What Qualifications are Needed to be an SEO Expert?


There’s no class in school that can teach someone how to become an SEO expert. You learn from experience, getting your hands dirty and picking up on tricks and tactics from experts in the field.

An SEO expert is similar to a quarterback in football. The game slows down over time for great quarterbacks because of experience. Top tiered quarterback’s have seen many defensive schemes and have picked up on tendencies from watching game film which enables them to become more proficient as time progresses (a la Tom Brady).

Since our SEO agency has worked with hundreds of clients, we’ve picked up on patterns, tendencies and tactics on how to improve rank for our clients on Google.

Below is a list of 14 qualities of an SEO expert:

  • They take the time to understand your business 
    • In order to succeed at SEO, you need to understand how a business operates. When you comprehend the ins and outs of a company, it allows you to select keywords more strategically, target the right suburbs, find relevant blog topics and better structure a site. Discovery meetings are crucial so the SEO expert can ask questions to better learn your business.
  • They understand the importance of quality content
    • If you have good content on your site, visitors will stay longer, learn more and external sites will be more likely to share your content and link back to it. Google has put a lot of emphasis on E-A-T (establishing authority and trust). When you are writing content on a service page of your site or you are creating a blog post, it should be authoritative, meaning it should be coming from an expert and should be well-written.
  • They understand the importance of backlinks
    • Backlinks are the foundation of Google’s algorithm. According to Moz, link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. A hyperlink (usually just called a link) is a way for users to navigate between pages on the internet. While SEO is complex and has a lot of layers to it, understanding the importance of acquiring quality backlinks is important to understand.
  • They understand the importance of site structure
    • Creating a solid URL structure is one of the first things that should be looked at by an SEO expert. Too often, a URL structure is sloppy and difficult to comprehend. Consolidating unnecessary URL’s and creating a clean structure will enhance the user experience and make things easier for Google to understand, which will help your SEO.
  • They understand the technical side of things 
    • Our agency has in-house developers, which sets us apart from other SEO agencies. An SEO expert should have a strong understanding on the technical side. Search Engine Watch compiled a great list of the 12 most important elements of a technical SEO audit. Fast site load speed time, checking your sites robots.txt, making sure the site is https and secure, properly submitting XML sitemaps, and checking your robots.txt are files are just some of the items an SEO expert should be cognizant of.
  • They have proper reporting in place 
    • Are you tracking your keywords versus competitors? This is simple yet shouldn’t be overlooked. You can track keywords at the suburb level and pick up on patterns by analyzing rank. SEMRush and Moz are two of our favorite reporting platforms.
  • They have software at their disposal
    • Screaming Frog is a great software that will crawl your entire website for technical audits. Earlier, we mentioned SEMRush and Moz for keyword tracking but these software’s also pick up on key items like technical issues, backlink opportunities, brand monitoring and more. When you work with an SEO expert, you are paying for their skillset but in many instances, you’ll get your site integrated into many of these key software’s.
  • They understand the importance of conversions and sales
    • Increased organic traffic and keyword rankings are a good thing. If all your site traffic is coming from a blog that’s not generating any new business or backlinks, it doesn’t do much good. Make sure the SEO expert you are hiring is looking at conversions within Google Analytics and measure how many new leads and sales are being driven from organic. A further drill-down should be done to see which content is driving the sales.
  • They tackle the low hanging fruit 
    • An SEO expert can run an audit of your site, take a look with the naked eye of key web pages and instantly pick up on key deficiencies holding back your SEO. You’d be amazed how many websites miss optimizing the title tag on their homepage and core service or product pages. Too often, there is a lack of internal linking. While a report generated by a software can be helpful, an SEO expert is going to know what to tackle first.
  • They understand the importance of local 
    • When you conduct a Google search, the map results are one of the first things to populate, making local SEO extremely important. An SEO expert is going to optimize your Google My Business page. They are going to ensure your NAP (name, address and phone number) are consistent. They will get you submitted to a local directory like Yext. With so many people searching, “near me,” local SEO is becoming more important than ever. According to HubSpot, nearly 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. Make sure your local SEO expert is at the forefront of local.
  • They understand the importance of meaningful blog content 
    • Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. In order to receive backlinks to your site, the content has to be informative. If your blog content is fluff and something you aren’t proud to share, you need to reconsider your strategy. Your blog should be a sales tool for your business. It should also be a knowledge center for people who find your content online. An SEO expert should pick topics and devise a strategy for the creation of your blog. An SEO expert doesn’t necessarily have to write the content for your site but they should help guide you on strategy for topic selection and execution.
  • They understand the importance of online reviews
  • They are not afraid to delegate
    • By reading the list above, you are well aware of the amount of hats an SEO expert must wear. A confident and great SEO expert isn’t afraid to delegate. They may be great at content writing but lack skills on the technical side, so they have a resource they rely on for this. If one person tells you they can do each of the items above all by themselves, be leery. That is one of the nice things of working with a digital agency; they have numerous resources in-house that can help with all of the items above.
  • They won’t guarantee top placement on Google
    • A confident SEO expert won’t make guarantees because they know nothing on Google is guaranteed. If someone is pitching you on “guaranteed top placement within a month” be very wary. A knowledgeable SEO professional will outline strategy and tactics to accomplish page one positioning on Google but they won’t make guarantees.

Jason Parks

Jason Parks started The Media Captain in 2010. He’s grown TMC into one of the largest digital agency’s in Ohio over the past decade.The Media Captain has worked with hundreds of small, medium and enterprise clients on digital marketing and development projects.The Columbus Based Digital Marketing Agency has received numerous accolades. TMC was named a Top 1% Agency in the U.S. by UpCity in 2019 and 2020. They also won the “Best PPC Campaign,” which was a national award from DashThis. They were also the recipient of the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Agencies in Ohio.

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