SEO or search engine optimisation is something of an invisible science. It takes time to get a site ranking and clients can sometimes be frustrated by the lack of visible changes. Link-building and onsite SEO, in particular, are so important but they’re not something the client really sees.

This leads to the question then: what does an SEO (search engine optimiser) actually do?

The SEO wears many hats–and in the wider sense, we’re going to use SEO as an umbrella term for a digital marketer too.

You can expect a SEO Consultant to

1. Create content and optimise it.

I’m putting this point first because I have a bias for content, but also because content is so important. With so much of the internet moving towards mobile, it goes without saying that bite-size easily-digestible chunks of media are the future: just look at Facebook’s attempt to capitalise on video. Auto-play video is an irritant on desktop, but on mobile, we’re far more likely to engage–and that’s because we use mobile and desktop differently.

Video and infographics are going to become tools in every digital marketer’s/SEO’s repetoire, but long-form actionable content is still vital to desktop users. While mobile will continue on its upward trajectory, desktop users can’t be forgotten either. An SEO finds that perfect mix of content, creates it, optimises it, and puts it online.

Onsite SEO is equally valid of course, and getting meta descriptions and keywords right is the basis of every campaign.

2. Social signals on social media

Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest. Google+. The list goes on.

There’s a belief in certain social media circles that the key is getting thousands of followers, but that’s not true. Engagement is far more important–and real engagement at that. Twitter, in particular, is huge for business: our stats from Twitter are strongest. But thread carefully. Mommy bloggers, for example, will have more success on Facebook and Pinterest, and Pinterest is great for generating links and small SEO boosts.

The SEO will consider the business, its potential reach, its goals, and target markets and will advise a strategy or forge an online home. 60-70% of the buying process is now taking place before the consume even speaks to a human being–which is a sign of the digital revolution.

Consumers want a brand they can trust and that’s why social media is so important–and why it should be optimised with listening and monitoring tools.

3. Become an infleuncer.

Point two, hopefully, leads to point three and becoming an influencer. ‘Influencer’ is one of those wishy-washy digital marketing terms, but it ties into building trust and establishing a tangible brand. The more you create good, solid content, the more your keywords organically rank and people find your business. The more people who find and trust your website and share your content, the more influential you become.

Becoming an influencer isn’t a bullet-proof strategy, but it’s something every SEO needs to try.

4. Strategise

A digital marketer’s strategy is kept fairly firmly up their sleeve. It’s what we do. Strategies can range from improving customer engagement to link-building. And no, link-building is not dead. It’s still a legitimate process, but digital marketers need to be smarter about it. Traditional marketing services and PR are part of the future of link-building.

5. Research

Keyword and market. We’ve spoken about this before and we swear that post on how to do keyword research is coming! The more research, the more we know and the more we can capitalise on leads and get super specific with our keywords. We can’t emphasise smart targeting enough. Which leads to:

6. Analysing data

Data is a digital marketer’s currency–which is where the art of the invisible comes into play. Traffic increases and lead generation is our job, primarily. Analysing that data to improve strategies and to further increase traffic and leads is what digital marketing is all about. This is very visible to us, especially because we can be number nerds about webmaster and Google analytics in particular, but this isn’t always something that translates to the client. Email marketing is the crux of bridging the gap between data and conversions and any good SEO knows their way around email marketing software like Mailchimp.

Data allows digital marketers to focus on what’s working and what isn’t and zone in on how to improve the strategy. But remember: it takes time!

7. Generate leads and hopefully convert those leads to sales.

8. Improving your business’ rank = SEO!

Above all else, the goal of an SEO or digital marketer is to get your business found online via search engine ranking pages. The higher your rank, the more traffic you generate and in turn, the more leads you’ll generate.

It goes without saying: keyword density, strategies, social signals, link-building, etc., all enter the pot and form a cohesive strategy for our clients. We’re playing by Google’s rules and it’s up to us to keep on top of algorithm changes and to know what’s happening in the digital world.

Digital marketing and SEO are a forever moving game. Stand still and you’ll be swept away in jargon and big data and new KPI and claims that SEO is dead. There is no simple answer to what an SEO/digital marketer does because every campaign is different, but I hope this posts gives you a better idea as to what an SEO really does!

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