Tom Howlett

Useful Skills For Any SEO In 2012

26th Apr 2012 SEO Blog 4 minutes to read

SkillsThe SEO landscape is forever changing as new search engine algorithm updates force the implementation of refined strategies to help a website come out on top. Social media is also driving changes, as this becomes much more popular and important within the world of search.

2012 so far has been an important year for algorithm changes and search engine updates. These changes really challenge an SEO, so it is important to have a skill set to ensure you come out on top. Here is a list of useful skills to help an SEO succeed in 2012. If you feel there are any we’ve missed then please leave them in the comments.

Technical SEO

Any SEO should have a good knowledge in the areas of technical SEO. These are necessary to help implement recommendations on the site or server. Here is a list of technical elements that an SEO should be able to implement or at least have a good knowledge of:

  • Web code – Not necessarily being able to code a website from the ground up, but a good solid knowledge of the various elements that go into a website
  • Knowledge of server options and settings
  • Robots.txt implementation
  • XML Sitemap creation and integration
  • Server response codes
  • Common redirects

HTML/CSS Knowledge

As mentioned above, a good knowledge of the elements that go into building a website is essential. This is useful for optimising and implementing the on page content for a website as well as background elements such as page Title tags, site Meta, Image Alt Tags, Internal Links and others.

Being able to implement site recommendations ensures that you have full control over the changes, you can keep track of the changes, fewer mistakes are likely to be made and it will also save time.


Usability is an important site consideration for users and search engines alike. A good sound knowledge of clean architecture practises and the elements that make up a simple and easy to use navigation will help an SEO make important recommendations or implement changes independently. This knowledge is going to be more relevant for larger sites like Ecommerce websites.


I’m sure you have heard the phrase ‘content is king’ thrown around a lot as of late. How much you believe that is completely up to you; however there is no doubt that putting a greater emphasis into creating quality and unique content for the different pages of the site will help distinguish the site against competitors and will have a benefit to the site rankings.

By understanding the basic need for quality and unique content, you will help a site gain an advantage over the competition. Even if you don’t know how to write, being able to source good writers and get the best from them is an equally valuable skill.

Content Marketing/Blogging

There is a need for websites to create quality and unique content. Having an effective Content marketing strategy is quickly becoming a top priority; interesting, unique, useful and thought provoking content can help the website gain valuable links (link bait), interactions and fans. This is one of the best ways to create strong links for ranking benefits (as these are as natural as you will get).

New content can sit on your own site as part of a Blog or alternatively used externally as guest posts on other Blogs, for Hub pages or press release distribution.

A good knowledge of current and up to date strategies will help you gain an advantage over competitors not utilising these strategies.

Link Building

Link building has a huge influence over rankings in the search engines. It is therefore important for an SEO to be able to develop a strategy for finding quality and relevant link sources or to develop a strategy to utilise link bait (as mentioned above).

Finding quality links is a difficult job that requires good analytical skills and creative thinking.


Being able to recommend and implement common SEO strategies is great, but without a solid understanding of analytics and the data it provides you will be unable to track the results of the work that has been carried out. Being able to install and use a popular analytics platform such as Google Analytics, you are able to see where the site visitors are coming from, whether they are converting when visiting the website and spot any problem areas.

A good knowledge of analytics will help you build on successes and optimise your strategy as the SEO campaign moves forward.

Social Media

For most businesses and websites, a social media strategy and presence is becoming more prevalent. Most of the time spent on the internet is spent on social media platforms. People are sharing more, liking more and at the same time being less susceptible to direct advertising on the more traditional platforms.

The search engines are wise to this relatively new phenomenon and are beginning to rely a lot more on social signals to influence site rankings. It is therefore important for an SEO to have a firm grasp of social media and a good knowledge of popular and upcoming social media platforms. This will help ensure a website has an appropriate level of social presence and a presence on sites that are likely to house a relevant audience.


SEO is an area that is constantly evolving, so having a good grasp of the above whilst keeping up to date on changes to the industry will ensure you have the basics to become a well rounded SEO.

Thanks to @KevWiles for this Tweet that inspired the post.

Image Source

Skills Globe via BigStock

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