20+ Key SEO Skills You Need to Succeed in 2024

So, you write an amazing blog for your website titled ‘Best digital marketing skills to learn.’ You have done detailed research, formatted it well, and maintained the highest quality possible. Now, as you publish it, you would expect users searching for ‘top digital marketing skills’ to read your blog post. However, there are hundreds of similar write-ups on the same topic. So, how would you ensure that users find your blog first? The answer is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). 

Every day, over 7 billion different types of write-ups are published on the internet, and over 8.5 billion searches are performed on Google. So, you need to put your best foot forward to stand out from others and attract maximum readers and organic traffic. That is where the SEO skill comes into play. 

SEO may have become the most popular digital marketing strategy, but many aspirants and beginners still need a clearer understanding of it. 

Google evaluates a blog or website based on multiple factors, most of which are unknown. As a marketing professional, you have to figure out these aspects using the trial-and-error method. This can take months to yield results. However, once you hit the bull’s eye, it can return the highest ROI, making it a crucial skill to master in 2024. 

In this blog, we’ll talk about the key technical and soft SEO specialist skills that you need to acquire and hone to make a promising career in the field in 2024. 

SEO Skills List

Here is the list of core skills for SEO:

Core SkillsSoft Skills
Keyword ResearchProject Management
Search Engine Algorithms and Ranking FactorsProblem-solving
Competitive SEO analysisFlexibility and Adaptability
Technical SEOPeople Skills
Data AnalysisPrioritization
On-page OptimizationCritical Thinking
Link BuildingDecision Making
Content MarketingHumility
Proficiency in SEO ToolsResearch and troubleshooting
AI PromptingAnalytical Thinking

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SEO Skills 2024

Key SEO Skills

Now, let’s talk about the skills for SEO jobs in detail here:

1. Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation of any SEO strategy. Hence, it is one of the most crucial and essential SEO executive skills. It is the process of identifying relevant search terms or phrases that the target audience might enter into search engines. Keyword research is important to understand what your potential audience is looking for and how you can address their queries.

For example, if you offer online digital marketing courses, you can write blogs on ‘Selecting the best digital marketing institute?’ or ‘Digital marketing guide for beginners.’ These are quality and relevant words and phrases to use in your content to rank higher on search engine result pages and drive traffic to the website. 

Choosing the right keywords for a business is a key aspect of SEO. Using the wrong keywords in blogs and websites means wasting your efforts, time, and resources in writing blogs that your users are not interested in reading. 

Also, keyword research demands expertise in using keyword search and analysis tools, determining users’ intent, etc. Also, you need to know the importance and role of different types of keywords. For example, long-tail keywords may have lower search volumes but are easier to rank than header terms. 

Also Read: How to Do Keyword Research for SEO? 2024 Strategy

2. Knowledge of Search Engine Algorithms and Ranking Factors

As an SEO professional, proficiency in search engine algorithms and ranking factors is a basic and necessary requirement. It is the core of SEO, and all SEO beginners start their journey from here. After all, they make their living by optimizing websites to rank higher in search results. 

Staying updated with search engine algorithms and ranking factors includes expertise in crawling, indexing, ranking process, and working with popular search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. As an aspiring SEO wizard, you must become familiar with all the familiar factors, at least the commonly known ones. 

These are the essential aspects, which include quality backlinks, optimized content, site loading speed, user experience, keyword relevance, and more that determine your website’s search engine ranking. 

This will help you stay ahead of your competitors, drive organic traffic, increase brand awareness, boost your website’s online presence, and reach wider audiences by keeping pace with the ever-changing search engine algorithms. As you will know what’s happening behind the scenes, you will be able to generate better results for your website. 

Remember that Google constantly refines its racking algorithms to provide accurate results to users, so you need to stay updated with the changes and adapt your strategies according to the latest SEO trends and best practices. 

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to employing all the useful tactics and methods to optimize the infrastructure and code of a website so it performs better on search engines. The aim is to technically optimize the website so that it is crawlable by loads, secure, has zero deadlinks, contains original content, and loads faster. All these factors make users and search engines see a website as helpful and credible. 

As an SEO professional, you must be well-versed in technical SEO so you can analyze a website to find common issues, such as plagiarised or duplicate content, broken links, and any loopholes. You may not need to fix all the issues, specifically the ones that demand coding and programming. However, you must be able to identify problems so that a tech specialist can take the necessary measures.

