Top Required Skills for SEO Specialists

In 2019 SEMrush Academy analyzed around 3000 SEO vacancies on Monster and Indeed, two large job search sites. We analyzed job offers in the UK, Canada, the USA, Australia, and India to find out which skills employers want to see in their ideal candidates. We reviewed job vacancies for SEO Managers and SEO Specialists.

So here are the Top Required Skills for SEO Specialists according to SEMrush academy and popular SEO Experts of industries.

The Research Geography

Number of job offers reviewed worldwide


Most Required Skills

SEO Skills required for job

The above data represents the employer’s requirements mentioned in the job offers and can differ for each particular job offer. The percentage shows the number of mentions of a particular skill in the total number of SEO job offers.

Top Required Skills for SEO Specialists (2020 Updated)


Most Desirable SEO Skills in 2020

Being a great SEO specialist requires a wide range of skills. All the mentioned skills are important for an efficient SEO manager, but it is especially crucial to be familiar with technical aspects, search engine algorithms, on-page SEO and definitely to be able to work with tools that provide better performance of SEO activities.

Analytical skills and knowledge of Google tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console make an SEO specialist powerful and help him to keep a finger on the pulse of the most recent SEO trends. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing so it is important to be aware of the technical aspects of SEO to be able to fix the issues and achieve perfect visibility of a website.

Among these requirements knowledge of HTML and CSS are almost obligatory, so do not overlook them. Among other important technical SEO skills are H1 and meta tags, status codes, XML sitemaps, robots. txt, and solving crawl issues, which help keep you ahead of the competition and show great results during your everyday SEO routine.

SEO Skills Dynamics

There have been certain changes in employers` requirements for the ideal SEO candidate. In 2019 comparing to 2018, the percentage of SEO job offers where keyword research and on-page SEO are required has increased.

Technical SEO skills are still important, but in 2019 there are more requirements for knowledge of the HTML and CSS elements of technical SEO, so the total share of technical SEO, HTML and CSS mentions rose to 69% of analyzed jobs.

SEO Skills of 2019

The percentage shows the number of mentions of a particular skill in the total number of SEO job offers.

Best SEO Tools

There are many SEO tools on the market that provide easier and more effective implementation of SEO strategies. Here are the top 5 most in-demand tools that employers want the ideal candidates to be familiar with. Although depending on the country the ranking of the tools differs slightly.

  • Ahrefs
  • Semrush
  • Majestic
  • Moz
  • Bright Edge

Best SEO Tools in 2019

SEO Tools Dynamics

It is interesting to see the dynamics in the required SEO tools.


In the US the percentage of SEO jobs where knowledge of MOZ or SEMrush is beneficial rose to 21% and 20%, respectively. Other tools also showed an increase.

Most Popular SEO Tools in US


In India, the strongest growth was in SEMrush requirements, although in numbers, it is just 1%.

Most Popular SEO Tools in India


In Canada, significant growth in Moz’s popularity was detected.

Most Popular SEO Tool in Canada


The SEO jobs market in the UK has demonstrated the growth of the demand for the usage of Majestic, SEMrush and Ahrefs tools.

Most Popuular SEO Tools in UK


In Australia, almost all of the tools in 2019 are much more in demand than 2 years ago.

Most Popular SEO Tools in Australia

SEO Search Queries, 2020

We decided to explore what people would like to know about SEO using SEMrush and to identify areas that lack information.

The results show that most questions refer to SEO definitions and to the ways of doing SEO. So, people wonder what SEO is and how to do it. Such questions as “How to improve SEO?” and “What is SEO marketing?” are also in the top-10 list as well.

Most Serch Queries in 2019

Sum of average monthly search volumes for US, UK, AU, CA, IN.

Search Query Topics, 2020

We have also divided the most popular Google queries about SEO into several topics. According to the results, most queries are dedicated to definitions of SEO and different areas of SEO. Searches for certain SEO skills rank second. The third most popular group refers to the SEO process, where users wonder how to do SEO to get better results.

Then come educational queries and questions about jobs and employment. Users want to know how to learn SEO on their own. Users are also concerned about the prices of SEO and SEO tools.

Most Popular Search Queries


The most important skill for an SEO candidate in 2020 is the knowledge of Google tools (Google Analytics and Google Search Console). Around 42% of the job offers mention these skills as compulsory. Then, candidates should be familiar with HTML & CSS (mentioned in around 40% of SEO vacancies).

It is appreciated if a candidate has a high level of technical SEO knowledge (31%). A good SEO specialist has a broad look & should be familiar with on-page SEO specifics (28%) and be good at keyword strategy (24%).

Employers give more attention to special tools that can facilitate working on SEO strategies. SEMrush, Moz and Ahrefs are the most popular ones. Most Google queries are about definitions of SEO, particular SEO skills and the process of doing SEO.

Hamza Hashim

I'm a Freelancer having skills in SEO and Social Media Marketing with over three years of experience in these fields. I have worked for many brands. I have helped businesses to gain higher visibility in search engines. I am familiar with carrying out SEO optimization practices from small to large companies.

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