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Search Engine Land - So what am I trying to accomplish with this article? Honestly, I would really like the search industry to re-evaluate what they consider to be advanced SEO skills. I do not believe that advanced SEO skills are necessarily "black-hat" skills. Nor do I believe that persons with little or no technical skills are not advanced SEO practitioners.
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from sveek 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I can not agree with you more. Main thing is always the big picture and some advanced (not necessarily in some kind of expert mode) skills in all of the SEO-related stuff. Expert programmer doesn´t really equals SEO expert. Which I am afraid, is common myth..

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from SethDotterer 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Great article - like many business functions that require cross-discipline expertise, there will always be a debate on whichskillsets are most appropriate for the ’ideal’ provider.In my opinion, the answer, it almost always seems, is that those who first look at the business goals - and continue to evaluate progress toward thoe objectives - are by far the most successful, regardless of background.  My question back - I often find that the more one specializes in a ’technical’ or ’marketing’ role, the less effective they become at the other.  Could it be that for the majority of SEO, a generalist is more effecitve than a specialist?Seth Dotterer

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from DerrickWheeler 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hi Shari,Another insightful article.  I would add that anyone that touches anything that touches the website needs to be an "SEO Expert" in their respective field.Hope to see you soon and say hello.  It’s been a while.Best,Derrick

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from galendeyoung 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Great article, Shari! Dead on. Thanks.

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from Jill 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Hell yeah! Big ole sphinn here.The best SEOs are those who understand exactly what the website needs, and then finds the best people to implement it all. It will never, of course, be one person who should be performing every facet of SEO on a site. If that’s what you’re getting, you’re going to be missing out and not getting the best SEO you should be getting.

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from robgarner 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Shari,GREAT article.  I’m glad you wrote this column, because I had similar questions when the original series was first published.  Certainly, someone like Jill Whalen shouldn’t be considered a "beginner" just because she is a writer - she is obviously an advanced expert in this area.  And just because someone is particularly skilled on the tech side, it doesn’t automatically put them in the position to dictate holistic search strategy for a billion dollar corporation.  Instead, they should be focused on maintaining tech performance and site hygiene.  At the enterprise level, it is a huge job in and of itself, and may even require *mutliple* tech experts.  Following the same logic, the argument could also be made that PR/communications, or market research is the most advanced form of SEO, which again doesn’t really serve the conversation well.SEO’s need to start having a meaningful dialogue about understanding how all of these aspects of SEM fit in the big picture, particularly if they are at the enterprise level.  The real "advanced" enterprise search engine marketer and strategist takes a holistic view of search - that means every aspect of SEO, SEA/PPC, feeds, content targeting, etc, to create a real search strategy. I mean this in a very different way from being a search generalist.  I also emphasize the use of the terms "search engine marketer", "search strategy", and "SEM strategy".  I have more thoughts on this in a recent column on the "Semantics of ’SEM Strategy’" over at MediaPost Search Insider, and it fits in with this dialogue. http://blogs.mediapost.com/search_insider/?p=811Again, great article. It behooves everyone to consider the big picture for SEM, and not just debating about whether they are "advanced" or not simply as a matter of function.Rob

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from jimbeetle 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Can’t say much more than did Jill. It shouldn’t be any SEO’s job to sit down to write effective copy then turn around and work on a complex mod rewrite rule. Recommend, task, guide.

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from Jill 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Certainly, someone like Jill Whalen shouldn’t be considered a "beginner" just because she is a writer - she is obviously an advanced expert in this area. Umm...for the record, I’m not a writer. Well not a copywriter. I am a writer in the sense that I write a newsletter about SEO, write forum posts, etc. But I’m definitely not a copywriter. Never have been. I did invent SEO copywriting, but always hired professional copywriters to do the writing. Copywriting is way too hard for me. I’m an SEO, or if you prefer, and SEO consultant.Back to what Shari wrote, however, it’s very important for SEOs to have some technical knowledge. I don’t personally think a copywriter is in general qualified to be a full-fledged SEO. If they understand the technical things that need to be done on a website as well, then that’s another story, but most don’t. (Not saying they have to do it, but knowing what needs to be done technically and telling the programmer to do it, is different than being the programmer.)The best, most expert SEOs will have great marketing skills, great technical knowledge, and a great understanding of usability.

