To be a truly great SEO you need a lot of different qualities – many of which are at odds with each other. But just what are these qualities? What makes the perfect SEO?
I should be clear that I’m using the word SEO as a noun, rather than a verb – so I’m referring to a person as an SEO, rather than something you do to a website.
There, that’s that cleared up, let’s continue. Where was I? Oh yes, qualities. SEO is a strange mix between science and art and, as such, requires someone to have a strong grounding in both disciplines. There’s no use someone just being a programmer, a techie or, for want of a better word, a nerd. Yes a truly great SEO needs to be able to code a website, preferably in Notepad – the developer’s tool of choice, but they also need to know why they’re doing something and how it affects the greater scheme of things.
Nerds, sorry, coders know how something works, but they don’t necessarily know why, or where it may be heading in the future. Seeing a website in its purest code form is all well and good, and as it happens essential, but without an understanding of just what Google is looking for, why it’s looking for it and, above all else, why SEO works, a coder is just that – someone who does the technical stuff when told what to do.
No, to be a truly great SEO you also need to be an artist. You need to be able to see the big picture of why something works and, perhaps more importantly, why something may not be working. There’s no use falling back on the lessons learned in previous SEO projects if something new is required, some creative strategy to win a particular SEO battle. Ideas are what is required, and ideas come from artists, not mathematicians – but both are needed for an SEO, a truly great SEO.
Of course, artistry is only half of the strategic battle. Artistry makes something beautiful, but it needs purpose for it to work in the real world, and that’s where the heart of a philosopher comes in. The best SEOs know their Aeschylus from their Euripides, and can ‘think’ for their country. They need to be able to plot a winning strategy, know why that strategy will work, know why your competitors’ strategies will fail and know how to adapt to changes in Google’s algorithm.
All of this perfect planning is well and good, but without drive our perfect SEO wouldn’t be bothered with being successful. No, for a truly great SEO that has to be something nagging at them to succeed. They have to believe, no, know that they are the best and always want to be number one. They have to be huge egotists, and need to show it through their deeds, not their words (or posts on forums, as many SEOs use to try to inflate their own ego).
But surely, you’re thinking, being an egotist is a bad thing? Not where SEO is concerned. Looking at SEO at its most basic level; you have a website, you have keywords, you want to rank #1 in Google for those keywords. It’s as simple as that. It’s a competition, and success is won or lost based on who ranks #1, who is the best. Without a desire to be the best, a burning passion to beat the other guy and to show the world that your kung-fu is better than their kung-fu, you’ll never be a great SEO.
Finally, and one of the most important aspects for the perfect SEO, is the ability to write. Without knowing how to craft content to work both for search engine optimisation, and for readers, all of the previous skills are redundant. I’m not going to resort to the old cliché about content and monarchy, but it is true – and it’s the reason Google is so successful.
So, if you’re looking for an SEO, or you’re thinking of becoming one, here are the attributes you need to check off. How many can you fulfil?
The perfect SEO needs to be: