I’ve come to learn that most professionals who call themselves SEOs don’t know the nuances of technical SEO.
They don’t how to communicate with developers, they don’t know how to do SEO for single page applications, they’re completely unfamiliar with the idea of analyzing a website’s server log files, the list goes on… They don’t know how to make basic HTML or CSS implementations, and many of them have never even had their own website.
Analyzing content alone is not real SEO. Making a deliverable look pretty for a client is not SEO.
Most SEOs Don’t Network Enough with Front End Web Developers
The reason that most SEOs don’t know technical SEO is because they don’t spend enough time meeting and talking to web developers. They don’t know what technical issues web developers struggle with when it comes to SEO and they don’t know the terminology and phrasing they should be using when describing issues.
In addition to this, SEO requires intense technical curiosity, along with an affinity for natural language and web design. Most SEOs only have this affinity for natural language and web design, but are too afraid to pursue a real technical curiosity.
Sure, this affinity for natural language and web design is extremely important, but it’s that technical curiosity that distinguishes lower level SEOs from the greats.
The Issue with Large Agency SEOs
The other issue is that many SEOs work at large agencies serving primarily blue chip clients. While one would initially expect these SEOs to be the best and the brightest, the truth is many of them don’t have the opportunities or even the necessity to be exposed to intense technical SEO problems.
The reason for this is that when correcting for intense technical issues, it’s usually not a team effort. SEO agencies will have very skilled SEOs and ones who are not so skilled. It’s rare for a team to be made up entirely of superstars.
This means that it will be one or two SEOs at an agency making many of the most complicated technical SEO recommendations, mainly because they’re the only ones who actually know what’s going on.
Importantly, as stated in the previous section, if more SEOs had a technical curiosity and went out of their way to understand the recommendations being made, the technical problem with agency SEO wouldn’t be so great.
What to Do
If you’re an SEO and you’re reading this, I urge you to invest a lot of time networking with front end web developers. Have them ask you technical questions about SEO and then as you struggle to solve these questions, you’ll begin learning real technical SEO. SEOs who don’t do this are likely to be at an extreme competitive loss.
In addition to this, make your own website. A simple blog on a WordPress is good enough (with a unique domain, obviously), but if you’re not experimenting with your own property, your technical knowledge is going to be extremely limited.
Finally, always ask questions.
Thanks to Michael Sorace.