Top 5 soft skills that SEOs should develop.

Top 5 soft skills that SEOs should develop.

Let’s talk about the importance of technical skills!

Top 5 soft skills that SEOs should develop… When it comes to SEO, especially technical SEO, we often talk about the importance of technical skills. And while there’s no doubt that vlookup and regex can be your best friends, there are some essential soft skills to acquire that will help you excel in your role and progress in your career.

But first, let’s look at the definition of what we really mean by general skills.

What is a soft skill?

Soft skills are abilities that enable a person to communicate and work with others effectively and harmoniously.

Whether you’re a content or technical SEO, in-house or in an agency, your non-technical skills will help you navigate any work environment and process. Indeed, whatever the role, even in the technical field, we’re always working with other human beings. Not to mention that SEO is most often a cross-functional team effort, which means you’ll need to be comfortable interacting with your partners.

And if you’re a management-level SEO, you may find that there are even trickier interactions to have with your management. Especially if you’re responsible for approving your organic strategies and projects.

Today I’m going to share five soft skills you can start focusing on to improve the way you engage with team members, stakeholders and management, which will help you progress in your career and generate success.

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Five soft skills for success in SEO!

1. Empathy
Empathy is the ability to feel the emotions of others, combined with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. According to recent research, empathy is the most important leadership skill. But why is it important for SEOs?

Well, the reason empathy is the number one leadership skill is that it helps you build better, more meaningful relationships with the people you work with and understand them well. This is essential for SEOs who work on several different functions and engage with a variety of stakeholders on a daily basis. Empathy makes it possible to successfully engage in and resolve conflicts, improving productivity, collaboration and results.

The best way to improve empathy is to examine your own prejudices and observe how you interact with the people around you. Focus on how you interact and engage with people who have a different point of view to you. It’s not about knowing the logical reasoning behind everyone’s opinion, but rather whether you can understand the emotions and feelings that explain why someone has a different way of thinking. You don’t have to agree with someone to empathize, but you do have to strive to understand, accept and validate other people’s experiences.

2. Critical thinking
Critical thinking is the objective and impartial analysis and evaluation of available facts, in order to form a judgment. This is absolutely crucial in a field like SEO and digital marketing, as SEO is full of opinions and occasional facts, and it can be difficult to remain objective and aware of our own biases.

Asking (better) questions is an important part of developing critical thinking skills. To do this, you’ll need a healthy dose of curiosity and skepticism. Skepticism will help you develop the habit of questioning assumptions and improve your practice of logical reasoning, while curiosity will encourage you to seek out diversity of ideas. You also want to improve your research skills by examining the credibility of your sources and actively seeking out opinions that differ from your own.

It’s not an easy task. It takes time and energy to research, ask questions and respectfully engage with opinions and experiences different from your own.

This skill is useful when reviewing any SEO opinions, analyzing data, reviewing search engine guidelines and algorithms. It can also be extremely useful for presentations to stakeholders or decision-makers. Critical thinking can help you control your confirmation bias and prepare you to deal with concerns and objections.

3. Proactive listening
Proactive or active listening means that you listen attentively to the person speaking to you. It requires you to absorb what is being said and to listen with the aim of fully understanding what the speaker is communicating.
You may have guessed it, but proactive listening is actually an essential part of developing empathy and critical thinking skills. And it’s important not to confuse listening to someone with hearing what they say. Especially since when we talk about proactive listening, we’re not just talking about absorbing the words being said. It’s not just about what’s communicated, but how it’s communicated. Pay attention to your body language and tone of voice so you can understand the person you’re talking to.

You can improve this skill by first of all being more aware and present when someone is talking to you. Take mental notes of the conversation. You can imagine using labels to better capture what the other person may be feeling. Is he excited, worried or indifferent? Proactive listening will help you better understand your contacts, team members and managers, and lay the foundations for our next soft skill.

4. Clear communication
Clear communication is the effective use of verbal and non-verbal communication to successfully exchange and explain thoughts and ideas. The communicator’s objective is to ensure that the content communicated is fully understood by the audience.

Clear communication isn’t about convincing someone of your truth. It’s about helping others understand the message. The reason it’s important to emphasize this point is that we often think that if someone rejects our idea, it’s because we haven’t communicated our proposal clearly. While this is a possibility, it is not a correlation. Unclear communication can lead to rejection just as much as clear communication, and vice versa.

When trying to improve this skill, focus on improving your audience’s understanding of your message. The essential elements of clear communication are therefore: a good understanding of your audience and their needs, the use of the right language and examples, and a clear message. You can further improve this skill by actively seeking out and listening to your audience’s reactions, and improving your communication skills accordingly.

5. Telling stories
Narration is the act of sharing a story. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? We all tell stories. We share our personal stories, like memorable events in our lives.

Something we’ve seen, heard or experienced. We also share stories about what we aspire to achieve, or around something we fear. Stories help us make sense of the world, and allow us to share information in a way that creates emotional connections.

But why did I include narration in this list, if we all know how to do it? Well, that’s because we also need to learn how to use it in the workplace to succeed.

Let’s take a closer look. Stories help us make sense of the world, which means that a story can help communicate a clear message, even on the most complex subject. So, if you want your lay audience to understand the difference between crawling and indexing, you can draw an analogy by explaining that search engines are like librarians and that the database behind a search engine is like a library.

Analogies are an excellent form of storytelling to help explain unfamiliar things using something familiar.

Stories also create emotional connections, so their use in business can help you build trust with stakeholders and managers, which is essential for buy-in and success.

It takes practice to find out which story works well for your audience and to develop your own storytelling style. The good thing is that each of these skills builds on each other, and you can quite happily concentrate on developing them at the same time.

In a nutshell

When it comes to SEO, developing these five soft skills will help you succeed:

Build better relationships with a variety of stakeholders, and more effective teams.

Give successful presentations and win over managers.

Improve productivity in cross-functional projects.

A deeper, more factual understanding of Google ‘s algorithms for non-SEOs.

Improve your understanding of the “big picture” and high-level links between SEO and other business functions.

Developing your soft skills can be difficult, and there’s no tangible certification to say you’ve mastered them. It takes practice and consistency and – just like SEO – it’s never completely finished.

It’s a mindset that encourages you to get the job done day by day, and motivates you to continually develop your skill set.

Thanks for reading, see you at the next blog!

If you have any questions or would like a quote, please contact us by e-mail at or at 418-455-2259.