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Some fish are losing their sense of smell and scientists think they know why. Pexels

There have been numerous wake-up calls about the effects of climate change on marine life. As ocean waters heat up, they are bleaching corals. Growing levels of carbon dioxide are acidifying seawater, which is degrading the shells and skeletons of sea organisms. The rising temperatures are prompting fish to migrate to colder waters, even causing them to shrink. Now climate change is starting to affect their sense of smell, a phenomenon that will worsen in the coming years if global warming continues unabated, according to new research. A sense of smell is indispensable to fish. They use it to find food, detect imminent danger and elude predators, to find safe environments and spawning areas, even to recognize one another. To lose it could threaten their very survival. If this happens, it also would mean big trouble for the fishing industry, tourism and, most importantly, global nutrition, since many of the world’s people — including its poorest — depend on fish for food.

Fishermen in Vietnam. Pexels

“Future levels of carbon dioxide can have large negative effects on the sense of smell of fish, which can affect fish population numbers and entire ecosystems,” said Cosima Porteus, a researcher at the University of Exeter and author of the study, which appears in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“This can be prevented, but we must reduce carbon emissions now before it’s too late,” Porteus says.

Carbon dioxide combines with seawater to produce carbonic acid, which makes the water more acidic. Since the Industrial Revolution, oceanic CO2 has risen by 43 percent and is projected to be two and a half times current levels by the end of this century, according to the scientists.

Experts believe that about half of anthropogenic carbon dioxide — that is, emissions produced by human activities, such as the burning of fossils fuels — has over time ended up in the oceans, lowering the pH of seawater, and making it more acidic.

Porteus — collaborating with scientists from the Centre of Marine Sciences in Faro, Portugal and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in the UK — compared the behavior of juvenile sea bass at carbon dioxide levels typical of today’s ocean conditions with those predicted for the end of the century.

European sea bass are an economically important species for food consumption. Cosima Porteus/Nature Climate Change

They found that sea bass exposed to the more acidic conditions swam less and were less likely to react when encountering the smell of a predator, offered to them in the form of very dilute monkfish bile. Also, they were more likely to “freeze,” a sign of anxiety, she said.

“I found the longer they were in high CO2, the worse they fared,” she said.

The scientists also measured the ability of the fish to detect certain odors in different levels of acidity by recording their nervous system activity. “I recorded the olfactory — smell — nerve response by measuring the electrical activity of the nerve to these different odorants in the water that flowed over the nose of the fish in both normal and high CO2 seawater,” Porteus said.

“The odorants tested were those that would be involved in finding food — amino acids — and in recognizing fish of the same or other species, including bile acids, bile, intestinal fluid, etc., at different concentrations, and at levels they would encounter in the wild,” she added.

The researchers found that seawater acidified with levels of carbon dioxide that are expected by the end of the century — if global warming continues — reduced the sense of smell of sea bass by half, compared with today’s levels.

“Their ability to detect and respond to some odors associated with food and threatening situations was more strongly affected than for other odors,” Porteus said. “We think this is explained by acidified water affecting how odorant molecules bind to olfactory receptors in the fish’s nose, reducing how well they can distinguish these important stimuli.”

They did not compare the impact of today’s ocean acidity levels with those of pre-industrial times, although they plan further research to do so. “It is possible that sea bass are already being affected by a rise in oceanic pH,” she said.

Fresh catch at a fish market. Pixabay

The researchers also studied the impact of high levels of CO2 and acidity on genes expressed in the nose and brain of sea bass and found them altered — but not in a good way. Rather than adjust, things deteriorated, Porteus said.

“The gene expression experiment was conducted to see if these fish were able to compensate for their loss of sense of smell over a short period of time, not generations,” she explained. “Animals have some ability to respond to a stressful condition by making more proteins or different proteins that work better under different conditions.”

Researchers can determine this by looking at what genes change or are different between animals exposed to different conditions, normal and high CO2, for example, according to Porteus.

“One way to smell something better is to have more receptors detecting these smells in order to increase the chance that particular smell will be detected, and therefore increase the expression of these receptors,” she said. “Another way is [for them] to make a slightly different receptor that works better under lower pH. However, we did not find any evidence this was the case.”