SEO technical skills also include improving sitemaps, meta tags, page experience, JavaScript indexing, etc. You should also know how to conduct a website audit, examine every web page, and determine elements that need to be worked on. For this, you may either need coding skills or collaborate with developers for further optimization. 

4. Basic Coding Knowledge

As we mentioned, coding and programming skills are not necessary to be an SEO pro. However, basic coding knowledge can make a huge impact on your career. You don’t have to be an accomplished web developer or designer, but you must understand the basics of HTML and coding implementation of recommended changes. 

This will help you work seamlessly with web designers to execute SEO strategies effectively and integrate them into website design from the beginning. 

Your job would require you to focus less on the creative aspects of web design and more on coding and HTML tags. With basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you can give input regarding page loading speed, tagging, navigation, site structure, and content presentation. 

It’s not enough to prepare page loading speed and share it with developers for improvements. You should also know the appropriate actions required to enhance the speed and the right way to implement the changes. Optimizing header tags, writing Python scripts, managing redirects, and implementing schema markup should be within the expertise of an SEO executive.

5. Competitive SEO analysis

The SEO research and strategizing stage requires SEO experts to analyze competitors and know how they perform on search engines. It helps them find out the keywords they are ranking for, their strengths, and weaknesses. 

So, competitive analysis is also one of the key SEO analyst skills to determine the keywords that you can use in your content to get higher rankings and boost your SEO efforts. It is also necessary to dig deeper and answer a few important questions:

  • Does their site have a better loading speed?
  • How are they ranking higher?
  • Do they create more optimized content?

If you are working for a small company or startup, your focus must be to get ahead of the local competitors, especially the ones who lack SEO efforts. It also helps plan and implement strong SEO strategies and target a wider customer segment.

6. Data Analysis

Research and analytics are the foundation of search engine optimization. These two aspects help SEO professionals identify trends, explore opportunities, update their strategies to maximize organic traffic, and accelerate business growth.

Therefore, data analysis must be well within the wheelhouse of an SEO wizard. They must be able to read, understand, and analyze data, uncover patterns in user behavior, retrieve critical information, and make data-driven decisions. Their job is to increase user engagement, enhance user experience, and improve website navigation. 

Being an SEO expert, you must know how to take the right actions at the right time and use analytics to ensure consistent results. You must know business KPIs to implement powerful SEO strategies. Moreover, it’s your responsibility to assess the success of your link-building campaigns by monitoring their quality and relevance and measuring their impact on your website’s search engine rankings.  

Also Read: Difference Between On-Page vs Off-page SEO: 2024 Comparison

7. On-page Optimization

If you know the fundamentals of SEO, then we need not tell you about on-page optimization. It’s the heart of SEO, involving website optimization, content creation, content optimization, blog posting, and whatnot. 

Any changes made on a website to improve its content so that it performs better on search engine result pages are part of on-page SEO efforts. 

Any small change on a website can make a huge impact on its ranking and performance. Therefore, on-page optimization is one of the key SEO skills. It covers building internal links, optimizing them, creating SEO-friendly content, filling content gaps, and optimizing published blogs. 

8. Link Building

Backlinks are hyperlinks that redirect users from another website to your site. It’s a vital factor in search engine rankings and needs to be done strategically to generate desired results.

SEO professionals identify link-building opportunities, compose compelling and useful content, and continuously build external and internal links to boost their website’s rank on SERPs

They must be aware of the difference between good and bad backlinks and focus on crucial factors to increase good backlinks, which include anchor text, host domain’s authority, link relevance, etc. Basically, they should create, execute, and track the entire backlink strategy. 

Link building is divided into two parts- internal and external links. SEO experts have complete control over internal links; they decide when and how to cross-link the web pages.

On the other hand, external link building demands a little more effort and time but can generate great results. The authority and quality of pages you choose to build external links play a major role in determining how your website will rank on search engines. 

Here are a few trusted link-building techniques that you can use:

  • Guest posts
  • Case studies
  • Image link building
  • Quoting platforms
  • Testimonials
  • Digital PR methods
  • Competitor link building
  • Resource page link-building

9. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the pillar of SEO, where writing content is only one piece of the puzzle. Once writers draft content, SEO experts optimize it so that it is according to search engine algorithms and aligns with the entire SEO strategy. Hence, content writing and marketing is one of the must-have skills for SEO aspirants and professionals.

