Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a method by which websites get higher results on internet searches by using key phrases, words and website promotion. This position falls somewhere between marketing and IT as it involves both an understanding of how computers and the internet work as well as the ability to advertise a client's product to the highest standard. Some major companies may employ an SEO executive as part of the website team to ensure a high search engine return, while sometimes SEO experts will be brought into a company to increase visits to the site on a consulting basis. As this is an executive role this will probably mean working with search engine analysts who monitor traffic through major sites and pick up on the key words people are searching for. Good "SEO's" can expect lucrative contracts as this is a critical marketing channel for businesses in the 21st century.
The main, an arguably only, responsibility of anybody working in an SEO role is to get a website higher results on a search engine (in the UK, primarily Google). Before and after this there is the matter on monitoring traffic through the site and keeping tabs on popular searches and taking advantage of them. Analysing conversion data and keeping on top of "keyword opportunities" is critical to the success of a search engine marketing campaign.
The skills required focus on a deep understanding of how search engines work, computer search trends and marketing. As this is an executive role it will also involve some light management responsibilities such as meeting with department heads, searching out new business opportunities and financial planning. A good head for numbers and an analytical mind are a must.