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Emerging Occupations

Search Engine Optimization Specialist

Search engine optimization (SEO) specialists study, review, and introduce website changes. They strive to make websites rank high in search engines’ organic (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 N/A
  • 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) 
  • 2016 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 Mar 31, 2018

Search engine optimization (SEO) is part of an internet marketing strategy. SEO specialists must know several things:

  • how search engines work
  • what people search for
  • the search terms or keywords people most often use in search engines
  • which search engines their target audience prefers.

In general, SEO specialists:

  • research keywords to optimize existing content
  • study, review, suggest, or implement changes to website architecture, content, links, and other factors to improve SEO
  • consult with web designers to improve site navigation (to enhance search engine ranking)
  • use SEO tools to monitor, analyze, and review websites
  • help create and support marketing content for social media purposes
  • come up with new ways to improve and track site performance
  • research and analyze competitor advertising links
  • develop and implement link-building strategy.

SEO specialists need to know how to:

  • create and manage content to optimize website, advertising and social media content
  • build internal and external links for SEO
  • use page and site architecture for SEO
  • manage a company’s online reputation through reviews and social media
  • use online and social media advertising.

SEO specialists have intimate knowledge of:

  • computer and web programming
  • web development and design (content management systems)
  • graphic design
  • internet marketing (online advertising, email marketing, social media marketing).
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Search engine optimization specialists can work in an office setting. They can also work from remote locations, including home. They may work shifts and overtime may be required to meet deadlines or resolve program issues. SEO specialists may need to sit at a computer for long periods.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Search engine optimization specialists need to possess:

  • logical thinking
  • attention to detail
  • communication and interpersonal skills
  • the skills to study complex problems
  • the ability to concentrate for long periods of time
  • the ability to prioritize work and complete multiple tasks.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

* The Search Engine Optimization Specialist is similar to this NOC group
Web designers and developers
NOC code: 2175

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 16 most recent Alberta job postings, collected on Oct 27, 2021.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Source, select and organize information for inclusion and design the appearance, layout and flow of the Website
Create and optimize content for Website using a variety of graphics, database, animation and other software
Plan, design, write, modify, integrate and test Web-site related code
Develop Website architecture and determine hardware and software requirements
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Organized
Conduct tests and perform security and quality controls
Research and evaluate a variety of interactive media software products
Consult with clients to develop and document Website requirements
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Most emerging occupations develop from more than one occupation so search engine optimization specialists may come from a variety of education and training backgrounds. Prior to enrolling in an education program, prospective students should contact associations and employers in this field to investigate education options and employment possibilities.

SEO specialists often have a background in computer science, marketing, communications, or a related discipline. Their background often has a significant programming component. Most have completed post-secondary education. 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.

ABM College

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Edmonton

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Red Deer

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grant MacEwan University

NIWE Academy Inc.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Nova Career College

QCom College of Technology (QCT)

Robertson College - Calgary

Robertson College - Edmonton

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

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 Mar 31, 2018

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 Mar 31, 2018

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.

SEO specialists work for large software companies and consulting firms. Many of these are based outside Alberta. Most programmers employed in Alberta work in specialized software development firms. They may work in the information systems departments of large companies. These may include:

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

They may work in the IT units of large private- or public-sector organizations. They may be self-employed. Most jobs are located in major urban areas. Outstanding individuals who have graduate degrees and many years on the job may become managers or 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 [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • location in Alberta
  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the 2175: Web designers and developers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.7% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 58 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

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 $17.31 $47.19 $26.39 $24.04
Overall $19.81 $54.10 $34.62 $32.88
Top $21.63 $59.08 $39.94 $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
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Wholesale Trade
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 Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
  • Computer and Information Technology
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) Canada website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. 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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