What Does It Take To Become A Search Engine Optimization Specialist?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO has become quite a buzzword on the Internet for a number of years now. It seems that people claiming to be an SEO expert are a dime a dozen but many of these people only have a cursory knowledge on the matter and are only looking for a way to make money quickly. The question is do they really have what it takes to be able to call themselves an SEO professional? To earn the right to this title, you will need to be equipped with quite a few skills and capabilities and sadly, few of these so-called experts are in fact fully qualified to take on the title. Here then are some of the skills that you will need to be able to consider yourself an SEO expert.
HTML or Hypertext Markup Language has been around almost since the earliest incarnations of the World Wide Web. In spite of its long and colorful history, and the relatively recent influx of graphically oriented web site design software, HTML is still quite relevant today and a fairly extensive knowledge of it is a must for successful SEO. To have a better appreciation for the importance of HTML, you have to realize that search engines primarily read the source code of a particular web page. Therefore if you can fully optimize your web page at the source code level, you stand a considerably greater chance of ranking higher in search engine page results. A good rule of thumb to gauge the qualification of your HTML skills is this: if you are able to produce professional looking web sites using only a text based editor (such as notepad) and you can type out HTML code intuitively, without looking at your keyboard too much, then it is safe to say that you are good enough at HTML to achieve effective SEO results.
CSS capability is another valuable skill to have in your arsenal and while you need not be an expert in this area, developing a thorough knowledge of the basics will come in quite handy. CSS related tasks that you can expect to encounter on a regular basis in the interests of SEO include transforming a JS menu into a CSS menu and styling the heading tags of your web pages.
Web design and development is another area that you will need to have considerable knowledge in. At the very least you will you will need to be able to create a fully functional, professional looking web site all by yourself from start to finish. If graphics is an area in which you are deficient in or clearly have no knack for, you may wish to outsource these requirements (hire an outside graphic artist to work on them) and use a Content Management System or CMS in the design of websites for you or your clients. Of course it would be best if you could do it all yourself but let’s face it, not everyone has the knack for graphic arts and there is no shame in asking someone else to do it for you. In fact, people who have no graphic skills whatsoever have put together many visually impressive web sites that feature stunning graphics. And of course graphics, while making your website more attractive, do not really serve a purpose as far as SEO goes so you may wish to do away with them altogether.
Search engines are one of your most important allies when it comes to SEO-or it can be one of your most formidable enemies. It would be worth your while to have a thorough knowledge of just how search engines rank web pages. This knowledge is something that can only be developed by many hours of observation, testing and studying as well as a comparison of the differences between major search engines and their ranking algorithms. In relation to this, you will also need to know how to fill your web sites with relevant keywords that ensure the popularity and competitiveness of your web site.
One of the often-neglected aspects of SEO is content and good content is a direct result of good writing. There is simply no way around this; you have to do whatever it takes to ensure that your web site hosts good, reliable content that your audiences can find helpful, whether that means improving your own writing skills or hiring someone else who has a keen eye for the job. Remember, good writing results in good copy for your web site which will in turn result in baiting more links for you.
Link building is another area unto itself and you should explore the many strategies that will allow you to gather effective links, as good links are extremely vital for SEO.