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What is an SEO Strategist, and what do they do?

What is an SEO Strategist?

An SEO Strategist is someone with comprehensive expertise in search engine optimization (SEO) and all of the methods available to help improve a website’s position on search engine results pages (SERPs).

What an SEO Strategist does.

SEO Strategists utilize all of the available data from search engines, and a website, to develop effective strategies that can improve the website’s performance on search engine results pages (SERPs).

They might use additional tools to aid in the development of an SEO strategy, such as Semrush, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and other webmaster tools provided by search engines.

What is an SEO Specialist & What They Do.

SEO Strategist: Expertise

An effective SEO Strategist should have extensive knowledge of all best practices a website can implement to attain the best ranking possible on search engines. These individuals have likely worked previously as SEO Specialists, which focuses more on the execution of an SEO strategy.

This means that an SEO Strategist should be able to build out a plan that encompasses Technical SEO, On-Page SEO, and Off-Page SEO.

If you’re unaware of what those terms are, here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Technical SEO – Optimization of hosting server and the website that is generally more code related to improving a site’s ability to be crawled and indexed by search engines.
  • On-Page SEO – Optimization of content that exists on the website to improve a site’s ability to be indexed for desired search terms.
  • Off-Page SEO – Optimization of actions taken on other websites towards your website such as backlinks, and marketing.

SEO Strategist: Strategic Development

The most important role an SEO strategist fills is the development of a strategic SEO plan for a website.

By leveraging experience, data, and search engine best practices, they craft both short-term and long-term plans for SEO specialists to work on. Some SEO strategists also provide the execution of their plan, but most SEO strategists work as part of a larger team.

A solid SEO strategy should include:

  • Immediate action items – Any immediate one-time tasks that can be taken to improve search performance.
  • Recurring audits – Regular, scheduled audits to check for website ERRORS or warnings issued by search engines.
  • Keyword targets – Identify what search terms (keywords) you want to rank for, usually accompanied by research data.
  • Blog post schedule – A schedule of blog posts that need to be written for specific search terms.
  • Landing page schedule – A schedule of landing pages that need to be written for specific search terms.
  • Reporting schedule – Check on your SERP performance to ensure that the strategy is working on a regular basis.
  • Recurring guideline reviews – Check on search engine guidelines and policies on a regular basis.
  • Content optimization guides – Additional guides to aid specialists in creating accurate and complete content for the website.

Not all SEO strategists oversee the management or execution of their SEO campaigns, but most do. Typically, the more an SEO strategist is involved in the execution of their strategy the more they are compensated for their work.

SEO Strategist: Salary

There is a very wide salary range for SEO specialists depending on their location, experience, and performance. Additionally, in-house SEO strategists are typically more expensive than hiring someone who is freelance or part of an agency.

  • The salary range for a full-time, in-house SEO strategist in the U.S. is $50,000 to $176,000 annually.
  • In our experience, the hourly rate for a solid freelance SEO strategist can range from $25 to over $200 per hour.
  • If you work with an agency, their in-house SEO strategist should be involved in any SEO service at all price points.

SEO Strategists: Salaries Outside the U.S.

If you’re hiring from Canada, Europe, or Australia, the salary for an SEO strategist is still comparable to the U.S. If you want a more affordable SEO strategist you will have to look outside of those regions.

While it’s absolutely true that SEO strategists can be more affordable outside of the U.S. you need to consider the impact that might have on your overhead and overall performance on search engines.

Here are some considerations to take into account when hiring an SEO strategist outside of the U.S.

  • Language differences – you might need to communicate more clearly and frequently than you would with a U.S.-based SEO strategist.
  • Additional Overhead – Remote team members require additional expenses for time tracking, cloud storage, and utilities.
  • Different Working Hours – If you want your team to adjust to your time zone, be ready to compensate them for it.
  • Cultural Differences – Different places in the world might have a culture that varies from your own.
  • Additional Training – Remote team members require more structured training since they won’t receive it in person.

When to Hire an SEO Strategist

If you’re considering hiring an SEO strategist, it’s important to know what to expect. SEO is generally a long-term strategy to increase your online presence, and ultimately drive more sales. You should expect nothing different when hiring an SEO Strategist.

We recommend you review an SEO campaign’s performance every 6 months, with monthly updates to check campaign progress. With that in mind, SEO is always an investment at first.

It took us 2 years to build our own website to what it is today with SEO, and it’s our largest driver of new business outside of referrals. If it were not for all the time we spent learning, and literally trying every strategy in the book to rank on Google, we would not be where we are today. We’ve since started offering SEO as a service to other businesses, and it’s become our largest source of revenue.

When your business is ready to increase its online exposure, and you want potential customers to find you organically through Google Search, Google Maps, and other search engines you should consider hiring an SEO strategist.

When hiring an SEO strategist, be sure to consider if you want them to develop a strategy and execute it as it impacts how much you can expect to compensate them. We recommend hiring a team of specialists to work under the strategist so that you can get the greatest overall output and campaign performance.

If you’re considering hiring an agency for SEO services, check out our SEO Packages, and schedule a call with our SEO experts.

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