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									                                                      Job Profiles for the Audio Visual Industries
                                                                                                 Interactive Media

                  SEO Specialist
 This is one of a series of Job Profiles within the Interactive Media sector developed by industry experts to help industry
 newcomers understand the different job roles and the skills required in order to succeed. We aim to keep this information
 as current as possible and would welcome any comments to help us improve this profile; please email us on: All Job profiles can be downloaded and printed from our website

The role of the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Specialist 1 is to optimise a web site or pages to make
them as visible as possible to Internet search engines, in order to maximise traffic to them. They may
work closely with Web Editors 2 and Developers 3 and liaise with, or report to, the client or an Account
Manager 4 .
SEO Specialists may work in permanent positions either within web agencies or specialist SEO
consultancies, or they may work freelance.

What is the job?
SEO Specialists analyse a web site’s business objectives, content and intended audiences in order to
devise strategies for obtaining prominent listings in the results pages of search engines. At minimum, this
usually involves selecting specific words and phrases for which the site – or individual pages – should be
optimised; the aim is to get the web site listed as close as possible to the top of the results shown to
anyone who searches for those words or phrases. The SEO Specialist will usually use online tools to
conduct ‘keyword analysis’ to identify which words are likely to be most effective for their purposes. He or
she may then make written or verbal recommendations and may need to liaise with the Web Editor or
other writers to ensure key words and phrases are incorporated into the site content. He or she may also
need to liaise with the Developer to make technical adjustments to web pages to ensure they are
constructed in a way that does not prevent search engines from indexing them.
The SEO Specialist is usually also responsible for deciding which search engines to target, and
registering the site with them. Thereafter he or she will usually be responsible for analysing web site
traffic statistics in order to monitor the effectiveness of their search engine optimisation and make
adjustments as necessary.
SEO techniques change frequently, so a large part of the SEO Specialist’s job involves research, self-
study and reading in order to stay abreast of developments.

Typical career routes
There are no typical career routes but most SEO Specialists will have gained their expertise through
experience. They will often have previously worked in more hands-on roles within the interactive media
industry, for example, as a Designer 5 , Developer, Web Editor or Writer. The role can start at fairly junior
levels and extend to very senior positions.

Essential knowledge and skills
SEO Specialists require extensive in-depth knowledge of the different search engines and their indexing
policies; self-study and research skills are important for keeping abreast of changes. An understanding of
web technology and the ability to analyse a web site and identify search engine optimisation issues are
essential. Good language skills – especially spelling - are also important and marketing awareness is
often useful.
Key Skills include:
     • research and analysis;
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        •    written and verbal communication;
        •    attention to detail;
        •    ability to work independently or as part of a team;
        •    ability to manage time, prioritise tasks and work under pressure;
        •    knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures.

Training and qualifications
There are few, if any, formal qualifications in Search Engine Optimisation, although short courses are
emerging and there is a wealth of information available on the Internet. Most SEO Specialists are likely to
have at least a Bachelor’s Degree, although the subject is generally unimportant – a good academic
foundation and demonstrable analytical ability is key.

Where to go for more information
Skillset is the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries. The first sources of information
for all jobs in the industry are the National Occupational Standards. For information about training, links to
the Skillset network of training partners, and access to the comprehensive Skillset/BFI course database,
visit the website Skillset Careers is the UK’s only specialist media careers advice
service; for detailed media careers information and advice, visit the website
  - Search Marketing Association:
    -       Wikipedia:
    -       Wordtracker:

  - Indexing: the process whereby a search engine examines a site and stores information about its
    -       Registering: the process of informing a search engine that a site or page needs to be indexed.
    -       Traffic: the number of visitors to a web site.
    -       Traffic statistics: information about web site visitor activity, such as the number of visitors, the
            number of pages they viewed, how they arrived at the site and what, if any, search phrase they

 As with most roles in interactive media, actual job titles tend to vary considerably. Examples of titles that are sometimes used
with this role include SEO Professional, Search Engine Consultant, and Internet Marketing Consultant.
 The Web Editor role is about managing the on-going publication of content to a web site – this typically involves writing and
editing, coordinating contributions, maintaining navigation and architecture, and either using a Content Management System
or building web pages manually.
 The Developer role is about building the product, typically using authoring tools (e.g. Director, Flash etc.) and/or scripting or
mark-up languages (e.g. JavaScript, ActionScript, Lingo, HTML, CSS etc.); by contrast, the Programmer role tends to be more
concerned with higher-level coding.
 The Account Manager role is about maintaining relationships with existing customers, obtaining new business from them and
ensuring they receive a high quality of service; by contrast the New Business Developer role is more concerned with
generating business from new customers.
  The Designer role is about designing the overall look and feel of the product – at it’s simplest this is a case of visually
‘skinning’ a wire-frame design produced by the Information Architect; in more senior roles, or in smaller teams, the Designer is
more likely to be involved with devising interactivity and information flow, hence the roles often overlap or are merged.

Skillset does not endorse or accept responsibility for any of the products, services or
content of third party organisations or websites contained within this Job Profile, nor
does it guarantee the quality of links to the external websites listed. Any concerns
regarding an external link should be directed to its website administrator or webmaster.

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