How to Become
an SEO Manager

Education Pathways, Skills, and Certifications

Internet marketing is one of the most important fields today. Television, mailing, and newspaper advertising are being replaced. With the growth of the Internet and the rising importance of business websites, search engines have become topics of interest. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of helping your website rank high on searches.

If you’re looking into how to become an SEO manager, read our comprehensive guide. We explore essential skills, educational pathways, and the future job outlook. You can become an SEO manager in just a few months.

What Is an SEO Manager?

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An SEO manager is a tech professional who is in charge of helping a website rank high on a web search. The top searches on Google are the result of good SEO implementation. High-ranking pages get the most traffic and therefore the most customers. SEO managers conduct market research and design websites to improve a company’s SEO strategies.

What Does an SEO Manager Do?

An SEO manager is a tech professional who is in charge of helping a website rank high on a web search. The top searches on Google are the result of good SEO implementation. High-ranking pages get the most traffic and therefore the most customers. SEO managers conduct market research and design websites to improve a company’s SEO strategies.

Conduct Research

To rank highly on search engines, you must be aware of the latest industry trends. SEO managers conduct business market research and research competitor strategies to improve rankings. They perform keyword searches to see why and how certain pages rank, and recommend changes according to their findings.

Identify Keywords

SEO success depends on the right usage of primary and secondary keywords. SEO managers work to identify those keywords for the particular page or content. They do this by reviewing competitor SEO techniques, analyzing SEO data, and conducting market research.

Track SEO Scores

SEO managers also use data collection and analysis to get new strategies. They use Google Analytics, Google Search Consoles, and other such software to keep track of SEO performance. They do this to find out which strategies are working and which are not. They use the information and implement it on other pages to improve their SEO scores.

Design Web Page Architecture

SEO managers also help design the overall architecture of the webpage. They help make the site user-friendly and easy to navigate, which can also help SEO. They keep in mind aspects such as font and type of content.

SEO Manager Education Pathways

You can become an SEO manager by taking several educational pathways. You can get a traditional degree or try learning on your own. You should choose the path that best suits your needs. Below are three popular education pathways to becoming an SEO manager.

SEO Manager Degrees

Many companies prefer an SEO manager with at least a bachelor’s degree. Although there aren’t specific SEO majors, you can get a bachelor’s degree in computer science, business administration, marketing, or even information technology. These degrees give you the analytical, business, and tech background needed for the position.

Just like the bachelor’s degree, there are no SEO specialist master’s degree options. You can get a master’s in digital marketing, digital business, or digital communication to be eligible for senior SEO manager roles.

SEO Manager Bootcamps

You can also attend a coding bootcamp to become an SEO manager. Coding bootcamps are worth it for anyone looking for short-term intensive training. They also offer career services like resume writing, interview prep, and career fairs. To become an SEO manager, you should find bootcamps that focus on digital marketing.

Coding bootcamps are a fantastic alternative to four years of college education. They are cheaper, shorter, and up to date. UC Berkeley Boot Camps and Thinkful are among some of the most popular digital marketing bootcamps.

SEO Manager Courses

If you don’t want to spend money on a degree or bootcamp, teaching yourself is a plausible way to become an SEO manager. Tons of online platforms offer free and affordable courses on SEO and digital marketing. You can also take a course if you have a degree and want to update your skills.

Popular platforms include edX, Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning. Depending on your expertise level, you can enroll in the course that suits you most. Bear in mind that taking courses won’t make you an SEO manager. You must build an impressive portfolio and gain relevant experience to enter the field.

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

There are several mandatory steps you must take to become an SEO manager. You can follow whatever path you like as long as you hit these milestones.


Learn what SEO is

If you are new to SEO, then start by understanding SEO and how to use it. There are many ways you can learn this, including online courses, coding bootcamps, and traditional degrees in digital marketing.


Practice SEO skills

Now that you are acquainted with SEO techniques, it’s time to put them to practice. Start by building your own website with programming languages like HTML. You can practice analyzing search engine results pages (SERPs) and keywords.


Gain relevant experience

To become an SEO manager, having valuable experience is key. You can start with online freelancing opportunities or internships. Sign up for freelance websites and learn how to market yourself. You can also apply for junior SEO associate jobs.


Build a portfolio

Depending on your educational pathway, you can add courses, projects, and your most valuable skills to a portfolio. Include your own website and positive feedback from previous jobs. You can build an impressive portfolio to help you stand out.


Apply for an SEO manager job

With the right job experience and SEO skills, you are now ready to become an SEO manager. Go ahead and apply for your dream job. Make sure to go over your resume and cover letter before submitting the application.

Top SEO Manager Skills

To succeed as a top SEO manager, you need to possess certain skills. Both technical skills and soft skills are important in this field. You can take courses and practice in the field to get better. Below are the most sought-after SEO manager skills.

SEO Knowledge

It might be obvious, but you need to have extensive SEO skills for this job. You must know everything about SEO and the most current techniques. You will also need to know different types of SEO, including on-page and off-page SEO. These include meta information, images, content structure, keywords, backlinking, social media, and more.