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from robgarner 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Jill - I think you understand the point I was trying to make, in the context of the way the article was written.  In hindsight, I probably could have cited a more relevant example of a specialist, as your expertise extends beyond just copywriting, but hopefully my point was intact. 

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from yojpotter2 2278 Days ago #
Votes: -1

nice insigths..I do agree that being an SEO expert doesn’t have to mean good on black hat SEO..^^ there are so many things that you can use to prove that you are indeed an expert on this field.

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from Jill 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@robgarner, yeah no problem, your point was on the money. I just have a pet peeve about people thinking I’m a copywriter!

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from seocharlie 2278 Days ago #
Votes: 0

SEO is obviously more than just knowledge. My measure for an SEO “expert” is simple: results.   Sometimes SEO people who call itself an expertise based their “perception” on his knowledge but not results. Many years ago few people consider itself a guru or master on this industry, but today there’s more behind the profession.   A basic formula is: good reputation & real experience. There’s no position or degree valid if you can’t show results on Google’s organic listings -TOP 10 of course.

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from AlanCh 2277 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Must say that I agree with the article and the gist of the responses. My - biased - opinion is that the whole exercise is about meeting the needs of the searcher [read : customer] - that is: present a page that helps solve the problem that has provoked the search.And that, folks, is marketing.  My experience is that those on the ’writers’ end of the  spectrum have some experience of meeting marketing outcomes, and those at the ’techies’ end have none - and worse still, don’t care about it.I know, I know ... settle down - there are some techies who know marketing [and some marketers who know programming], but they are few and far between. I teach marketing in the business school of a university [hence the bias]. Next door in the computing school they teach programming and in the media school, design. Both cover web site development/design - but neither mention marketing [as in: meeting the needs of the customer; the role of the Internet in strategic integrated marketing etc etc]. I agree with comments about the keywords being the key [sorry] - so if nothing else, ’marketing’ should decide those and hand them over to the writers/developers to insert appropriately. Of course, the best in the online business use a ’dream team’ that is made up of a whole gamut of skills that complement and interact with  each other  - but they too, are few and far between. Oh, and by the way - the dream team should be led by a marketer. But then I would say that wouldn’t I? There you go, spleen vented ... AC

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from tracy043 2277 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I could not agree more.  Often times in our SEO Workshops we come across those that really believe that becoming a good SEO Specialist just means understanding one concept of SEO either on-page or off-page factors.  What we try to teach is that to be a good knowledgeable SEO you must have a multitude of talents and understand every part of a Web site.  You may not need to actually perform every function but you must understand the importance of them and be able to contract out the aspects you are not an expert in to complete a productive SEO job.

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from jonathannelson 2277 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It’s about time someone pointed out the differences in ’levels of SEO’. Thank you Shari, great post. 

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from bbcarter 2277 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I didn’t get "levels of SEO" from this (that could be taken as one is more advanced than the other), but different skills and strengths... I’m with AlanCh- and Jill... a good analogy is when a primary care physician helps get various specialists involved depending on what the patient needs, or when the initial ER doc send you to a specific kind of surgery... The part of SEO where you think about the audience and the offering like a marketer/copywriter is not something every SEO is good at, and it’s easy for some to overlook.  We just got a new SEO/PPC trainee with a PR background and she’s already standing out with this kind of thinking.I’d suggest everybody read "Now Discover Your Strengths" or "StrengthsFinder 2.0" to take a more individualized approach to people’s talents.

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from DariaGoetsch 2277 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Great article. It often takes multiple people to provide services what with the need for creating a team of in-house search engine marketers for big companies. As the search engine marketing industry changes the level of skill required to complete each task may vary to keep up with the growth of the search engine companies and their technology. I think you can be talented in one area, as long as you have an understanding of the project as a whole and have another team member to provide other specific skills you should be considered advanced for your capabilities. The skill base is growing wider for providing services. As an old timer its pretty cool to see this kind of growth happening in our industry.

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