Want to be great at search engine optimization? Columnist John Lincoln believes that this requires more than just deep SEO knowledge — it’s about building good habits, too.
If you want to be a successful SEO, it’s a great idea to imitate your peers who are ranking sites and making their clients happy. After all, the reason that many SEOs are successful is that they’ve cultivated professional habits that other SEOs haven’t.
So what are those habits? Here are a few of them.
1. They study the news and strategy like crazy
Few things change more than SEO. It seems as though every week, we read about a new algorithm update or a change that Google is testing.
That’s why it’s important that you keep up with the latest news in SEO. Otherwise, you’re going to miss important tidbits of information that will help you rank your clients’ sites.
Fortunately, there are plenty of channels online where you can get the info you need to keep up with all that’s happening in search engine optimization.
A few blogs to follow:
- Google Webmaster Central: Did you know that Google has a blog? Even better, that blog is designed specifically for webmasters and SEOs who want to help their clients do well in Google search. Bookmark that site, and make it a point to browse through it at least once a week. You’ll gain some great insight about what the Big G is up to.
- Search Engine Land: Another “must bookmark” for all digital marketers is Search Engine Land. It’s a sister publication to Marketing Land, so it’s a great site to read regularly if you’re interested in the whole spectrum of digital marketing. It also lives up to its name by providing great insights into SEO.
- Search Engine Roundtable: Simply put, there’s nothing that’s going to happen in SEO that won’t be reported on Search Engine Roundtable. The authors on that site closely monitor SEO news feeds, Google Webmaster Central, and even the social media accounts of key players in the game. You should definitely bookmark the site to keep up with the latest buzz in search engine optimization.
- Moz Blog: Another great place to get tips about SEO, as well as information on digital marketing in general, is the Moz blog. Whether you’re looking for copywriting tips, advice on SEO data analysis or sales funnel optimization techniques, you’ll find it there.
- SEMrush Blog: Almost all great digital marketing companies have a blog, because the people who run those companies know about the importance of content marketing. SEMrush is no exception. Bookmark that blog to gain some insight on optimization techniques and keyword analysis and pointers on how to develop killer content.
Also, there is a lot to learn about SEO on YouTube. I recommend Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangouts with John Mueller, weekly Search Video Recaps with Barry Schwartz and the Moz video channel. Also, don’t forget about Whiteboard Friday if you are into video education. Finally, I am no Rand Fishkin, but I like to think my SEO training video series is well worth watching.
Bottom line here: You’re never “done” learning about SEO. It’s a fluid environment, so be sure that you always keep up with the latest changes.
2. They review what’s working with analytics and ranking tools
Some SEOs let their personal feelings and biases trump the numbers. That’s a bad habit.
You might think that you “know” what will work for a particular client, but if your tools and analytics are telling you that your pet technique isn’t doing the job, then it’s time to look at other options.
Good SEO professionals make it a habit to review the sites at the top of the search engines and figure out what got them there. They then take their hypotheses, test them and implement the winning techniques for clients.
Personally, I like to look at the SEMrush winners and losers report and then analyze the websites at the top.
3. They act instead of just talking or strategizing
You can keep up with the latest news, check out how your competitors are ranking, and invest in all the SEO tools you can afford, but it won’t matter if you don’t put action to your knowledge.
Great SEOs don’t just theorize. They act.
Successful SEOs aren’t given to analysis paralysis. Instead, they find out what they need to do and put a plan in action that moves their clients’ websites up in the SERPs.
This one is a big one for me. You can come up with strategies all day, but if the changes never go live online, it was all for nothing. So a good SEO knows how to push a project through.
I recommend taking the following steps when you want to get a project approved and implemented quickly:
- Present the project along with analytics backing the potential gains.
- Create a compelling case that shows the return on investment.
- Submit technical requirements in a format that can be immediately used by developers.
- Set a timeline and follow up regularly.
4. They are always improving their skills and websites
Whether they are looking to improve the quality of content on a website, the backlink profile, their technical knowledge or their communication skills, the best SEO experts never stop looking for ways to better themselves and their online search rankings.
SEO is a very large and complicated field, demanding many skills, so the leaders in the field are naturally those who have continued to work hard over time.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.