Skills for becoming an SEO professional

Search engine optimisation

Every profession requires a certain set of skills necessary to succeed in their industry.

For example, skillsets for managers have a different focus from that of designers, developers or SEO professionals.

However, it’s important to point out that the majority of skills for every profession are teachable and as long as there is both motivation and drive present, there’s usually a promise of success.

Background to become an SEO

Before we dive into the list of top SEO skills, we’d like to say that SEO professionals come from various backgrounds; developers, marketing professionals, entrepreneurs and also writers.

One’s background is not the deciding factor in whether they’ll be successful in their new endeavour but their motivation sure might be, as everything within SEO is teachable.

Skills to become an SEO pro

1. Coding

Coding skills are crucial for on-page SEO, as on-page SEO involves code changes and modifications, which may result in certain changes of functionality in websites.

Therefore, being able to debug and fix code issues resulting from previous poorly developed websites will enable SEOs to become more independent on a technical level. Giving them more freedom to experiment, get creative, find their own solutions and most importantly, learn more from the process too.

This, by no means, implicates that SEOs need to be able to write code.

However, they do need to understand the code implications of the changes that they are planning to introduce and the most efficient methods to introduce them.

2. Technical auditing

Technical auditing is again another crucial skill to learn as an SEO. As being a professional, you need to be able to explain how specific processes work to your clients.

SEO auditing processes to consider learning:

  • Server configuration audit
  • A robots.txt file audit
  • Metadata/Schema audit
  • XML sitemaps audit
  • Links audit

3. Analytical thinking

Having an analytical mindset means that you are perceptive, curious and good at recognising patterns in behaviour. All of which are extremely useful when working as an SEO.

SEO work relies a lot on goal-setting, KPI monitoring and measuring results. Therefore, analytical thinking is what enables SEO professionals to break down complex information/data and present them in a simpler way.

4. Critical thinking

Some people might use critical and analytical thinking interchangeably, however, these two are quite different.

Despite their similarities, critical thinking is the single most important ability when it comes to drawing conclusions,

A good SEO professional will be able to recognise and distinguish success from failure and suggest action plans for improvement based on their SEO knowledge and data.

5. Research-oriented

SEO is an ever-growing industry, as it focuses on the forever changing search engine algorithms. Meaning that tactics and strategies that work the best today may fail tomorrow.

According to Moz, Google updates its algorithms between 500–600 times per year, meaning that algorithm updates are made every single day, often multiple times a day too.

Keeping an eye on this and being aware of these updates helps SEO professionals understand the changes in rankings and what steps need to be taken in case of potential drops of rankings.

Being a research-oriented person also helps with learning about new tools and resources that can enable you to work faster and more effectively. Not to mention how important this skill is for keyword research.

6. SEO writing skills

SEO work involves quite a lot of content writing, which is often different from other types of writing styles.

If you write for the sake of writing, the only rules that you need to follow are correct grammar and relevant linguistics aimed at the country you’re targeting.

On the other hand, for a more advanced approach to SEO writing, you should incorporate your targeted keywords into your content effectively.

What does this mean?

This means that you need to have a good understanding of what sort of content gets the most clicks in your given industry and what the recommended keyword density is too.

Otherwise, the website will not only fail to attract the right visitors but it may also get penalised by search engines such as Google for keyword stuffing too.

Final thoughts

Having worked with clients from various industries and sectors, from air conditioning to PR & marketing clients, we’ve learned that each SEO project we’ve worked on required us to always exercise the above skills in order to deliver great SEO results.

Posted on 11th Apr 2019