And 4 numbers for web jobs, this time for the SEO. Both technical and marketing skills will be required for this position. In a standby state and on the lookout for the latest engine modifications, the SEO will constantly have to question itself to adapt its way of working and obtain the best visibility for the sites it manages. Virginie Clève, professional referent, kindly answered our questions to better understand this job…

2 kinds of referencing exist: natural reference (also called SEO) and paid SEO or campaign management sponsored links (also called SEM). Depending on the position, the SEO or SEO project manager will have to manage one or both of these types of campaigns. Likewise, depending on the company in which he works (search agency, generalist web marketing agency or advertiser), his position will not necessarily have the same functions. These could be oriented on the marketing side, on the technical side or in between depending on the case.

Presentation of the position…

A few years ago, we mainly found SEOs in agencies specialized in Search or in webmarketing agencies, natural referencing having become an important issue for more and more companies, we have seen for 2/3 years more and more more advertisers have this type of profile internally in order to better control their visibility in search engines.

The SEO project manager will specialize in either SEO or SEM or will have a versatile profile. First, he will have to study the competitors and the semantics of the site or sites for which he works before taking action. Once these two preliminary steps have been completed, the work will differ depending on the type of referencing.

SEO oriented profile …

Regarding natural referencing (SEO), he will also have to study the technical optimization of competition sites in order to identify best practices to adapt them to his SEO strategy. Then he will technically optimize the site. Without going into details, he will make sure to optimize the tags related to SEO, the content and structure of the site (by the way, if the subject interests you, consider going to take a look at our file: Tips and tricks for successful SEO).

In parallel, he will also work on the netlinking part by looking for partners to increase the popularity of the site. Nowadays, this aspect is becoming more and more important, the management of partnerships is a key element for this position. For this part of the work, the functions of the referencer approach at certain levels those of the Community Manager.

Content being another important aspect of SEO, having qualities as a web writer will be highly appreciated.

Finally the SEO will have to follow the results in terms of visits, transformations, but also in terms of positioning in the engines.

Profile oriented SEM …

On the side of sponsored links (SEM), the technical side disappears to give way to a more extensive marketing dimension. The SEO will have to manage a budget and optimize the return on investment of Search campaigns on Google Adwords, Yahoo Search and Microsoft Adcenter. He will set up the campaigns: semantic study, account structure, campaigns and ad groups, writing ads, setting up and monitoring auctions … and will have to make regular reports to monitor the results and adapt the campaigns to depending on the objectives to be achieved. To follow up on returns, he will also have to ensure that trackings are properly set up on the sites.

Specialized in SEO or SEM, in all cases the SEO project manager will be on permanent watch to follow the latest engine developments. Note that in agencies, the SEO will have several campaigns to manage in parallel on different themes and may also have a commercial part to prospect and sell SEO services. With the advertiser, he will have to coordinate internal and external skills to advance projects related to the SEO strategy.

We also talk about …

SEO, SEO specialist, SEO project manager, SEO manager, SEO specialist, SEO project manager, SEO manager, Sem specialist, Sem project manager, Sem manager, Search marketing specialist, Search marketing project manager, Search marketing, search manager marketer …


A few years ago, no training existed for this job, most SEOs were either from technical training like web developer or from marketing training, and learned in parallel SEO techniques via their different experiences and their personal watch. Today training for this profession exists. Examples : License in SEO and writing on the Internet offered by the University of Haute-Alsace, SEO and web writing license in Mulhouse. Dedicated SEO training courses also exist for marketing and / or technical profiles wishing to orient themselves towards this type of profession, for example that proposed by Webrankinfo.

Examples of missions…

  • SEO:
    • Audit writing of the referencing of a site;
    • Drafting of specifications for site optimization;
    • Creation of pages dedicated to SEO;
    • Search for partners in a theme related to a site.
  • SEM:
    • Creation of a Google Adwords campaign;
    • Reporting and study of campaign results;
    • Optimization of a campaign to improve its ROI.

Qualities and skills…

  • Curious and in a permanent waking state;
  • Analytical skills;
  • Good technical notions (HTML, dynamic languages…);
  • Taste for semantics and writing;

Salary range…

Salaries in the SEO community are very variable, they will depend on the profile of the SEO (SEO, SEM or versatile), the type of business (search marketing agency or advertiser), the number of years of experience and the results obtained by the SEO (especially in terms of natural referencing). Generally positions with the advertiser will be better paid but will generally require a first experience in an agency. For beginners, salaries are between 19,000 and 25,000 €, after 2 years of experience, the SEO can claim a salary range between 28,000 and 32,000. With more years of experience, the salary will depend on the level of expertise of the SEO and his responsibilities in the business, it will range between 30,000 and 40,000 €. In all cases, bonuses on objectives may supplement the salary. The study carried out by David Camus on salaries in SEO in February 2007 is to be updated but can give a good base concerning the wages practiced in this trade.

