Types of SEO Practitioners

SEO practitioners

I have identified at least four distinct types of SEOs over the past decade. It is likely that most people will be a blend of types, because everyone’s experiences are unique. People often teach themselves SEO out in the field, because most start their careers as something else. In my case, I started as a web developer and migrated to SEO through my love of  analytics.

Data analytics

Understanding large sets of data and knowing how to parse them is an art, but it calls for an analytical mindset. The analytics SEO is a former data scientist, quant, statistician, scientist, analyst, or someone who is very advanced with their analysis and knowledge of tools. These SEOs operate mostly from the head — not the creative realm (which they find annoying). They are the person who owns the task of correlating data, building dashboards, and ensuring that reports can be trusted. Sometimes a pay-per-click (PPC) person can become a data-focused SEO as well, making them a hybrid. The most important function of this type of SEO is that they learn from the past and measure the future.


Technical SEOs are typically former web developers, web designers, or software engineers who get into the SEO field after gaining the desire to be involved in what’s on the front of the page, not just what’s behind it. The technical SEO will always start with what I like to call the block-and-tackle elements: W3C compliance, data capture, and all the key technical elements that could cause issues with site growth. Also expect some on-page SEO, too, as UI and Udiscussion falls within their realm. The limit to working with this type of SEO is that development resources are often the most expensive to a marketing department. The technical SEO will require more than administrative access to WordPress to thrive and enact meaningful changes.

Content and communications

Content SEOs tend to be less technically driven because their focus is almost all on-page. They have a heavy target goal of gaining website traffic via social generation and gaining links at the core of their programs. This type of SEO is often your content bartender, constantly experimenting with the finest in artisanal small-batch traffic sources. The content SEO tends to come from previous careers in writing, branding, corporate communications, public relations, or social media. Content SEOs are hooked on finding new sources of traffic for their sites, and pursue link building programs and new platforms aggressively. They also tend to be fun at parties


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