The five most important skills in SEO. SEO shifted from being a technical discipline 10 years ago to being a multidisciplinary area that involves a few different skills.
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The first skill I have for you is creativity. See, in SEO, one of the biggest ways that you get rankings is building backlinks. Everyone used to build backlinks by writing content. And when they were doing that, I started creating a really detailed guide that had visual graphical images, kind of like an infographic, and my content started generating more backlinks than other people. Then other people started doing the same. Then I started doing data-rich posts.
If you look on neilpatel.com, I have Ubersuggest, which is a SEO tool that's mainly for free, has over 10,000 backlinks. I have A/B Testing Calculator, I have a backlink tool that just tells you how many backlinks you have. I continually release tools and update my tools. And by doing that, I'm generating more SEO traffic and ranking higher because I'm not actually going out there and fending for the links. Just releasing a tool for free has done really well for me.
The second skill that you need is understanding analytics. I'm not talking about reading a report. There's Google Analytics, there's Google Data Studio, but when you look at the report and you're like, oh my search traffic's going down or it's going up, do you understand what's actually driving you more conversions? What key words, what change you need to make to actually get more better results? That's what I mean by analytic skills, right? So when you look at these reports, what changes do you need to make to your SEO strategy so you can actually get the results you're looking for?
The third skill that you need to understand is CRO. That's Conversion Rate Optimization. You're probably like, "Neil, CRO has nothing to do with SEO." Well, think of it this way. You're writing a lot of content when you do SEO, right? Content marketing, you need that to get backlinks, to get traffic on Google, Google, a lot of it, is based on text and words people are typing in. And when you get this traffic to this content, you'll find out as a SEO well, I'm getting all this traffic. But then when you talk to other people in the company like, yeah, you're getting more traffic, but we're not really seeing any more sales, any more leads. So how can you convert those visitors into customers? So with those blog posts, you need to mix in links that generate sales or forms that capture more leads.
The fourth skill that you need to have is people skills. See, SEO is turning into a multi-person organization, and it has for a long time. So you got to work with other people. You got to work with people who can promote the content, whether it's on social media or whether it's doing manual outreach and asking for people to share that content. You need to deal with people who can write content, who can create social media content, people who can deal with copywriting, just for headlines.
The last skill that you need to learn is experimentation. Look, did you know that Google roughly makes nine algorithm changes per day? That was data from a few years ago, they haven't released any new data points on how many algorithm changes they're doing per year. But when you look at it, they're making almost 10 plus algorithm changes a day. How do you keep up with that? Well, you got to test.
I don't always know the right answer. You're not going to always know the right answer. You got to test. From testing your title text to meta text to see what gets the most clicks to testing a SEO strategy on a split page to see if it increases your rankings or tanks it to testing things like crosslinking to updating content to testing on adding videos within your content to see if you can increase time on site. These are all things you need to test.
And if you don't test, you won't be able to keep a with the algorithms, so don't be afraid to test and have your traffic fluctuate in a positive way or a negative way. Testing is good, 'cause it tells you what you should do more of and what you should do less of and it'll help you improve in the long run.
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