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So... What Does an SEO Strategist Do?

When I tell people that I am an organic SEO consultant and SEO strategist... well I often get blank stares. "What does that even mean?" they ask me. So I thought I would break it down: how I look at the SEO Strategist role, and what you should be looking for in an SEO partner in order to make the right hiring decision for your small business.

What is an SEO Strategist?

The standard definition of an SEO Strategist is a valuable partner to any business that wants to succeed online. They work together with their clients to develop and implement an organic SEO strategy that will help the website rank higher in search engine results, bringing more visitors and potential customers to the client's site.

But that's pretty vague... the way that I describe my role to a client is: as an SEO strategist, I am here to analyze your current website traffic, and identify the top opportunities to drive your traffic online. I create an actionable plan based on data insights that allows you as a small business owner to implement the most effective strategy in the least amount of time.

I identify the WHAT is going on in your current business and HOW we can make changes to grow that business.

In my process, I start with a business review, a competitive analysis, and a SWOT analysis. I then strategize the top potential keywords by landing page, and spend time updating your website to optimize for those keywords.

That takes some time, but the most time spent is the waiting, analyzing, and updating based on results. It can be the most frustrating part of SEO, but if you do not make continuous changes based on what's working (and what is not working) then you won't get the results you are looking for.

What Kind of Skills should and SEO Strategist Have?

There are a lot of skillsets that you should inquire about when interviewing an SEO consultant to work with. In my experience, there are a lot of bad apples in the SEO world. Take time to interview 2-3 potential partners and ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable moving forward.

Ask them about their background and what their goals are for their clients. It's also a great idea to ask for past work results, and even references.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of skills an SEO expert needs to be successful, but I think the most important attributes are the following:

amanda dinan SEO Strategist

  • Knowledge of SEO Tools and Website Design

  • Strong Listening and Communication Skills

  • Data-driven and Results Focused

  • Strong Attention-to-Detail

Knowledge of SEO Tools and Website Design

An SEO expert should be just that, an expert. There are so many changes going on in the SEO world on a daily basis, too many that would be manageable for a busy business owner to keep track of. An SEO strategist should be on top of any updates or changes going on that could impact your website's performance, They should be good at filtering out the information that doesn't pertain to you and effectively communicating that which does.

Most SEO expert's use tools to assist in their analysis. This is a good thing because many times these tools are pricey and it can save you money but not having to subscribe to them. Your SEO partner should be upfront about the types of tools that they use and should be willing to share information from those tools. The tools I use most often are SEMrush and Screaming Frog, and occasionally I will use and AI writing assistant like Jasper to help me clean up the content I am creating. Other tools used are Moz, AhRefs, and UberSuggest. All SEO strategists should be experts in Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Understanding how your website works is also essential. You should always inquire about what website platforms the strategist has worked with in the past. For example, I am an e-commerce SEO specialist and work mostly with Shopify or WordPress sites. You want someone who understands how to make updates and who has experience working with the platform.

Strong Listening and Communication Skills

Most people claim to have strong listening and communication skills, while in reality they do not. While your SEO partner may have amazing strategy and implementation skills, if they are not listening to what you want as the business owner, then the relationship will not be successful. At the end of the day, you are the one running the business and the direction should be your call.

An SEO strategist should also be an excellent communicator who educates their client on SEO best practices and advises them on any changes they need to make. They should be honest about what they are seeing and should approach you with difficult conversations. Again, you have the final say, but a good SEO strategist will always give you their opinion.

Data Driven and Results Focused

Does data make your cringe? That's okay! But it is NOT okay if your SEO strategist is not a data-lover. A love for data, and a lot of experience in data analytics is needed for a successful strategy. Your SEO partner should be reviewing tons of data on your business, and then summarizing the most important insights for you.

The SEO strategist must also be able to create reports that demonstrate the success of their efforts. They should include keyword rankings, organic search traffic, backlinks created or earned, page views, social media followers/shares/likes, etc. These reports will show how SEO tactics have helped improve website performance over time so clients can understand the value of SEO services.

data analytics for SEO

SEO Specialization

This isn't necessary, but I do find it beneficial when a person specializes in your field of business. There are many types of specializations in the SEO world, the most common being: international SEO, E-commerce SEO, Local SEO, SAAS, and services SEO. Again, this is not necessary and it is more important that you mesh well with your potential SEO partner.

For example, I am an E-Commerce SEO expert, with over 17 years in the retail space, I combine SEO and merchandising strategies to get my clients better sales. I focus on not only promoting the best keywords, but the keywords that are driving the most profitable products. With that being said, I also work with many other clients outside of the E-commerce world and have had a lot of success with them as well.

Remember this... If it feels like a scam, it probably is

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad SEO strategists out there, and they can end up doing your website a disservice by working on it. If someone is promising you the moon right away, I suggest you take a step back. Just like an robust strategy, an SEO strategy takes time. You should be seeing progress as you go but it won't happen overnight. It is the SEO strategist's job to show you the impact they are making, while being realistic about timeline and results.

Amanda Dinan organic seo consultant

This blog was written by Amanda Dinan, owner of Point of Sale Strategies. Amanda is an SEO Strategist and Organic SEO Consultant. She helps small retailers and brands drive traffic and increase sales on their websites.

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