When I sat down last week with my sweet vanilla latte to read my morning dose of SEO, it wasn’t Rand’s video that perturbed me but the link within his transcription which basically said “modern SEO requires almost no technical experience.”
Rand gave an awesome rundown on this weeks whiteboard Friday but as a full-time SEO consultant myself I really wanted the opportunity to respond to this myself.
Let’s dive right in with some examples of some of the work that I do on a day to day basis.
Knowledge of Servers
Like it or not, you must have some knowledge of servers. From basic .htaccess editing to just moving files around, if you don’t know how to do this you are going to have to rely on your network administrator for help.
Knowledge of Googlebot
From crawl budgets, to indexing to, blocking resources it is imperative that you have a very good understanding of Googlebot and how it works. Are you checking your Apache logs to see what kind of bots are hitting your website? Are you actually checking to see if Googlebot is crawling that page you’ve been trying to rank for the last 2 months?
I’ve seen beginner SEO’s stand around waiting for months to rank a website and they didn’t realize the page wasn’t even being visited by Googlebot.
(At least) HTML and CSS
As an SEO, you must have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. Yes, you can ask your web designer friend to do everything for you but if you want to be an SEO that can stand on their own 2 feet, you are going to have to learn HTML?
Why you ask? HTML is the basic building block of a website and if you don’t know how to read and write basic HTML you have no business calling yourself an SEO.
Don’t think you need to know HTML and CSS?
Title tags are HTML.
Meta descriptions are HTML, enough said.
Even the size of the photo that I used for this post to show up in Facebook and Twitter had to be considered. Image alt tags, CSS selectors, anchor text, headings are all HTML and all so important to know if you want to be an SEO.
The Semantic Web
Do you even structure your data? Go to any SEO conference anywhere in the world and I guarantee you at least 1-2 main talks are going to cover the semantic web, schema, etc. It is imperative that you have a basic understanding of structured data to exist as an SEO these days. Sure you might be getting by without it, but are you really giving your clients the best service?
Rich snippets, Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Cards are all technically considered structured data.
The list goes on. Just yesterday I was editing an enormous file that would have taken weeks to edit manually. With a few quick keystrokes I was able to edit the entire file and get it uploaded to the web, optimized for SEO of course.
The list goes on
Seriously, I could go on for another 1000 words talking about the ins and outs of technical SEO but I think I got my point across. I’ve been training for this job my entire life. It takes years to learn technical SEO. If you are interested in learning more, I wrote a quick guide to learning technical SEO on Inbound earlier this year.
Also I just wanted to say Jason Demers is someone I really respect as an SEO blogger, he is a real hustler.