SEO is complex and constantly evolving. Master these 15 aspects of SEO to be successful and develop your industry expertise.
SEO has become an indispensable channel in the digital marketing mix for brands and companies and is constantly evolving.
Trying to stay one step ahead can be overwhelming, especially for those learning SEO or adding another channel or discipline to their role.
But no worry. Once you’re on the cutting edge, the lifelong learning cycle is one of the things a lot of love about SEO.
Here you will discover 15 areas of SEO knowledge that will be of great use to you throughout your career.
1. Understand how search engines work
For anyone looking to start or expand a career in SEO as part of a larger marketing role, this is your starting point. Spend time researching search engines, what their goals are, who has what market share in search engines, what products they offer, and how they display organic search results. Knowing the evolutionary history of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) provides a good context for why they are offering the content they are currently offering. For example, if Google doesn’t know the intent exactly, it will show a variety of features in the results. If it thinks there is a very specific intent, it will display a smaller group of content types. We are a long way from the ten blue links and advertising content. At the same time, however, we’re in the same place we’ve always been to make sure our content is relevant to the searcher.
2. Audience research
What used to be “keyword research” has evolved. While we always do keyword research, this is short-sighted when there are no personas, customer journey considerations, or a hot topic. Being able to understand your audience – their demographics and psychographics – and knowing what content they’ll get across during their ultimate goal (e.g. engagement, sale, lead) is key. Whether you work for a single brand or a multitude of customers, you need to master your understanding of your business goals and work backwards to understand your target audiences and get them from the search query to the ultimate goal.
3. Finding competitors
Understanding the competitive landscape is important during most of the SEO phases. Just sticking to “best practices” and looking inside your website will produce mixed and potentially disappointing results. Profiling high ranking and prominent websites and brands that are currently reaching a portion of the audience you are looking for is an important skill and skill that you will master. Competitive research ranges from manual external audits – and tools – to determining the ranking factors that contribute to the success of competitor websites. This includes on-page and external factors for competitive sites as a whole, and on a page-by-page basis for more detailed topics and inquiries.
4. Web analysis:
Of course, SEO professionals are expected to be able to analyze the performance of their efforts.It is necessary that: • Understand the implications of your strategy and efforts. • Report your efforts to the stakeholders to whom you must account.Knowledge of Google Analytics is essential. There are so many additional customization and aspects that aren’t standard or out-of-the-box that SEO pros should use and master.
Some examples :
• Attribution models to better see the customer journey.
• Reports on supported conversions. Use all possible analytical data to get a complete picture of the researcher’s intent and the various characters. This will help you understand the impact SEO is having on the business.
5. Follow up
It is important that you can act as a resource for your own website with web developers or IT teams to ensure proper implementation of tracking scripts and pixels. Therefore, knowledge of analytics, heat maps, Google Tag Manager and other tracking mechanisms are essential. While many implementations and follow-up updates are straightforward, the occasional need to fix bugs and collaborate with others becomes an underrated skill. Developers and IT professionals are not always familiar with implementing and ensuring proper tracking in the tools most used by marketers.
6. Technical referencing
It can be intimidating for more creative and content-conscious people. SEO professionals wear many hats, and some amazingly successful SEO professionals are not good on the technical side.
Even if you’re not the one to dig into the code, dig into server settings, or configure plugins on a website, you need to have a basic understanding of the technical factors that affect SEO.
Things like page experience, page load times, automation, dynamic markup, indexing, and crawling (more on that in a moment) all belong in one of the important categories of SEO.
Of course, you can have the best content in the world and the most reliable links to your website in your industry.
It can fix some minor technical flaws. However, they are likely to remain obstacles in some way or catch up with you on the road. Invest time learning the technical factors and have an implementation plan now and in the future.
7. Indexing and Exploration
It is always important to understand indexing and how it works.It used to take Google much longer to crawl content and then display it in search results.
This goes without saying when it comes to the speed of crawling search results, as it is not in itself a ranking factor. It is always important that you fully understand how indexing works. This basic knowledge leads to strategic or troubleshooting actions on our own websites.
