What to look for in the consummate SEO professional: some technical expertise, analytical skills, and a Machiavellian grasp of the political connections of the Internet. This isn’t a list you’d often see when looking at ads for SEO sales jobs, but it pretty much pins down what someone in a search engine optimisation career needs to succeed.
It may sound ominous. After all, Machiavelli, philosopher and political mastermind of Renaissance Italy, has a fairly dark reputation. Unlike the dark images of midnight stabbings that the word ‘Machiavellian’ conjures up, your SEO expert needs to be what the real Machiavelli was like – a man who knew which links led to where.
A successful search engine optimisation plan requires a good understanding of how connections work on the net. Without a knowledge of which links are going to best support your site, you have absolutely no chance of conjuring up a competitive campaign. With this knowledge, however, you can manipulate your way right to the top of the search engine results pages.
Link building isn’t just about going out and getting authoritative links. With TrustRank, the search engines are examining the connections between large groups of websites. This means that having a link that’s three or four degrees of separation from a trusted site still trickles valuable trust points down to you.
The search industry is becoming less and less about keywords and more and more about connections. To succeed in SEO, you need a mind for politics. Machiavelli got a bad rap. He may have been good at link building, but reputation management hadn’t been invented then – the perfect SEO needs to have mastered both skills.