Instead, they found the fish were making fewer such receptors, making it more difficult for them to detect smells, she said.

“There was a decrease in ‘active’ genes, indicating that these cells were less excitable, therefore responding even less to smells in the environment,” she said. “This means that these fish had a reduced sense of smell and instead of compensating for this problem, the changes in their cells were making the problem worse. This matched our observations of their behavior.”

20 percent of the protein consumed by 3 billion people comes from seafood, and about 50 percent of this comes from fish caught from the wild. Pixabay

The team chose to study European sea bass because they are an economically important species, both for food consumption and for sport fishing, Porteus said.

Nevertheless, “we think the ability to smell odors is similar in most, if not all, fish species, so what we have found for sea bass will almost certainly apply to all fish species, and maybe invertebrates too, such as crabs, lobsters etc.,” she said. “So all the commercially important species are likely to be affected in a similar way, such as salmon, cod, plaice, turbot, haddock etc.”

This is important because 20 percent of the protein consumed by 3 billion people comes from seafood, and about 50 percent of this comes from fish caught from the wild, according to Porteus. “Therefore, increases in carbon dioxide in the ocean have the potential to affect all fish species, including those that many people rely on for food and livelihood,” she said.

Marlene Cimons writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture.

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Making Sense Of Angela Ahrendts’ Departure And The Future Of Apple Retail

Yesterday, Apple announced that 30-year company veteran Deirdre O’Brien has been named senior vice president of Retail + People at Apple, a newly created role that merges employee relations responsibilities with retail experience management. Angela Ahrendts, the company’s current senior vice president of Retail, will depart in April after five years at Apple.

News of Ahrendts’ departure came as a surprise to the industry, leading Apple watchers and enthusiasts to speculate on the terms of her departure and Apple’s retail health. As the most senior member of leadership directly connected to Apple’s service and support channels, Ahrendts’ decisions are often analyzed through the emotional lens of customers frustrated by technical difficulties with their products or a stressful trip to the mall. But Apple makes decisions for long-term growth, not based on short-term impulses. So what does this executive shakeup say about the future of Apple retail?

Apple’s press release doesn’t offer an explicit reason for Ahrendts’ departure, instead stating that she will undertake “new personal and professional pursuits” following an April exit. CEO Tim Cook called the announcement “bittersweet” on Twitter. According to sources familiar with the matter, Ahrendts indicated in a team message that she may plan to step back from day-to-day management and lead a quieter life rather than take the reins of another company following her departure.

Industry analysts have attempted to correlate Apple’s disappointing earnings revision with Ahrendts’ exit. Others have suggested that the executive’s fashion background and preference for experiential retail are to blame for increased product pricing and long waits for customer service. These explanations fail to capture the full picture.

First-party brick and mortar stores and online efforts are just two pieces in a complex puzzle of Apple’s sales. While the performance of Apple stores surely have an important impact on iPhone sales, it’s unfair to place the weight of a weak quarter squarely on Ahrendts’ shoulders.

Further, Apple is unlikely to impulsively restructure its executive team after one disappointing quarter. Removing Ahrendts based on a single metric would discount her contributions in other retail initiatives like Today at Apple and a global redesign of stores.

Two days after the launch of the iPhone XR, an unconfirmed rumor suggested that Angela Ahrendts could leave Apple, and that an announcement could be made as soon as the end of 2023. The report claimed that internal talent from Australia was being considered as a replacement. Assuming the rumor has more weight than exceptionally good timing, it indicates that Ahrendts’ departure was not an overnight decision.

Across the U.S., retailers struggle to make ends meet. Since Ahrendts began at Apple in 2014, legendary brands like Sears, Bon-Ton, Toys R Us, RadioShack, and countless others have filed for bankruptcy. Mall operators face the challenge of repurposing massive vacant anchor stores. Yet Apple stores are consistently filled to the brim. The same success that has allowed Apple to thrive amidst a sea of store closures has become a lightning rod for retail woes.

