Get used to working within a team, because SEO has become a multi-disciplinary field
Ah, for the good old days of SEO! Those days when you could stuff some titles, tweak some keyword density, build a bunch of directory links, and wait for the rankings to climb.
Anyone could do that kind of Search Engine Optimization on their own, in a bathrobe, in between the morning run and the mid-day shower.
I hate to indulge in clichés of course, but, those days are gone forever.
Here’s a list, undoubtedly incomplete, of what it takes nowadays to compete in the world of search:
- Traditional Marketing and Brand Development. Google and Bing reward brands. Generic websites are falling off the back like never before. If you can’t guide your client or business towards developing a sustainable, recognizable brand you have a long, tough road ahead of you. And it will probably end up in a dead end.
- Extensive market research. In search we do this largely, but no exclusively, through keyword research. You can spend a week just figuring out keyword research tools, before you ever get started with the research.
- Competitive research. This is not just about researching competitors in the business’s field. For example, if you are selling workplace safety training, as one of my clients does, one of your competitors for search visibility is the Department of Labor. Tough competition, that.
- Overwhelmed modern searchers need to discern your message at every stage of the search-to-conversion process. How you craft your message will determine not only your success in communicating with your clients, but your success in getting Google and Bing to understand who should see your site.
- Conversion Rate Optimization. Search optimization is too expensive to employ without making the most of every successful keyword and page. CRO includes its own family of sub categories:
- Landing page design
- Writing content for conversion
- A/B and multi-variate testing
- Crafting and placing compelling Calls to Action (CTAs)
- Technical expertise to create a trouble-free experience
- High Level Website Design and Technical Skills. Pages online are so much more demanding that print media. Your page has to provide a level of interaction that users expect, must look modern and clean, must load quickly, and must be optimized within the code. Your site must avoid subtle but lethal technical mistakes and must be groomed for search engine crawlers like never before.
- Ability to Understand and Employ Analytics and Diagnostics. Being blind to what’s going on, whether with the technology of your site or the behavior of your visitors, is no longer a survivable mistake.
- More than a Passing Familiarity with The Many SEO Tools Available. Don’t use any tools and you will be horribly inefficient. Use the wrong ones and you will have horrible quality.
- Ability to Keep Up. The terrain changes daily. If you’re the type that gets buried in a routine and rarely raises your nose high enough to look around, you’re in trouble.
- Customer Relationship Management. You can be the greatest SEO tech in the world, but if your clients have no idea what you’re doing you will be unemployed.
- Creative Content Development. If you haven’t mastered writing for the web, you won’t get far in SEO nowadays. And if you can’t bring some creativity to your content ideas, you’ll never be better than mediocre.
Every time I add a new bullet to the list above I think of two more. So consider my list to be merely illustrative.
If you survey the list you can immediately start to see why a team is necessary to do proper SEO at a professional level. Even if you find a person who is adept at each of those things (an almost impossibly tall order), they would never have time to do all of them.
At the Search Engine Academy we teach all of the components of search success, and knowing something about each is particularly important for someone at a management level. However when it comes down to it, if you have a marketing department or organization, don’t expect that a single person will be able to succeed at handling the company’s “SEO stuff.”
To help departments acquire the full range of skills, we offer group training rates and in-house corporate SEO training that covers the entire range of disciplines that are crucial to a modern and successful search marketing program. Contact us for a quote today.