What’s in Your SEO Arsenal? 6 Skills All SEOs Need to Have


There’s no university degree for SEO.

Yet, you’re expected to know a lot about many different things. This is why it’s so tough to define what a great SEO is.

In most professional situations, knowing SEO alone is no longer enough. You also need to have your fair share of marketing, business, and PR skills.

While some of these skills are luxuries, I’ve identified six things that all good SEOs need to possess.

Great ones will possess all of them and more. SEO is an interesting field because it can use skills from all sorts of other fields.

So, if you’re passionate about something that doesn’t seem immediately relevant to SEO (discussed in this article), don’t just throw it away. You never know when it will come in handy. 

1. Great SEOs know how to get consistent results

As an SEO you know you can’t guarantee that a specific keyword will rank #1—certainly not 100% of the time.

For some reason, statements like that have led people to think that SEO is blind luck. 

This line of thinking is completely false.

Yes, there is some variance in SEO. Some content will rank better than expected. Some will rank worse.

But in the long run, the SEOs who know what they’re doing will always succeed when it comes to the only thing that matters—targeted search engine traffic.

Put an experienced SEO up against a total beginner, and I can predict with great certainty which one will have more organic search traffic in six months.

Quality SEOs don’t rely on luck.

How SEOs get consistent results

When SEOs begin working on a site, whether it’s their own or client’s, they don’t just randomly build links to it or target the first keyword they think of.

Instead, they use their own proven system.


A system is composed of processes for doing different tasks. The more defined they are, the more consistent the results are.

SEOs need to have proven systems for all aspects of SEO. That’s the only way to ensure that all important factors are considered and that the best SEO strategy is chosen for a particular site.

In addition, systems are even more important for freelance SEOs. If you have a defined strategy, it’s much easier to explain to a client what you plan to do.

You can create processes for many things, but let’s go over the essential ones for most SEO.

Key process #1: Onboarding a client

No two clients are exactly the same, but you should have a defined overall process for starting your work with a new client.

If you’re working on your own site, pretend that you are your own client.

The main thing you need to do here is find a way to set client expectations.


Studies have shown that people are terrible at predicting their own success. We habitually overestimate our own assets and abilities.

Your first job is to educate your client and tell them what to expect from your work.

If they understand that it could take months to start seeing results, they won’t get frustrated and take it out on you when the leads don’t start pouring in right away.

You also need to let the client know your general strategy and work process.

Too many SEOs ignore customer service altogether and only communicate with their clients once every month or two.

Depending on the client, this can be terrible. They just paid you a decent sum of money, and they want to know what it’s going to produce. So, tell them.

After the first few conversations, you want your client to feel confident that you will do the work you promised and keep them apprised of the results at certain time periods.

If you are your own client, the same applies to you. Make your initial predictions, and then cut them in half to keep them realistic. This will help you avoid disappointment and frustration in the future.

Additionally, just because you are working on your own site doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a defined SEO work plan. You need one to keep yourself accountable and make sure that every part of SEO is covered.

Key process #2: Asset evaluation

The first thing you should do with any new site is to evaluate what you’re dealing with.

In most cases, you should compile a complete report of all the site’s content, backlinks, search traffic, and rankings before you begin your work.

This is important for two reasons:

  1. It makes comparisons easy – Everyone has unreliable memories. You won’t want to claim that your work doubled your client’s traffic only to hear them say, “I don’t think so. It was always that good.”
  2. It will help form your strategy – You should design an SEO strategy for each individual site. Depending on the existing assets, you may have the option of using different techniques in your strategy.

You might choose to complete your asset evaluation process before fully onboarding a client. That way you could show them some of your research and give them some idea of why you’re planning to do certain things.

Key process #3: Keyword research and evaluation

While keywords may be dying a slow death, they’re still useful and relevant.

There are tons of different ways to conduct keyword research. It’s important that you break down your processes as much as possible.

Pretend that you will one day have to hand off this task to a junior intern or some other inexperienced hire. Make it as simple as possible so that you get consistent results.

A very basic keyword research process might look like this:

1. Extract keywords from competitors:

  1. Make a list of 10 top competitors
  2. Put each domain into Google’s Keyword Planner
  3. Download and compile all results into a spreadsheet

2. Get keyword suggestions from tools:

  1. Generate a list of 10 high volume (>2,000 searches per month) searches from the Keyword Planner
  2. Enter these keywords into (insert tool here) (e.g., Term Explorer)
  3. Download and record results

3. Check keyword competition:

  1. Compile all keywords at this stage
  2. Filter out any with fewer than 50 monthly searches
  3. Run keywords through (insert competition analyzer here)
  4. Remove high competition keywords
  5. Manually check remaining keywords and evaluate competition

That’s just a very basic hypothetical example, but it gives you an idea of what these processes should look like. Essentially, they’re detailed checklists with instructions.

Key process #4: Link building tactics 

You will need processes for all the main areas of SEO.

This includes on-page SEO, technical SEO, and off-page SEO (link building).


