9 characteristics of a successful SEO
Written by: Nick LeRoy
Search Engine Optimization specialists are a unique 'breed' of internet marketers. When you think of an SEO it's not easy to put a description on them. This is because SEO's come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. SEO isn't a gender specific niche, nor does it discriminate against you if your 15 or 50 years old. I always tell people that while there is a certain ideology behind SEO, it would be rare that you would find two SEO's that think exactly the same. This doesn't make one SEO better then another as so much of the search engine algorithms is a mystery. Two separate SEO campaigns can yield the same results and ultimately both can be obtained using seperate "white hat" techniques. While there may be many differences between search professionals, there are at least nine characteristics that separate the real players in the niche from the pretenders.
1. Internet Savvy
While beneficial, by no means do you have to be able to configure a super computer or program a website from the ground up. Search marketers often need to have a rough understanding of HTML and knowledge of what is and is not search engine friendly. Many of the time search professionals don't fix the on page issues themselves but need to communicate properly with the web developers given the task. It's important that you explain the reason as to why it needs to be done a certain way and more importantly that you can verify that it was done correctly. Neither of these requires the actual programming knowledge.
Easily surfing the internet, being familiar with social media, and utilizing shortcuts to save time are just a few other techniques that will help an SEO on a daily basis. Being internet Savvy while not required will give you a leg up on your competition.
2. Willing To Learn
I'll admit it; SEO isn't exactly 'easy'. If you're not willing to ask for help or take the time to read the plethora of SEO resources available to you then you might as well quit now. Due to the search engine algorithms changing so frequently SEO is an ever evolving process. A person's willingness to learn doesn't pertain to only new SEO's but to everyone including the most experienced SEO practitioners. Even if your number one for all your keywords within all the search engines you won't be for long if you aren't willing to learn the latest and greatest tips.
3. Not Being Stuck In Your Ways
The rush of bringing a site from out of nowhere to the top of the search engines is a great feeling. The problem some people have is that they quit and soon after their rankings start to drop. At times using the techniques previously to obtain the top rankings simply won't work. The goal of the search engines is to always display the best resources at the top. If they see a trend of a specific techniques being used to 'game' the system they may decide to devalue the technique. A good example of this is meta keyword tags. Many years ago SEO's would stuff their meta keywords and build just a few links to achieve a top ranking. Everyone caught wind of this technique and the search engines have devalued this meta keyword tag completely. If you're adamant that your ways are the best and refuse to learn the newest and greatest techniques it's inevitable that your campaign will fail. Good SEO's aren't stuck in their ways and crave the new knowledge in order to get their site even one position higher.
4. Does Not Give Up Easily (Perseverance)
An aspect of SEO that drives people crazy is the fact that it's a time sensitive activity. Yes you may see an initial boost from on page optimization but overall you shouldn't expect top rankings instantly. Link building tends to get the unanimous vote when it comes to the most difficult part of SEO. Even when you do build quality links it may take time before you rise to the top. It will take even longer to reach the top if you build low quality links. A good characteristic for an SEO have is perseverance. They cannot give up too quickly when it comes to achieving results. Continue to follow SEO best practices and with due time you should see positive results. Too many people give up or change their plan of action because they lack the characteristic of perseverance.
5. Knowing When To Give Up
Yes you read that correctly, even after reading about perseverance a good SEO will realize when a change is needed. They may decide to change the game plan after giving the original plan more then a reasonable amount of time to succeed. A good example may be tweaking the keywords. It is possible that an SEO was under the impression that a certain keyword was obtainable but then realized that it is in the best interest to go after the long tail version. Ideally this would generate quicker results and would salvage a plan that didn't go according to plan. SEO isn't an exact science so when things go south a good SEO should be able to see the signs and turn things around.
6. Detail Oriented
Don't confuse detail oriented as being organized as they aren't always the same. An SEO being detailed oriented is very crucial. Double checking the title tags, verifying that internal links are pointing to the correct page and making sure all redirects are 301's is a tedious process. Something as simple as canonical tags being implemented incorrectly can have a huge effect on a sites ranking. Remembering what topic you bonded over with a potential linking webmaster is another detail oriented process that cannot be screwed up. It's the small stuff that makes an SEO campaign succeed and if your not detailed oriented it makes top rankings even more difficult.
7. Open Minded
You may think that being open minded is the same as willingness to learn however they really do compliment each other. I believe that if you're unwilling to learn you won't even get to the point of being open minded or not. As mentioned earlier in this list many SEO's have different techniques in which they achieve results. Fortunately these techniques don't always stay a secret very long. A good SEO will be open minded in using new techniques or ideas that may or may not make sense to them. this brings us to our next characteristic on our list, Researcher.
A fantastic SEO researches there own theories as well as theories presented to them. These search professionals have test websites and run experiments to see how the search engines value these hypotheses. Testing allows the SEO to gain one step on the search engines algorithm and possibly two steps in front of their competition. Not every test may be unique to each SEO but if you're having a hard time being open minded to an idea and want to see the proof, then researching and testing such theories is essential.
While nobody knows the exact ranking algorithm for any of the search engines it's widely believed that a certain amount of SEO is more or less a standard. Title tags, on page content, and links are a good example of these standards. A good SEO at times will challenge any standard. Follow this challenge with research and a test and you could be on the leading edge of the newest successful SEO technique. Some people are easily convinced that their ideas are no good or will take someone else's word that it didn't work for them so it work for you. A good SEO won't be afraid to go against the grain and try their ideas out for themselves. The best part of SEO is that a technique may work great for one project and do nothing for another one. The worse case scenario is that your wrong and you need to go back to the 'proven' techniques. Best case scenario you're ranking at the top of the search engines. This sure seems like a win/win risk to take.