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SEO Strategist Overview – Role, Responsibilities, Salary, and More

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TrioSEO - Connor Gillivan

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Everyone knows about SEO, but what does an SEO strategist do? Who’s behind the scenes constructing the strategy and bringing everything to life?

In this guide, we’ll thoroughly explore the role of an SEO Strategist, including the tools essential for success and potential earnings in this career.

Let’s get started!

What is an SEO Strategist?

The job title “SEO Strategist” might sound intricate, but breaking it down makes it straightforward: “SEO” is short for Search Engine Optimization, a process focused on enhancing a website or its content to achieve higher rankings on important search engine results pages (SERPs). But who exactly is an SEO strategist?

An SEO strategist is a professional creating and executing well-planned SEO strategies to boost a brand’s online presence. Their ultimate goal is to attract more natural traffic to the website and secure top spots on widely used search engines such as Google.

TrioSEO - SEO Strategist - What is an SEO Strategist

What is an SEO Manager? Are They The Same Thing?

At first glance, there may be some ambiguity between these two roles—SEO managers and strategists—and many often wonder if they are the same. Despite overlapping areas of expertise and tasks in both positions, they aren’t identical.

The key distinguishing factor revolves around authority level. Compared to strategists who predominantly focus on creating effective strategies based on their analysis of SEO data trends, managers oversee other team members working within the realm of SEO and generating systems themselves.

SEO Strategist vs. SEO Specialist

While SEO specialists are deeply involved with daily activities associated with optimization efforts, strategists are one step ahead—ensuring every single specialist does their part to execute carefully designed strategies that improve the website’s SERP ranking.

What Does an SEO Do? SEO Responsibilities

As the name suggests, a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategist’s primary responsibility is to create and implement effective strategies to improve a website’s search engine rankings. But what does this involve exactly? 

Let’s dive deeper into the specifics.

An operational day for an SEO strategist might include:

  • Analyzing keyword data
  • Researching trending keywords
  • Optimizing website content
  • Piecing together insights from web analytic tools

However, these tasks are just on the surface of their daily hustle. The actual responsibilities stretch much further.

  1. Keyword Research: One of the foremost tasks in an SEO job description includes extensive keyword research. An SEO strategist must constantly identify famous words and phrases people use while searching that align with their client or company’s products or services.
  2. Website Optimization: This ensures that all parts of a website — from its content and images to its backend features such as Meta tags —are tailored optimally to increase visibility on search engines.
  3. Data Analysis: Strategists must decode vital data such as traffic sources, conversions, and demographics from analytics tools. These inputs help them understand user behavior better and readjust strategies accordingly.
  4. Competitor Analysis: Keeping tabs on rivals’ tactics – what works for them and what doesn’t – is another significant aspect of an SEO strategist. Learning about successful trends in real-time helps stay updated in this dynamic field and can significantly assist in decision-making processes.
  5. Creating Reports & Updating Clients/Stakeholders: Clear communication is essential in any position, including an SEO one; it ensures everyone involved is kept up-to-speed about plans of action devised from trend analysis or what impact previous efforts have made.
  6. Keeping Up With SEO Trends: Google updates its algorithms often, directly influencing how high websites rank on their browsers; staying up-to-date with these changes enables strategists to modify techniques and strategies as needed.

In essence, yes: the central role of an SEO strategist is to improve visibility on search engines ultimately – but their job description extends well beyond that. 

Using many tools to enhance online presence, they skillfully navigate the dynamic landscape of the internet to bring websites where people can see them — substantially increasing chances for success.

TrioSEO - SEO Strategist - What Does an SEO Do_ SEO Responsibilities

Skills and Qualifications for an SEO Strategist

Becoming proficient as an SEO strategist requires skills beyond knowing what an SEO manager or specialist is. 

A combination of soft skills, complex technical expertise, and industry knowledge is necessary to excel truly.

Essential Technical Skills

Primarily, a successful SEO Strategist should thoroughly understand all SEO levels, which includes being knowledgeable about different aspects such as:

  1. HTML & CSS
  2. Keyword Research
  3. On-Page SEO and Off-Page Optimization
  4. Content Management Systems like WordPress
  5. Google Analytics and other relevant data-tracking tools

These core competencies ensure an in-depth grasp of SEO jobs, enabling strategists to devise and implement effective optimization strategies.

Analytical Proficiency

The role demands substantial analytical ability, too, as performance metrics play vital roles. An influential strategist must instinctively interpret complex data sets from various sources like Google Analytics and then apply that information to enhance the website’s organic search results.

Content Development

Even with technical acumen, an SEO Strategist must also understand content development strategies since content drives engagement on any site. As the designation suggests, an SEO content strategist has to design unique, high-quality material – textual and visual – while keeping keyword relevance intact.

