SEO is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding careers to pursue. With many career paths and jobs focused on short-term results, SEO really weeds out those who are not long-term oriented.
In this post, I’m going to cover exactly which roles in SEO pay the best and where you should look to land these roles.
What is the purpose of SEO jobs?
Believe it or not, it took me over two years to learn what’s the point of SEO. When I started freelance writing, some of my first clients asked me if I knew anything about SEO.
I did a few quick Google searches and said I’m familiar with it lol. My mindset was if someone is paying me to write for them, just sign me up.
It wasn’t until I started working with really advanced SEO companies that my work was being scrutinized. After that, I took the time to learn some basic SEO skills and started this blog.
After doing it firsthand for clients and for myself, I can sum up SEO very simply: your job is to get your employer as much organic traffic from Google as possible.
SEO means search engine optimization; what you are doing is using different strategies to optimize your content for Google, so you can get free traffic.
The different SEO jobs focus on different aspects of SEO. Some roles may focus on creating great content, while others may focus on building links and improving the authority of a website.
It’s important to know which SEO jobs you are looking for and what’s the basic skillset you need to do your job properly. Let’s cover the different roles and what you can expect from each.
What are the best SEO jobs?
1. Content Writer
I placed content writer as the first SEO job because it’s entry level and you can get paid to learn SEO on the job. The majority of companies will not hire anyone who’s inexperienced to handle an SEO role. You can either work for someone who will accept your inexperience or start your own project and learn on your own.
Content writing allows you to actually do SEO first hand, while getting paid. It’s pretty easy this is how it works:
- Your manager/editor will assign you articles to write and focus on a keyword
- You’ll follow their guidance and requirements and write the article
- After review, you’ll make final edits and finish the article
It’s that simple, you keep repeating the process. The only downside to content writing is that you’ll never really learn actual SEO knowledge unless you seek it or you have a demanding manager.
Although I hated working with demanding SEO managers, I learned the most from them. With content writing, the only real SEO skills you may learn is on-page SEO and how to add keywords in your content.
I’m making the assumption that you want to improve in your SEO career. If you simply just want an SEO job, you don’t need a lot of technical SEO knowledge to keep a content writing job. As long as you show the willingness to learn and you bring value, most companies will employ you for a while.
2. SEO specialist/analyst
An SEO specialist or analyst is a role that requires deep technical knowledge of SEO. Although content writing is the foundation for ranking websites online, it needs a lot of technical SEO work to maximize traffic from search engines.
As an SEO specialist or analyst, your job will be to do the behind the scenes work once content is done by a content writer. This includes responsibilities like:
- Optimizing titles, meta descriptions, headers
- Ensuring site is mobile-friendly
- Backlinking and internal linking
- Work alongside other team members to reach overall SEO objectives
These roles performed by the SEO specialist can be the difference between a blog post being ranked #1 on Google vs #20.
Although the SEO specialist role requires a deep understanding of SEO, it teaches you most of the information you need to know to do SEO at a high level. If you are a high-performing SEO specialist, you can be promoted to being the SEO manager.
3. SEO manager
The SEO manager is the first executive position within SEO. Instead of focusing on the nitty gritty details of a single blog post like writing the content and optimizing headlines, the SEO manager focuses more on the bigger SEO objectives for the company.
In addition to managing the team members with the SEO department, the SEO manager is also responsible for creating SEO strategy and meeting the key objectives for the company. This includes improving KPIs like organic traffic, conversions and more.
As a leader within the SEO team, the SEO manager will also collaborate with other teams like sales and marketing to help reach broader organizational goals. Generally, the SEO manager is someone who has years of experience within SEO and has spent some time in junior roles like content writing and as an SEO analyst.
4. Head of SEO
The head of SEO is the most senior SEO role within a company. The head of SEO is basically the manager for the SEO managers. This role is extremely important for a company and it can be very demanding.
As the head of SEO, you will be the go to person for all thing SEO within a company. You will have the help of your team like content writers, SEO analysts and managers, but you are one who’s responsible for reaching SEO goals set by senior management within the company.
The head of SEO is a role that requires someone who has led a high performing SEO team. This generally requires 7-10 years of experience, but if you have accomplished a lot within SEO, this can be overlooked.
The head of SEO has to work alongside other senior management within the company to ensure the company’s overall objectives are met. This role pays extremely well and can open up many other senior management roles within a company.