It’s true that making an appointment at an Apple store often means days of waiting for an available slot, and walk-ins are almost impossible. Since 2014, Ahrendts has guided the launch of the Apple Watch, iPad Pro, AirPods, HomePod, and yearly iPhone models. Each of these products have led to growing customer demand even as Apple increases its store footprint globally. This strain on resources would’ve occurred no matter who was at the helm. Simply increasing the number of Apple stores worldwide brings with it a new list of problems long enough to fill another article.

Looking Ahead

How will Apple retail change under the direction of Deirdre O’Brien? Some have suggested that Apple needs to rethink its fundamentals. Detractors of modern Apple stores call for a return to the in-store experience of the Ron Johnson era. But what worked in 2009 will not work in 2023. Apple must work harder than ever to convince customers to visit a store rather than shop online. Retail teams have done this by establishing Today at Apple, free sessions held in every location. Ahrendts has left the initiative on solid footing, rolling out 58 new sessions last week in the program’s largest expansion since launch.

With 30 years of experience at Apple, O’Brien deeply understands the company culture and is unlikely to make sweeping changes to store design or community initiatives, at least initially. Modern Apple stores are designed to mirror the aesthetics of Apple Park and follow close collaboration with Jony Ive’s product design team. Hopefully O’Brien can capture the energy that makes Apple stores so unique while improving the effectiveness of less efficient areas like product support and service.

By promoting an executive with a passion for the company’s People team, Apple is ensuring that O’Brien will continue to focus on the people-first initiatives instituted by Ahrendts. Today at Apple, the more comfortable setting of Genius Groves, internal communication systems like Loop, and a focus on humanizing technology are all hallmarks of Ahrendts’ time at Apple.

Concerns that O’Brien may have too many responsibilities in her new role are certainly valid. Managing two teams, no matter how interconnected, will be a challenge. It will take a careful balance to ensure that neither part of the company suffers due to lack of attention and focus. The shift in management may also open up opportunities for other senior members of Apple’s retail team to take more visibly supportive roles in the company.

Speaking at the Global Leadership Summit last August, Ahrendts discussed her approach to building long-lasting brands and passing them off to new leaders:

Burberry was 150 years old when I started. That made me realize it was almost like a relay race. Imagine how many batons have been handed off along the way to the different tenures of teams that have been there. So what was our purpose while we were there?

Our job was to do everything to ensure its relevance for the next 150 years. What do we need to clean up that’s gotten cluttered and disparate? What do we need to pull in and purify, and what do we need to do to keep pace and get ahead, so that when we hand that baton off to the next generation of leaders, it’ll be as great as we could make it during that time?

Ahrendts’ closing words in Apple’s press release yesterday reflect a similar sentiment and indicate confidence that she has achieved what she set out to accomplish at Apple:

I feel there is no better time to pass the baton to Deirdre, one of Apple’s strongest executives. I look forward to watching how this amazing team, under her leadership, will continue to change the world one person and one community at a time.

Follow 9to5Mac’s retail guide for in-depth coverage of the latest Apple store news.

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Media Literacy Is Vital In The Age Of The Image

Educators must acknowledge that there are now two parallel tracks for learning, both equally critical to understand. Running alongside the traditional 3 R’s — readin’, ‘ritin’, and ‘rithmetic — are the three arts: dance, music, and the visual arts. To ignore this new language of media and sensory literacy is to shortchange in a crucial way the education of our children.

The conventional prejudice is well known: Now that DVDs and movies are ubiquitous, and television and computer games incessant, generations of students are becoming less literate, with ominous implications for the future.

First, consider how the human brain works: When a child learns something new, a set of neurons lights up in his or her brain. With each repeat of the lesson, the same neurons fire again. Surrounding neurons, sensitized to the discharges of the first set, soon become part of an ever-expanding electrochemical chorus.

Thus, learned information becomes burned into an increasingly complex network of neuronal pathways. This is how we acquire knowledge that will endure throughout our lives.

Conversely, a child must be exposed to certain kinds of information by a certain age. Otherwise, we risk letting entire tracts of other specialized neurons wither through disuse. The recurrent message at neurocognitive conferences these days is, “Neurons that fire together wire together; neurons that fail to sync fail to link.”