One of the easiest ways to evaluate SEO’s experience is to ask them how many tactics they have tested.

Not all SEO tactics are created equal. Some are better than others.

Some improve rankings more than others, and some apply to more industries than others.

However, no SEO tactic is perfect.

Many beginner SEOs will find one SEO tactic that works for their own site in a particular niche and immediately think that they are an expert in SEO.

However, not all tactics work in all industries. In addition, as tactics become more popular, they lose effectiveness. Infographics as a link building technique is about half as effective as it used to be a few years ago.

Think of tactics as tools.

A master carpenter doesn’t use the blueprints for a chair to build a table. He has a variety of blueprints for different situations.

A great SEO is always testing different SEO tactics to find out which ones are effective and when to use them for best results (niche and situation).

Key process #5: Reporting procedures

A final process that all SEOs should create, in one form or another, is a process for reporting results. Again, this is still important even if you’re working on your own site.

The first thing that a report does is it sums up your work in a concise, easy-to-understand format.

If you’re working for a client, it’s important for them to know that they can expect a report every so often (usually once or twice a month).

Don’t change the format and layout often. You want them to know what to expect in your report.


That’s the main reason for creating a report, but it has a useful secondary function.

By its nature, a report will require you to quantify your results:

  • what work was done
  • how many links were obtained
  • how much search traffic grew
  • user metrics
  • and so on…

Although you shouldn’t be testing tactics for the first time when working on a client’s site, that doesn’t mean you can’t refine your techniques.

Results are your opportunity to determine your return on investment (ROI) and to look for ways to improve the effectiveness of your techniques.

2. At the top level, tools matter

Most SEOs approach tools all wrong.

Most beginner SEOs look for tools that will do all the work for them. (Hint: that’s never going to happen.)

Tools can make your life easier, but their effectiveness depends on who’s using them.

And as a beginner, you don’t know enough for tools to be useful.

However, as you get more experienced, you will recognize situations where tools can save you time and money. And the better you get, the more your time is worth, and the more important tools become.

Eventually, you may build your own custom tools because none of the public tools are quite good enough.

But let’s slow down for a second. You don’t need to be an expert for tools to be useful as long as you have some experience with SEO and you have a strategy. Then, you can find tools that can help you accomplish that strategy.

Since SEOs need to do many different things, you will eventually compile an arsenal of different tools.

It will likely include tools for:

  • comprehensive keyword research and competition analysis
  • influencer outreach
  • social media
  • sales (possibly)
  • reporting to client
  • email marketing

Typically, modern SEOs do more than just straight SEO. Most SEO firms have rebranded themselves as marketing firms with an emphasis on SEO.

In this section, I’ll go over a few tools in each area that are good for beginner to intermediate SEOs.

Keyword research and competition analysis tools

These tools will help you automate finding keywords and evaluating their competition.

I’ve already mentioned Term Explorer, but there are many other great options such as SEMrush and Moz’s keyword difficulty tool.


Outreach tools

Modern SEO involves a lot of relationship building. Reaching out to site owners and contributors is a necessary part of building relationships and eventually getting links.

Outreach tools such as BuzzStream will help you find email contacts more efficiently, saving you several hours per month.

In addition, you can use free Gmail plugins, such as Streak and ProsperWorks, built specifically for outreach.


Social media marketing tools

Most marketing plans (which SEOs may be involved in) now include social media marketing.

There are many social media marketing tools that will shave hours off your work per week.

Tools such as Buffer and Edgar can let you schedule posts in advance and in bulk as well as provide analytics.


SEO reporting tools

I’ve already mentioned the importance of having a process for reporting SEO results.

The good news is that you can generate SEO reports, or parts of them, using SEO reporting tools such as Raven Tools and Moz Analytics.


Email marketing tools

Another area of marketing that has crept into the SEO domain is email marketing.

It is by far the best way to convert your search traffic into eventual customers. You will need some sort of basic tool such as Aweber, MailChimp, or Infusionsoft.


3. Sandboxes are where magic begins

Architects that design giant skyscrapers don’t begin with skyscrapers.

They practice their craft on smaller, simpler buildings first.

And way before that, they build castles in sandboxes as children.

As an SEO, you don’t just start working on a site that gets hundreds of thousands of visitors per month right away. You start with smaller sites and work your way up.

In most cases, these are your own sites—your own “sandboxes” to play in.

Since we lack modeling software that architects have, the only way to see what does and doesn’t work in SEO is to test.

All good SEOs routinely test what is and isn’t working, or they have someone that does it for them (an individual or a private community).

Once you get a good grip on basic SEO (i.e., which factors really matter), you can start testing individual techniques.

And when you find techniques that work, you can keep tweaking and testing them to make them even better. Then, you’ll have something to use that no one else does.

If you’re brand new to testing, here’s a basic overview of what you need to do…

Step #1 – Pick a factor to test: All tests begin with a hypothesis. You should be able to say:

I think, if I do X, it will result in Y.