Data Management

As an SEO manager, data management and analysis can help you immensely. To implement successful SEO techniques, you need to analyze user data, study competitor keywords, and monitor website performance. You need to have an in-depth understanding of Google Analytics tools. You also need to know how to use data to improve your SEO strategies.

JavaScript, HTML, and CSS

Programming skills aren’t necessary, but they will help your SEO management career. Learning JavaScript, HTML, and CSS will help you understand the website’s structure and overall flow. Moreover, you can use these languages to create better meta tags. If you want to become a great SEO manager, you should learn to code.

Digital Marketing

Good digital and content marketing skills are vital to this job. In this day and age, content is king, and that determines your overall business success. If you create content with good SEO, you can bring significantly more traffic to your site. SEO managers plan high-quality SEO content to grab the attention of both the search engine and the target audience.

SEO Manager Salary and Job Outlook

As digital marketing and online content continue to grow across every industry, so does the demand for SEO managers. According to PayScale, the average base salary for SEO managers is close to $71,000 in the United States. This salary amount is subject to change depending on your experience, company, and location.

There are no official statistics on the job outlook for SEO managers. However, the field continues to grow along with digital marketing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers looks promising, with the number of jobs projected to increase by six percent between 2019 to 2029.

Entry-Level SEO Manager Job Requirements

Entry-level SEO manager job requirements vary according to the company. Most companies look for applicants with a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing or something similar.

However, this does not mean that you can’t apply for the position with MOOC and coding bootcamp certificates. With experience, you can build an impressive portfolio and gain SEO experience to be eligible for an entry-level position.

According to Ziprecruiter, most entry-level SEO salaries range between $33,500 to $45,000. These numbers are also prone to change depending on your background and location.

How to Prepare for Your SEO Manager Job Interview

The first thing to do while applying for an SEO manager job is to check if you meet the job requirements. According to what the position is looking for, you should highlight your most desirable skills. Get ready for the job hunt and practice common SEO interview questions with a friend.

Below are some popular SEO manager job interview questions. You can use them as a guide to get started on your interview prep.


SEO Manager Job Interview Practice Questions

  • Why is search engine optimization important right now?
  • How do you measure the overall SEO performance?
  • Have you worked with Google Analytics? Provide an example.
  • How do you manage and analyze large amounts of data?
  • What are your methods for conducting market and competitor research?

SEO Manager Certifications

Getting SEO certified is a fantastic way to boost your resume. Not only does it help you stand out, but it proves that you have kept up with the industry. SEO management does not have any official professional certifications, but you can enroll in a certificate program.

If you are looking to level up your SEO skills and enter the industry with a strong background, SEO manager certificate programs might be for you.

Google Analytics Certifications

If you know anything about SEO, you know the importance of Google Analytics. This is a certificate that every SEO expert should have. The program is free and covers how to use Google Analytics to measure and track key SEO data. The program has an exam at the end and you will receive your certificate if you pass.

ClickMinded SEO Course

If you are looking to learn advanced SEO techniques from an industry expert, then this course is for you. It is taught by Tommy Griffith, who previously worked as an SEO manager for Airbnb and PayPal. The course is priced at $997 and you get a certificate upon completion.

Complete SEO Training + SEO for WordPress Websites

This course is offered by Udemy for free. It provides in-depth SEO technical training and teaches you SEO for WordPress. The course is currently priced at $12.99, which is subject to change. It includes 10 hours of video instruction, and you can get a certificate when you finish.

How Long Does It Take to Become an SEO Manager?

Becoming an SEO manager can take a few years, depending on your educational pathway. The shortest route to become an SEO manager is via a coding bootcamp or online courses. These programs can range anywhere between a couple of weeks to a couple of months. However, you still need to get work experience before becoming a manager.

Why You Should Become an SEO Manager in 2021

If you are looking to start a career in tech, then you should become an SEO manager. This job brings a ton of flexibility because you can work in the industry of your choosing. If you have good digital marketing, communication, and tech skills, this career might be right for you.

In addition, the freelance sector for SEO specialists is booming. If you want to work for yourself, this career is a good place to do it. It is also a great option for anyone who is looking for a constantly evolving field. With the right courses and practice, you can become an SEO manager in 2021.

SEO Manager FAQ

An SEO manager is responsible for helping a website rank highly on search engine pages. This includes finding keywords and implementing digital marketing strategies for social media pages.

The two types of SEO are on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to the content that is directly related to the business, such as images, keywords, structures, and more. Off-page SEO is the traffic that is derived from indirect content such as backlinks.

Most industries use SEO because most industries have some sort of web presence. SEO helps all businesses gain more traffic. Every kind of online publication uses SEO experts.

SEO tools are software programs that help you track and analyze key data. SEO managers use them for keyword research, analytics, and rank checking. Some popular SEO tools include Google Analytics, Data Studio, and Keyword Hero.

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