How to Become an SEO Manager

Essential Education, Skills, and Job Interview Prep

In today’s world, there is fierce competition among businesses and websites to be the first result that comes up on Google. As a result, professionals that wield the knowledge to help business rank higher in search results are in high demand.

If you are interested in the intersection of business, marketing, and tech, then you might want to become a search engine optimization (SEO) manager. To become a successful SEO manager, you need certain skills, education, and job preparation; we cover all that in this article.

What Is an SEO Manager?

SEO managers are the professionals that choose what techniques to use to help businesses rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). They also make decisions regarding what content to target to attract the right visitors and how to convert those visitors into customers.

The job of an SEO manager revolves around aiding digital marketing campaigns and strategies for overall business success. It includes planning keyword strategy, doing industry research, web analytics, web marketing, and implementing SEO strategies.

To be an excellent SEO manager, it is crucial to be aware of the latest industry trends, Google’s algorithmic policies, and competitors’ performance, and to thoroughly understand the user base.

SEO Manager Salary and Job Outlook

The SEO manager role is considered a senior specialist position that can involve a high salary. According to PayScale, the national average salary for SEO managers is $70,870.

Depending on the company and experience, your salary might be higher or lower than the national average. As you progress in your career and attain more seniority, you are bound to get better compensation rates. For example, SEO directors enjoy an average salary of $92,741.

The job outlook for SEO roles—which fall under the advertising, promotions, and marketing managers category—is promising. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in the sector is projected to grow by six percent between 2019 to 2029.


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Entry-Level SEO Manager Job Requirements

To get a job as an entry-level SEO professional, you must have a certain level of experience, skills, and education. The standard educational qualification for SEO roles is a bachelor’s degree in a field like marketing or business administration.

According to ZipRecruiter, entry-level SEO salaries range from around $33,500 to $45,000. Again, this figure can vary depending on your experience and place of employment.

Once you secure a position as an entry-level SEO professional, you can work your way up to a managerial position by attending a coding bootcamp, taking online courses to enhance your skillset, and earning certification. In addition to earning a certification, the key to a job as an SEO manager is ample industry experience.

How to Ace Your SEO Manager Job Interview

Everyone knows that the key to acing your job interview lies in impressing the hiring manager with your interview skills. You should do ample preparation to make sure you maximize your chances. Among other things, this means looking online for common interview questions for this position and rehearsing your answer.

Common SEO Manager Job Interview Questions

  • Why are you interested in SEO? Why do you think SEO is important in today’s world?
  • Please give us an overview of how you would go about monitoring and improving the overall SEO strategy and performance of the company.
  • How have you used data analytics to gain industry and customer data insight?
  • Tell us about your experience with SEO tools and Google Analytics.

What Degree Should I Get to Become an SEO Manager?

To be an attractive candidate for an SEO manager position, we recommend getting a bachelor’s degree. You can further improve your chances of getting the job by pursuing a graduate degree or attending a coding bootcamp.

Read below to find the different degrees and education pathways you can take to become an SEO manager.

Bachelor’s Degree in SEO Management

A bachelor’s degree is the most basic education requirement to become an SEO manager. You can get a bachelor’s in several disciplines, including information sciences, marketing, and business administration.

Bear in mind that your bachelor’s degree must cover topics that are relevant to SEO, including data analysis, marketing, and business administration. It takes an average of four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. If your goal is to become an SEO manager, you will also need to earn certification in SEO and other relevant topics.

Master’s Degree in SEO Management

The most relevant graduate degree for aspiring SEO managers is a Master in Business Administration (MBA). An MBA will boost your employability and your chances of landing a senior SEO management role.

You can also pursue a master’s degree in digital marketing, digital business, or digital communication. A master’s degree usually takes around two to three years to complete.

SEO Management Doctoral Degree

A doctoral degree is not necessary to become an SEO manager. However, for those seeking a career in teaching and research, a PhD is a good option.

A doctorate in marketing or business administration will take you three to four years to complete. It will further qualify you for senior positions such as SEO specialist and SEO director.

SEO Management Bootcamps and Online Courses

Another great way to become an SEO manager is through coding bootcamps and online courses. Depending on your chosen route, it can take you anywhere from a couple of hours to several weeks to learn the fundamentals of SEO.

We highly recommend looking into coding bootcamps at Thinkful or UC Berkeley to learn SEO and digital marketing.

What Does an SEO Manager Do?

The main job of an SEO manager is to oversee the SEO team and come up with strategies that improve the website’s ranking on search engines like Google.

SEO managers have many responsibilities. We’ve listed the main ones below.

Analyzes Data

As an SEO manager, the scope of your job isn’t limited to coming up with content ideas and keyword strategies. You are also responsible for studying your competitors as well as trends shaping the industry.