Large sites, ecommerce sites, and those with a lot of duplicate content need specific strategies around crawl budget, canonical usage, bot order usage, etc. In addition, international sites and variants have added complexity.
With open source content management systems and tools that show us the tags or scratch it, it’s now much easier to do SEO without in-depth knowledge of HTML.
However, a basic mastery of HTML is still relevant. You need it when you need to troubleshoot problems caused by a CMS or code that is semantically imperfect for SEO.
9. Local search
Roles and responsibilities may vary depending on the organizational structure that is responsible for local listings and local search optimization.
Local search is complex enough that SEJ offers a comprehensive guide to local SEO outlining various aspects to master. SEO professionals should understand:
• The complete local research ecosystem.
• Ranking factors.
• Meaning of name, address and telephone data (NAP).
• Operation of the complaints and management process.
10. Factors on the side
Fortunately, most SEO professionals no longer focus disproportionately on unique elements on the page.
As the focus has shifted to content and context, there is still a place for factors on the page and to ensure that the tags are unique and present on each page.
Make sure the content covers at least the full breadth of the topic, even if it doesn’t focus too much on the frequency and density of certain words.
It’s important to have a solid understanding of the factors on the page, how they work together to create context, and what the fact and fiction are about their actual impact on the ranking.
11. Creating links
While we all want to develop content that naturally attracts links and never cares about link building, you should always understand how links affect ranking.
One aspect that is often misunderstood is quantity versus quality and how too much or too little focus on links and authority can hold back optimization efforts.
A comprehensive understanding of the link quality, strategies for obtaining and securing relevant and high-quality links and their implementation in the overall optimization strategy are some things that must be mastered.
Competence, authority and reliability are the abbreviation for Google’s E-A-T. These factors are not ranking signals, but they are important to learn and understand.
This is a concept that Google has talked about several times in its documentation since 2014. I often speak of the need to develop relevance through content and authority through links and external factors.
However, E-A-T goes a step further by delving deeper into its context and meaning. With Google’s continuous cycles of algorithm updates, it’s important to have a solid understanding of E-A-T and be able to use it as a filter when performance dips after a major update.
13. Process development
It’s hard to tackle all aspects of SEO at the same time.
The ability to develop a coherent strategy, prioritize activities, and implement incremental execution is critical to success.
Without a process of completing one-off, repetitive tasks, even the best and brightest among us will end up hunting rather than proactively leading the effort.
Establishing a standardized, repeatable process is also important so that we can communicate with stakeholders about where we stand and where we are going about the long-term nature of SEO campaigns and efforts.
It may sound like a given, but the ability to have a process like the one described above comes with the balance of adaptability. Just like agile methods, we need to be able to based on:
• Change of priorities for stakeholders.
• Changes in the competitive landscape.
• Changes in our target groups.
• Updates by the search engines themselves.
While adaptability is more of a skill than a skill, finding a way to master the methods of panning and manipulating is always important.
You need to be able to identify when something needs updating in your strategy, approach, tactic, or goals. Even if things go well, rankings and traffic can drop.
The ability to intervene at any time to fix and review errors is really important. Diagnosing site changes, search engine algorithm updates, or market changes to isolate variables and update quickly often affects business results.
International SEO considerations are ignored by many SEO professionals unless they have websites or areas of interest outside of their home country. If there is any chance that you will ever have an international focus for your site or your customers, you should at least master the basics of:
• Top-level domains.
• Hreflang tags.
• How languages and countries differ for international versions of search engines.
Important points to remember The multitude of factors influencing successful SEO campaigns fits well with the 15 areas outlined for mastering SEO.
And once you are up to date, you can be very successful, but you are not done studying. Do not make yourself comfortable and forfeit!
As you learn and master SEO aspects, don’t forget to first understand how search engines work. It will provide a great backdrop and perspective.
Find out what can be measured, how it applies to your role and work in SEO, then delve into specific aspects such as technical knowledge, on-page and off-page optimization.
Find your trusted learning sources and methodologies, whether it’s in-person training, online courses, podcasts, articles, or any other medium to help fill in the gaps and work on the areas you need to master.