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Find Out What Skills Make an SEO Pro Stand Out

Search engine optimization is crucial for any business, as it improves online visibility and brings new leads. But what does it take to be a go-to SEO specialist? Which skills are the most desirable for an SEO pro?

Semrush Academy undertook a study based on the analysis of 2,000+ job offers from five English-speaking countries: the UK, Canada, USA, Australia, and India. With our research, you will discover which skills you should invest in to be a sought-after specialist right now and in the years to come!

The key takeaway is that in most countries, the candidates should be familiar with keyword research, be proficient users of Google tools, and have an understanding of the technical aspects of SEO and link building. Additionally, techniques such as on-page SEO, mobile SEO and basics of CSS and HTML are among the top skills required for SEO specialists, so make sure you don’t overlook them.

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Top SEO Skills Distribution

USA
India
Canada
Australia
UK
1
Technical SEO
37%
Google tools (GA and GSC)
47%
Technical SEO
46%
Google tools (GA and GSC)
79%
Keyword research
57%
2
Keyword research
29%
Link building
47%
Google tools (GA and GSC)
34%
Keyword research
52%
Google tools (GA and GSC)
52%
3
Google tools (GA and GSC)
24%
Keyword research
46%
Keyword research
27%
Link building
37%
Technical SEO
52%
4
Link building
20%
On-page SEO
38%
Data Analysis
24%
Technical SEO
30%
CSS+HTML
32%
5
CSS+HTML
17%
CSS+HTML
37%
CSS+HTML
24%
Local SEO
20%
Link building
24%
6
On-page SEO
17%
Technical SEO
20%
Link Building
21%
HTML+CSS
15%
Backlink Analysis
24%
7
Javascript
14%
Javascript
13%
Javascript
19%
Backlink Analysis
15%
Javascript
23%
8
A/B Testing
7%
Mobile SEO
13%
Mobile SEO
17%
Javascript
10%
Mobile SEO
14%
9
Mobile SEO
7%
Data Analysis
8%
On-page SEO
16%
On-page SEO
10%
Local SEO
8%
10
Backlink Analysis
6%
Local SEO
7%
Local SEO
16%
Mobile SEO
7%
Data Analysis
8%

How We Gathered and Processed the Data for the SEO Skills Study

We analyzed more than 2,000 SEO job offers on Monster, Indeed and LinkedIn, three top job search sites. The data represents the requirements that employers mentioned in their vacancies. The percentage shows the number of mentions of a particular skill out of the total number of SEO job offers.

  • USA 1,000+ job offers reviewed
  • UK 200+
  • India 1,000+
  • Canada 150+
  • Australia 80

What Experts Say About SEO Skills

  • “Technical SEO skills are a must if you want to get any real and long-lasting SEO results. A large number of the SEO challenges you’ll encounter will involve in a large part the ability to understand technical SEO to be able to diagnose the issues and then decide on the most appropriate action to take.”

  • “I am seeing lots of tremendously talented SEOs in the Asian market who are at the same skill level as US and UK-based resources, but work at (much) cheaper rates due to a lower cost of living. Stateside SEOs must focus on being strategists and leaders (still a gap there), but as far as “doers” — the future is looking Eastward.”

  • “Adaptability is the key word here. Most of the basic concepts will still be around, but you should pay more attention to the intent of the search. Take into consideration the rumours that Apple is building their own search engine, and consider the number of iPhone users — this can significantly impact the landscape.”

  • “The SEO job market is already changing rapidly, but I think you will see more SEO specialists focusing on core skills and competencies, rather than the more traditional jack of all trades approach that we may be used to. I can already see a huge demand from big internationals seeking individuals with not just specialized SEO knowledge, but specific knowledge within that such as knowledge of EAT, Javascript, Information Architecture etc.”

  • “The SEO job market will continue to boom, but we will see many more digital PR and content strategy roles than before. As the tools, such as Semrush, get better and better, they start to remove the need for entry-level SEO people.”

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