We are born with an excess of neurons, as if nature is telling us to learn as much as possible as quickly as we can. By the age of eight or nine, a devastating neural pruning occurs, and each of us loses about 40 percent of the neurons we were born with. This is why a preschooler can learn a second language with ease, whereas a college student trying to master the same language often finds it painful and difficult.

Given what we now know about how the brain operates, a larger question emerges: What are the consequences of the kind of learning we experience on the larger organization of the human brain?

Two Ways of Thinking

All vertebrates, from fish to fowl, have bilobed brains; humans are not special in this regard. What separates us from virtually all other species is that each of the brain hemispheres in Homo sapiens is highly specialized to process two entirely different types of information.

In more than 90 percent of people, the left lobe is the seat of language, perceived in a linear stream and organized by grammar and syntax. The majority of other linear, sequential mental processes — logic, reason, algebra, causality, and so on — also reside principally in the left hemisphere.

Credit: David Julian

Credit: David Julian

When it comes to temporal processes that move linearly in time, such as doing taxes or figuring logic problems, the left hemisphere trumps the right. When it comes to processes that are primarily spatial — driving a car, or playing tennis — right trumps left. Natural selection has evolved the left hemisphere in humans into something new under the Sun — a sense organ charged with understanding sequential time.

The right hemisphere, by contrast, is nonverbal and contributes a global (some might say holistic) awareness to events. This is the side of the brain that can add an emotional dimension and larger meaning to the knowledge we acquire. In general, the right lobe perceives many things simultaneously — whole images at a glance. It lets us respond to such nonlinear input as body language, voice inflection, and facial expressions.

Simply put, the left side of your brain processes information presented in the form of numbers or words, while information displayed in images is primarily processed by the right side. The left hemisphere, for instance, knows you’re five minutes late for class; the right one worries about the consequences and imagines what might be going on in your absence.

Of course, the complexity of the brain, and the broad band of connecting fibers joining the two sides — the corpus callosum — keep this scenario from being as tidily cleaved as our description makes it sound. Nevertheless, numerous studies have confirmed this basic dichotomy.

The varied functions of the right and left sides of the brain also can be seen in terms of sexual duality. (To avoid becoming bogged down in disclaimers and qualifiers, I’ll concentrate on right-handers, who make up about 90 percent of the population; no slight to you lefties is intended.) Every human is a psychic hermaphrodite, a composite of a feminine side and a masculine one.

In general, the right hemisphere of both men and women is the seat of their feminine component, while the left hemisphere is the seat of their masculine side. Many of the modules in the brain necessary to care for preverbal children, for instance, are located in the right hemisphere; the strategy, planning, and cooperative aptitudes necessary to hunt and kill large animals (or make hostile-takeover bids on Wall Street) reside principally on the left side.

An Important Balance

All humans have the innate capability to learn the grammar of the first language they hear. Every infant is born with the aptitude for reading the body language, gestures, and facial expressions of the cooing mother, the whispering dad, the silly siblings. Visual communication is as natural and easy as opening our eyes.

Evolution, however, did not as naturally prepare humans for the immense innovation we call literacy. Though the earliest humanoids began wandering the valleys and wooded highlands of eastern Africa almost 6 million years ago, the invention of writing is relatively recent: Inscribing markings on small bones and cuneiform tablets began only about 5,000 years ago.

Early scribes first used pictographs to convey a series of connected thoughts. Pictographs, however, are not truly writing, but, rather, are drawings that represent specific objects. These communications were streamlined and standardized by a simple innovation called the alphabet some 3,500 years ago.

The earliest writing seems to have developed out of economic expediency; some of the earliest examples were employed to label farm produce and keep accounts in order. It was an extraordinary development, on a par with harnessing fire and inventing the wheel.

Reality Pro Launch And Pricing: Making Sense Of The Speculation

There’s been a lot of speculation lately about Apple’s Reality Pro launch plans, and also about the pricing of the device.

WWDC announcement

We’ve of course heard multiple reports that Apple plans to announce the Reality Pro in the WWDC keynote on June 5, though it won’t actually go on sale until later in the year. To me, this makes perfect sense.

