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Do These 10 Skills Make Up The “Perfect” SEO Manager?

By Amy @BubbleJobs

Last year I promised to dig more into Bubble’s vast wealth of digital job data to try and pin down the latest digital recruitment trends and identify exactly what employers are looking for when recruiting in the digital space… but as avid readers of this blog will know, I’ve not really produced as many blogs as I’d have liked on the topic.

Today I thought I’d change that and shine the spotlight on what employers are looking for when recruiting for a particular candidate – and with Brighton SEO kicking off today, I thought I’d take a look at the most in-demand skills employers are looking for when advertising for SEO Managers.

Now at this stage, it’s worth pointing out that I compiled this list by studying a number of SEO Manager jobs that were advertised on Bubble over the last six months – so while this list should give you a good idea of what employers are looking for in general across the industry, we’re by no means claiming this list is exhaustive and other skills which are listed here aren’t important to have on your SEO CV.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to look at the top 10 skills that could make up the “perfect” SEO Manager…

1. 3+ Years Of Hands-On SEO Experience:

Hands-on experience in a previous SEO role was always going to feature on this list – but interestingly the amount of experience required seemed to differ from employer to employer. Some employers called for a minimum of two years, however the majority seemed to call for candidates with at least three years of experience, with a large number favouring previous agency experience rather than client-side experience. This could be because the job in question was for a digital agency, or it could be because SEO Managers with agency experience are seen to have more experience – and more diverse experience – by many employers.

2. Strong Communication/Reporting Skills:

All the roles I looked at called for candidates with strong communication and reporting skills for obvious reasons – but what was interesting to note was that a lot also called for candidates who were strong in areas of online content production and blogging. Now, while this is hardly surprising given Google’s recent algorithm updates and renewed focus on quality content, I thought it was interesting to see that employers now want their SEO Managers to be strong in the area of content too – backing up our recent theory that employers are now looking for digital candidates who are a ‘jack of all trades’. On this point, it’s worth noting that a good working knowledge of CMS systems was also called for in a few ads.

3. Proven SEO Success:

Just like anything else in digital marketing, when it comes to recruiting for SEO Managers it’s all about stats – and the job adverts I looked at all called for candidates with a proven track record of implementing successful on-site and off-site SEO strategies for a range of clients.

In particular, employers seemed to be looking for candidates who were particularly strong with link building strategies,       suggesting the focus for many employers still lies with building up and rounding out their backlink profile.

4. Good Working Knowledge of On-Site SEO Elements:

Now, I was quite surprised to see a good knowledge of on-site elements like H1s, URL structures and metadescriptions mentioned in some of the adverts I looked at because, to me, that’s a given, however they were – and not just in one ad but in a couple.

… So I thought I’d stick them in the list!

5. BA Degree In Marketing/Communications/Journalism/Computer Science:

This one took me by surprise – nearly all of the adverts I looked at called for candidates to have a degree in one of the subjects above… despite the fact that none of the subjects above have anything to do with SEO in the slightest. OK, so I have a Journalism degree and I now work in SEO… but apart from helping me with the content and outreach side of things, I can’t say my degree has been essential in helping me to bag this job. I have a feeling this one is definitely going to be controversial…

6. Good Working Knowledge Of The Wider Digital Marketing Mix:

Social Media, PPC, Affiliates – you name it, a good working knowledge of them and how they can work alongside SEO was called for in nearly all of the adverts.

7. Intermediate HTML Skills:

Just like a lot of other digital roles at the moment, intermediate HTML skills were required for a lot of the job adverts I studied – but interestingly, a knowledge of more complex server side scripting was also called for in a couple of the ads – suggesting some employers want candidates who are quite skilled both from a technical and an analytical aspect… which leads me nicely onto point eight…

8. Strong Analytics Experience:

An analytical mindset and a good working knowledge of the main analytics programs (mainly Google Analytics) was always going to feature in this list.

9. Ability To Conduct Site/Competitor Analysis:

Conducting site and competitor analysis and reporting is a common responsibility in most SEO roles so it’s hardly surprising that employers are looking for candidates who have proven experience and skills in analysing sites and reporting their findings.

10. Strong Knowledge of Authorship & In-Depth Articles:

Now this last one really took me by surprise. Like I said earlier, we know the focus has shifted to content for a lot of SEO roles – and authorship is becoming more and more important – but I found it interesting that a number of roles called for candidates with a specific knowledge of authorship and in-depth articles – suggesting these areas could be the upcoming SEO focus for a number of major brands across the UK.


So there you go; a list of the top 10 skills which are currently being called for in the UK when it comes to recruiting new SEO Managers.

As ever, I’m keen to hear your thoughts. Do you agree with the list? Do you think anything’s been missed out? Do you think BA degrees are actually that important for SEO roles? Leave me a comment or tweet us @BubbleJobs

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