The Importance of an SEO background in a Digital Marketing World
Before I became an account manager, I worked in the trenches as an SEO specialist. Through my work as an account manager, I’ve come to realize just how valuable my SEO background is for managing client accounts. Honestly, I do not believe I would be an effective account manager had I not worked as an SEO.
Which got me thinking, an SEO background would benefit many of the individuals that I work with on a daily basis.
It is incredible how large the SEO industry has become, yet, an extraordinary amount of people still don’t know what SEO actually entails.
When my friends used to ask what I did for a living, I would say that I was an SEO Specialist. “So, uh, you work for Google?!”, “Does that mean you work on websites?”, or my personal favorite, “Sar, did you mean to say CEO?”.
Just a Little Education
Now I’m not saying everyone has to immerse themselves in the internet marketing world or needs to become an SEO expert. However, I am saying that everyone that plans on managing a website or even selling website services, should at least take a class or two on SEO. This will help you make wise decisions for your website, not only in regards to usability and visual appeal, but also for SEO benefit.
Having this knowledge also helps to prevent making changes that essentially counteract all of the SEO work that was done, or is being done, to your website. For example, did you know…
- Updating plugins could potentially wipe out a website’s optimized meta descriptions, title tags, etc. (which is hours of work, btw).
- Changing the URL structure can unknowingly weaken the value of the pages and create many errors that only trained eyes (and Google) can see.
- Copying and pasting content to multiple pages of your site is a cardinal sin, especially if that content is from any other online source.
Heavy stuff, right? Those are the kinds of actions that make us SEO’s need a tall cold one at the end of the day.
Oh, You Want to Impress Your Boss?
I only graduated college a few years ago, but even then, not a single class was offered regarding internet marketing, let alone SEO. Slowly colleges are beginning to introduce the digital industry into their curriculum and my advice to those still in college; take the class! Especially if you are a business major as this knowledge could give you the competitive edge you need to really impress your boss.
Picture trying to explain to your company how you erased/screwed up $2,500 worth of SEO work with one click? Now imagine telling your boss that you know how to bring him more lead conversions just by writing relevant and optimized content. Which scenario do you think he would take more kindly to?
Back to Basics
Even if you are just learning the very basics of internet marketing, it will go a long way in achieving a user friendly and search engine friendly website. Here are a few things that every individual working on a website should know:
- Which keywords target the audience you are trying to attract and using those to create your URLs, title tags, meta descriptions, etc.
- The importance of having optimized title tags and meta descriptions
- Establishing a hierarchy among your URL structure
- A page should not be more than 3 levels (clicks) deep in order for a visitor to access that page
- The importance of interlinking so that visitors can navigate your website easily and find related content
- How to write user friendly and search engine friendly page copy
- The difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO (this will help prevent you from unknowingly committing black hat SEO tactics )
There are numerous resources that can give you a basic understanding of the points above:
- SEOmoz.org has a great resource for learning SEO basics called “The Beginners Guide to SEO”.
- Now for my shameless plug, our blog also houses great information on best practices and so much more.
- If you are feeling adventurous, The Art of SEO, is also a great book for understanding SEO.
Know What You’re Selling
We have some agencies that come to us and say, “So, our client is interested in SEO services, but we don’t actually do SEO”. Cool, awesome, thanks for the business. BUT one major obstacle with this is that most of these agencies do not actively perform SEO services, let alone have any idea what SEO entails. For the love of internet marketing and every SEO’s sanity, take a class!
If you are selling SEO services, you should be able to speak knowledgably about what SEO is and how it is achieved. If not, it typically makes our job even harder. And more times than not, this is how unrealistic expectations are born.
Long blog post short, SEO knowledge is a valuable tool and there are many resources available for learning the basics. Whether you are managing a website or managing clients, you should understand what you are talking about and how the actions you take on your website will very likely affect SEO – and therefore, your bottom line.