I’ve talked to quite a few SEO professionals, being in this space for as long as I have been. It seems like there’s actually a gap in most SEO experts’ skill sets, and it has me concerned. Missing these skills can significantly reduce your performance as an SEO. Here are the top 5 skills you need to make sure you have in your belt, ASAP.
Before we dive in, I want to set clear expectations of what you can expect to get from this article. My goal is to share the most valuable skills I realized I didn’t initially know when I first deep dove into SEO all those years ago. However, each skillsI am going to be mentioning is its own iceberg. It would be impossible for me to teach you everything you need to know step by step in this article.
I want you to use this as a point of reference that can guide you and point you in the direction of what you need to learn next. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to SEO or have been doing this for quite a while. These are super skills that, when applied right, can make your marketing incredibly powerful.
Every skill on this list have also been ones that I myself have learned. I’ve been in the trenches of each of these, and use them in my marketing. In fact, every single skill mentioned on this list have been implemented on this very website in some shape or form.
Okay, with that out of the way I am proud to share with you the 5 skills you need to know if you want to be a ninja SEO.
This is one I’m shocked SEOs genuinely don’t know. If you aren’t familiar, copywriting is the art of using words to persuade. Essentially, it’s writing copy (or text) that gets you the marketing results you want.
For example, I may write a call to action that I want people to click on. Or a meta title and description. Learning how to write in a compelling way is really important for SEO.
A big part of copywriting is understanding what motivates or drives prospects, and then hitting on those pain points/desires in your text. Having marketing foundational knowledge on how a visitor becomes a customer, and knowing the customer journey is a prerequisite to being a good copywriter. Ask yourself: “What does this person really care about?” Then, simply deliver on that.
A theme that is going to be consistent in this list is getting more for the same amount of traffic you are getting. Copywriting is one way to do this. Why settle for less conversions when you can have more?
Another way to increase conversions is through split testing. This is when you create different variations of web pages or individual elements on a web page to see if you can increase visitors taking desired actions. Basically you send 50% of the traffic to version A, and 50% to version B. Whatever version gets you more results is what you stick with.
For example, let’s say that I have a sales page that gets around 100 visitors per week. Let’s say out of those 100 visitors, only 2 become customers. This tells me that my conversion rate is 2%, which may not be ideal for me. By implementing a split test, I can attempt to increase the conversion rate.
Maybe I have a gut feeling that the heading at the top of the page is weak, so I decided to split test it. After 100 visitors land on each variation, I can see that version 2 did work – and what I suspected was in fact true. Version 2 is landing me a 4% conversion rate!
I just doubled the amount of revenue I am making without even having to go out and get more traffic. This is why split testing is so valuable. You can optimize the heck out of your client’s (or your) digital marketing assets.
This is very valuable for SEOs. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sales page of a digital product, or a local business trying to get more calls. Either way, you can increase conversions or revenue for the project you are working on.
Why would you not try to get more results with the same amount of traffic…?
Other Traffic Generation
Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea in life, let alone in marketing. Relying on SEO only for traffic is a really bad idea, especially long term. You should master a second traffic source and be able to generate clicks in more than one way.
Not only are you creating a stable future for yourself, but digital marketing can be volatile at times. Over time I’ve learned social media and PPC because I want more control in my business. Even if something happens to my Google rankings, I’m not out of luck.
Also, more traffic is never a bad thing. Having more than one traffic source you can tap into gives you the ability to scale in your business, provided you can do it profitably of course. Plus there are going to be times SEO may not be a good fit for clients or what you are trying to do.
Look, I love SEO. As an SEO guy I am 100% biased and think it’s the best traffic source out there. But what if I’m launching a product online and need to drive 1,000 visitors to a sales page today…? Well, SEO isn’t the answer to this type of project.
SEO takes time to see results…sometimes even years. It depends on the niche. I know marketers who have worked on a client’s website and it’s taken them over 2 years to get them the results they wanted.
Now of course, not every website is going to take this long to rank. But my point still stands.
Artificial Intelligence Operation
Regardless of how you feel about it, AI is progressing quickly. I’m sure by now you’ve heard of and most likely used ChatGPT at least once. These chatbots are going to become even more mainstream in the future, and getting practical experience with them is really important.
I’ve already covered why you shouldn’t be worried about AI as an SEO, but what I’m saying in that post is that you still need to adapt. If we as SEOs are going to be appealing to AI in the future, instead of search engines we need to understand how they work. Do they have algorithms…? How do they pick where to pull content from?
And besides the potential of AI replacing search engines, it can be a very useful tool. Now, don’t use it to write all of your content for you. (Especially if you’re someone who is publishing that onto your blog without editing/modifying it.) But AI can be a powerful assistant for doing research, or giving you additional information you may want to mention in your content.
Think about it: as time progresses more and more of your competitors are going to be using AI to assist them with their content. That’s going to become a massive disadvantage for you if you aren’t doing the same. I’m someone who is stubborn in my ways, so I understand not wanting to change how I am doing things.
But change is coming, and if you want to remain a competent SEO you have to adapt. SEO is a field that’s hand in hand with technology, and we all know how fast technology paces.
Finally, we have the skill that every SEO should be a master at: content marketing. It still boggles my mind that some SEOs don’t understand that 90% of this is writing blog posts and content. I continue running into marketers that use black hat strategies and try to game the system, instead of doing proper SEO.
And the ironic part is often they spend more time trying to game the system then they actually would have spent on creating high quality content. Inevitably, Google will catch on. I’ve said this a million times on this blog before, but they’re a billion dollar company with some of the smartest engineers and programmers on staff. ‘
You can do things the black hat way, and eventually lose all your results when the big G catches you. Thousands of dollars, and hundreds of hours of work gone! Poof, just like that. Your domain becomes blacklisted and you have one of the most frustrating weeks of your life.
Or you can do things the right way, the way that will allow you to rest easy at night with peace of mind knowing the effort you put into SEO today is going to continue bringing you results for weeks, months, and even years down the line. All you have to do is post to your website’s blog and create content that helps searchers.
If you don’t understand the importance of having a blog page on your website, or don’t get what I mean when I’m talking about content marketing then you need to read this post.
The skills you need to learn if you want to be the best at SEO are:
- Split Testing
- Other Traffic Generation
- Artificial Intelligence Operation
- Content Marketing
Learning these skills can give you more conversions (or revenue) for the same amount of traffic on your site, diversification to protect your business or clients, and the adaptability to continue effectively doing this down the road.
Want To Become A SEO Ninja…?
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