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Old 06-02-2006   #1
stuntdubl
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Lightbulb What Top 5 Skills Would You Study to Become a Better SEO?

Remember the scene in the Matrix, where Trinity needs to fly the helicopter...and she downloads all the info into her head in a matter of seconds?

That sure would be cool...but until then, I'm stuck learning the old fashion way as time permits. With that in mind, I'm always tryin' to improve on certain skillsets that will help improve my overall understanding of search marketing and step my game up.

Top 5 Skill I'd love to download Matrix style:
  1. Full understanding of Apache and/or IIS web servers and capabilities
  2. Better public speaking/ presentation creation skills
  3. Ability to code web spiders for testing (or code anything decent for that matter)
  4. Ability to craft complex database/ SQL queries
  5. Full understanding of traditional medium advertising concepts and techniques

What skills would you put on your Matrix "must have" list for your career path or becoming a better SEM/SEO?

Last edited by stuntdubl : 06-02-2006 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 06-03-2006   #2
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Gday Todd,

Sounds like my top 5 thus far

I'd add;

1. sales skills good enough you can attain and manipulate (in a good way) big clients
2. AI like skills ie. use a lexical dictionary stuff and add some interesting capability to some auto-gen sites for fun, mad out of the box stuff like that (all my dreams)
3. know RegEx like the back of my hand
4. the ability to learn new programmes in a few hours
5. a degree in english and journalism (and online contacts to boot)

hehe, one by one.....
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Old 06-06-2006   #3
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Hi)
I think all of this:

1. All SEO info in my mind
2. Oratory
3. Ultra high speed learning
4. A degree in programming
5. Patience
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Old 06-06-2006   #4
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Hey Todd...nice topic. I would of course trade all my SEO knowledge for the ability to rule in a fight and dodge bullets like NEO. But then again I guess those skillz are probably overrated! :P

1. For sure: Programming skills, especially Cold Fusion (after HTML).

(Side note: I always thought about taking programming classes when first getting into SEO early this century, but figured the Content and Linking "slices of the pie" were enough for me...I am still glad I made that decision, but it would be nice to learn matrix style)

2. The ability to evangelize the value of SEO with a single sentence, no matter how thick the recipient's skull may be.

3. Advanced degrees in marketing and finances.

4. If I could plug-in, the Google intranet may be nice to read.

5. The ability to transform myself into Michael's evil twin Garth Knight and drive KARR around ruling things.

5a.(the real one) Large scale program management and predictive analysis skills, without the hassle of boring old "experience."

Last edited by Chris Boggs : 06-06-2006 at 10:48 PM. Reason: added a real #5
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Old 06-06-2006   #5
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I think some of the above answers are a little off base.

1. ESP into Matt Cutt's head when they tweak the algo.
2. Programming (javascript, php, .net)
3. marketing
4. copywriting
5. hypnotism of my boss.
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Old 06-06-2006   #6
everett sizemor
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Well at least I have Wilksy’s number five…

A lot of people seem to want “coding powers” but I want to know how many SEOs really do know how to code. I’m not talking about HTML, CSS and maybe a bit of PHP. I mean, how many of you can actually write useful programs for your clients, or for your own use? I know I can’t… That’s what Michael, our tech guru, is for.

I find myself dealing mostly with cleaning up the HTML code using CSS, working with site architecture for greater crawlability, content writing, link-building, a bit of PR (mostly for link-building purposes), and some general marketing stuff to get higher email conversions and improve the overall stickiness of the web site. Then there’s the whole PPC side of things, which is another story… But no coding.

How important is it to have PHP and Cold Fusion skills as an SEO?


