SEO Skills Gap is becoming a Problem for Organic Search Traffic

SEO Skills Gap is becoming a Problem for Organic Search Traffic

SEO Skills Gap is becoming a Problem for Organic Search Traffic

Ramesh Singh, AGM Marketing and Head of SEO, Great Learning, 0

As the skills optimizing a website for search engines effectively become complex, the pool of qualified candidates shrinks. This not only leaves businesses, who need SEO help, struggling to find qualified employees, but drives up the cost of hiring an SEO specialist as well.

Startups face several challenges in India regarding SEO. Firstly, there is a lack of experienced and skilled SEO professionals, and many startups have to either train their staff or outsource SEO services.

Secondly, the Indian market is becoming extremely competitive, as many companies and startups are vying for attention online. As a result, it can be difficult for startups to get noticed and rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Finally, SEO can be a complex and time-consuming process, requiring ongoing effort amid regular monitoring and adjustment. This can be challenging for startups often operating on limited budgets and with less staff.

Understanding SEO Skill Gap
If you ask any hiring managers, they can tell you how hard it’s become to find and hire qualified SEO professionals. In my personal experience, I find it challenging to find someone who is good at different skill sets like managing and handling projects, demonstrating how to grow at scale, or creating a strategy and roadmap to grow the organic channel.

Most of the SEOs at different levels are still working on old methods and tactics, which are not helpful anymore. For example, creating links through bookmarking sites, article submissions, or stuffing the title tag and meta description with keywords.

Candidates lacking skills to understand user intent will make them stick out like a sore thumb. Trying to implement new ideas, features, landing pages to improve site architecture, information architecture, internal links, etc., without knowing how to improve your product or services to meet search intent would only make matters worse.

Technical SEO Knowledge
Coding is seldom required in technical aspects, yet SEO professionals are expected to highlight technical issues for improving the discoverability, crawling, and indexing of web pages. Many SEOs lack in identifying rendered HTML and initial HTML. They don't know how to check if search engines can see their content or not, besides not understanding a hreflang tag, canonical tag, and how and when to use it.

There are other areas where I see a massive gap in tech SEO skills, consisting of implementing structured data markup based on industry and web page, improving site architecture, internal link strategies, page load time and core web vitals score, mobile-first approach and optimizing for mobile user experience.

Gap Analysis
One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding how your website stacks up against the competition. SEOs often don't take the time to analyze the competition, leading to significant strategic errors properly.

An SEO gap analysis aims to identify areas where the client's website is lacking in comparison to their competitors and develop a plan to close those gaps. This may involve improving on-page optimization, developing more relevant content, or building more links.

Product-Led Approach
One area most SEOs struggle is how to scale the SEO with the help of new product features or improve the existing features and experiences.
This skill is challenging yet vital to understand your users and provide them best experience while they land on your website. For instance, adding relevant and valuable content within the page's main content section instead of the bottom of the page, which doesn't create any value for users or bots.

We should not confuse bots whether the page is an e-commerce category page or an article; try to be specific and provide the relevant details required to fulfill user intent.

Other examples of product-led SEOs are creating and optimizing the content for different stages of the user journey like the top of the funnel, middle, and bottom of the funnel trying to provide awareness about your brand, product, or services. You cover broad topics to educate users, and with the help of new product you create new case studies, blog content, podcast, video, etc.

Then you try to help the users get the solutions for their problems, and finally, provide them with a product/service that helps users/consumers get the solution for their problem statement.

You need to be aware of the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes

A product-led approach makes you a better marketer where you understand the user's needs to make adjustments to your SEO strategy and product strategy.

Filling the Gaps
In SEO, nothing is permanent, and algorithms keep evolving to provide a better experience, and whenever it happens, there are many fluctuations in the rankings. We should encourage the SEO team to engage in different communities, events, platforms, and blogs to keep themself updated with the latest happenings in the search industry.

Try to uncover the gaps related to SEO and others like branding, site popularity or reputation, social media presence and engagement, their partnership and collaboration with other brands, influencers, etc. Try to see what platforms are popular and why they are famous? Why do users keep going back to them? What practices do they adapt, innovate and execute as a business to stand out in the market?

They can understand the business well; as per business requirements, they create the roadmap and strategies and execute them in time to get results.

In my opinion, the SEO team should be part of a product where SEO will be responsible for improving the user experience when users come from search engines. As per business requirements, they should create the SEO roadmap, strategies and execute them in time to get results based on recommendations.

SEO requires a budget, and there is a myth that SEO is free. It would be best if you have tools, resources, content, and budget for backlinks. You need to invest in your website to get long-term results. You must create high-quality content for your pages, and you have to invest in creating better UI/UX design for better experience; your tech stack should be good to handle the traffic.

Despite these challenges, there are several ways that startups can succeed with SEO:

1.You need to ensure a well-trained and experienced SEO team.

2.It would be best if you focused on creating high-quality content relevant to your target audience.

3.You need to be aware of the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes.

4.You need to invest both time and money into your SEO efforts.

By doing these things, startups can give themselves the best chance of success in the competitive online landscape.