How to Manage SEO
Whether you launch a search engine optimization program in-house or outsource the program, you should keep the following training opportunities and skill sets in mind:
? Advanced SEO techniques, including page titles, META descriptions, META keyword sets, internal page cross-linking, search engine submissions, robots.txt files and domain name management;
? Comprehends keyword weighting, proximity, density and related factors;
? Search term ranking analysis;
? Link popularity building research, management and strategy;
? Online forum and industry newsletter monitoring;
? National SEO conferences;
? HTML and advanced programming languages;
? Web site content writing;
? Essential Web site usability practices;
? Keyword research, including a firm understanding of language and the way people search;
? Web analytics, including understanding common and complex metrics associated with visitors, unique visitors, page views, online sales, profitability and more;
? Ability to see the big picture and not go so overboard with SEO practices that the web site gets banned from major search engines;
? Appreciation for ethical standards (i.e. should know about cloaking, keyword stuffing and the differences and nuances associated with "black hat" and "white hat");
? Marketing and branding experience;
? Project management, including ability to effectively communicate needs and foster cooperation from appropriate stakeholders;
? Familiarity with pay per click (PPC) programs and how their performance directly relates to natural SEO results;
? Management of paid inclusion (72-hour rapid indexing programs);
? How to adjust to the changing algorithms of search engines.
The search engine optimization field is complex and ever-changing. To keep pace, you should have plenty of skills on hand. Overall, the SEO program process should be simple: set goals, choose the best keywords, optimize pages, submit to search engines and refine efforts in light of rankings and web analytics.
Michael Murray is vice president of Fathom SEO, a Cleveland, Ohio-based SEO firm. He authored the "U.S. Manufacturers Resist Natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Online Sales Leads" study and a white paper, "Search Engine Marketing: Get in the Game." firstname.lastname@example.org
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