At a certain point in time, it was all-about getting the number one spot (#1) on the search engine result pages (SERPs) that every SEO tried to achieve. This created a culture among SEOs and the search engines. It became more of an all-exclusive dent on the IT industry (although up to this day, a lot of SEOs are still into it). It has created that set of skills of tweaking web pages and manipulating rankings through a lot of ways (be it black or white or grey). The battle was fierce but it did wonders on software innovations and web technology advancements of some sort.
Today, things are a lot more complicated than any old-school SEO can think of. One SEO specialist could not focus and think of just ranking in web searches alone while being relatively unknown to a lot more channels such as business listings, images, maps/places, news category and a whole lot more dimensions of searches made available by the search engines themselves. Think of universal search!
On another note, social media has taken gigantic leaps and huge forward-thinking steps over the past 5 years. Social media has greatly moved search engine results as well as how people are behaving and communicating. User-generated content was “in” some years back but now, this social media is rocking the boat in a whole new different level.
In short, the channels in consideration for SEOs to gain optimum benefits for their clients have branched out immensely. Thus, the skill-set demanded for new SEOs compared to the old SEOs positively correlates with the increase of channels to pursue. If you are immersed with the multi-faceted touch points for businesses online, I think you can simply identify the following channels which I consider as “movers and shakers”.
- Blogs – where people are talking about brands and what-have-you
Other channels are:
- and a lot more…
I did not specifically include known channels such as the big 3 search engines namely Google (Universal search channel is huge!), Yahoo and Bing plus all the other minor search engines primarily because they should have already been the “given channels” for SEOs.
The title Search Engine Optimization specialist seems to become less of a skill-set demanded by the tasks at hand in order to get maximum benefits for clients. What do you think?
Come to think of it, the skill-set needed to get the job done is as follows based on what I think one must possess:
- Log File Analysis
- Link Building
- Writing Meta Tags
- Traffic Analysis and reporting
- Site Audit (you can bubble burst this skill)
- Conversion Analysis
- Website Development
- Keyword Research
- Content optimization
- Flash optimization
- Landing Page optimization
The skill-set mentioned above, I would say, are the old basic skills that SEOs should be equipped with. Based on experience and research and the the new channels I previously presented, the new breed of SEOs or some would call them as “Visibility Strategists” should also have on its belt the following:
- Information Architecture
- Social media expertise
- Metrics development
- Online community architecture
- Persona development (a usability expert should take care of the full usability side)
- Data management
- Semantic web technologies & methods
- Video optimization
- Researching developments in key technologies (RDF, Microfromats, OWL, HTML 5…)
- Researching user trends
- Researching language use online
- and more I’m sure…
The most succinct idea tells us that a ” Visibility Strategist” should not worry about search engines alone but also consider the other huge channels to realize the business goals and objectives to be achieved.
Personally, I always coin it as a ” 360-degree approach” on online marketing and visibility strategy.