OK, Iâ€™ll admit right now IÂ wrote that title just to get clicks. Itâ€™s not my proudest moment, but Iâ€™d be lying if I said I hadnâ€™t done it before.
Regardless, the title is accurateÂ â€“Â in a sense. Yes, you are still responsible for driving organic traffic. That isnâ€™t going anywhere. But because the way to drive organic traffic isnâ€™t anything like the way we used to drive organic traffic, SEOs have to becomeÂ more cross-functional. These days,Â when you say you â€œdo SEO,â€ you really do about a million other things that historicallyÂ arenâ€™t considered SEO.
If thatâ€™s the case, then what else is in our job description?
This part of an SEOâ€™s job should not come as aÂ surprise to you given how ingrainedÂ â€œcontent is kingâ€ has become in our heads.
There is no way you can rank well in search engines without good content, and I see more copywriters being directly integrated into the SEO team rather than living on a different team. In many cases,Â the requirements of being a non-technical SEO now include content writing.
Quality content can be hard to create; itâ€™s not exactly something you can teach.Â Thereâ€™s no formula you can followÂ (although Nate Dame does have a pretty good list of what makes quality content), and it does take a lot of time (Iâ€™ve spent 15 minutes on one Facebook post),Â so donâ€™t assume that good content is something we just have lying around.
User Experience Advocate
SEO and user experience (UX) got off on the wrong foot, and I blame SEO. The spammy things we were doing years ago to manipulate the algorithmÂ were the furthest thing from a good user experience, so itâ€™s no wonder UX professionals hated us.
Things are totally different now. Search engines want to see what users want to see.
Though Google hasnâ€™t come out to say that good UX impacts your search rankings,Â thereâ€™s a lot of speculation that it will be adding mobile UX into its algorithm. That means that if you want to drive more organic traffic to a page, that page has to provide a good user experience.
Over the past year or so, Iâ€™ve noticed a fundamental change in how SEOs operate â€” specifically the marketing side of SEO, not the technical side.
Weâ€™re becoming more thinkers than doers. Instead of taking direction from what others have decided willÂ change on the site, weâ€™re getting more involved in shaping that conversation. If youâ€™re not, then you need to push to be.
We spend so much time on the site and so much timeÂ obsessing over every data point on how customers are using our site thatÂ itâ€™s completely fair to say weÂ know whatâ€™s best for the site. Of course, Iâ€™m not advocating for SEOs to be the sole decision maker, but SEO today means playing a larger role in overall site strategy, and thatâ€™s something we need to be prepared for.
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who view SEO in a silo, so itâ€™s up to us to not pigeonhole ourselves into just keyword research or title tag updates.
It used to be so easy to get links: a few directory listings, some press release submissions, a handful of articles posted to EzineArticles. Mindless work, yes, but boy was it easy.
There is definitely no such thing as easy link now. Every link, whetherÂ manually or organically acquired, requires a lot of thought and a little bit of work, and we have to be more creative in the way weâ€™re getting links.
Instead of â€œbuilding links,â€ weâ€™re building things people naturally want to link to, and thatâ€™s forcing SEOs to think more like marketers. What does our target audience want?
Thinking like this, youâ€™re not creating SEO campaigns or link building campaigns; youâ€™re creating marketing campaigns that build brand awareness, boost social mentions, generate PR buzz and yeah, builds some links. Here are some great examples;
- TheÂ You vs. John Paulson campaign MahiFX ran in 2011 (Moz has a good write-up of the case study).
- Expediaâ€™s Find Yours CampaignÂ – 68 linking root domains (LRDs), 196 total links, ~1,000 social shares.
- Froontâ€™s brilliant GIFS about responsive design â€“ 273 LRDs, 2,473 total links, ~11,000 social shares.
- Unionâ€™s employee appreciation dayÂ – 56 LRDs, 468 total links, ~12,00 social shares. (Sadly, the Vimeo link got all the action, but all the press buzz secured a handful of home page links.)
Obviously, you canâ€™t run things like the above by yourself. Youâ€™re going to have to rely on other departments â€“Â and that brings me to probably the most important job of any SEO in 2015â€¦.
One of my bossâ€™ favorite sayings is, â€œThe best SEOâ€™s will put themselves out of a job.â€ While thatâ€™s not exactly motivating me to be the best SEO (I kid),Â the point is that the best SEOs have done such a good job at educating other teams on SEO that, after a while, there doesnâ€™t need to be someone advocating for â€œright thing for SEOâ€ because thatâ€™s naturally been weaved into the fabric of every digital professionalâ€™s job.
Do I think weâ€™re ever going to get to that point?Â Not in the next 10 years, but the fact remains that SEO in theory isnâ€™t hard,Â no matter how many people try to tell you itâ€™s a Jedi magic trick.
Everything you do online could have some effect on your organic traffic, so SEOs have to rely on other teams to understand how their actions affect our KPIs. You have to rally these evangelists in creative, in social media, in development, in IT, and inÂ copywriting, educating them on how what they do is actually SEO. Thatâ€™s the only way youâ€™re going to be able to meet your goals.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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Article source: http://searchengineland.com/job-seo-2015-isnt-actually-seo-214150