For example, you may want to determine if Google+ shares have an effect on rankings for new sites.

Your hypothesis is:

I think more Google+ shares will increase my site’s rankings.

Step #2 – Determine a significant sample size: In a controlled test, like split-testing an offer to visitors, you can easily calculate what sample size you will need (how many visitors will need to visit each version).

If your sample isn’t big enough, from a statistical standpoint, you can’t be confident that the conclusions you are drawing are correct.

However, search engine results operate in a very different environment.

In theory, if more shares improve rankings, it should work every single time. There might be some variance in how fast Google picks them up, but for the most part, rankings should increase.

So, while you definitely need a sample size of more than one page or one site, and more is better, most of the time you only need two to four sites to get a reasonable result.

The more important the factor is, the bigger the sample size should be.

Step #3 – Break your sample size into a control group and a test group: The difficult aspect to account for in your testing is the fact that there are many different ranking factors.


You could test a factor on two different sites and get totally different results because the sites have different SEO metrics.

The more sites you add to your test, the less likely this will matter.

That being said, try to run the test on sites that are as similar as possible (same domain authorities, same internal links to test page, etc.).

You’ll need to have a control group (no Google+ shares) and a test group (with Google+ shares).

In this case, you’ll create a new page targeting a keyword (lower competition will make the results clearer later on) on all sites in the experiment.

In phase 1, you’ll just have to wait. See where the rankings initially pop up and settle after a few weeks.

Once they have, you’d get your Google+ shares to your test group pages (however you planned to do that).

Step #4 – Analyze the results and draw conclusions: After giving the test enough time to run, which can be anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on what you’re testing, you can look at the results.

If you see that results in both groups slowly crept up a bit or stayed the same, you can conclude that the shares had no significant effect on the rankings.

However, if you see that most of your test pages increased their rankings much more than those in the control group, you could conclude that the shares you got did in fact improve the rankings.

As you start testing, you’ll understand why my example was a bit simplistic. But once you get the basics, you can learn how to set up better tests.

4. Learn, or get left behind

If you weren’t around in the field of SEO 10 years ago, you missed out on some things.

Those were the times when keyword stuffing, along with basic blog comment links and forum links, could make sites rank for competitive terms.

If you used any of those tactics now, you’d be penalized in a heartbeat.

Like most fields, SEO is always evolving.

Which means that SEOs should also always be improving their knowledge and skillset.

But they don’t always. You occasionally come across an SEO who is still talking about Page Rank and building forum links as if it’s some kind of a secret.

SEO is a fast moving industry, and you can easily fall behind if you’re not careful.

Testing, like I outlined above, will go a long way to keep you ahead of the curve. In addition, you can learn about how the field is advancing through other sources.

I’ll outline the main areas that you should stay updated on.

Area #1 – SEO news

SEO changes in a few different ways. One of the driving forces of the SEO evolution is search engines. As they get better at providing results to searchers, it gets more difficult to manipulate those results.

Any major search engine change is reported on the main SEO news sites.


If you’re not up to date, you might get caught off guard by something like the mobile-friendly update.

If your client calls you panicking about something, you need to know why it happened and how to fix it beforehand.

Even if your current clients aren’t affected, a change to the search engine results could impact future clients.

The main sites that you should follow (at least one or two of them) are:

Area #2 – SEO tactics

Link building has undergone one of the biggest transformations in SEO. Instead of using automated tools to create thousands of low-quality backlinks for you, you have to earn your backlinks these days.

That being said, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to earn links. Here is a list of just some of them.


As I mentioned before, new tactics are always the most effective. As more and more people start using them, they become less effective.

For example, when infographics were new, everyone was blown away by them (“They’re so pretty!”). But now, everyone who owns a site receives several infographics with requests for links every week. The novelty has worn off.

New tactics, or improvements to old ones, are typically created in private. Then, they make their way through forums and blogs.

So, while you should keep testing things on your own, your time and resources are limited. That’s why you should follow blogs that focus on SEO tactics. Here are a few to get started:

Area #3 – Marketing education

I told you earlier that most SEO agencies have turned towards digital marketing, which is actually a pretty exciting change in my opinion.

Instead of just working off-site, modern SEOs get to be involved with marketing strategies and other parts of the business.

Digital marketing is a big topic, which can be split into two main types of marketing:

  • Inbound marketing – You create content that will attract links and visitors.
  • Outbound marketing – You use advertising to get people to your site.

And within those two types of marketing, there are many other types of marketing.

There are too many good marketing blogs for me to list here. But here are a few from different areas to get you started:

5. Don’t ignore the human element of SEO

Depending on how old you are, you might already know the importance of networking.

This is most evident in colleges and universities.

Some students don’t get high grades but still end up with great jobs when they graduate because they know the right people, and those people like them.

Alternatively, some students ace every course but have terrible people skills and end up with mediocre jobs upon graduation.

Having all the SEO knowledge and knowing SEO tactics isn’t enough. You also need to have a minimum degree of “people skills.”