5. Blog/website owner
Last, but definitely not least, the single best SEO job is to be a blog or website owner. If you really have an understanding of how SEO works, why not use it for your own benefit instead of a company?
This is exactly why I have this blog and I’m writing this post. As a content writer, I had a period where I lost a few clients and it made me really think about what exactly I was doing and what value I was providing for a company.
The first question I asked myself is how are these companies affording to pay me to write for them? I have to be making more money for them than they are paying me to write for them.
This led me down a rabbit hole of blogs and YouTube videos until I figured out how websites make money.
Basically this is how blogging works:
- You target keywords that people are searching for
- You write helpful content surrounding that keyword (ex. for this blog, the keyword is SEO jobs)
- You monetize traffic with ads, affiliate marketing, products, etc.
If you write hundreds of articles on a particular topic like SEO, blogging, etc., you can get thousands of visitors to your website each month.
As your traffic grows, you can monetize your website with ads, products, affiliate marketing and more. It’s almost 100% passive. The only work you need to do is to keep creating good content and grow your traffic.
The good thing about blogging is that you can do it while you have your SEO job. If you have your own site and spend 1-2 hours blogging each day, you can turn into a full-time business within a few years.
If you want to learn more about how blogging works, check out this blog post here.
Where can you find SEO jobs?
Now that we’ve covered different types of SEO jobs, you will need to focus on where you can find them and apply to them. Here are some conventional and unconventional places to find SEO jobs.
Job boards should be the first place you should look for when searching for an SEO job. Sites like Indeed.com, Monster, ZipRecruiter, etc. have the most SEO jobs posted on them.
When you apply on job boards, it’s important to make sure you have an up to date resume and a good cover letter. Make sure to filter out the jobs by date, so you don’t spend time applying to a position that’s 2+ months old.
One helpful tactic you can use on these job boards is to sign up for their email lists, so you can get alerted when an SEO job is posted. If you do this on several job sites, you can get dozens of SEO jobs sent directly to your email every day.
LinkedIn is a great resource to find SEO jobs. With LinkedIn, you can literally connected with hundreds of people within SEO. This will make your LinkedIn feed full with SEO opportunities and announcements.
An underrated strategy with LinkedIn is optimizing your LinkedIn profile. When people search for terms for hiring SEO positions, you can show up on their results if you optimize your page. Making sure to put looking for SEO role in your title can attract companies and recruiters to your page.
Also, LinkedIn has a job board called LinkedIn jobs. There are literally hundreds of SEO jobs posted there every day. You can see exactly how many people applied to each role and you can see who you need to contact to get the job.
Having a personal brand where you talk about SEO topics is probably the best way to land SEO jobs. This is something that will likely take months to a year to start bringing results, but it’s by far the most beneficial.
Let’s take my blog for example. I post a ton of content around blogging, SEO, freelance writing, etc. My blog alone is worth more than a resume, CV or degree because I’m showing employers my skills in real time.
If I can bring organic traffic to my own website, I can definitely do that for an employer. Your personal brand can be your LinkedIn page, your Twitter or blog. Posting your thoughts on a topic within SEO once a week will immediately separate you from 90% of all people within SEO.
I’d recommend having your own personal website. You have full control over it and you can market yourself whichever way you’d like.
These are just some of the best roles you should pursue within SEO. Since there’s not really a traditional SEO career path like a degree to a job pipeline, the only way you can show your expertise is through your experience.
I recently applied to my first job in over two years for fun. It was an SEO content writer position at HubSpot. I applied and got an interview invite within a few days.
Even though I had zero formal experience with SEO, I was able to showcase my expertise through my CV.
Here’s my actual cover letter I used in the application.
As you can see, I’m highlighting what I’ve done and what I can bring to HubSpot as a content writer. When you apply to SEO jobs, make sure you focus more on what you can do for the company. This will separate you from most of the candidates and maximize your chance of getting an interview.
At the end of the day, finding an SEO job is a number’s game. Make sure to make your resume and cover letter professional and apply to a few jobs each day. If you do this over a few months, you’ll likely have a few interviews lined up and potentially a job offer.
Make sure your online presence (blog, Twitter, etc.) shows you have interest in SEO. This will help expand your network and build your credibility as an authority within SEO. If you have any other tips, feel free to list them below in the comments.