Oh, and my five:

1. Superhuman coding skills (because it would be fun)
2. Kung Fu Sales Skills
3. A more in-depth knowledge of traditional marketing and PR
4. Crazy genius-level mathematical skills
5. Photographic memory of Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL and ASK algos so I can apply those crazy genius-level mathematical skills

Last edited by everett sizemor : 06-06-2006 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 06-06-2006   #7
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Well my five (Or three) :

-Programming and database skills (I dont know of any programming, apart modifying pre-written PHP code)
-Info retrieval and language analysis skills (After all to understand SEs, nothing is better than to run one)
-Statistic skills (As they are heavily used in algos, and can be used in datamining user behavior)
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Old 06-06-2006   #8
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Organization skills - I would probably first start with some organization skills to be better organized; SEO involves so much nowadays that it's not just putting up a good-looking site. You have to deal with a lot more. And you can never be too organized.

Contact management skills - make better personal relationships with website owners. It's too easy to hide behind email addresses and make yourself anonymous on a site. Too many people hide the fact that they own a site. Start reaching out to people by picking up the phone more and make more personal relationships with people which will end up helping you in the long run.

Writing skills - you can always improve writing skills. Sit down and start writing more content for sites. Too many people are focused on writing an application that will manipulate text and "write content" for them. Start creating real content that real people will read and enjoy.
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Old 06-06-2006   #9
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The responses say there is more to the business of SEO than technology. I am pleased to see others who wish they were better business people as well as better technicians. Here's my list in no particular order.

1/ I wish I could instantly learn to be a better manager. Time and effort are the biggest expenses in my world and I figure my firm could do better if I was a more effective manager.

2/ SOAP, AJAX, DHTML, etc... the possibilities are endless.

3/ I wish I knew more about the "real" workings of the financial markets. I believe our sector is entering a new phase in the coming years that will require someone in the office to have a strong understanding of finance.

4/ How to describe the wonders of SEO in one sentence, regardless of how dense I feel at any given time.

5/ Dbase/SQL stuff and lots of it.
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Old 06-06-2006   #10
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This is a great topic.

I don't have a list, but I do have a couple of related thoughts.

In my experience, a good SEO needs to know enough about coding, database management, server technologies and other technical issues to know what the likely problem is, who the best person for the job would be to fix it, and to instruct that person appropriately.

In general, you don't need to be an expert - it's hard to be an expert in more than one field, there is too much to know, and only so many hours in a day. But you do need to be familiar with the major issues, processes, platforms and fixes.

I doubt if I could design a CMS from scratch, but I *can* tell a CMS programmer exactly what I need (and want to avoid), then trust their skill and knowledge to carry it out. As far as I'm concerned, that's enough. Same goes for javascript and Flash coders.

A few things I wish more SEO's knew (and would like to improve on myself):
  • Real World Financial/Business basics - know how to talk ROI, and to justify costs. And know how to make a real business plan, dammit!
  • Legal Basics - especially copyright, contract and trademark law
  • Basic Information Retrieval theory - most "SEO's" don't have a clue about how a search engine actually works, they only know bits and bobs of information they read on forums and in books.
  • Usability basics - it's not just for the handicapped - it's for everyone. Someone who is new to an area (including the web, or your websites topic) is effectively handicapped, even though it may be temporary and less serious than being blind.
  • Copy-writing and Marketing basics - why does this sell? What are the basics of good copy? What should you avoid?
  • Web technology basics - basic HTML, CSS, server configuration (IIS, Apache and Tomcat), DNS configuration and so forth. You don't have to be a major tech head, but you need to know a problem (and who to call) when you see one. In my experience, about 60% of major SEO issues are technical in nature, not spam, link or content related.
I know that's a scary list, but I think it's an important one, especially if you consider yourself to be a consultant or owner, rather than a minimum wage peon.

My opinion,

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Old 06-06-2006   #11
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As a marketing consultant and cybrarian, I have a lot of the skills I need. For legal information I suggest NoloPress.com.

1. Be able to code in any form (php, Dreamweaver, mySQL, etc.)
2. Genius level math skills
3. Organizational skills
4. Infinite patience with clients
5. The ability to speak and write many different languages
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Old 06-06-2006   #12
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Great post Stundbl!

