Ashlee Sierra

Imagine if we had a marketing awards show. Content writers, social media experts, visual designers, social media strategists — we’d all show up in limousines and rock the red carpet. Other shows like the Oscars and BAFTA would have nothing on us.

But do you know who the real star would be? Which digital marketing celebrity would be the first to stand on that stage?

That’s right: the SEO manager.

All this fanfare may not exist in real life, but we think SEO management deserves to be celebrated anyway. That’s why we’re putting this digital marketing expert in the spotlight and giving you a front-row seat to the festivities. Pull out your best awards season fashion — let’s answer the question, “What is SEO management?”

SEO Management Basics

Before you show up at the awards show, you need to do your research on all the celebrities attending. That means it’s time to brush up on your SEO management basics.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is as important to digital marketing experts as scripts are to movie stars. SEO tells us how to position our content so it will rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs) and reach more of our adoring fans. The goal is to become the #1 search result, which is like being a box office hit. 

What is an SEO Manager?

An SEO manager is in charge of managing content teams, overseeing SEO strategy and researching search engine algorithms to consistently deliver top-notch results for clients. They play a big role in SEO campaign management, too. Think of them like the directors on a film set. (I hear some SEO managers even have those fancy chairs with their names on the back!)

Is an SEO Manager the Same as an SEO Expert?

You’ve probably seen lots of names for an SEO manager, from an SEO expert to an SEO specialist. The truth is that these are just affectionate monikers for any number of people in the marketing industry. For example, an SEO analyst and an SEO manager can both be called experts or specialists, but that doesn’t mean they do the same thing. As a content writer, I might even call myself an SEO expert. Simply put, it’s a search engine’s world and we’re all living in it.

SEO Management Tools of the Trade

Fun fact: Before I was a content writer, I was an actor. I appeared in many short films you have absolutely never seen and even more stage productions you’ve also never seen, and I was invited to a grand total of 0 awards shows. The point is that, before I exchanged my script for a pen, I learned the “tools of the trade” that help actors bring their characters to life.

As it turns out, an SEO manager has tools just like that. Sure, these SEO experts aren’t trying to make us believe they’re aliens, superheroes or pirates — but they are trying to make search engines believe their content deserves to be the #1 search result. (That’s totally the same thing, right?)

Let’s take a peek behind the curtain to see what makes an SEO manager so worthy of their place in the spotlight:


Every manager brings something a little different to the table. However, skills like these often show up in the job description:

  • SEO: You can’t be involved in SEO management without a solid understanding of SEO strategy, search engine algorithms, keyword research, technical SEO and other marketing must-haves.
  • Communication: An SEO manager knows how to communicate with everyone. Analysts, creative teams, client stakeholders — SEO management means bridging the gap between all kinds of different perspectives.
  • Content marketing: While SEO managers may not be directly creating the blogs, videos and infographics that help their website or a client’s appeal to a search engine, they are responsible for shaping these projects and helping hit SEO strategy goals.
  • Strategic thinking: With so many moving parts to juggle, SEO management requires a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. SEO managers must unite disparate elements under a single SEO strategy and keep everyone pushing in the same direction.
  • Problem-solving: I wish I could say SEO is always a walk in the park, but it’s not. That’s why an SEO manager needs to be capable of acting quickly to respond to unexpected search engine updates or other challenges.
  • Client relationship management: If you’re an SEO services provider, your clients are counting on you to help them see the big picture. SEO managers play a big role in this relationship, showing clients how all the pieces fit together to deliver measurable ranking results.


An SEO manager isn’t someone brand-new to the industry. Instead, they’ve had key experiences, including other content marketing positions. They’ve also spent plenty of time working on SEO campaigns of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps most importantly, they’ve worked with and managed teams in a marketing environment, which means they know everything from the joys of social media content creation to the intricacies of keyword research.


There’s no single path to SEO management, but most positions require a bachelor’s degree. An SEO manager often studies business, communications, marketing or a related field before finding their spot in the SEO spotlight.

A Day in the Life: SEO Management at Work

Let’s say the awards ceremony is up and running. The SEO manager is standing on the stage, ready to make an acceptance speech and share some of their marketing wisdom along the way. Here are just a few things they might mention before they get their award:

SEO Strategy Creation 

One of the most important things an SEO manager does is oversee the creation of an SEO strategy. They might take an active role in this project, relying on their experience and research to help shape the strategy, or they might call in analysts and other team members to decide on the details. Either way, the SEO manager is in that director’s chair, helping develop a plan that will guide content creation, website updates, publishing schedules and more.

