While there are likely countless articles published in the coming months that are going to declare that search engine optimization (SEO) is now effectively dead, the truth is anything but. Research and Markets report that the global SEO market size is expected to reach $122.11 billion in 2028.
The truth is that SEO is undergoing major changes in recent years, and people are going to need to adjust their SEO skills and strategies to become more effective. There is a list of seven emerging SEO skills that people must master when they hope to continue ranking highly in search engines.
Articulate Your Value
When people can be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI), then the truth remains that they most likely will be. This means that SEO specialists need to be able to say exactly what they are skilled and capable of doing.
PPC often involves a person needing to be able to choose keywords, write or place ads, pay when someone clicks, send clicks to landing pages, and report on results. SEO can also involve serious considerations involving the creation of a new architecture or navigational structure, new page templates to better support SEO, and a blog or resource section to a website.
New SEO skills also involve a need for website content as well as public relations and legal reviews. When an e-commerce website has a general sense of a conversion rate into a sale and the average (net) value of a sale, it can run estimates on how much it might make based upon varying degrees of traffic increases.
Utilizing AI Tools
AI tools are only becoming more common, with Google offering their own set of AI tools and additional tools from edureka including Scikit Learn, TensorFlow, Theano, Caffe, MxNet, Keras, PyTorch, CNTK, Auto ML, OpenNN, and H20: Open Source AI Platform.
An SEO specialist does not need to be overwhelmed by the number of AI tools as they only really need to understand how to use tools to their advantage. The Chrome extension AIPRM for ChatGPT is a good place to start because it allows people to plan a silo structure for a website in any niche with a few clicks and conduct keyword research and optimize Google Business Profiles in seconds.
AI tools can save a person the load of doing specific SEO tasks, leaving a person adequate time to look at the outputs that AI provides and allowing them to tweak, improve, and refine what it sends out. Reducing the time a person spends on tasks that machines can handle gives them more time and mental energy to focus on the areas of SEO that AI can not help with.
Your Executive Presence
Tom Critchlow is something of a must-follow on LinkedIn. Mr. Critchlow offers an SEO MBA course in which he stresses that SEOs must have a stronger executive presence.
The phrase executive presence is defined as “The ability to present ideas to the c-suite, create a compelling business case for multi-million dollar investments and work cross-functionally to gather buy-in from stakeholders.” All people involved in SEO will have to develop an executive presence to better deal with the people above them.
An SEO executive will need to learn to present ideas to an account manager, who will need to get approval from a client. The bottom line is that all SEO specialists must be comfortable presenting their ideas at all times.
There has long been a tremendous emphasis on a website’s design elements, but the truth remains that you should not let your designs interfere with the products or services you are offering. Justin Jackson’s “This is a web page” is a prolific example of how black words on a white background remain some of the easiest text to read and can be compelling enough to ensnare readers.
Multiple studies have shown that people tend to scan content before actually reading it, so the way content is designed can very much have an impact on whether a person will read it. We now live in a time in which AI tools are capable of cranking out articles that are several thousand of words in a matter of seconds, so SEO specialists will have to work harder to ensure their content is deserving of being read.
Another thing that AI is not going to be able to do for most companies is edited their work. This means that most businesses are going to have to pay a person specifically to edit website content.
Whether a company employs its writers or works with freelancers, an editor is going to be enormously important because they can catch any errors writers may make. More importantly, they can also recommend changes to the material when content is too vague or lacks authority.
Editing may involve line editing, in which a person combs through content line by line to see how effectively each line communicates a message, copy editing, in which a person focuses on grammar, spelling, and punctuation as well as formatting, tone, and style while proofreading again involves checking for accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation as well as consistency and adherence to a style guide.
Whereas SEO used to be solely about rankings and traffic, things are changing and people are only becoming pickier. SEO tactics could involve top-of-the-funnel, mid-funnel, buyer’s journey, or product-led issues.
Major marketing challenges in SEO include Google algorithm changes, which often occur multiple times a year and dramatically alter website traffic for scores of websites. AI-powered SEO tools also help marketers find alternate keywords and generate anchor text variations, but they can struggle to produce complex content on their own.
Concerns like content quality and quantity, page authority, and site UX all take time to develop, so marketers often must commit to long-term SEO strategies. Finally, the overabundance of SEO tools can also be a hindrance to some marketers.
SEO Skills & Strategy
Many SEO strategies involve sets of activities that SEO agencies will do, such as meta descriptions, internal linking, and three articles of 3,000 words. Plans are not strategies, meaning that there needs to be more substance to plans.
When an SEO specialist is asked why they are doing something, they should have a clear answer as to what their end goal is. Of course, the tricky part of SEO is that nothing can be guaranteed, so the emphasis will again be on strategy here.
An SEO strategy will be the process of organizing a website’s content by topic to improve the likelihood of appearing in organic search results. Having an SEO strategy will be important because it will help a person stay on track when they are creating content.
For content marketing, an SEO strategy is a critical piece of the puzzle because it is how content comes to be seen in the first place, especially in search engine result pages (SERPs). When content is scattered and unorganized, search engine bots will have a harder time indexing a website, identifying an area of authority, and ranking site pages.
Benchmarking a website’s current statistics will be the best way to start setting goals, tracking results, and analyzing what is working and what is not. As a baseline, make sure to observe your organic traffic, keyword ranking, and backlinks.
It can also be important to analyze a competitor’s SEO strategy because it could help you capitalize on a competitors’ weaknesses, replicate their strengths, and prioritize the most important SEO tasks. You can identify possible competitors by using the Organic Research tab on SEMRush, which will allow you to enter your domain name, go to the competitor’s tab, and then view a list of your top 100 organic competitors, the keywords you share, and their monthly traffic.
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