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Emerging Occupations

Search Engine Optimization Specialist

Search engine optimization specialists analyze, review and implement changes to websites so the sites are ranked high in search engines’ natural unpaid search results.

This is an emerging occupation. It may have evolved from an existing occupation or emerged in response to consumer needs or technological advances.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 2,800
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Digital Marketing Specialist, Online Marketing Specialist, Search Engine Marketing Specialist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

This occupation has not yet received an official NOC code. However, it is considered similar to the following historical NOC codes. CAUTION—As this occupation is only similar to these NOC codes, related details and labour market information may not be accurate:

  • 2006 NOC: Web Designers and Developers (2175) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Web Designers and Developers (C075) 
  • 2011 NOC: Web designers and developers (2175) 
Skills Shortage*

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Search Engine Optimization Specialist occupation
Average Wage*
*This data is for a NOC group that is similar to the Search Engine Optimization Specialist occupation
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Interest Codes
The Search Engine Optimization Specialist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

*The Search Engine Optimization Specialist is similar to this NOC group
Web Designers and Developers

Interest in analyzing information to prepare mock-ups and storyboards, to develop Web site architecture, and to design the appearance, layout and flow of Web sites


Interest in precision working to test and modify Web pages and applications


Interest in consulting with clients to develop and document Web site requirements; and in determining hardware and software requirements; may lead and co-ordinate multidisciplinary teams to develop Web site graphics, content, capacity and interactivity

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 19, 2016

Search engine optimization specialists are required to understand how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords people use in search engines, and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. They optimize websites for search engines as part of an organization's internet marketing strategy.

In general, search engine optimization specialists:

  • perform keyword search research to optimize existing content
  • analyze, review and recommend changes to website architecture, content, linking and other factors to improve search engine optimization positions for target keywords
  • consult with independent web designers to improve navigation of a site to enhance its search engine ranking
  • administer search engine programs for purposes of diagnostic reporting
  • help create and support marketing content for social media purposes
  • strategize new ways to improve and track site performance
  • research and analyze competitor advertising links
  • develop and implement link building strategy.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Search engine optimization specialists can work in an office environment or from remote locations. They may work as a private consultant, in shifts, or from home. Overtime may be required to meet deadlines or to problem-solve program issues. Search engine optimization specialists may be required to sit for extended periods using a computer.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Search engine optimization specialists need the following characteristics:

  • be able to think logically and analyze complex problems
  • be able to concentrate for long periods of time
  • have strong attention to details
  • have an ability to prioritize and complete multiple tasks
  • be able to clearly communicate ideas
  • have strong interpersonal skills.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Most search engine optimization specialists have completed a post-secondary program in computer science or a related discipline that has a significant programming component. Some have also taken programs and courses through other training options, such as continuing education.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grant MacEwan University

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Robertson College - Calgary NW

Robertson College - Edmonton

University of Lethbridge

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Information Systems Professional

Information systems professionals investigate, analyze, design, develop or manage information systems based on computer and related technologies through the objective application of specialized knowledge and professional judgement.


Information Systems Professional is a protected title under Alberta's Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act. This means that to call yourself an Information Systems Professional or use the I.S.P. designation, you must be a registered member of the Canadian Information Processing Society of Alberta (CIPS Alberta). You do not have to be registered if you do not call yourself an Information Systems Professional.

What You Need

The Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) has defined the body of knowledge required for certification and recognizes the many different ways this standard may be achieved. Applicants must provide documented evidence for 1 of the following I.S.P. designation criteria routes: (1) Established Academic, (2) IT Industry Leader, (3) Established IT Professional, (4) Education Plus Experience, (5) Exam, (6) Professional Experience Only (applicants must have entered the field prior to 1976), or (7) Upgrade from Candidate Status. For official, detailed information, visit the CIPS website, CIPS Alberta website or contact CIPS Alberta.

Working in Alberta

Information systems professionals who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered professionals in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

Contact Details

Canadian Information Processing Society of Alberta
PO Box 21085
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6R 2V4
Phone Number: 780-431-9311
Toll-free phone number: 1-844-431-9311
Fax number: 780-413-0076

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Emerging occupations typically are the result of:

  • an increased human need (for example, alternate sources of energy)
  • technological advances
  • greater specialization within an occupation.

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, it can be difficult to define advancement opportunities or employment outlook. Some Albertans already are working in this emerging occupation but future demand for Search engine optimization specialists is unknown.

Search engine optimization specialists are employed by large software companies and consulting firms, many of which are based outside Alberta. Most programmers employed in Alberta work in specialized software development firms or in the information systems departments of large organizations such as:

  • software developers
  • consulting firms
  • marketing, insurance, oil, transportation and utility companies
  • municipal, provincial and federal governments
  • online retailers
  • educational and financial institutions.

They may also work in the information technology units of large private or public sector organizations, or be self-employed. Most jobs are located in major urban areas. Outstanding individuals who have graduate degrees and many years of experience may move into management positions or become private consultants.

Search engine optimization specialists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2175: Web designers and developers. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • location in Alberta
  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.
Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Salary ranges for entry level positions are usually between $30,000 and $40,000 per year. Individuals with higher skill levels could anticipate a salary range of $50,000 to $70,000.

Often there are too few people working in an emerging occupation to gather survey information. Therefore, no current salary data is available for this occupation.

*The search engine optimization specialist is similar to this NOC group
Web designers and developers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.23 $38.98 $28.23 $26.51
Overall $23.08 $49.38 $35.32 $36.06
Top $26.44 $67.57 $42.74 $40.87

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Educational Services
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Physics
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Computing Science
    • Information Processing
    • Management and Marketing
    • Networking
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
  • Computer and Information Technology
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) Canada website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 26, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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