Small Buisness Web Sites

What Modern SEO Skills do You Need?

What Modern SEO Skills do You NeedYou may have been blogging for a while, and doing ok at monetizing your blog with advertising! There have been lots of ups and downs in terms of income, emotions, and work ethic. Your beginning to wonder how you can take what you have learned to the next level. What modern SEO skills do you need to be successful in the future.

Most people are self-taught since this is such a new industry. Through hard work and a natural aptitude, as well as being able to learn, a few have been successful and have done very well.

Times have changed a great deal since the days of keyword stuffing!

The industry is continuing to evolve. We have identified a few skills that can be developed, learned, and matured to help in your success going forward.

There are various types of SEO professionals, however, they can be divided into two general types: the all-rounder, and the specialist. A small business needs someone who can be an all-rounder, someone who can take on many different tasks and is skilled in many different areas.

What Modern SEO Skills do You Need

While the SEO all-rounder can do everything, time is finite and some projects are absolutely massive. They will probably need to work with other teams, either employees or consultants with specialized skills to get the job done. Delegation and project management will be required, even if they can do it all.

In larger companies (and agency land) you will find specific people focusing on specific SEO tasks. These are skill areas that are required and they are experts in the area, but may not have the all-round skills to manage the larger job.

Apply the right skills to the job

The following list of skills is pretty much essential for SEO professionals. If you want to be successful in the industry then you’ll need some or all of the following.

The skills you have and develop will help determine the career path you choose. For example, if you are highly creative and a great writer but don’t know how to code or understand server configuration you may not want to focus on technical issues. Instead,  roles relating to content might be of more interest.

What Modern SEO Skills do You Need – details

There are both core skills and also softer skills that we all need to develop.

  • The all-rounder
  • T-shaped SEP Specialists
  • Multiple Pillar Specialists
  • Technical
  • Content
  • Analytical
  • Strategic
  • Project management
  • Client management
  • User experience

Soft skills

  • Curiosity
  • Skepticism
  • Critical and whole-brained thinking
  • Competitive nature
  • Passion
  • Goal-orientated
  • Collaborative
  • Adaptability
  • Empathy
  • Entrepreneurial spark
  • Negotiation/persuasion
  • Endurance
  • Reading
  • Attention to detail

What Modern SEO Skills do You Need?

The all-rounder

If you have developed, written, and launched a successful site on your own and monetized it, you probably have most of the skills you need to be an all-rounder.  You could also be a jack of all trades and yet not be a master at any. Also, can you manage a really large project?

T-shaped SEO Specialists

In a T, you may have many skills, an all-rounder, but you are a specialist in at least one area. You understand what it takes to make a large project successful, but you are a specialist in a specific area.

Multiple Pillar Specialists

Some of your SEP resources will specialize in several areas. They have the knowledge and skill set of the all-rounder but can move from one area to another and deliver great results to the overall team. The more specialties they have the more valuable they are.


Great content is made up of the actual message that is being presented and also the way it is presented to meet the needs of the search engines and also readers.

You may be a technical SEO if you develop a strong understanding of HTML, schema markup, canonicals, server configuration, and mobile optimization, among other things. These are important skills to develop even if you are not one of the writers who create the actual words that readers see on the page.


Quality content is the best way you have of achieving high rankings by the search engines. Great content will increase your chance of attracting links, shares, and traffic to your site which you can monetize.

Content comes in many different shapes and sizes. If you’re a great writer then writing content for a website may be your forte.

There should be a game plan when it comes to content creation to enable success…

  • What keyword terms are you chasing down, and why?
  • What does your internal link architecture look like?
  • Determine what are the main and hub pages that you need to point internal links to?
  • Is your on-page content converting?
  • How should micro-content – such as images, labels, etc – be optimized?


If you have analytical skills and are comfortable working with a lot of data SEO analysis may be interesting to you since there is a hell of a lot to process, and to make sense of before you ever start writing content.

Performance analysis, competitor benchmarking, technical audits, traffic analysis, keyword research… are just a few examples.


It’s essential to step back and look at the big picture. Google makes countless changes to its algorithm and user interfaces every year. Markets change and customer interest also changes. Focusing on the tactical can be a dangerous distraction.

