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One of the concurrent arguments in this industry, aside from whether the discipline is dead or not, revolves around what skills are essential for a “real” SEO. My opinion is that SEO has returned to being a technical expertise. Practitioners need to move beyond core (on-page) SEO into an increasing number of specialist areas, such as mobile SEO, local, multilingual, analytics/tracking and migration.

The skillset for content marketers are quite different in my opinion; relationship bulding, content strategy and successful distribution techniques. While they should be informed from other disciplines, such as SEO, PR or Social Media, they are more marketer than engineer.

On the question of whether technical SEOs need to know coding, I’m more flexible. At a basic level, they need to be able to feel comfortable around HTML, CSS, JavaScript coding, even if they can’t fully understand it all. Preferably though, they would pick up coding. And why not. As Matt Cutts once wrote, “The ability to write code is pretty much a super power in today’s society.”


Code above from The Guardian website and was the inspiration for this post.

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Lead SEO, Group Optimisation at Vodafone. Founder at E3 Business Incubator, a consultancy group helping enterprises and start-ups. Digital strategist and veteran SEO/SEM. Views are my own and not representative of my employer (more).

One Response to Real SEOs Can View Source Code

  1. Great little article. I’m finding that many corporate web programmers don’t actually code much themselves. They do little edits here and there, but building something from scratch? Outsource.

    LOL at the Guardian website code. That is true awesomeness!

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