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What is the greatest skill in SEO?
If you believe this tweet, it’s patience.
Although patience is a great answer, I would never say there is a “greatest” SEO skill.
Because SEO requires various hard skills (things you can learn or be taught) and soft skills (how you work and interact with others) to succeed.
As I’ve always found, asking many SEO professionals one question will get a wide variety of opinions. So I asked several SEO professionals what they would consider the greatest skill in SEO.
Here’s what they told me.
Dave Davies, Lead SEO, Weights & Biases
If the practitioner is content-focused, then writing skills combined with strong research abilities (both SEO and subject-based) would definitely top my list. If the practitioner is a technical SEO, then the most important skills skew to technical knowledge – but even that branches out.
If they work as a contractor, then they likely need to have a broad understanding of different tech and a strong ability to research specifics and work with developers. If they’re an in-house SEO or platform-specific contractor, then they would likely need a stronger grasp of a specific stack, and possibly deployment capabilities.
The one skill that every SEO needs is research and troubleshooting capabilities. If they can’t do that, their career will be short. Thankfully, if you’re reading this, you do your research.”
Dan Taylor, Head of Technical SEO, SALT.agency
A common example in SEO happens when working with a client (and other stakeholders) on a website redesign. More often than not, the designs, and some proposed technical implementations, will be taken from other websites without considering the ‘other’ factors that go into how a website ranks. Just because eBay, the BBC, Amazon, etc. do X, doesn’t mean X will work for Bob’s Hardware or Bob’s Finance Co.
With critical thinking, SEOs should read a study online, see the inputs and outcomes, and then intentionally find other studies that contradict these results – and then form their own opinions and influence their strategies with application to the current client scenario.”
John McAlpin, Director of SEO Strategy, Cardinal Digital Marketing
Elmer Boutin, VP of Operations, WrightIMC
Corey Morris, Chief Strategy Officer, Voltage
Adapting, finding new ways, and exploring all resources for technical, on-page, IT, UX and off-page factors are all critical to success. Using a checklist, and checking boxes, won’t get you far.”
Himani Kankaria, Founder, Missive Digital
Also, most of the projects have different audience buying and browsing perspectives, technologies for the website UX, content, how we build the navigation, etc. So you need to keep checking what works for your website, client, or employer because SEO is ever-evolving, and one cannot learn or unlearn new or outdated things without experimenting. Sometimes, we learn from someone else’s experiments, so experimenting is a super duper skill in SEO.”
Trond Lyngbø, Founder, Search Planet
A solid understanding of business, business processes, workflow automation and cross-functional alignment is worth gold in this segment.”
Connie Chen, SEO Specialist, Moving Traffic Media
Maria White, Head of SEO, Kurt Geiger
Given that the only constant is change, then the best skill to succeed is the ability to adapt. Changes are the norm when working in an agency: new clients, bigger clients, various budgets, fast pace and more. If, along with that, we add constant changes to the algorithm that involves changing the way we work, then here is where only those with the ability to adapt will not only survive but they will thrive.”
Holly Miller Anderson, Lead SEO Product Manager, Under Armour
Casey Markee, Owner, Media Wyse
Chris Silver Smith, President, Argent Media
Ludwig Makhyan, Co-founder, MAZELESS
Jon Clark, Managing Partner, Moving Traffic Media
Mike Grehan, SVP of Corporate Communications, NP Digital
Mark Jackson, President and CEO, Vizion Interactive
Olaf Kopp, Co-founder and Head of SEO, Aufgesang
Joe Devita, Managing Partner, Moving Traffic Media
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