Soft Skills Needed

On top of these required qualifications, valuable soft skills include excellent communication. Regular coordination with cross-functional teams such as graphic designers, developers, and senior management is part of their daily responsibilities.

Furthermore, because SEO continuously evolves, strategists must stay updated on trends or algorithm changes.

TrioSEO - SEO Strategist - Skills and Qualifications for an SEO Strategist

Tools and Software Used by SEO Strategists

Let’s walk through some standard tools an SEO strategist might use.

Google Analytics

One tool that proves invaluable time and again is Google Analytics. It generates detailed statistics about website traffic, such as the source of visitors, the pages viewed, duration on site, and many more. Furthermore, information like this empowers us to enhance webpage performance by understanding user behavior better.

SEMRush & Ahrefs

Following closely in importance are keyword research tools like SEMRush or Aherfs, crucial components for creating successful content strategies. They provide details on popular search terms relevant to your business, along with their competition level and search volumes. Integrating this data into your content strategy increases the chances for higher rank.

Next, we turn our attention to another crucial element: backlinks. These are vital in building credibility and bolstering a website’s reputation. To manage backlinks efficiently, one can use tools like Ahrefs. This comprehensive tool helps monitor the quality of your backlinks and lets you keep an eye on your competitors’ backlink profiles.

Google Search Console

How do we assess whether our efforts have been fruitful? The answer lies within rank tracking tools such as Google Search Console, which monitor keyword rankings over time, providing insights into the effectiveness of implemented SEO strategies.

Screaming Frog

Lastly, but often overlooked, this category falls under technical SEO, where issues related to site architecture or server response might need resolution. Tools such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider scan websites for common technical problems, enabling prompt correction before they impact overall web performance negatively.

Remember that while these are indispensable tools any seasoned SEO strategist would routinely use, they require careful handling, given their complexity. 

Therefore, investing time into learning how to interpret their data accurately goes a long way in amplifying an SEO strategist’s efficacy.

Next, let’s dive into the distinct types of SEO strategists and their different approaches within this broad field.

TrioSEO - SEO Strategist - Tools and Software Used by SEO Strategists

Types of SEO Strategists

SEO is multi-faceted, bringing together the art and science of crafting content to reach specific target audiences. 

In search engine optimization, there are various specialized roles, each with unique responsibilities and skill sets. Among these are Local SEO Strategist, Technical SEO Strategist, and Content SEO Strategist.

Local SEO Strategist

A Local SEO Strategist operates in a niche that optimizes a website for a local audience. This strategy primarily comes into play for businesses with brick-and-mortar locations or those providing services in specified locales.

Their primary goal is increasing visibility on searches revolving around local intent. They specialize in optimizing Google Business Profiles, building NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) citations, and managing reviews and ratings to build trustworthiness locally. 

Technical SEO Strategist

When we venture into the backend side of websites—how they’re constructed and how search engines comprehend them—we encounter areas where a Technical SEO Strategist shines best.

These strategists engage more with programming aspects than actual writing. They ensure that site maps are correctly structured and easy to navigate, implement SSL for secure connections, minimize page load times, and optimize robots.txt files, among other technical aspects driving organic traffic to your website from search engine result pages (SERPs). 

Their role is critical in ensuring that all other team efforts don’t get hobbled by performance issues beneath your website’s hood.

Content SEO Strategist

We now move from underlying structuring to creating engaging narratives that users see on their screens – Content SEO strategists’ playing ground!

They specialize in identifying what kind of content resonates best with different audiences—the keywords they gravitate toward—and then carefully weaving these into compelling content that users and search engines appreciate. The ultimate aim is to improve your website’s relevance and authority through high-quality, strategic content—whether blog posts, product descriptions, or informative articles—that provides value to the audience.

Every kind of SEO Strategist has unique attributes, but they all work in harmony towards a common goal: optimizing your digital presence for better visibility on search engines. 

You need different ingredients to cook up an outstanding SEO strategy – which best aligns with your needs depends primarily on the nature and goals of your business!

TrioSEO - SEO Strategist - Types of SEO Strategists

How to Become an SEO Strategist

Taking your first steps to become an SEO strategist can feel like venturing into uncharted territory, but rest assured, it’s a journey well worth undertaking. Not only does the role promise diversity and constant learning opportunities, but it also carries great potential for career growth.

To kick start your journey in understanding what is an SEO strategist and how to become one, you should pursue a multi-pronged approach that comprises education, hands-on experience, and continuous self-improvement. 

