Top Skills You Need to Be Good at SEO
The first and most important skill on this list is analysis, a vague concept that applies to a number of individual SEO areas. What you need as an SEO professional is the ability to take data about who, what, when and where, and understand the “how” and “why” questions that go along with them.
For example, you’ll need to look at reports on organic traffic increases and determine which of your tactics were responsible for that increase. You’ll need to look at recent ranking drops, and track down the root causes for that setback. You’ll need to crunch data on thousands of keywords to understand the best direction for your campaign, and you’ll need to figure out which pieces of content best resonate with your audience (and why).
The second most important skill after analysis is research — and you’ll be doing a lot of it. Research for an SEO campaign often starts with a basic keyword and competitor analysis, which provides the insights necessary to create the strategic foundation for your campaign. But SEO demands far more research than that; you’ll also need to read up on the latest news about search engine technology.
Next, you’ll need to run experiments to see how your tactics affect your search rankings (and user perceptions). You’ll even need to look up answers to your problems when you inevitably run into challenges. The faster and more efficiently you research, the better.
3. Coding basics
You don’t need to be a professional programmer to be successful in SEO. Today’s CMS systems often have basic SEO functionality built in, and if push comes to shove, you can follow step-by-step instructions online if you need to make a change to the backend of your site.
Still, it helps to have some familiarity with coding basics; you should be able to peek at the source code of a given website and identify the key features relevant to your campaign. You should also be able to quickly and easily make swaps and changes without breaking your site.
After a few years on the job, search marketers may feel that they’ve learned everything and that they’re some of the best experts in the business. But SEO is a field full of surprises; just because you think you know something doesn’t mean that’s objectively true for all clients, or that things won’t change in a few weeks or months.
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