1. Usability
2. Information Architecture
3. Danny's journalistic talent
4. Barry's ability to crank out massive amounts of quality content
5. The art of CSS

Last edited by jewboy : 06-06-2006 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 06-06-2006   #13
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Quote:
I would of course trade all my SEO knowledge for the ability to rule in a fight and dodge bullets like NEO
In that vein, I would want a body like Trinity and the ability to wear black leather without sweating.

Anyway - because I'm lazy today and because they're exactly what I would want, I'm copying Todd's first four:

Full understanding of Apache and/or IIS web servers and capabilities (I hear Apache and think Tonto..)

Better public speaking/ presentation creation skills (Or I need a Valium cuz I get so damn nervous I forget to smile).

Ability to code web spiders for testing (or code anything decent for that matter) (Huh?)

Ability to craft complex database/ SQL queries (Huh?)

My 5th wish would be to learn to say more with less words. I am always in awe of people who can make a point with minimal effort.

Last edited by debraM : 06-06-2006 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 06-06-2006   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debraM
Better public speaking/ presentation creation skills (Or I need a Valium cuz I get so damn nervous I forget to smile).

My 5th wish would be to learn to say more with less words. I am always in awe of people who can make a point with minimal effort.
c'mon now debra you never look nervous at SES, you must hide it well. I agree saying more with less words would be great...unfortunately we often have to say less with more words just to get the basics across, it seems.
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Old 06-06-2006   #15
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First, we may have to create a place or venue for such wonderful studies. There is talk of cert programs around but nothing concrete yet.

1. Web Analytics - the value of using this as a tool is extremly important in SEM. This would make a super course if tought by the right person.

2. Links - this topic you can never learn enough about. The ever changing world of link values continues to plaque even the best of us. Dan Thies offers an up to date, in-depth study, (8/wk session) on Links and link building..
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Old 06-06-2006   #16
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how did you get here?

As a matter of interest how did you lot become SEOs?

Did you come up through the web developer route, or did you fall through a hole and the boss looked at you and said right 'blue pill' and your an SEOer 'red pill' and your a sales person?
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Old 06-06-2006   #17
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Well, the red pill looked more like a jelly bean, and I was hungry....

In my case, I was a Flash developer that went looking for why the hell his brand new site wasn't ranking anywhere, for anything....

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Old 06-06-2006   #18
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>a scary list

Great post, Ian.

me, i'd like to have deep knowledge about:
AI
*nix
server clusters
"Automated Lexical Disambiguation in Machine Translation with Latent Semantic Analysis"
markov chains
chatbots

<added>
Just for fun, you understand. Nothing in particular in mind.
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Old 06-07-2006   #19
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What a good read this thread has been - great topic, Todd.

I've got mad organization skills (friends call it being anal) and can write (sometimes even well) from the minute I wake up until the lights go out, and public speaking doesn't scare me (7 years on TV/radio), so my list would be:

1. Coding / DB / SQL stuff. I tend to want to stay on the creative and marketing sides, not the how-it-works details.

2. Sales.

3. Server technology / configuration / etc.

4. Financial / ROI.

5. High-end design, CSS, even Flash (for times it's appropriate).
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Old 06-08-2006   #20
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Trinity learns how to fly a Bell 212, in order of SEM preference I want to be an instant expert in:

1. Information Retrieval - all areas of IR but specifically language modeling.

2. Ethnomethodology - an ethnomethodologist understands how different social communities act the way they do. How many people understand the hundreds of types of online communities that have sprung up? And why? Think of the opportunities

3. Korean language - Attain fluency in Korean, so I could delve into their hyper-evolved search industry. On a lesser note, further my Chinese/Japanese language skills (mobile apps for the next 10 years are going to be biiiiiiig cash cows in Asia)

4. Project Planning and Management - Cost-benefit analysis, assessing risk and scope etc. In the corporate world, few SEO/SEM understand how we 'fit' into the project development cycle.

5. Perfect recall of Strunk's Element of Style and the Chicago Manual of Style, if only to become the world's ultimate (and only) grammar-optimization nazi
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