To carry on this task, SEO managers use Google Analytics, a tool that yields valuable customer and market data. SEO professionals use this information to craft effective SEO strategies.

Aids Digital Marketing Campaigns

SEO falls under the purview of the digital marketing department. As such, the goals of the SEO team and the marketing team align. As an SEO manager, you are responsible for helping the marketing department optimize the company’s online communication channels. The ultimate goal is to build better relationships with your audience.

Manages the SEO Specialist Team

As SEO manager, you are also responsible for overseeing the SEO specialist team. This means assigning tasks, reviewing analytics reports, and brainstorming with the team to create the best possible SEO strategy.

SEO managers also liaise with other departments to produce the information needed to boost the company’s SEO performance.

Essential SEO Manager Skills

The field of SEO requires expertise in a plethora of topics. In addition, being a manager demands leadership skills.

Below, you will find the essential skills needed to become an SEO manager.

SEO Expertise

This skill is the most crucial requirement in this field. To be successful, you need to be an expert in search engine optimization and its techniques. This means knowing how to conduct market research, understanding your business goals, knowing your audience, and recognizing successful SEO strategies.

Mastery of SEO Tools

To do your job successfully, you need to master the tools used to gauge and improve SEO metrics. Such tools include Google Analytics, Conductor, WebTrends, Screaming Frog, and Moz. It also helps to have some front end programming skills, such as HTML and CSS.

Analytical and Business Skills

Analytics and SEO skills go hand-in-hand. Most SEO manager positions involve research and data interpretation. You need excellent critical thinking, problem-solving, research, and data interpretation skills.

You are also expected to exhibit skills that can positively impact the performance of the business, such as expertise in digital marketing and a sharp business sense.

How to Become an SEO
Manager: A Step-by-Step Guide

To become an SEO manager you need certain educational qualifications as well as experience. To help you get there, we have put together this step-by-step guide. While this is by no means the only way to achieve this position, it is certainly a common route.


Find Out What SEO is All About

This step will differ from person to person depending on their educational background. You can learn what SEO is all about by taking online classes or getting an undergraduate degree. The goal is to understand what search engine optimization is and the techniques associated with it.


Get Certified

Earning a certification is always helpful for a career boost. There are many certifications and certificate courses that can help you pad your resume. Some of the most popular ones are those offered by the Google Analytics Academy and ClickMinded.


Practice Your SEO Skills

The next step is to put your SEO skills into action. You can build your own websites and analyze search engine results pages (SERPs). Play around with the most popular SEO tools and strive to learn popular programming languages like HTML. Practice until you feel that you have mastered SEO.


Get Professional Experience

Once you have mastered SEO, it’s time to gain the relevant experience needed to become an SEO manager. Apply for entry-level SEO positions, internships, or do some freelance work. Make sure to add all the projects to your portfolio.


Apply for SEO Manager Jobs

Equipped with SEO knowledge and experience, you are now ready for an SEO manager job. Use job search websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn to find and apply for your dream SEO manager job.

How Long Does It Take to Become an SEO Manager?

Becoming an SEO manager should take you around six years, the time needed to finish your undergraduate degree, earn any relevant certification, and accrue the experience you need to access this senior position.

That being said, the time it takes you to become an SEO manager will vary according to your educational choices and experience in the field. For example, a way to expedite the process is by attending a coding bootcamp. This could cut the time it takes to acquire the necessary education from four years to just a few weeks.

Once you have completed your degree or coding bootcamp, you will have to work for at least one to two years in SEO positions before you are deemed ready for a managerial position.

Should You Become an SEO Manager in 2021?

If you’re interested in analytics, marketing, and business, you should definitely consider becoming an SEO manager in 2021. With more and more industries transitioning to the digital space, the SEO industry is poised to keep expanding. In addition, SEO managerial positions are well remunerated and the sector boasts a bright job outlook.

SEO Manager FAQ

What education do you need to become an SEO manager?

The most common industry requirement for an SEO manager is a bachelor’s degree. However, you can become an SEO manager by taking online classes or attending a coding bootcamp that focuses on SEO.

What are some essential SEO manager skills?

To become an SEO manager, you must have a combination of technical and soft skills. These include analytical, data interpretation, leadership, and communication skills. You also need proficiency in popular SEO tools and expertise in business administration and marketing.

What are some common SEO tools?

Some of the most common SEO tools include Google Analytics, Keyword Hero, SEMrush, and Data Studio. These tools are used to conduct keyword research, data analytics, and check SERP rankings.

What does an SEO manager do?

SEO managers are responsible for improving a company’s ranking on Google and other search engines. They do this by conducting market research, analyzing competitor’s strategies, and using target keywords.

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