It’s not for EVERYONE.

Education is Key

SEO is an integral part of online marketing and is now included in most marketing curricula offered at colleges. Additionally, there are numerous courses offered by Salient Marketing. There are also many SEOs who either learned on the job or are self-taught.

Most SEOs learned through the proverbial school of hard knocks — success, failure. Their colleagues/peers were the teacher’s conferences provided extremely valuable learning opportunities.

In today’s business environment, I would not want to trust a key portion of my marketing to an amateur using trial and error. But that was the way it was. We would like to use this opportunity to provide a few tips for those who are hiring SEOs for their projects.

Read the Entire Book not just the Cover

Technical SEO is a mixture of both left and right brain skills. A single semester course, certification course, or module will not provide the depth of skill needed to help a large SEO project.

Not everyone learns SEO through official training. Many SEOs with technical/marketing experience will not have the academic coursework, but they often have learned SEO on the job.

A marketer who does not have a passing knowledge of code (can read and understand what the code instructions say) and how sites are architected must rely on programmers and other more technically proficient personnel. This is not ideal, for the technical team. The SEO must work collaboratively and in tandem to solve problems and achieve business results. Having learned code in the past, we have found it a valuable skill to be able to read, understand and critique what the programmers have created.

Tools Are Just Tools

There are literally dozens of toolsets available for almost every task — from keyword selection to analyzing the finished product. Some of the tools have a steep learning curve while others are very easy to learn and are almost intuitive. If your business has an already defined toolset used for SEO, then it makes sense to search for a candidate who is familiar with your chosen toolset.

To help deal with the need for measuring proficiency, some tool providers offer certifications (for example, Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics). A certified candidate offers the hiring client a measure of confidence in the company’s competency.

However, tools are just tools. A candidate with lots of valuable skills, and who’s maybe even certified on a different toolset, but unfamiliar with your toolset, may still be the best candidate.

Tools are constantly changing, and SEOs must adapt to a fluid tool environment.

Hire the Lifelong Learner

If a candidate does not have a bottomless curiosity and a rich set of sources of information to consult for continuous learning, their skills will quickly stale and become outdated and obsolete.

Hire the lifelong learner with a broad portfolio of skills for your technical SEO, and you will not go wrong.

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