It comes up all the time in SEO:

  • when you’re asking influencers and site owners for links
  • when you’re interacting with your readers
  • when you’re training interns, freelancers, or support staff on what you need done

I’m not saying that you need to be extremely outgoing and likeable to be a successful SEO, but you can’t be completely unlikeable either.

If speaking isn’t your strong suit, that’s not a problem. Most SEO work is done online, in text.

For example, if you’re training someone to write guest posts for you or a client, you need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly in a guide.

A great example of that is Boost Blog Traffic’s guest posting guidelines:


They spell out what they’re looking for, and they tell you how you can make it work for both you and them.

There are a variety of ways to learn communication and social skills, but here are three books that are must reads for people in just about any field.

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book, written by Dale Carnegie, should be mandatory reading in all schools. He breaks down how to connect with people and often does it in the context of sales, which is particularly useful in many aspects of SEO.
  2. Influence – the Psychology of Persuasion. This legendary book is all about persuasion. It addresses the question: how do you get people to do what you want them to do? There are obvious implications for SEO. When you’re asking for a link, guest posting opportunity, or any other favor, you want to be as persuasive as possible. In addition, if you’re helping with sales, knowing how to influence buyers is necessary. While there are some quick “hacks” in the book, it’s not really about tricking people. It’s about framing your request in such a way that it would make sense for someone to want to help you.
  3. The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism: Almost all leaders are charismatic. While most think that charisma is something people are born with, this book proves that it is a learned trait.

Being charismatic will help you acquire clients and will help you feel more comfortable in a variety of social settings.

Finally, in case you’re not a fan of reading books, here’s a great post by Ramit Sethi on how to make small talk and advanced social skills. He breaks down a video interview to show you how you can learn to be more skilled in social situations.

6. Code isn’t just for nerds

This last skill—coding—is arguably the most intimidating.

SEOs aren’t web developers, nor do they need to be. However, I strongly believe that all SEOs should learn basic HTML, CSS, PHP, and Javascript.

HTML and CSS: By far the simplest place to start, if you haven’t already, is HTML and CSS.

HTML contains all the structure of every web page, while CSS applies styling (formatting) to the page to make it look nice.

As a modern SEO, you will inevitably need to edit webpages on a regular basis, and HTML and CSS is how you do that.

You could, of course, hire someone to do it for you, but you’ll waste a ton of time waiting around for them to do it if it’s something very simple that you could do yourself.

Start learning HTML and CSS with these resources:

Javascript: Web pages often have scripts. Scripts allow you to build in special functions and activate background code.

Javascript is the most common front-end (meaning website visitors could see it) language used for programming scripts.

You likely won’t have to use it often, but being able to recognize its basic syntax and functions is useful. Here are two resources that will cover just about everything you need to know about Javascript as an SEO:

PHP: The final piece of the puzzle is PHP. This is a back-end programming language widely used on the web, even if it might not be the best language.

In particular, you might recognize PHP because it forms the back-end of WordPress. It’s the language used to automatically add new posts to your blog pages, for example.

When you’re looking to modify a theme or fix an issue with a plugin, knowing some PHP will come in handy. Instead of waiting around for a developer, you can make the necessary simple fixes.

Here are two good resources for learning PHP:

Keep in mind that you don’t need to be an expert with these four types of code—I’m not.

What is important is that you understand where and how each of them is used on a basic level. It only takes a few days (or a few weeks/month if you do it only in your spare time) to get to this level.

Here is one more resource that has tutorials on all four of these: HTML.net.



Being an SEO doesn’t just mean knowing that backlinks are important.

As you can see, a good SEO needs to know all sorts of things, including technical SEO, marketing, and coding.

Determine how good of an SEO you want to be, and then work to build the skills to match.

If you want to be a great SEO, a highly-paid one and in high demand, you need to be more knowledgeable and up-to-date than almost all other SEOs.

It’s not easy, but it’s possible if you’re passionate enough.

I’ve included a lot of beginner resources in this article, but don’t stop there. Keep stretching yourself to expand your skillset.

Finally, don’t try to learn everything at once. Work on your skills one at a time so you can see your progress and stay motivated.

I’m really curious to see which skills most SEOs need to work on the most. Please, leave me a comment below, and let me know which part of your SEO arsenal you will be working on first.


  1. Lewis - TweetPilot :

    I think one of the key abilities any SEO needs to have is PATIENCE. Yes, you might be able to hit #1 on a few long tail KWs you’re targeting in a matter of months but when it comes to ranking for the KWs that matter you might have to work hard for close to a year until you get anywhere near that top spot.

    If you’re after instant traffic then SEO is not going to be your best bet as you’ll rush it and more than likely get your site penalised as you attempt to cut corner.

    (No university degree YET… It won’t be long though especially with some of the ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses out there at the moment)

    • Lewis, great points — people tend to rush things to get results. The key is to slow down and focus on the minor details.

      Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

      • Yes you are absolutely right guys, “rushing things” out is what caused me a lot of my failures in my past experience. I thought that the faster I work on one single site, the faster that I will achieve success which is not. Lucky are those who are beginners who read this article because they will be able to avoid that kind of mistake.

  2. Alongside your SEO arsenal kit you’ll need proper tools too:

    Here’s a Template(which will be available as WordPress theme really soon) that might help you in your online venture:

  3. I find it so much more overwhelming to introduce SEO tactics and evaluation for an existing site than for a brand new one. But I wonder if this is just a limiting belief I have. Do you think it’s generally more difficult to apply SEO principles to a site that’s been around for a while, and never done it? Is it easier to start fresh? Curious. I’m starting a new site in the storage auction/storage wars arena and applying a lot of your advice. But I also have a 5-year-old site in another niche and the task of introducing organized SEO processes and metrics seems really daunting.

    • JJ, while there may be more leg work required to optimize an existing site it doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

      Starting fresh has it’s advantages but then again it’s hard to a/b test before and after.

  4. SEO should now be taught at the Universities. There are indeed a lot of things needed to learn about SEO which include coding as well. If it does, this will probably be a 1 to 2 year course.

    • Elmo, I agree — luckily there are a lot of free resources online.

      • With comprehensive articles like this one, anyone with interest can teach themselves instead of spending on tuition. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise.

        • I do agree but the majority of individuals will only be able to learn if they will be “spoon fed” which can be acquired if taught by the Universities.

  5. Neil, you spoke my language for once. 🙂

    I am focusing on the human SEO, social media and email outreach to get Google’s updates to like me and not hurt my efforts.

    But, sometimes I run out of motivation, especially when things don’t work. Sometimes, i just feel like not doing anything. Sometimes, i just feel like it’s not worth it.

    I have the resources and the passion, but the magic isn’t there (yet?).

    What’s your advice.

    Thanks a ton.

    Best, Magz

    • Magz, just keep at it — patience is key.

      You’ll realize the results will come when you least expect.

    • Hi Magz,

      Go back and watch the movie again: “Mr. Holland’s Opus” based on a true story.

      Or if you want something shorter, consider the principles behind “The extra degree” http://play.simpletruths.com/movie/212-the-extra-degree/

      Or you can think about the sadness people have when they plant apple trees. It takes 3 to 4 years of waiting. 🙂

      Another great post Neil.

  6. Super post..these steps will surely increase my website traffic..thanks Neil patel

    • llayaraja, glad I could help!

      • I am following you Neil.your books are awesome..I read all of your books..now I am good in seo and affiliate marketing.. I successfully got 1200$ from Google AdSense.. Thanks a lot..I am proud to be your student.and also proud to be an Indian….

  7. Neil,

    Thanks for making the point about coding. As a web developer, so much of my SEO development involves around coding. You hit the nail on the head, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, CSS is vitally integral to any SEO strategy.


  8. Great list but absolutely mind-boggling when you think of all the things you need to do to (hopefully) rank a site.
    At least we now know we can break everything down into smaller tasks.
    Thanks Neil

  9. “Code isn’t just for nerds”… Its almost unbelievable how you get it right every single time with your posts. Another amazing read. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Belajar Blogging :

    you are right neil. I test keyword for my new sites that on blogspot and i get on first page of google serp. That because i analyzes the keyword and pretend myself as a customer. The web just a month old.
    My question is how can a blogspot website can compete with big websites on a particular keyword? Especially keywords that had big volume of search and competition. Do you ever use blogspot to check your keyword effectiveness on search engine?

    • Belajar, it doesn’t matter what your CMS is — rankings are rankings and content is content at the end of the day.

  11. Calling myself as a SEO Specialist, I had really not noticed these key steps. Thank you Neil for this informative post that will make me more clear and easier to perform my SEO jobs.

    • balu@top best listed :

      SEO is the subject that one always keep on learning the new techniques . There is no end for SEO learning and methods . But , you are tips are the best guide to learn new techniques of SEO and back link process.

      • Glad you guys found the post helpful. At the end of the day I am constantly learning as well — there is never an end to strategizing and finding new techniques.

  12. Hey Neil –

    Good stuff here. From my agency days, the one thing I’d add to this is that agencies should also be concerned about how their clients are going to get things done. Many companies say they want growth, but balk when you tell them that they are going to have to put real resources (like content and engineering) towards it. I always counsel the consultants and agencies I have on HireGun to make sure that this is part of their sales pitch and client vetting process (you all have one of these, right?) because if they are unable to execute and you don’t offer web dev or content creation yourself, you’ll never have a successful consulting relationship with them.


    • John, great points. The best results are achieved when you set out clear expectations from the beginning — it’s a two way street.

  13. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for the sharing!

    I have one question might be a stupid one about the Keyword: If a keyword, for example “trimmer line”, the searching quantity is 1600 times per month, high competition; And the other keyword ” string trimmer line”, only 320 times per month, but middle competition; Which one should I choose?

    Thanks in advance.