It may be that xrOS does the heavy lifting here, and that the required developer workload is minimal, but I can easily envisage a situation akin to adapting iPhone apps for the iPad. Yes, you could run an existing iPhone app in 2x mode, but it wasn’t pretty! It seems likely that native Reality Pro apps are going to be far more compelling than minimally-adapted iPad ones.

So to me, it’s hard to imagine that Apple wouldn’t first announce the device at WWDC.

Reality Pro launch

However, some are arguing that a whole new product category is too big a deal to fit into a keynote presentation, and that it really requires a standalone event.

Apple wants the Reality Pro to have its own iPhone moment, and it doesn’t appear to be the right time for that to happen.

My own view is that the reasoning is sound, but the conclusion is wrong.

Yes, Reality Pro is absolutely something that needs a lot of time to introduce. Apple first has to make the case for such a device to exist in the first place, and then explain why the iPhone maker is moving into this field.

That’s a big ask, and it isn’t going to get covered in a single keynote presentation.

But that’s why it makes perfect sense that this is going to be a two-stage announcement:

WWDC: Reality Pro announcement

Later: Reality Pro launch

The former will give consumers the broad brushstrokes – what, why, when? Follow-up WWDC sessions will then give developers the hands-on experience and deep dive they need.

If this doesn’t convince you, there are another couple of strong arguments for a WWDC announcement. First, there’s this:

On Monday night, there will be the traditional Apple Design Awards keynote and then a mysterious Special Evening Activity “you won’t want to miss” at Caffè Macs […]

“Join us at the Apple Developer Center as we discuss some of the latest announcements. Choose from three different presentation times. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Aka Reality Pro tryout session, followed by in-depth briefing once developers have experienced it.

Second, there’s the fact that a WWDC reveal is pretty much being reported as fact, and Apple is doing nothing to stop that. It would be a massive disappointment if it didn’t happen after all this hype, so I guarantee you that we and others would be receiving quiet (or loud) hints from Apple PR if the reports were wrong.

Reality Pro pricing

We’ve been hearing that $3,000 figure for a long time. That’s a huge amount of money, especially when nobody has yet made a clear case for why any of us would want to buy it.

Like many of you, I have a Meta Quest 2 sitting somewhere at the back of a drawer. I bought it because it was an affordable way to see what all the VR fuss was about. Having satisfied my curiosity, enjoyed riding a few roller-coasters, and let friends play with it, it was probably less than a few weeks before it was put away, never to resurface.

So it’s understandable to me that many would query the pricing.

That $1500 report debunked

Then there was that $1,500 report. There, said some, we told you it wouldn’t really cost three grand, it’s going to be half that.

Well, no. The $1,500 (actually $1,400) report was describing what’s known as the Bill of Materials. That is, the actual cost to Apple of the components needed to make one, plus assembly.

Even considering only direct costs, we still need to add packaging, warehousing, shipping, import duties, and miscellaneous handling costs. But then we need to add in the cost of marketing and selling it (Apple Store space needs to be accounted for), and the true all-in cost needs to also factor in the development costs – reported to be a cool billion dollars a year. That’s a big bill.

But there’s a wildcard

Apple knows this is a very expensive first-generation device, and it knows it needs to create a market for the more affordable models down the road. This model will be the crucial but short-lived LISA, ahead of the much more affordable Macintosh.

Bloomberg reported that the Cupertino company even considered selling the first-gen model at a loss, before deciding instead to sell it as a breakeven price.

We also need to consider that the Bill of Materials report was just an estimate of what the components might cost. We don’t know the actual components, nor the actual price that Apple pays for them. We do know the company drives a hard deal with suppliers, so rather than an under-estimate of real-life costs, the BoM might be an over-estimate of the true cost to Apple.

Finally, there’s the original iPad, which was widely rumored to cost a thousand dollars, and actually launched for half that. The smart money says that Apple leaked the $1000 price to make $500 seem like a bargain. The company could be doing the same thing again here.

So we may be pleasantly surprised

So there’s at least a possibility that the $3k pricing and $1.5k BoM was Apple disinformation, and that it will, after all, launch for $1,500.

That said, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Personally, I’m not expecting to buy one at either price – how about you?