Their job starts by finalizing topics according to search volumes, target audience, and market trends. The next part is to develop write-ups with the correct format to meet users’ search intent. Developing optimized and high-quality content is the priority because no one wants to link to content that adds no value to their website. 

For example, if the top-ranked blog on a particular topic is over 2000 words, then writing a blog of 500-800 words is useless. It would neither earn you any rank or place on search engines nor meet users’ intent. 

An SEO manager worth their salt should be able to upgrade old blogs to keep pace with changing algorithms, oversee content strategies, train writers to get things done on time, boost SEO performance of write-ups, and increase their chances of ranking higher for target keywords.

Although SEO professionals need not be great writers, they must be familiar with different content types and key ingredients to make content SEO-friendly. 

They should know how to manage website content, social media posts, and blogs simultaneously to meet the company’s marketing goals. They must ensure that they are publishing the right and engaging content across all channels that suits the brand message and enhances user experience. 

10. Proficiency in SEO Tools

SEO is a complicated world to navigate, even for experienced professionals. It demands more than theoretical knowledge and interpersonal skills. Your job involves an array of tasks, including managing massive data, analyzing competitors, creating quality backlinks, researching relevant keywords, identifying broken links, finding duplicate pages, and so on. 

Managing all these manually is a tough row to hoe. Therefore, you need to leverage advanced SEO tools and technologies to make the process seamless and streamlined.

Fortunately, you have a range of SEO tools to automate and speed up different tasks. Many industry leaders already rely on them to get improved results, and you also need to embrace them. These tools are broadly divided into four main categories:

  • Optimization- These tools help you understand the performance of your SEO strategies and how you can improve them on certain benchmarks. For example, speed analytics tools and content optimization platforms.
  • Research- These tools are used to find keywords, analyze competitors, and explore backlinks to uncover opportunities for strong SEO strategies. For example, keyword planner tools.
  • Monitoring- These platforms help in monitoring SEO performance. For example, rank-tracking technology.
  • All-in-One- These tools are like one-stop solutions, offering multiple functionalities on one platform. 
  • You need to master these tools to equip yourself and offer your clients better SEO solutions. 

Also Read: How to Become SEO Freelancer? 2024 Guide for Beginners

11. AI Prompting

We have all been hearing a lot about artificial intelligence and how it is taking over different fields. SEO is no exception, and we can already see the impact of AI tools in SEO marketing. AI is not going to replace SEO professionals, so you don’t have to be worried. However, it’s high time that you adopt this technology and seek ways to use it to achieve higher productivity.

Today, the first and most powerful SEO manager skills to learn is AI prompting, which involves crafting and entering precise prompts into AI tools. For example, using ChatGPT to get useful insights and automate different SEO tasks. 

SEO experts also use AI tools to brainstorm new and innovative ideas, evaluate customer data, find relevant keywords, and more. Many SEO writers count on AI prompts to find gaps in their content, check errors and slip-ups, and research out-of-the-box topics for articles. 

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12. Social Media Marketing

SEO experts and social media marketers mostly work together to generate traffic and create quality backlinks. They both have the same objective- boost the website’s ranking on search engines. Although search engines don’t index social media posts directly, social media engagement can lead to traffic on the website, which improves its search engine rankings. 

With over half of the global population using social media platforms, SEO professionals also need to up their game by acquiring social media marketing skills. It will enhance their marketing efforts and generate improved results. 

It’s part of their job to create funny, engaging, relatable, and relevant social media content that encourages user interaction. They need to devise social media campaigns to build brand awareness and community. 

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Soft Skills for SEO

SEO Soft Skills

Here, we will discuss the soft SEO skills that help you perform your job in the best manner:

1. Critical Thinking

Every website or business is different, and so are the SEO strategies used to promote them. SEO experts analyze opportunities, challenges, and other aspects that each website offers and think critically to come up with the best SEO strategy to attain the best results for every project. Therefore, critical thinking is an essential soft SEO skill that you need to develop at the beginning of your career. 

As you will handle several projects, you will realize that the SEO landscape is filled with varying levels of data and evidence. You will apply multiple strategies and upgrade them from time to time to yield greater results. However, not everything will work as expected. 