    • Josh, try to rank for both 😉

      It’s all about focusing on all the possible angles to get the best results. Look for other long tail words as well.

  14. Hey Neil,

    You said about human factor, I’d go further and and call another skill which is customer support and satisfaction management.

    Sometimes you need to explain to your client if something is going not as expected and still keep your client satisfied (often it means to educate the client).

  15. Hi,

    Another truly great article. The best part of the article is the fact that you have created a logical flow throughout.

    In my work on my website www.casinobonusbob.co.uk (please feel free to provide any feedback) is the importance of good quality backlinks and outreach. I have studied successful sites across niches and this strikes me as vital – and is noted in the past by both yourself and Brian Dean at Backlinko.

    Thanks again for sharing such a great piece of work!

  16. Good Guys Gardening :

    Actually i subscribed to your post to get seo updates you write regularly. Actually it is helping me a lot. Keep writing.

    Important post!!

  17. Hi Neil,

    I actually wrote a post on something really similar this week. Thought you and the readers might like it.

    What Makes a Good SEO Consultant, 38 Questions and 12 Things to Look For

  18. SEO is really having a wide range of components these days .

    Even your blog performance on social media counts in SEO rankings now-a-days !!

  19. Alex Chaidaroglou :

    Great article Neil, thanks for sharing both the tactical and the strategical point of view!

  20. Actually Stout is working with TR that teaches SEO/Digital Marketing. Which includes some of my coworkers teaching the courses.


  21. Wow really great tools and suggestions. I wanted to ask you this : What exact techniques are you using for your own sites? Thanks, Neil!

  22. I have started my SEO field as professional and i was expecting to find this kind of information in sequence. I really appreciate you work and learning too much from your blog. Kindly keep update me every time with new suggestions and tactics.

    Thanks Neil Patel.

  23. Useful post as always Neil. It really helps somebody like me who doesn’t know too much about the field.

  24. Hey Neil,

    Great Breakdown mate, I really liked the part where you said “Pretend that you will one day have to hand off this task to a junior intern or some other inexperienced hire. Make it as simple as possible so that you get consistent results.” This is something I really need to get better at, I have bullet points on broad things to do, but need to drill down to more step by step points and maybe even explanation’s.

    well I better get started lol


  25. Thanks for this wonderful post all the posts are great but I like the tracking point which most newbie bloggers ignore and they see the traffic stats just from their blogger or wordpress dashboard and never take time to look at google analytics but this is big mistake and they must track their records daily

  26. Great article as always, Neil.

  27. Hi Neal. This is Daniel from Brazil. Great stuff as usual but I must say that a 5-thousand-word post tends to make readers feel a bit tedious. So you have this dilema. Should I either write something big in order to outrank or write consicely in order to make users keep coming back? I like your ideas but I am starting to loose that kind of feeling “nice a new post from Neal” and shifting into “it’s helpful but geez, too big to read”. Just a heads up. Thank you.

    • Muhammad Jibrin :

      It hasn’t been long since I started reading Neil Patel’s blog post but even though I agree that they contain a lot of information, it is still very long to read. I am assuming that since I am having this feeling, other people will be having it too, as explained by daniel above.

      I will like to know what you think about it.

    • Daniel, sorry — I would suggest just taking your time to read the posts at your own pace. There is no need to rush 😉

  28. Neil,

    Thanks for this helpful post. I am less familiar with SEO tactic tests and their measurement than other marketing tests. Can you refer me to any solid resources on that topic? It seems less studied but critical.


    • Kelly, This article may help: https://www.quicksprout.com/2015/07/20/quantify-your-results-the-14-most-important-seo-metrics/

  29. I have one question. I am new in SEO field. How to identify the keywords? In the first time, whether we have to choose the top keyword or we can choose the easier keyword.?

  30. Neil,
    The same SEO strategy probably does not work for two different niches.It’s required for new experiments. Think that, one of your new clients give you a project that is totally different then you work ever. Then you should require for Experiments, What would your strategy for new project experiment either you experiment on the clients project but here is a risk of negative effects of experiments or you create your own project under same niche and first you experiments on it for few months then work on clients project, or work together.

    What would be the best

  31. Siva Thirulojan :

    Great post, you always comes up with different ideas and insights on latest worthwhile SEO trends. I am loving it. 🙂

  32. Great pitch Neil, you have covered all things. I think to be a good SEO need patience and dedication. Also have to update their knowledge regularly like PC antivirus. Everyday antiviruses update their virus definition and SEO professional should update their knowledge regularly.

  33. Theodore Nwangene :

    Great post Neil,
    Search engine optimization is one special skill that we should master very well because its one of the most sought out skills out there.

    And like you mentioned, you have to be really good and upto date with it if you really want to be the master.

    All the elements you mentioned here are important to learn starting from number one down to the last. Learning the human element should not be ignored at all.

    Thanks for sharing.