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Plagued By Predators In The Sea, These Fish Are Moving Onto Land

On the remote Pacific island of Rarotonga, some fish are fleeing to land.

Scientists have long suspected that blenny fish leapt out of water to escape the many sea creatures that seek to eat them, but the blennies’ true motivations remained a mystery. Now, in a study published this week in The American Naturalist, researchers show that these sausage-shaped fish were over three times more likely to be devoured in the sea than on land, giving credence to this theory.

“It turns out the aquatic environment is a nasty place for blennies, full of enemies wanting to eat these small fish. But life is less hostile on the rocks, with birds their main worry,” says Terry Ord, the study’s lead author and evolutionary ecologist from the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia.

To find out, Ord and his team visited Raratongo Island, where several species of blenny are regularly found lying on the ground near the water. The team fashioned 250 fake plastic blennies, about 2.5 inches long, with lifelike colorings and patterns. Half of the mimics were put in the water, and the other half were fully exposed on dry land. Predatory attacks on the mimics were observed over eight days, and the results suggest that blennies are much safer on land. “There were at least three times more attacks on our model blennies placed in the water than there were on models positioned on land,” says Ord.

So although being hacked to death by predatory seabirds surely isn’t a great way to go, it seems the blennies prefer that alternative to whatever ravenous creatures lurk in the sea.

The team also observed the behaviors of real-life blennies. At low tide, most of the blennies migrated to the rocky shelves above the water. And as the tide rose, they moved with it, taking refuge at higher ground, “apparently to avoid being eaten by aquatic predators coming in with the rising water,” explains Ord.

Ord doesn’t think this is just a survival technique, like mountain lions and bears scrambling up trees when they sense danger. He thinks that blennies are in the process of moving out of the sea and colonizing land on a more permanent basis.

Although lacking legs, they do seem comfortable on the ground. They don’t just spend a considerable amount of time there (although Ord notes it’s difficult to measure how much time each blenny spends out of water), they also hop around to different rock crevices and socialize with each other, explains Ord. Perhaps most compelling, there’s a blenny species that hangs out on the same rocks as the truly amphibious fish, and “spends its entire adult life out on the rocks in the splash zone,” he says.

What’s more, the land-seeking habits of the blenny are seen in disparate places around the world. Ord cites Guam and Japan in the North Pacific, Tahiti and Rarotonga in the South Pacific, and Mauritius and Seychelles in the Indian Ocean as examples.

The blenny has a long way to go before it’s a full-fledged land-dweller, but it’s doing pretty well—for a legless fish. They breathe mostly through their gills, but can get some oxygen through their skin, says Orb. And they’re “reasonably agile out of water because of their general sausage-shaped body, and by use of their tails to shuffle and even hop across intertidal rocks,” he says.

In time, we’ll see if the blennies continue their march towards dry land, a place where they’re less likely to be chomped and munched on. For now, let’s keep mum about their ambitions, lest more predatory sea birds—or Guam’s two million snakes—catch on to the scheme.

Seo Specialist: What Are Their Top 15 Key Responsibilities?

blog / Digital Marketing Learn These Top 20 Skills to Become an SEO Specialist

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What are the Key Responsibilities of an SEO Specialist?

The key role of an SEO specialist is to optimize content to improve rankings on search engine pages. However, optimizing content is a technical and ongoing process that includes the following responsibilities:

Keyword Research

Undoubtedly, one of the key functions of an SEO specialist is to conduct thorough research for identifying frequently used keywords, phrases, or queries entered on search engines. Furthermore, these keywords are incorporated into landing pages and blogs for better ranking.

On-Page Optimization

This refers to optimizing various elements on the website—title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. Moreover, the job entails adding internal links, images, and alt-text to web pages to improve search engine rankings.

Off-Page Optimization

In addition to improving content on your website, you also need to make other efforts to increase traffic. For example, building high-quality backlinks to a website from other relevant websites, posting content on social media, writing guest blog posts, forum posting, and local listings.

