SEO: 4 Most Important Search Engine Optimization Skills

Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 in Search Engine Optimization, SEO | Comments Off on SEO: 4 Most Important Search Engine Optimization Skills

By Jean Steckler

Many Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rules are easy to understand. The real work comes from implementation.

Search Engine Land has published a summary of SEO Success Factors in Periodic Table format, with sections on Content, HTML, Architecture (“On Page Factors”), and “Off Page Factors” (links, trust, social personal).


With such clearly defined rules, why do so many companies advertise they will “fix” your website’s SEO? What actually makes or breaks a website’s SEO?

In my experience, sites that are successful at SEO have four key elements not included in the periodic table — and cannot be purchased from an SEO vendor. They are:

  • Relevance
  • Collaboration
  • Respect
  • Patience

1. Relevance

An important signal used in search ranking is still inbound links from respected, trusted websites. Yes, your website is competing in a popularity contest. The quality of your content — how well you can provide solutions and answers to the real problems your customers and clients face — is still most important. If there is not a reason for well-respected sites in your industry to link to your website, you may be expecting your team to achieve the unachievable.

2. Collaboration

Effective SEO cannot be achieved by a single person, or even a single like-minded group of people. It requires the cooperation and collaboration of  people with different talents and responsibilities who collectively contribute to a website. Some may work within the company; others may be contracted consultants. Typically a web site build or relaunch involves:

  • Information Architect
  • Graphic Designer
  • Copywriter
  • IT: System Administrator
  • IT: Content Management Platform Implementation (e.g. WordPress, HubSpot, Joomla, Drupal)
  • IT: Application Developer
  • IT: Database Designer and Programmer

Each one of these has a role in either helping — or hurting — the website’s SEO.  No one person can achieve great SEO without the collaboration and cooperation of everyone on the website team.

3. Respect

Although the rules for SEO are well documented ( has an excellent series of videos from both their own experts and outside experts), achieving great SEO can still be a daunting enterprise.

Each person on the team can do their part – but the ultimate success depends on the efforts of everyone on the team. We know what it takes to do our individual part well, but too often the amount of work required by other team members can be invisible to us. Teams that work well together listen and probe, giving support and enthusiasm.

Teams that enjoy mutual respect and sharing are motivating to work for. Not so much for those who don’t.

4. Patience

Google has an option for managers who want instant success. It’s called Google Adwords. Given enough budget to support Adwords, you can make sure your site always ranks high — in paid listings.

If you want to rank high in organic listings, take a deep breath and give your site time for the team’s efforts to take hold. Large, legacy sites that need optimization take longer. It may be wise to work on a section of the site at a time. And then focus on the most important landing pages within that section. Evaluate individual pages and keywords with the Moz Page Grader or other tools to identify issues. Plan solutions. Assign responsibilities. Implement. Re-check. Monitor. Continue with next set of landing pages, and then the next web site section.

I’d love to hear your stories of when your team reached nirvana — or when it fell short and why. Thanks for sharing.

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