  34. SEO is a vast field. We should read and learn from great resources like this blog and others. Do only quality SEO.

  35. Just awesome post again !!
    Want to know more about on-site coding and implementation.
    Any post out there ?

  36. Hugely useful post as always Neil, and you are my main source of technical information for my new site.

    Just one thing, are you missing a link under #3 point 3.3 (insert competition analyser here)?

    It’s probably my misreading as your posts are so ridiculously thorough, but wanted to mention just in case!


  37. Nils van der Knaap :

    Very nice blogpost. I recognise a lot 🙂 I want to improve my reporting and coding skills. And the book about social skills is on my ‘to-read’ list now.

  38. Enlightening post as always. I got stuck on “keyword research” but you make it sound so simple. Cheers 🙂

  39. This is mostly great advise, although I would never recommend reporting the number of links to a client as a KPI. This sends out the wrong expectations and understanding around quality over quantity (so 2010 lol ).

  40. Neil, Great post with tons of information. These 6 skills will make a great SEO Professional. Some SEO people give false statements to clients your site keyword’s will get ranked in search engines within 2 months. A real SEO can’t give any guarantee like this. As you said, SEO doesn’t rely on luck. It’s all about hard work. I follow the same SEO process for new sites as mentioned in this post.

    I am really impressed with the process of “Keyword research and evaluation”. I like the tools like Keyword research, Gmail plugins, social media, SEO reporting and email marketing tools. I regularly follow a few blogs, including QuickSprout, Neil Patel Blog, SEJ, SEL, SEW and MOZ. Thank you for the resources, i.e. Area #2 and #3.

    Again, great job as always with providing valuable content that will help us all to enhance the SEO skills.

  41. Another great post, Neil! This is very informative and brightens my mind. Great SEOs always know what they want to achieve, how to do and go ahead!

  42. Mahbub Osmane Piyal :

    I read almost all the post of you. Just keep 2 days in a week to learn internet marketing. Hoping to be a boss marketer as like you, Thanks NP

  43. thanks interesting post

  44. I have been following you for last several months and have been working on SEO as I have been studying how to do it online. We recently switched from 3dcart to Big Commerce and prior to our switch we were getting about 5-10k views a month and after the switch our traffic dropped to under 1k. We migrated all our current SEO and our old urls.

    I cannot figure out why this is happening. I have been working on new SEO stradagies since we migrated. The one thing I can think of is our category structure totally changed so that is some of it and the other part is Google has to completely reindex our site. Our site was 100% indexed prior to moving to Big Commerce.

    Would you have any suggestions or tips we could look into or try?

    Thanks Trent


    • It is usually do to a few things…

      1. Not 301 redirecting all old URLs to new URLs.
      2. Adjust the page code… title tags, meta descriptions, etc.
      3. New URLs aren’t clean… you can’t have extraneous characters.

  45. great one. Thanks for sharing. I have a concern though about link building
    Do you build links to an article right after publishing it or do we need to wait for sometime after the article had been publishing before building links to it? is there any difference to these?

    Thanks Neil

  46. Hi Neil,

    Another great posts. Some skills are new for me. I think you forgot 1 thing, Design . I think SEO’s should know about some basic concepts of photoshop and Image editing softwares. This will really help them to create images for Social media.


  47. Patricia Taylor | Business Loan Officer :

    Wonderful post! This is a wealth of online business marketing knowledge.

  48. Hey Neil,
    One word can describe your post and that is “Excellent”.Personally I believe that Keyword Research and Competition analysis most important to start any SEO campaign.All the skills you have discussed are really important.I will surely implement them all for my blog.

  49. Hey Neil,

    Just wanted to say amazing post! You’re killing it. I have to say, there are a few things that I didn’t know, and I’m absolutely going to add it to my toolbox (like the Gmail Plugins and Research tools, etc).

    It’s one thing to know SEO, and a completely different thing to understand it and knowing how to implement it correctly. I’d say that this post may be the single most important post on SEO to date. Seriously; you covered all the bases. I wish that I had this post when I first started out!

    Thanks again for a huge update, and I can’t wait to read the next one. Cheers!

  50. One question sir? Link building through Commentluv, Is it good or bad? They give do follow link right? Google will count it as spam or as good score? Thanks for the Great suggestions. 🙂

  51. A well written article… I learnt a lot of knew things here. Thanks for sharing this knowledge.

  52. I still have a long way to go, thanks for sharing this sir

  53. Hi Neil,

    Great post as always. The article exactly tells what skills the SEO guys need in them to succeed. Of course, as you said we have to keep patience and be passionate in what we are doing. All the information shared above is really very helpful,

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Cheers!

  54. That a lovely post.Thanks for sharing.Now i know SEOs always know what they want to achieve, how to do and go ahead.But it’s not so easy.Thanks again for this great topic. :):):)

  55. too good guide Neil thanks a lot from my side 🙂

  56. Thanks for the informative guide, it’s really helpful Neil. Keep doing the great work.

  57. thanks a lot Neil for this ultimate guide, this is very helpful for me- a beginner 😉 keep doing the great (Y)

  58. Very Usefull info.. i m learning more new things from quicksprout

  59. Neil – thank you again -that’s all I have to say.

    Your blog is an inspiration for guys like me who are trying to (learn and) succeed in the world of SEO.