ALSO READ: What is SEO? How to Build a Winning SEO Strategy

Technical SEO

This refers to technically optimizing your website and servers to enable search engine crawling and indexing your website. To illustrate further, submitting sitemaps to Google, using noindex tags for irrelevant pages, improving page speed, adding structured data, and making websites mobile-friendly are some noteworthy processes of technical SEO.

Content Development

The most important job of an SEO specialist is creating high-quality, unique, and engaging content with the latest statistics and appropriate keyword density. This increases search engine ranking.

Monitoring and Reporting

You must also learn website or Google Analytics to analyze website traffic, keyword rankings, and other metrics. Overall, it constantly monitors and tracks the result of SEO strategies, allowing one to make data-driven decisions.

Keeping Up with Industry Trends

Lastly, being up-to-date on the latest developments, skills, and best practices in SEO ensures that your website is always optimized.

In addition to the above, a majority of SEO specialist job descriptions include the following day-to-day responsibilities:

Writing original and keyword-oriented content for web pages

Collaborating with other businesses to identify link-building opportunities

Developing and implementing content marketing strategies using content management system tools

Monitoring search terms and rankings of words

Doing SEO audits and preparing reports

Suggesting and implementing strategies to improve existing content

Working with social media marketing teams to ensure the use of keywords in the content

What Skills Does an SEO Specialist Need to Have?

SEO

Google Analytics 

Knowledge of SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs

Digital Marketing

Search engine marketing management system

Analytical skills

Communication skills

Creativity

Web analytics

Organization skills

Copywriting or technical writing

Knowledge of B2B or B2C businesses

Content management system

Keyword research

Intent analysis

Knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript 

SEO forecasting

Understanding server management

Log file analysis

ALSO READ: How to Become an SEO Expert: A Comprehensive Guide

Do You Need Specific Education or Training to Become an SEO Specialist

No, anyone can become an SEO specialist, as no specific education or training is required for this field. Of course, it helps to have a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing or any allied field. Therefore, specific education is not essential to becoming an SEO specialist. Moreover, if you have academic qualifications in any field other than digital marketing, you can still become an SEO specialist if you acquire the relevant skills. Here are the common prerequisites for becoming an SEO specialist:

A minimum of two-three years’ experience in developing and executing SEO campaigns

Expert knowledge of search engine algorithms, ranking methods, indexing, and crawling 

Knowledge of SEO industry programs, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics

Ability to do keyword research using

data mining tools

Expertise in conducting a competitive analysis of other similar businesses in the market

Excellent communication skills

Ability to analyze large volumes of data and prepare reports

Knowledge of WordPress and other content management systems

Good understanding of customer behavior and B2B and B2C business models

How Can Hiring an SEO Specialist Benefit Any Business

Let’s see how the introduction of an SEO specialist can benefit a business:

Increased Organic Traffic

SEO specialists optimize your website and content using relevant keywords and other on-page and off-page optimization techniques. This helps businesses rank higher in search engine results, increasing organic traffic for targeted keywords.

Better User Experience

Google indexing and crawling features list fast-loading websites higher. Moreover, the website should be easy to use on mobile devices too. Hence, an SEO specialist helps improve the overall user experience of your website by optimizing various on-page elements. This reduces bounce rates and generates more traffic to the website.

Higher Conversion Rates Competitive Advantage

As noted above, SEO specialists optimize your website to make it rank higher and receive more organic traffic. They also conduct SEO analysis of competitors’ websites and plan SEO strategies. To summarize, this gives businesses a competitive edge over other rival businesses in the market.

How Do SEO Tools Help Specialists Perform Their Jobs More Effectively Task Automation

SEO tools boost the efficiency of SEO strategies as they automate many repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Notable examples are ‘Separate’ and ‘SpyFu’ for keyword research and ‘WebCEO’ for on-page optimization and link analysis.

Provide Data-Driven Insights

SEO specialists get valuable insights and data on various aspects of a website’s search engine optimization with the help of SEO tools. They can use this data to analyze competitors’ websites, build custom SEO dashboards, and track organic conversions.

Comprehensive Reporting

SEMrush, Moz, and Google Analytics SEO tools provide detailed reports and analytics on keyword rankings, traffic, and engagement metrics. Additionally, they help SEO specialists analyze the performance of SEO strategies.

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