It’s important to know what’s going on, and certainly to be aware of major updates, but it’s also crucial to take a long-term view. As such, a strategic mindset is vital. You have to be able to look beyond the horizon, to be patient, and above all explain the long-term strategy to senior stakeholders/clients to convince them of the strategic direction you are proposing.

Project management

Even a small site needs regular updates and adjustments to servers, technical issues, and content. Large sites require large numbers of people and focused changes that are implemented without errors on a live site that must never fail or go out of service. Project management skill is often overlooked until it is too late. If your planning changes to your site, regardless of the size, map out the process and project flow to make these changes in a manner that keeps your site always live.

Client management

You might be the best technical specialist available, however, if you cannot communicate and convince your management team or client then you are wasting their time and yours. Communication is a required skill by all SEO professionals regardless of what position or skill set you to have.

Managing expectations makes the difference between perceived success and failure. Making people aware of the risks (and rewards) is another important element of an SEO specialist.

User experience

Google has stated that user experience is increasingly becoming more important in search results. It is common sense that if you are delivering some product or service to your customer, you want them to have a positive experience. If they do not they are not going to buy more of your product or service.

Whatever website you have, regardless if you are selling something or providing information focusing on quality content that answers your reader’s questions is going to deliver better user experiences. Don’t try to game the system. Don’t try to scam your reader. It is just going to make your customer more upset. Happy customers will spread your information and they will cause more traffic to come to your site.

What Modern SEO Skills do You Need – Soft skills

There are lots of soft skills that you need to work in any job including digital, and that also applies to SEO. These are essential, and reflect skills that will help you in your job, your career, and yes, also your personal life.


This is massively important if you are going to expand your horizons, experiment, and try different things in this new field.


In the world of SEO, there are lots of opinions and statements. Look well beyond the press the obvious and test opinions whether they are your own or come from others. Above all do they pass the test of common sense.

Critical and whole-brained thinking

Avoid focusing on one area, expand your thought processes to the big picture, and make sure that all of the tactical activities fit well into the big picture.

Competitive nature

SEO is a competitive industry. There are millions of companies and people working on websites around the world, all trying to land on the first page of search results. You should want to win and have a competitive streak in your nature.


If this is just a job, your heart is not in it, then you will not achieve greatness. You may survive, but you will not be wildly successful if you are not passionate about what you are doing.


Set and achieve goals, objectives, and targets. Goals should drive you forward, and you should take great pleasure in achieving your objectives, your targets, and especially your goals.


Working in a silo, whether you are a single person company or working in a large corporation will never be successful. Collaborate with colleagues, others in the industry, and even competitors. Learning from these people, brainstorming, and thinking outside the box are necessary skills.


Search is hanging all of the time. Google updates its Search engine at least twice a year. Ideas and processes come and go. Above all, you need to understand, evaluate, and adapt to these changes to take maximum advantage and not get left behind.


Build relationships online and in-person with like-minded people and websites. Linking to websites for example that has no relationship to your own in terms of content, ideas, services, and products will not help you in the long run.

Entrepreneurial spark

Are you an entrepreneur? You are building a business, whether it is your own, the company, or a customer. Just doing a job is not going to cut it in the long run, take risks, learn, adapt, and keep trying until you get it right.


Be prepared to negotiate for links, for content, for expenses, and everything else related to your business opportunity and that of your customers.


There is a lot of hard work associated with SEO. While there are tools to help make your task easier, be prepared to work, but work smart. If you find you are doing the same thing over and over with no solid results, you may want to rethink your activities.


Yes, you need to be able to read (and write) but what’s key is the desire to read, read, read. It accounts for about 20% of your time. Reading what others are doing, how is the SEO industry-changing, etc. There is much to learn, and the environment is constantly changing. You have to stay on top of things.

Attention to detail

Some people have to learn the hard way, but most people quickly learn that quality sites do better than others that are sloppy and do not read well with broken links. This is just so important, you can lose a customer in less time it takes to read this sentence if you do not pay attention to detail.

This is a lot to consider re What Modern SEO Skills do You Need, but then no job is easy.

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