Despite being around for a few years, SEO is still rarely covered in marketing curricula or taught in many institutions (at least according to all the interns I interview.)
Diverse backgrounds are represented among SEO experts. Some of them work as programmers, while others are business owners, traditional marketers, journalists, or even former rappers.
I spend a lot of time interviewing candidates for available SEO roles as part of my profession.
Depending on the position and experience level, there isn’t a set list of SEO abilities that every candidate must possess, but there are a few things I always look for.
Simply said, I’m seeking someone with a background I can build on (programming, marketing, content, etc.) and a data-driven, results-based way of thinking.
That should be clear if you read the interviewing piece up top.
Anyway, let’s discuss the best abilities for SEO success.
There are undoubtedly many people who have excelled without having all of the skills on this list, and it is by no means comprehensive. However, what fun would a list be without some controversy?
Here are the top eight qualities I look for in an SEO candidate.
Although it’s difficult to quantify, it’s critical for SEO experts to have an analytical mind that can distinguish between correlation and causation.
I’m looking for an SEO who can analyse data and comprehend the “3 What’s”:
- what took place.
- the reasons for “what transpired.”
- what action we should take.
There are various methods to measure this, but I refrain from asking students to solve the classic lightbulb issue or determine the quickest way to use a shared flashlight to cross a bridge.
I’ll instead offer fictitious interview questions to better comprehend their reasoning.
Here are a few examples of interview questions: “Pretend you and the customer don’t agree on what we should do. Can you describe the meeting with them and your strategy for it for me?
“Account just emailed a client’s new website,” is another. They ask if we can assist with their SEO. What two items do you glance at right away?
Asking them about the largest difficulty they resolved, how they came up with the solution, and how they determined success is an excellent method to gauge this.
These questions have no right or wrong answers, but they do give me an indication of how a candidate thinks and approaches issues.
I want to see students approach the issue from several perspectives and base their choices on facts and logic.
Writing And Speaking Skills
An SEO expert who can conduct keyword research and write content using it is far more beneficial.
However, we’re not referring to publishing papers like this or giving presentations at conferences.
Speaking at meetings and producing decks, case studies, POVs, etc. are two ways that an SEO might persuade internal teams and clients to act morally. These all include both speaking and writing abilities.
SEO involves not only self-assurance but also the capacity to reduce abstract concepts to those that non-SEO individuals can grasp and use as a basis for decision-making.
Skills In Technology And Programming
There will undoubtedly be some discussion about this. I’m equally confident that many SEO experts are currently working fantastic jobs without programming experience.
The truth is that if they knew more about programming, they could be doing an even better job.
As SEO experts, we offer advice on server-side redirects, slow loading, page performance, microdata tagging, and fundamental HTML tags.
If you can engage with the developer and provide insights rather than just demands, all of these conversations will go more smoothly.
When a developer pushes back, understanding their perspective can be incredibly useful in resolving the conflict.
Calculating the effort required compared to the SEO impact is also crucial.
While I don’t believe SEO professionals should be able to write code, I do believe they should be aware of the coding implications of the changes they want, what it means for the developers, what the most frequent errors and objections are, and even how to deal with them.
It is insufficient for an SEO expert to send the developers a copy of a Google page speed report. You must comprehend the nature of the modifications, their implications for the website, and the work required to implement them.
A short Python script to automatically add hreflang to your XML sitemap or a quick scraper to gather data is just two examples of how technical knowledge can make your life easier.
With our current data sets and a few Python NLP packages, an SEO expert can perform a tonne of exciting things as search engines develop to employ more machine learning and NLP.
Today’s SEO programmers are using data and code in incredibly wonderful ways that give them an edge on insights and landing work.
I’ve developed so many wonderful friendships and gained so much knowledge over my career just by hanging out at conferences or networking with other SEO experts, even electronically.
But to achieve that, you can’t be a creep, and you have to get along with people on a social level.
In conference hallways, during events, and during meet and greets, some of the best talks take place. A few of these activities entail drinking.
You must maintain control if you decide to go to these events.
We’ve all heard tales about how one particular person was inappropriate. Don’t act in that way. Many highly intelligent SEO experts have ruined their careers by acting inappropriately in public or on social media.
Remind yourself: never try to find a date at a conference event or hotel bar.
It is a fantastic venue for discussing SEO philosophy and strategies.
In informal and private settings without live blogging and tweeting, SEO experts occasionally divulge secrets they wouldn’t normally disclose to the public.
The majority of attendees at an SEO event aren’t interested in political debates or hearing about that one particular issue that solely affects your site and requires a 10-minute explanation (unless you’re paying for the refreshments).
They will, however, like hearing about the novel and the interesting things you have experienced.
Does being a good SEO require you to participate in conferences or other public events? No. However, you can’t act rudely if you choose to do that stuff (or are required to be at these events).
If SEO experts can log into Adobe or Google Analytics and pull their data, they can save a tonne of time.
For an effective SEO strategy, a fundamental understanding of business KPIs is also necessary.
Since most of the time we end up extracting the data, I provide my staff with the chance to become certified in Adobe and Google Analytics even if they aren’t pulling the data themselves.
You’re probably losing out on some insights if you can’t extract and segment data.
Perseverance And Modesty
SEO is a dynamic process, as was already said. It’s challenging to understand search engine algorithms. They are constantly evolving, and for SEO specialists, this is an important lesson in humility. Some tactics are effective while others are not. Professionals in SEO cannot afford to let these ups and downs cause them to lose focus on their objectives.
They must learn how to bounce back from setbacks and reenter the game with improved SEO strategies. The difference between an SEO enthusiast and an expert is one of tenacity and humility. As an expert in SEO, you must not only constantly innovate but also take risks with your ideas.
Again, being able to make decisions is a key competency for SEO professionals. After all, it is time for you to weigh in on crucial decisions once you have finished using your analytical and critical thinking skills to analyze the performance of your campaign.
Do you stop using specific SEO techniques that don’t seem to be producing results for you? Will this eventually hurt your SEO strategy? You alone are responsible for all of these choices, so you must be self-assured and assertive enough to take ownership of them.