• Chris Green

Professional Focus for SEO Skills

With the new year ahead of us, it is that time for reflection, introspection and looking to the future. Whether you are setting new year’s resolutions or goals for the year, understanding what you need to learn and develop a greater understanding will play a huge role.


SEO doesn't stand still and you shouldn't either - so you need to be able to understand your gaps and what is important for you to develop further.

What to learn and when is such an important question. There are many factors determining this, but they will be different for everyone depending on what you need now and to meet your future goals.


If you want to skip ahead to skills list, click here.


Identifying Skill Gaps in SEO


Whether you have been in SEO for 1, 5 or 10+ years, your role, responsibilities and (even) businesses you are doing SEO in/for will likely have changed.


The fundamentals of SEO (you could argue) are broadly the same as 10 years ago, but how we do the job, where we need to spend our time and the skills we need to succeed have changed quite considerably.


[should you] let your own development suffer because you are busy? I’d say not!

SEO doesn't stand still and you shouldn't either - so you need to be able to understand your gaps and what is important for you to develop further.


Undertaking a Self-Appraisal of SEO Skills


Skills development is not always easy to prioritise. We get busy doing what needs to be done to pay tomorrow's bills and that can be a tough cycle to break out of.


But does this mean you should let your own development suffer because you are busy? I’d say not!


There are very few businesses who’d intentionally stifle your own development - don’t work in these businesses - but you will likely need to take an active role in your growth to help push things.


I’m a huge advocate of checking in with your own skills & knowledge and have been building a list to help you do the same.


The SEO Skills List (V0.5)


To help you with your own self-appraisal, I’m sharing the skills list I have created (download below). There is one major caveat here - this is a work in progress - I have used this for myself and a handful of others and each time it has developed and changed.


The process is really simple, run through this list & assign values into columns D & E - this’ll take ~15mins:

  • “Confidence” - on a scale of 1 - 10 (10 being the highest) how confident are you in the particular area.

  • Need to Learn More” - how important is this skill to your current (and future) job?

Once you have run through this process the second sheet “Scores/Summary” will summarise to help you visualise the areas. You may need to refresh the page for the pivot table/charts to work.


Look at the priority areas, consider whether you agree or not, you can revisit if you need to and tweak the values.


Download Your Own Copy of the List


Click below and create your own copy to work with.


How to use this list

  • Be truthful with yourself, you want a critical - but fair - appraisal of where you are today and where you need to be.

  • Approach this in the knowledge that everyone has blindspots and areas they need to develop, because you feel weak in certain areas doesn’t mean you’re bad at your job.

  • Check-in to this periodically, accept that your confidence and needs may change over time.

  • This list is designed to be part of a personal process, but as with the Senior SEO skills blog I wrote a few months ago, if you want to use this to assist people you work with or in your team, that’s fine by me.

How not to use this list

  • Do not fixate on getting 10 on each skill. It’s not possible to be perfect at everything. You develop strength and confidence in areas you work in and naturally lose it in areas you don’t.

  • As with any list of skills/knowledge this should not be used as a bludgeon to hit someone over the head with if you are not happy with their output.

What Next?


You now have a view on where you feel confident (or not) and where you feel you need to invest more time to build and grow in the future.



Use this list to prioritise your self-development this year. Remember you don’t need to be 10/10 on everything, be ruthless with the skills you want and those you need.


Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do I need the skills I need, what will it help with/enable me to do?

  • How do I cover the knowledge gaps identified? Are the blogs to read, courses to take or additional in-person training I need?

  • When do I need these skills?

  • How can I demonstrate these skills or who do I need to demonstrate this development to?

You have to take ownership over your knowledge. It is so important and if you are not prioritising it you’ll be moving backwards.


Learning More About SEO


When you know your gaps and have prioritised them, I'd suggest starting with learningseo.io Aleyda has created an amazing starting point for anyone's learning - no matter your skill experience.


Use this List to Start a Conversation


The emphasis here has been on you driving your own appraisal. A big potential flaw here is that you also aren't aware of all your blindspots or the importance of them. It's a great place to start, just remember to validate your ideas where possible.


Speak to someone else, a peer, a senior or a friend over a coffee and pitch to them your areas of improvement and why you think they're important.


… And if you Have Time


If there are some skills you feel I’ve missed or you have some feedback or any questions, please leave me a comment/email or drop me a message via Twitter.



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