The Skills An SEO Needs In 2013

Jan 30, 2013 • 8:35 am | comments (29) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

skillsA new Threadwatch post is asking what skills does an SEO need in 2013 to make them a "sharp" SEO?

2013 is a lot different than five years ago when it comes to SEO. Think about what we have much more of now. We have social, deeper localization, Panda, Penguin, EMD, and tons of other Google updates. We have analytics certification, we have content marketing, conversion optimization, and so so much more. It is not just about creating as much content as possible and as many links as possible.

We have a post from 2007 where most the skills we listed were technical skills, like HTML, SEO tool knowledge, etc.

But in today's SEO world, I would assume that the technical skills are a prerequisite. Of course you need to build sites that are search engine friendly, without canonical issues, that don't have duplicate content issues, that have the proper markup throughout the sites including rich snippets. But now you need to know more about analytics, more about social media, more about content marketing, and even more about link bait.

And of course, we have to deal with Panda, Penguin and the other Google algorithms.

Which SEO skills do you need in 2013?

Forum discussion at Threadwatch.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for puzzle

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Gabriel Sita

01/30/2013 02:07 pm

wonderful post, thanks for the read.


01/30/2013 02:09 pm

The ability to produce great content.


01/30/2013 02:14 pm

The ability to Toot your own horn and make everyone think you are a great SEO whether you are or not. If you got that skill the sky is the limit.


01/30/2013 02:16 pm

Thumbs up ))

Sean Hecking

01/30/2013 02:21 pm

I would add creativity to the list. Originality is a harder skill to learn.

Karl-Heinz Müller

01/30/2013 02:25 pm

Don't forget Javascripting for nasty javascript redirects 2.0, not detected by bots. Just joking. Thanks to improvement of publishing tools, technical skills may not look that important anymore. Nevertheless, being familiar with the base which is W3C recommendations and their translation into xml and html, technical skills are and will be required. Or you may go with Alan's statement :)

Måns Gullberg

01/30/2013 02:45 pm

Diversity and as mentioned by Sean, creativity. Very usefull in 2013 :)


01/30/2013 02:48 pm

Why SEOs try to rename everything related to web into the SEO ? Isn't it kind of psychological issue ? SEO is just a tiny part of the web development. It become less important with every update. It will not become more important, if SEOs will study "analytics, more about social media, more about content marketing, and even more about link bait". Web developers do know about this stuff without SEOs. Furthermore, no doubt that nowadays it's a shame to be somehow related to SEO. Just try to mention something like "I have the SEO skills" in your resume ) SEO is a dead end. Forget about it and move forward. Be professional.

josh bachynski

01/30/2013 05:57 pm

Ah, but not too many webmasters do too well at it :-) that's like saying we have GPs, we don't need surgeons or specialists.


01/30/2013 07:00 pm

Don't think that producing great content is essential. It would be nice, yes, but you can be an awesome SEO pro without it.


01/30/2013 07:02 pm

There are no arguments to support this.

Rob Kissell

01/30/2013 07:42 pm

I've seen SEO talent as equating to seeing opportunities and knowing how to act on them... if you're good at that naturally I think you will stay on the top of your industry..especially with SEO skill no longer being out of the "cook book" instructions anymore..

Rob Kissell

01/30/2013 07:44 pm

You have to be willing to do the white/grey style to achieve long-term success. Forget the petty black hat - and unless you short term mini-consult, 2013 will not be kind to you.


01/30/2013 08:26 pm

SEO is a GP ) SEO by Google is a basic knowledge. It can't be done too well or too bad. You can't know basics too well. You just know it or not. SEO by SEOs is a myth. Again it can't be done too well or too bad. Like any religious texts - everyone can see in them what one wants to see. Most of the "webmasters", you're referring to, are out of business because they don't know basics. They could hire SEO when the internet was full of quick money opportunities. No more quick money. The webmaster shall know basics by him/herself, if she/he wants to be in this business. Sorry, but there is just no money for the SEO specialists in this business.


01/30/2013 08:28 pm

Current condition of the SEO industry is the best argument )


01/30/2013 09:16 pm

wow someone got taken for a ride by an SEO didn't they, grudge much?

