coding skills. A job aspirant not having coding in their resume can find a good job provided they are meeting the other criteria of the job.

What skills should I learn for SEO?

Some of the skills learnt for SEO are mentioned below- 1) Technical skills 2) Communication 3) Cross-team working 4) Analytical 5) Critical thinking 6) Adaptive 7) Leadership

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