As a seasoned SEO professional, you would be able to identify issues quickly using critical thinking by reviewing website analytics. You will study patterns in user behavior, assess all outcomes, research competitors’ strategies, evaluate your site’s performance, conduct a site audit, and then come up with your opinion. 

You will have to understand that not everything in the SEO ecosystem is back and white. You need to find a middle ground at times to diagnose an issue and find the best approach to address it. Your prowess in suggesting and implementing unique and innovative solutions and adapting your strategies according to changing scenarios will work wonders for your career. 

2. Project Management

Your job is not limited to creating backlinks, finding the right keywords, and enhancing the website’s speed. As an SEO wizard, you will also have to set clear goals, plan and execute SEO campaigns, handle complex projects, allocate resources, and deliver results within stipulated timelines. 

You will be responsible for various tasks, from content optimization to increasing website traffic. Even as a freelancer, you need to have a well-structured working system to manage your projects and measure progress. That is why you need to hone project management skills. It ensures that you have a smooth workflow and deliver the results effectively and within the given time. 

Project management is a broad concept that also includes leadership, collaboration, time management, organizational skills, and much more. We have listed a few of them below for better understanding:

  • Time Management- It involves managing multiple projects or aspects efficiently and meeting deadlines without affecting the quality or productivity.
  • Risk Management- It refers to the capability of finding risks in SEO projects, such as changing market trends, search engine algorithms, and technical issues, and preparing for them to avoid any stumbling block.
  • Task Management- This means assigning priority tasks and tracking them at every step of the SEO project lifecycle.
  • Technology- You master how to leverage the right tools and software to streamline your work.
  • Communication- You collaborate with other team members, communicate with clients, and coordinate team members so that everyone is on the same page and works toward one goal.
  • Team Management- Assigning tasks and responsibilities to each team member based on their strengths, expertise, and experience.

Also Read: What is Mobile SEO? Importance, Audit, Strategy, Best Practices, Full Guide

3. Problem-solving

Problem-solving is one of the indispensable SEO skills required to be an SEO Pro. It shows your ability to see the big picture and focus on finding solutions rather than stressing yourself out in tough situations. 

SEO involves a plethora of tasks, and we often ignore small but vital things, such as the relationship between potential website visitors, the website, the business, and search engines. So, it’s important to take a step back, look at a wider perspective, assess every element, and come up with a solution to address the problem in the long run. 

When nothing goes as per your plan, which is frequent in digital marketing, you need to find new ways to attain set goals. You have limited resources and a pile of tasks to handle. So, when something unforeseen happens, divert your energy and effort toward solving the issue rather than fretting about the situation. 

4. Flexibility and Adaptability

SEO is an ever-evolving world, with search engines updating their algorithms every now and then and customers seeking unique products to meet their increasing demands. So, SEO experts must be flexible enough to adapt to the changing environment, trends, opportunities, and requirements. 

Even if your most promising strategy fails to generate the expected results, stay calm and adjust to the situation. What worked for your competitors might not work for you at all. So, stop looking for one-size-fits-all strategies and experiment with new ideas and tactics. Refine old methods, implement new ways of doing things, and keep pace with the changing surroundings.

However, pay heed to existing progress and maintain a balance between proven SEO techniques and forward thinking. Your goal is to meet the client’s immediate needs and deliver the best results.

5. People Skills

SEO comes with its own complexities and challenges. You have to deal with client complaints, frustrations, and unrealistic expectations. No matter how good you are in SEO, if you can’t connect with people and not communicate with them, all your efforts and skills are in vain. 

You need to know how to convey your ideas and opinions to work with people, clients, and stakeholders. Yes, your job is not to please everyone around, but SEO professionals have to deal with a lot of people every day, and they must have a knack for having effective interactions with them. 

Even as a freelancer, you need to hone your people skills for relationship management and client communication. This will help you create a positive work environment and present yourself as a credible and ethical professional. You must be adept at explaining your point of view and other intricate details to clients in an accessible manner. 

There can be times when clients need immediate results when it comes to website traffic or backlinks. However, these things take time to yield results and benefits. You must communicate the same upfront to avoid any dissatisfaction in the future. 