Jeremy Bencken

01/30/2013 11:01 pm

SEO is a product management function that specializes in understanding 1 user persona: Googlebot. A good SEO makes it as easy as possible for that user. Knowledge of that user's needs /should/ be basic knowledge, but I have yet to meet a PM or Dev team that gets there without some "SEO" help.


01/31/2013 02:02 am

It worked this way before Panda. There were codes of webpages (incl. on page content). Googlebot collected signals from these codes. Algo gave the results, based on these signals. In fact, it's not complicated to code Anybot and collect signals from the web. The question is what to do with these signals. SEOs understood what Google did with the signals, collected by Googlebot. If they didn't understand, they used a crowdsourcing to crack the algo. It worked perfectly for years. SEOs had their algo to crack Google algo. Panda made user behavior more important signal, than the signals from code. First of all, Googlebot doesn't collect signals of behavior. It just can't. Other software do. Secondly, behavior is not the code. You can't change it on the go. That's it. Here is the dead end. You can perfectly understand "1 user persona: Googlebot", but the signals collected by it are not so important anymore. Couple of good signals, collected by behavior software, can overweight all of the good signals collected by Googlebot. This blog is the best example ) Google doesn't create something new. It adopts the way TV works. The show will be on air, if people watch it. No matter what do you think about its quality. That's why tons of perfectly SEOd sites sank. And hundreds of questionable sites are up. People do like them for their own reasons. You can't understand this. I can't understand. Probably Googlers also can't understand. But it will be on air since people like. And how understanding of Googlebot would help here ? The question is rhetorical )


01/31/2013 02:38 am

I actually understand what you are try to say and it's true - it's not that difficult for webmasters to learn SEO. Just keep in mind that you know these things because you spend a lot of time on the web reading about it and because you have a passion for it. A lot of small business owners on the other hand don't see a website as being their #1 priority so they don't like to invest much time in learning about SEO. It's similar to fixing a small leak in your home... Sure you can Google it and figure out how to do it yourself but many will just hire a plumber because they don't feel like doing it themselves.


01/31/2013 06:05 am

The dark arts of SEO may be dying off but SEO will never die. One most important skill in my opinion an SEO expert should have is to learn how to use the patterns and practices in favor of diverseness and natural appearance. A good SEO must think like the Coast Guard - Semper Paratus!


01/31/2013 09:36 am per the current conditions with Google results, i think...we need to have EMDs and promote those a little and rank higher and become an SEO expert easily..Lol ;)


01/31/2013 12:00 pm

No, he is the SEO whose tricks no longer work.

Link Juice

01/31/2013 12:15 pm

Journalism. End.

josh bachynski

01/31/2013 05:22 pm

you just proved my point - the SEO knows these basics the webmaster could have known, maybe should have known, but doesn't as they are business owners and just don't have the time - your arguments are spurious

antonis vourtsis

01/31/2013 06:36 pm

So lets do the link bait -it is easy? so why developments did not so far? why did not choose by them selfs whith no help the rigtht keywords? Develompents have nothing to do what we work on seo( So from now on developments are the only one who choose what projects is and they will make all corect and in autopilot updaded all. So as seo working person may say that im unemployment from now on .Thanxx


01/31/2013 09:28 pm

Well, if your point is - SEO knows basics, then yes - you know basics. You definitely can be proud of yourself )

Sanket Patel

02/01/2013 03:54 am

Establish a content is the best practise for SEO 2013, But you have to be aware about duplicate content. Because too much dupliate content is also be a part of nagative impression.


02/01/2013 03:14 pm

Even the statment "in today's SEO world, I would assume that the technical skills are a prerequisite" is not evident to much agencies that they still think it's about keywords and meta tags !

Mike Allan

02/01/2013 03:59 pm

I'm with Anti-SEO (great name BTW) with this (see his comment below). What you are doing is optimizing for the algorithm which is just as bad as a dog chasing it's tail. Sure you can catch it, but it will get away again. What a good search marketer (which is my preferred term over SEO) does is to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. This is achieved by optimizing not for the algorithm, but to deliver on the INTENT of the consumer.

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