Professional developments…

SEO is an interesting area to start your career in web marketing, as it is a promising one, it can pave the way for developments both in SEO and in other areas of web marketing. The SEO can become SEO manager or understand other webmarketing levers by becoming, for example, acquisition marketing manager.

Example of a recent job advertisement …

Created in 1966 by André and Jean-Pierre GUICHARD, Manutan is THE European generalist in distance selling of equipment for all businesses and communities, the Manutan offer brings together nearly 200,000 references. In a context of strong growth in our Internet activities, we are looking to strengthen our Ebusiness team and are recruiting a SEO Expert (SEM, trusted Feed and SEO). Under the responsibility of the Traffic Manager, you will have to get involved in our marketing strategies for customer acquisition and the implementation of operational referencing systems. Continuation of the announcement here>

In the field: interview with Virginie Clève, professional SEO…

Virginie Cleve

TheThe advantage is that he (she) is multi-card and at the heart of the website creation process, which makes the work fascinating.

Hello Virginie, can you briefly tell us about your background (training + professional) and your current position?

Like all SEOs I think, I have an atypical career: license of philosophy and Ecole du Louvre.

I fell into the web in 1999, when I had my first PC. I made my first website (on the French medieval painter Enguerrand Quarton) by reading books, hacking and surfing the forums.

Once the site was created, it had to be referenced…. This is how I got interested in SEO.

Anyone who learned SEO at that time I think I did by going to conferences, reading articles on specialized sites and posting on forums. In reality, without David Degrelle’s lectures or Olivier Andrieu’s website (, I don’t know what SEO would be like today.

Then, I had a more “classic” career: first webmaster, freelance website designer for a few years, then web project manager in the industry, and, more recently at Prisma Presse where I also had the chance to set up a 100% internal referencing unit.

In your opinion, what qualities and skills are useful for the job? What are the pros and cons of it?

The skills required are extremely broad, which is what makes it difficult to find good, truly complete profiles on the market. The SEO must have a good base of technical skills (HTML, PHP, Javascript, server configuration, etc.), marketing skills (dashboards, targeting, social networks, etc.), semantics, a pronounced taste for editorial , ergonomics and conversion knowledge, project management skills (planning, specifications, recommendations, documentation).

In fact, he must have knowledge of the entire spectrum of web professions!

On the relational level, you must be able to discuss and understand the issues of all the profiles that make up a web team: developers, project managers, webmarketers, webdesigners, webmasters, editors.

The advantage is that he (she) is multi-card and at the heart of the website creation process, which makes the work fascinating.

The disadvantage is that on the web, and even more in SEO, everything evolves extremely quickly: without an almost daily technological watch, one is quickly has been in this business, and therefore unsaleable …

Another downside is that you don’t usually have control over the implementation and planning of SEO recommendations. SEO sometimes comes at the end of the chain, when the site is finished, which makes the work extremely complicated and sometimes frustrating.

Is there a typical day, if so can you describe it?

In reality no, at least not for in house SEOs. The various activities are sequenced according to objectives which may be different and result from precise analysis each time.

The work will not be the same on a site already well optimized technically and well positioned as on a site where no SEO work has been done.

In fact, I prefer to work in successive stages: first the foundations (technical optimization), then the stages (advanced optimization, link strategy), then the roof (social networks, linkbaiting, landing pages,… ).

Then it all depends on whether we want to fight on a few targeted keywords or whether we prefer to bet on the long tail. Again, the work to be done will not be the same.

The error would be to launch without having a strategy defined at the start.

What are the long-term career prospects, or do you see yourself in 5 years?

More and more, I think about conversion rates, web analytics, ergonomics, monetization. Getting audience without converting it to prospects, customers, readers, it doesn’t do much.

SEO is only a (powerful) traffic provider. Once the user arrives on your site, everything remains to be done! And that’s what excites me.

In the near future I see myself pretty well in charge of acquisition marketing.

Finally, do you have an anecdote to tell us?

A few months ago, a user posted a comment on a post about Secret Story and Google News that buzzed a lot at Prisma. This internet user accused us – nothing less – than paying Google so that is well positioned in Google News ! Obviously this is absolutely not the case. In the end, it made us laugh and we took it as a reward for a job (too much?) Well done.

Thank you for participating … You can find it here: !

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