Gaining relevant knowledge through coursework or certification programs provides a solid foundation. However, search engine optimization is relatively fluid; regulations, algorithms, and best practices continually evolve. Therefore, just bookish knowledge won’t cut it – staying on top of changes by reading industry blogs or attending professional seminars will keep you ahead.

When discussing practical experience – getting your hands dirty by initially working on personal projects or offering volunteer service can give you valuable real-life exposure to employability skills required in an SEO job description. This could include managing keyword research, link building, and crafting site maps, among other tasks inherent to the SEO position.

Moreover, sharpening transferable skills such as analytical thinking, strategic planning ability, and attention-to-detail attitude will significantly bolster your skillset.

SEO Strategist Salary: How Much Do They Make?

Going beyond the glamorous title “SEO Strategist,” let’s address a crucial consideration: What does an average SEO strategist’s salary look like?

While some variability exists depending upon factors like geographic location and level of expertise involved – data suggests that the national average hovers around $60,000 annually, with those new to the field making somewhat less. 

At the same time, established professionals command more lucrative pay packets. Therefore, it is no surprise that well-experienced practitioners in SEO jobs can expect rewarding compensation.

Senior SEO Strategist Salary

Now, let’s talk about the cream of the crop – Senior SEO Strategists. These seasoned professionals exhibit an in-depth understanding of an SEO strategist and how to leverage those skills effectively for business growth.

On average, these top-tier experts rake in an impressive salary of over $90,000 annually.

Senior strategists often handle complex projects requiring strategic oversight and unwavering dedication. Their extensive experience, expert knowledge, and leadership abilities contribute to this substantial income. 

So, if you’re eyeing this inspiring line of work – be reassured that a career as an SEO Strategist does not only promise intellectual rewards but can also offer notable financial perks!

TrioSEO - SEO Strategist - The Benefits of Hiring an SEO Strategist

The Benefits of Hiring an SEO Strategist

Stepping into the digital marketing arena, it becomes evident quickly how vital having a proficient SEO strategist can be for your online presence. Businesses recognizing the indispensable value of hiring an SEO company enjoy concrete benefits. 

Here’s what you gain when you bring this pivotal role into your team:

Increased Visibility and Ranking

An adept SEO strategist uses their expertise to boost your website ranking on search engines and ensures that your content garners a highlighted position among search results. These actions result in increased traffic to your site, sparking new opportunities for lead generation.

Enhanced User Experience

Behind every click is an individual eager for relevant information presented in a palatable manner. An astute SEO strategist understands this need and crafts solutions to seamlessly guide visitors through your site while ensuring they encounter valuable content throughout their journey.


Over time, investing in organic SEO services proves more cost-effective than paid advertising or drawn-out telemarketing campaigns. This cost efficiency stems from the apparent fact that user searches initiate organic rankings, leading to fewer resources for outbound strategies.

Keep Up with Google Algorithm Changes

Your business may need more time to keep up with constant changes implemented by mighty Google, but guess who does? That’s right – a dedicated SEO strategist! Their primary job is staying ahead of these algorithm updates and ensuring strategies are recalibrated accordingly.

In essence, employing an SEO strategist empowers businesses with unseen potential for sustainable growth, capitalizing on untapped online reach. 

By optimizing websites’ functionality and visibility in search engine rankings, they drive significant traffic, bringing about newfound leads and contributing positively towards enhancing business growth rate.


As we conclude our exploration of the SEO strategist role, let’s recap the key takeaways. 

The position is central to shaping a business’s online footprint, requiring up-to-date knowledge of search engine trends, data analysis skills, and expertise in content strategy and user experience.

Understanding the distinct roles of SEO strategists and specialists helped clarify their unique contributions to a digital marketing team. Building a successful career in this field demands continuous learning, technical skill development, and practical experience.

We noted the potentially lucrative salary prospects for SEO strategists, with earnings varying based on location and experience. Specializing in areas like local search optimization or website infrastructure can offer unique advantages to businesses, highlighting the substantial impact a skilled SEO strategist can have.

Remember, the road to mastery in the SEO domain is paved with dedication and a willingness to adapt to the ever-evolving digital landscape. Each successful keyword ranking or traffic boost is a testament to the hard work of professionals eager to excel in this field — professionals like the future SEO strategists you aspire to be.

This marks the end of our overview, and hopefully, it’s your stepping stone towards conquering the vibrant SEO world.

TrioSEO - Connor Gillivan

Want more traffic and leads? Turn your website into a traffic generation hub. Get started and we’ll conduct a free SEO audit to see if working together is a good fit. 

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Steven is the Co-founder & CEO of TrioSEO. His background is in large-scale blogging where he co-owned 40 websites and helped grow the portfolio to 7-figures within 3 years. Follow him on LinkedIn for daily SEO tips, tricks, and strategies.

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