Keyword Research 

Keyword research is something every digital marketing expert is likely familiar with. Along with lead, traffic, sales and audience research, keywords play a key role in SEO management. That’s because these SEO specialists need to know which topics are most relevant to a search engine, how to position that content persuasively and what specific search terms are most valuable.

Content Planning

Once a strategy is in place and keyword research is underway, an SEO manager can begin working with creative teams to plan content. For example, maybe a client is looking to target local audiences, which means it’s time to use local SEO. Videos need to be filmed in recognizable areas around town, social media posts need to focus on community topics and other content types need to be shaped to fit the client’s SEO goals.

Of course, SEO management isn’t just about helping creative teams do their thing. Other content planning tasks might include creating an internal linking strategy, identifying which collateral types are generating the most traffic, researching competitor content and more.


An SEO manager’s work is never done. Even once blogs or social media posts go live, the manager still needs to stay on top of research and data analytics to see how this content is performing. Then, they’ll update their SEO strategy and come up with new approaches to stay ahead of current trends and deliver measurable results.

Why Content is Always the Star

The SEO manager is wrapping up their acceptance speech. Teary-eyed, they look out into the audience and thank everyone who made it possible for them to snag the digital marketing role of a lifetime.

You might expect this SEO specialist to thank parents, friends, teachers and SEO mentors — but their first shout-out goes to content.

That’s because a good content management strategy is the foundation for almost everything that happens as part of SEO management. If an SEO manager is like a film director, content represents the actors, screenwriters, camera crew, set designers and even the set caterers. 

Here are a few more reasons an SEO manager — and, in fact, most digital marketing experts — would thank content in their acceptance speech:

Content Creates Value

Customers need a reason to visit a website. Most of the time, that reason is to answer a question — like “What is SEO management?” When an SEO manager plans and structures content for a website, what they’re really doing is creating value for customers. That way, users visit the site organically and might even find their new favorite brand before they’ve even decided to make a purchase.

For example, we put this blog post together for you so you can show off your vast knowledge of digital marketing roles. That’s value, and it’s what keeps visitors coming back to a website.

Content Makes a Difference

Of course, content creation isn’t all about bringing people to a website and giving them something in return. It’s also about having an impact on viewers.

Let’s say a customer is looking for information on how to feed their new ferret. They find an article about DIY ferret snacks and treats — and, better yet, it’s written by a local pet store. Because the content created value, the customer now associates this company with useful information, reliable facts and helpful tips. When this pet parent needs something else for their furry friend, they’ll be more likely to visit that same website or even shop at the pet store.

In this way, content makes a difference, helping build real relationships — and thanks to keyword research, SEO strategy and other tools of the trade, SEO managers make it possible.

Content Provides Opportunities 

Imagine trying to market without any content whatsoever. Blogs, social media posts, emails, how-to guides, explainer videos — it’s all gone.

Without these collateral types, you’d miss out on a lot of opportunities to appeal to a search engine and ultimately interact with potential customers. You’d have no place to use keywords, create internal linking opportunities, show off products or share information. In fact, your only option for communicating with your audience would be to knock on their doors.

Long story short, content is the culmination of all the other work SEO managers do, giving them a chance to use their skills and turn the internet into a marketing playground.

Content Tells Stories

I’ve spent a lot of time on this movie star metaphor, but I haven’t mentioned the most important connection: SEO management, much like filmmaking, is about telling stories. It brings a human element to marketing — which, without fun social media personalities and valuable how-to guides, might otherwise be all about telling people to “buy our stuff.” 

That means an SEO manager gets to play a role in the constant conversation between companies, content creators and consumers — one that, with the right SEO strategy and a little bit of inspiration, can quickly become just as award-worthy as your favorite movie.

Find Your Marketing Spotlight

SEO managers might deserve first dibs on the red carpet, but there’s room for everyone at this awards show. All you have to do is brush up on a few SEO basics, grab your favorite content and find a place in your marketing spotlight.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. That’s why our newsletter is here to give you all the inspiration you need. Subscribe today to find out how you can snag a spot as the next big marketing star!