Hilbert College Global Online Blog

Search Engine Optimization Consultant: Career Overview

Written by: Hilbert College   •  Nov 30, 2023
A search engine optimization consultant works on a computer in an office.

Search Engine Optimization Consultant: Career Overview

In the interconnected modern world, consumers depend on the internet to help them make purchasing decisions. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans are online shoppers, according to Pew Research Center, and they routinely use search engines to find the products or services they need. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques and practices designed to drive organic website traffic via search engines such as Google and Microsoft Bing.

As more consumers rely on the internet to find and purchase products and services, SEO continues to grow more complex. Search engine optimization consultants, also known as SEO specialists, navigate these complexities and work to position their clients or employers at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). For individuals interested in pursuing a career in SEO, earning a bachelor’s degree in digital media and communication offers the skills and training required to thrive in this fast-paced role.

What Does a Search Engine Optimization Consultant Do?

A search engine optimization consultant is a digital marketing professional who has the unique skills and knowledge to improve a website’s online visibility. This professional provides an array of specialized services, including on-page SEO, technical SEO, local SEO, link building and keyword research.

Search engines use complex algorithms to “crawl” websites and webpages looking for the best possible match to each user’s search terms. An SEO consultant must understand these algorithms and work with web designers, writers, graphic designers and others to optimize their clients’ or employers’ websites in ways that appease these algorithms. Well-optimized websites rank higher in users’ search results, leading to an increase in website traffic and improved revenue.

Typical Work Environment

A search engine optimization consultant can work in various settings. Most work for agencies alongside other marketing specialists, but others may work in a large company’s marketing department. SEO consultants may choose self-employment or freelance work over direct employment with an agency or a company. SEO consultants tend to work full time from either their employers’ location or their home.

Key Responsibilities

Most SEO consultants share the same set of key responsibilities and duties. These may include the following:

  • Planning and implementing SEO strategies
  • Maximizing their clients’ or employers’ returns on marketing investments
  • Ensuring that their clients’ or employers’ websites are competitive in the online space
  • Creating marketing strategies designed to boost organic traffic to their clients’ or employers’ websites
  • Staying up to date with the latest changes to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines’ ranking algorithms
  • Researching keywords to discover new opportunities for improving search rankings
  • Using their clients’ or employers’ marketing dollars in the most efficient and effective ways possible
  • Collaborating with a team of marketing specialists, such as graphic designers, content strategists and web developers
  • Diagnosing and resolving technical SEO issues, such as broken links and 404 errors
  • Regularly auditing websites and webpages for visibility

Education and Skill Requirements

No formal education requirements exist for search engine optimization consultants, but as the nature of SEO has grown more complex, employers and marketing agencies increasingly seek college graduates to fill these roles. Options include bachelor’s degrees in fields such as digital media and communication, business, marketing, or even information technology (IT).

SEO consultants benefit from essential soft skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, drive and agility. SEO is always changing, and professionals in this field must be able to adapt and grow. On the technical side, SEO consultants should develop strong data and analytical skills, programming knowledge, and strong reading and writing ability.

Some SEO consultants choose to specialize in one of countless industries or niches. For example, a medical or health care SEO consultant may choose to work exclusively with hospitals, medical offices and pharmaceutical companies. A legal SEO consultant may work for legal firms or government agencies, and an SEO consultant specializing in public relations may work with celebrities or other public figures.

SEO Consultant Salary and Job Outlook

The search engine optimization consultant salary varies significantly based on factors such as experience, education and employer. SEO specialists, which includes SEO consultants, earn a median annual salary of about $51,400 as of October 2023, according to the compensation website Payscale. After gaining professional experience, SEO consultants may go on to management roles, which come with more responsibilities and the potential to earn a higher salary.

As the digital transformation continues and more businesses discover the importance of high online visibility, the need for skilled search engine optimization consultants will grow. Because SEO consultants can work with companies in every industry and niche, the employment possibilities are virtually endless. Consumers will continue to rely on the internet to find the information they need well into the future, making SEO essential for any growing business.

Improve Companies’ Online Presence as an SEO Consultant

The internet offers freedom from geographical borders, allows people with shared interests to come together and gives consumers all the information they need to make wise purchasing decisions. As long as the internet remains ingrained in our society, there’ll always be a demand for search engine optimization consultants who can give the right people the right information at the right time.

As a search engine optimization consultant, you can enjoy lucrative job opportunities, competitive job offers and promising opportunities for career development. Discover how an online Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media and Communication from Hilbert College Global can provide you the skills and knowledge you need to thrive.

Recommended Readings

Marketing vs. Communications: Degree Comparison

8 Digital Marketing Career Paths

What Can You Do With a Communications Degree?


Ahrefs, “What Does an SEO Consultant Do? Do You Need One?”

LinkedIn, “Become an SEO Expert: What Does an SEO Consultant Do?”

Moz, “What Is SEO and How Does It Work?”

Payscale, Average Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist Salary

Pew Research Center, “Online Shopping and E-Commerce”

Ranktracker, “The Importance of SEO in 2023”

Search Engine Journal, “Top 8 Skills Every Great SEO Professional Needs to Succeed”

Learn more about the benefits of receiving
your degree from Hilbert College