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Qualities of a Good SEO

With the many shady SEOs and those claiming to be SEOs, people have began to down play the importance of a SEO and lost sight of the difference professional and the non-professional. To put it simply one can paint a picture and it won't look half bad, yet they can not claim to be artist. The biggest issue is people generally claim they are SEOs when really they are web designers or web site owners who have tried to optimize a web site.

Below is a list of good SEO skills/traits:

- Knowledge of Search Engines and the Weights They Use to Rank Sites
A good SEO has strong understanding of the history of the search engines and the connections between them. As well they understand how things have changed over the years. With type of knowledge they can see trends in the ways search engines rank sites and with some insight predict how sites will be ranked in the future. Some of the basic knowledge skills required for a good SEO are here. They should know about PR (page rank), ALT tags, meta tags, link structures, anchor text, and dozens more content related factors that affect ranking.

- Ability to Research Keywords
Keyword research is the most important first step when prepare to optimize a web site. This requires understanding the clients' needs as well as search patterns of users. It requires using research tools like Overture (when it is working) and Wordtracker.

- Understanding Web Related Languages
An understanding of HTML, java, javascript, asp, php, and other web languages is essential to minimizing code and producing clean indexable code.

- Understanding of Dreamweaver , Frontpage and Other Tools Which Affect the Code
Many people don't realize the most editors like Dreamweaver and Frontpage can actually modify code making it less indexable or less clean. The keyword density is affected by the amount of code within a page and search engine prefer search sites which are HTML compliant. Sometimes editors can negatively impact the code and it is important for the SEO to understand how to fix this issue.

- Ability to Code CSS
CSS style sheets control the look and feel of a web site. A good understanding of how these are coded allows the SEO to make some necessary SEO components ascetic.

- Creative Writing Skills and Proof Writing/Reading
Probably the most common work a SEO must do is rewrite text which appears on a web site. This is necessary in order to add keywords that would have otherwise not been used. However, the text must appear natural and not keyword stuffed, which often requires the SEO to have excellent writing skills.

- Understanding of Urchin, Webtrends, and Other Web Analytic Tools
Web analytics is an excellent measurement tool for the SEO. It also allows the skilled SEO to find new sources of traffic and detect issues involving conversions or visitor loss. It most be noted that often web analytics requires a specialist to work with the SEO to achieve the maximum effect.

- Resources for Aiding in Link Building
There are only two factors which determine a web sites ranking; these are: web site content and inbound links. Thus half of the SEOs battle for achieving ranking involves building a site's inbound links. It is helpful for the SEO to have lists of directories, blog sites, article submission sites, forums, and affiliate sites.

- Understanding of Conversions, User Experience, and Visitor Behavior

These skills are similar to ones from those mentioned in web analytics. However, a strong SEO will help from the beginning of a web sites development in making the site user friendly and a good traffic to sales converter.

-Understanding of PPC
PPC (paid per click) often is a dreaded thing for the good SEO. A good SEO generally will see it as a waste of money because they can achieve good rankings through organic rankings which are free. However, a SEO will see the usefulness of PPC for conducting keyword affectivity research and providing new sites some needed traffic while organic rankings are building. A good understanding of PPC also means the SEO should understand how to write to encourage link click through, which can help a site's organic listing get more click throughs.

- People and Management Skills
Often the role of the SEO is similar to that of a project manager, thus the ability to work with people is essential. A good SEO must balance the needs of the client, web designer, database developer with the needs of providing strong optimization.

- Honesty
Honesty may be the most important skill that is the most often lacking. If a SEO says he/she can guarantee top search engine organic ranking, then do not work with them. It is impossible for any reputable SEO to make such a claim.

By Allan Pollett, Toronto SEO Guru

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