There are a number of core skill sets that are required for you to work as an effective internet marketer and search optimization expert. In addition to those core skills, these 7 attributes will make you indispensable to your company and to your clients.
7 Attributes That Make A Successful SEO
We are currently looking for an SEO Account Manager. We all go through this as it’s the nature of our business. Staff moves on to different companies or they go and start their own business. We are constantly looking for just the right person with the perfect internet marketing qualifications.
Prior to advertising for this position, I went through our internal job description and updated the skills and competencies needed for the position. It got me to thinking about some things aside from the core SEO skills that are needed to be successful as an Internet marketer.
First of all, knowledge of search engine optimization and link building is necessary. At the level of account manager, this knowledge should be broad and deep. A surface or incidental knowledge just won’t do. Clients are looking for details and surface knowledge is not enough to satisfy their sophisticated questions and concerns. For example, not only must you know about Panda and the subsequent updates, you need to be able to look at a client’s website and determine why it’s being affected by the update.
Next, a good understanding of technology is necessary. Knowing how a site is built, on what platform and with what framework often determines our scope of work with the client. Having an understanding of PHP, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and other popular CMS systems allows you the ability to determine the ease or difficulty of changing landing pages, directories and other site components that affect a site’s rankings.
You’ve also got to know the players and the search/social landscape. If you don’t tweet, if you don’t have a Facebook presence and you haven’t experimented with social media, local search and if you haven’t used the tools that make our job more efficient, then you aren’t positioned to be a successful internet marketer.
The above fundamentals are necessary to actually do the job; the attributes below will make you indispensible to your agency and your clients.
Attention to Detail
As I mentioned above, we are actually looking for an account manager and I’ve been reading through some email cover letters. The first one I received was address to “Dear Perspective Employer”. Really?! Right off the bat, I’ve totally discounted this person. I think the writer meant to use the word ‘prospective’ or maybe ‘potential’. Our clients are looking for bullet-proof reports and strategy documents. They don’t want to read through documents with poor grammar and spelling errors. Attention to detail is paramount to being successful.
I’ve found that people with an innate curiosity become subject matter experts. That compulsion to know how things work drives them to read more, explore more and learn more about search optimization, programming, marketing and other aspects of successful internet marketing. “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein
We have a small staff and a positive attitude is crucial to a good working environment. Bad attitudes are poison to a small organization and they’re not very helpful when you need to interact with clients. It’s hard enough dealing with tough clients and harder still when someone on your team has a bad attitude.
SEO is about sharing. The most successful people in this business share and teach others what they know. Whether in a conference setting, webinar, or a one-on-one with a fellow employee, sharing is the key to overall success. You want others to know what you know so they can converse on the same level as you and provide you with their insights as well.
Multiple clients, multiple projects and a variety of competing priorities; you’ve got to be organized. This is not an easy step-by-step process job. It’s full of stop and go, nuanced projects and demanding clients. You’ve got to be very organized to be successful.
Clients want deals, webmasters want compensation, fellow employees want to do less and want you to do more and managers want you to work 24/7, so you’ve got to know how to negotiate. Sometimes it’s just explaining the situation to gain advantage. Other times it’s playing hardball when negotiating rates or keeping project creep at a minimum but negotiation skills are essential.
Getting Things Done
Finally, follow up and follow through can make or break you in this business. Nothing happens when you want it to, webmasters don’t get back to you when they say they will, writers miss deadlines or give you ‘crap’ that you’ve got to edit or rewrite and I’ve never met a web-dev person that’s delivered on time. So, you’ve got 20 separate projects with 20 different deadlines and you’ve got to be able to manage them through to completion. The phrase, ‘herding cats‘ comes to mind.
Wow, that’s a lot. No one has all these attributes but if you find someone that has a good mix of them, hang on to them because they will positively impact your business, your clients business and their fellow employees.
These attributes are also tough things to determine during the interview process. For example, you can’t just ask someone if they have a good attitude. You’ve got to ask open ended, behavioral and situational questions that will get them to share examples of their work and situations they’ve worked through. You’ve got to peel the onion. It’ not easy but it’s worth the extra time it takes to develop the questions and to actually do the interview as it will help find just the right person for your next opening.
What other attributes would you add to this list?