There will be many similar situations, and people skills will also come in handy. Thus, we have to include it in this SEO skills list

Moreover, it also involves empathizing with clients and stakeholders as they have a lot at stake. So, provide regular updates and show the progress through detailed reports to win their confidence. It will also help in team management, especially when you handle a project and collaborate with different team members. It will enable you to get maximum productivity and maintain a healthy work culture.

6. Prioritization

You will be dealing with a range of tasks in your SEO career, and at times, you might work on multiple projects simultaneously. Needless to say, not all tasks will give equal results. So, prioritizing your tasks will help you work hassle-free on your campaigns and avoid any confusion. 

Generally, you should first complete low-difficulty but high-impact tasks that don’t need much time, such as enhancing site speed, optimizing title tags, creating a Google My Business account, etc. 

Next, move on to the high-impact tasks that demand more time and resources, such as creating social media posts, generating quality backlinks, and other SEO processes needed to improve your search engine rankings. 

However, this may vary according to projects, clients’ requirements, market trends, and other factors. So, as a skilled SEO strategist, stay responsive to the changing algorithms, trends, data, and projects. 

7. Decision Making

You will have limited resources to work with in your career, and you have to make the most of them. As there’s no shortcut to success, industry leaders use their independent judgment based on experience and data-driven insights. That is why decision-making is one of the basic SEO skills required in 2024. 

Whenever you have two or more options and no way to find out which is the best one, you have to rely on your decision-making prowess. You will have to conduct tests, assess results, adapt your strategy, and make quick decisions. 

When it comes to bigger issues or decisions, consult with other team members and seniors. But have the ability to make informed and faster decisions to keep things moving. 

The ability to make quick and informed decisions is crucial to keep SEO campaigns moving in the right direction.

8. Humility

Throughout your journey, you will face a lot of ups and downs. Many times, things will not be as expected, you will not get the desired results, and you might have to adjust your strategies. You will have to be open to new ideas and keep on working hard to meet the goals and targets. 

In such situations, it’s your humility that will keep you going. You will always be ready to learn from your mistakes and upskill yourself while leaving your ego at the door. Moreover, it will also make you value the opinions and ideas of other team members. 

You will understand that every SEO strategy is a collaborative effort that demands people with different skill sets to work together. You will respect everyone’s contributions and initiatives.

Also Read: SEO vs SEM Difference in Digital Marketing: Explained in Simple Terms

9. Research and Troubleshooting

SEO professionals also handle content, including writing, editing, and optimizing. Creating quality content requires detailed research regarding the topic and keywords. You will have to develop content on varied topics, mentioning correct facts, details, and data. 

Even as a freelancer, you need to possess a strong understanding of various tech and non-tech fields combined with exceptional research skills to deliver SEO-friendly and informative content. Also, you would be responsible for multiple SEO-related tasks, which might also include deployment. 

With so much to deal with, research and troubleshooting skills will be your best companion throughout your career. With efficiency in these two areas, you can achieve your dreams and make a lucrative career. 

10. Analytical Thinking

To make a career as an SEO expert, you need to become an analytical thinker. You must understand users’ search intent by looking at the available data and keywords. Also, you must know how to mix intent with data to target search terms better and achieve higher search engine rankings.

Analytical thinking is an essential SEO skill for resume, as it helps you understand what has gone wrong in a campaign and how to make it right. No matter how great your technical skills are, it’s your ability to connect with people and understand their behavior patterns that will take you a long way. You can lead them down the sales funnel once they engage with your content and product.

Your analytical thinking will help you identify the following:

  • Long-term and short-term keywords
  • Factors that drive or reduce traffic
  • Creative and unique content ideas
  • Search volume

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Wrapping Up

SEO skills can help you achieve great heights in digital marketing, provided you put them to the right use. It is a dynamic field with ample learning and growth opportunities. 

To mark your presence and make it big in the industry, you need to possess the above-listed SEO skills. It will not only transform you into a full-fledged SEO marketer but will also make you a business leader. 

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  • Ashima Jain

    Ashima Jain is a Content Editor and Strategist at WsCube Tech and has been in the content marketing industry for 6 years. She is a writer by day and a reader by night. It was actually her love for reading that made her try her hands at writing. She has completed her postgraduation in Economics and Financial Management and has also done diploma courses in Journalism and Digital Marketing. When not working, you can find her in a cafe enjoying a cup of joe and a book.