SEO ManagerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Given that in today’s world a company’s presence is almost entirely online, it’s not uncommon to have entire departments dedicated to directing and maintaining traffic and attention to the company. Having someone in charge to take care of the planning and execution, along with administrative tasks, is vital to the success of these departments, and by extension, the company.

SEO Managers are responsible for a company’s overall approach to SEO. They handle the planning and implementation of campaigns and projects, as well as handling marketing and analytical data. They plan around content and keywords strategies, as well as perform general managerial tasks.

These managers will be responsible for maximizing ROI for online campaigns and monitoring a wide variety of KPIs. They’ll need to be strong in both interpersonal and analytical skills. Finding patterns in data and presenting it to others is a key part of this job.

Sample job description

Search engine optimization is vital to the success or failure of a company’s online presence and marketing. As an SEO manager for [Your Company Name], you will be responsible for working alongside our marketing team to plan, implement, and manage our SEO strategy. Current knowledge of SEO best practices is absolutely essential to this role. You will work closely with our team to oversee the optimization of our online content and advertising to increase profitability. If you have excellent communication skills and attention to detail, we’d love to get in touch.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Develop long- and short-term SEO strategies
  • Research and report relevant search engine keywords and trends
  • Develop off-page optimization initiatives, such as link-building
  • Collaborate with creative and marketing teams to produce engaging, relevant content
  • Coordinate social media and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns with search engine marketing (SEM) strategists
  • Track key performance indicators (KPIs), report rankings, and recommend tactics to optimize further
  • Stay on top of SEO best practices and marketing trends

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, digital marketing or advertising, business, or a similar field.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong experience with HTML/CSS
  • Expertise in current SEO best practices
  • Knowledge in using content management systems (CMS) to optimize websites
  • Familiarity with requisite web analytics tools and reporting tools
  • Working knowledge of SEO copywriting and UI design skills
  • Solid background in strategy for traditional and digital media channels
  • Strong leadership and organizational skills
  • Analytical, results-driven mindset
  • Solid writing and communication skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Expert knowledge of SEO & SEM
  • Excellent writing and presentations skills
  • Knowledge of website analytics measurement methodology and measurement platforms including, Google Analytics and Search Console and SEO tools

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a SEO manager is $76,850 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$76,450$103,400
Los Angeles, California$86,250$116,650
Denver, Colorado$71,850$97,200
Washington, DC$87,550$118,450
Miami, Florida$71,550$96,750
Orlando, Florida$66,000$89,250
Tampa, Florida$66,650$90,150
Atlanta, Georgia$69,900$94,550
Chicago, Illinois$80,350$108,700
Boston, Massachusetts$86,900$117,550
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$69,250$93,700
New York City, New York$91,450$123,750
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$74,450$100,750
Dallas, Texas$72,500$98,100
Houston, Texas$71,850$97,200
Seattle, Washington$83,600$113,100
National Average$65,300$88,400

Typical work environment

SEO managers work in an office setting. As their work revolves around a company’s online presence, they spend most of their time on a computer doing research and making plans for SEO strategy. They may also be required to attend regular meetings with team members and executives.

Typical hours

The work hours for an SEO manager are typically from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting. However, longer or different hours may, at times, be necessary.

Available certifications

SEO certification is useful for honing your skills and proving to potential employers that you have an above-average knowledge of how SEO works. Here are some of the best programs for you to look into:

  • ClickMinded SEO Certification. ClickMinded is a self-paced online course that promises to teach you everything you need to know about SEO as quickly as possible. Their SEO certification compiles a ton of information into 7 courses that are each 3-6 hours long. Once you sign up for this program, you will have lifetime access to the courses, which includes any updates as SEO practices and rules change. 
  • BlueArray Academy SEO Manager Certification. Suitable for beginners, in-house SEO managers, and SEO agencies, this certification course is crafted specifically for SEO managers and not just SEO practices. It contains 21 modules, 15 quizzes, and 31 tasks that will take the most consistent students anywhere from 2 to 4 months to complete.
  • Market Motive Advanced SEO Certification Training. If you already have experience in the areas of marketing and SEO, this advanced training course promises to help you master keyword research, on-page and off-page analytics, and SEO analytics. It is presented in a self-paced format with more than 30 hours of videos, 15 hours of instructor-led online classes, and 20 real-life industry-based projects.

Career path

Becoming an SEO manager often begins with earning a bachelor’s degree in a marketing or business field, such as mass communications or market research, or a computer science-related field. Some colleges and universities also offer certifications in search engine optimization.

Learning the fundamentals of integrated marketing is crucial before moving onto mastering search engine optimization. On-the-job experience working in a digital marketing role can provide the know-how required to be an SEO manager.

SEO managers are constantly shoring up their marketing skills and learning the latest trends in search engine optimization. SEO marketing seminars and conferences — online and offline — are an excellent way to keep up-to-date with industry best practices.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-2021

2020 Employment293,700
Projected Employment in 2030323,100
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 10% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift29,400 increase

As long as companies continue promoting their businesses online, SEO managers will be crucial members of any marketing team.

Google periodically updates its algorithms to give users the most relevant search results possible. Tactics that ranked a website in the top two last year may not work as well the following year, which can make search engine optimization tough to nail down, even for the most internet-savvy layperson.

Experts predict that interactive video, AI-driven search, and brand awareness are the future of SEO. SEO managers will need to watch how Google responds to these trends and adjust their strategies to keep driving organic traffic to clients’ sites.

Sample interview questions

  • How did you learn SEO?
  • What are your favorite SEO tools?
  • How do you approach keyword research?
  • What is your approach to developing an SEO strategy?
  • What is your first step to diagnosing SEO issues on a given URL?
  • Tell me about 2-3 SEO tactics you have successfully implemented and the results.
  • What is one SEO tactic you’ve heard of recently that you’d like to try?
  • Tell me about the project you are most proud of.
  • How do you stay up to date on SEO trends?
  • How do you measure SEO success?
  • What are some common SEO mistakes you see businesses using?
  • How do you see SEO changing in the future?

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