Soft Skills

Soft Skills For SEO Success

soft skills

Soft skills are just as important for accomplishing SEO as the technical skills. You're dealing with people who are marketers, salespeople and IT support experts. They may or may not know much about SEO, and except for marketers, they may think SEO is a waste of time because it's horse doody. Sometimes they're correct, especially if they've dealt with the con artists and snake oil salespeople this industry attracts like flies to manure piles.

These are my top soft skills you should have some expertise in to be a successful SEO specialist:

  • Listening - probably more than anything, you need to listen to what marketing and sales staffs have to deal with. They have boundaries with budget, time and their own demanding priorities that may not mesh with your proposed SEO workflow. Hear what they have to say. Really listen to them. Don't start developing a response unless and until you've really heard and understood what they are saying to you. This is why we have two ears and one mouth!
  • Speaking honestly and clearly - I used to live in downtown Washington DC, and the natives have a saying that I'll clean up for you: don't let your mouth write a check that your body can't cash. Don't make lofty promises about getting the site to rank #1 for every keyword phrase they want to use. It's not going to happen, since you don't know Google's algorithm, ranking signals and factors, and you have no idea when they're going to roll out an update, or what it is. Be honest and tell them you can improve their traffic, get them more visibility in the search engines and leverage the appropriate social media channels to drive more qualified traffic to the most important pages, which usually isn't the site's home page.
  • Being part of a team - you're part of an integrated team that includes marketing, sales and the web development staff. They have certain timelines to do their processes, and you need to mesh with their efforts and vice versa. You need to cooperate and work with them.

More Soft Skills For Successful SEO Experts

  • Being flexible - I have a personal philosophy I use for SEO - semper Gumby. Basically it means "always flexible." You're going to wake up one day, or many days, and discover that Google rolled out a major algorithm change overnight, and it could possibly change everything you'd planned for the enterprise SEO program. Sometimes you'll go out for a coffee or lunch, come back and find a real surprise waiting for you - traffic dropped, you got a message in Google's Support Console saying your site has been given a manual penalty. Now you need to drop all of your expectations and start working on the problem!
  • Solving problems - speaking of which...SEO is not ABC, 123. It can be very messy, fluid, and all over the place. Can you solve the problem of losing traffic without panicking or giving up? Because it's going to happen, I guarantee you. Know how to create a problem solving workflow that's methodical and is aimed at eliminating causes. Google Analytics and the Support Console are the two places you usually start.
  • Getting along with others - don't make enemies if you don't need to. It's OK to disagree, as long as you act like an adult. Solve differences calmly and be ready to give as well as get. It's what makes the world go around!

These are critical skills to develop and practice regularly. And if you're thinking about doing freelance SEO work, here's some information about how it is to be out on your own.

Here's a handy infographic that illustrates the points made above.

Want to know more about how to be a great SEO asset to any business? Take a look at our SEO training courses and let's get you scheduled!

Until next time, keep it safely between the ditches, umkay?

All the best to you,

Nancy McDonald

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