  60. Hey,

    Every time I read one of your giant guides I feel like like I’m miles away from being successful!
    There’s so much information here I need to start using all of them and learn them by heart so I don’t have to come back every two seconds to see what points I missed 🙂
    Thanks once again for this great guide!


  61. Very good explanation! It has a lot of work to do but I believe with great results.

  62. Seo looks harder for me (x but I hope i will learn it 🙂

  63. Pushpendra singh :

    Great post Neil…Seo is not about getting backlinks and blah blah ..you have to be somwhat technical and should also have a quite understanding about the need of people in the field you are working.

    Thanks for reminding me some basic points…

    • Pushpendra, great points — you really have to target your demographic to get the best results.

      Having a strong understanding of what works for the people in your niche is also a must.

  64. How can a rank a single page site for multiple keywords?

    Any post recommendation Neil?

    • Sam, this should help: https://www.quicksprout.com/university/how-to-optimize-a-page-for-multiple-keywords/

      Let me know if you need anything else.

  65. Transport George :

    As an SEO specialist it is very important that you know how to communicate well with your client.

  66. You are so smart it`s scary ! :)) im gelous ,obsessed with your blog, well done

    • is there a search way to read posts on a specific topic? im trying to leave some social media skills and it`s a bit difficult to scroll through

      • I am going to try to segment better by topic. Great suggestion – I have heard a lot of people ask for that functionality.

    • Andra, I just stick with problems longer so I can help others solve them 😉

  67. You are spot on. Link building in my opinion is probably the most effective skill still whether it is ranking a client’s website or your own. Of course SEO changes everyday and SEOs need to evolve along with the changes. We used to say that content is king but today you see Google giving first place rankings to websites with very poor content simply because of their perceived authority.

  68. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for your thorough and informative posts – I’ve been following for a while.

    I’ve got a question for you regarding SEO best practices and Tags:

    You don’t seem to use tags in your posts (Copyblogger doesn’t either), you jump from H1 to H3…

    … yet I’ve watched tutorials on your site explain the importance of using the hierarchy (Brian Dean video).

    Can you share some insight on this?

    Are the absence of tags a non-factor?

    Thanks for your time =)

    • Ah, the comment didn’t read between my tag brackets.

      The question is about H2 tags.

      Sorry for the confusion.

      • Ideally you should go in order. It isn’t a huge factor in rankings, especially when your site has authority like mine… but sometimes you find yourself breaking the rules due to design.

        For example, H2s look ugly on this blog, which is why you don’t see my using them. While on NeilPatel.com the designer made them the right size.

        • Thanks for clearing that up Neil, much appreciated.

          Yeah, I’m looking at the headline formatting on my project and the H2’s don’t seem to look right either, haha.

          You’re the man.

  69. jenis batu alam :

    I never studied SEO like this and I was new at SEO, your article was very helpful to me are still learning. thanks for sharing.. 🙂

  70. Timothy Thompson :

    Very helpful post Neil. It has a lot of work to do but I believe with great results. I m learning more new things from quicksprout. Thanks 🙂

    • There’s a lot of work at first when you learn these skills, but as you practice, it’ll become easier and easier.

  71. João Farret :

    Hi Neil Patel, i’m having problems with my site’s SEO, my Blog is growing up very well, but my main site is going down from final of january for today.

    My website has a lot of content, we rank each doctor in Brazil.

    I dont now with tools can help a website with more than 200.000 pages.

    Did you now some tools?

    tks and i love your content.

  72. Thanks for your useful information, that is really paving the way for success

    on the Internet.

    Every skill must be top on the SEO list!

    Without those tips, you must live to regret it (LOL!)

    From the blog, it also mention some factors that you must know while doing SEO,

    ”Most Important Google Ranking factors that you might have missed”


    It will not hurt to take some time to read.

    • SEO will give you some of the highest quality traffic, so its the name of the game. Thanks for sharing your article, I’ll take a look.

  73. Symond Wilson :

    Hi Neil! I came to know about many tools going through this such an informative post. The thing I liked the most are FREE Gmail plugins such as Streak & ProsperWorks. Please keep sharing such great information to us!! Thanks once again

  74. {down load film 18+|, {download film free full|{cara down load film|{download film ganool|{download film horor|{down load film terbaru, {download film baru, {download film |{terbaik|terfavorit|teraktual} :

    Thankfulness to my father who informed me regarding this weblog, this website is genuinely amazing.

  75. Ed Brancheau :

    Thanks for providing such a great information. I totally agree with your statement that SEO is always evolving. Creativity here is the key. And its really essential to be updated to the latest trends.

  76. I am reading your every post, Niel.

    Good job. Keep it up!


  77. Sometimes there is no need to think about what you write about and better to pay attention how you do it – best practices are already applied in the post! Love your blog

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