Why Every SEO Should (Probably) Learn Coding

You might have noticed that I haven’t been posting much on this blog lately. Well, I have a couple of ventures going well that take up a lot of time, but aside from that, I’ve also been teaching myself programming.

It all started a few months ago when I was making a small web scraper with iMacros. Yes, that iMacros. Needless to say, it didn’t necessarily work exactly as expected. It was then that I realized how by cutting corners on the parts that required actual coding, I was actually hurting myself in the long run. I quickly got to reading and researching things that I could learn, and JavaScript came first. Combined with NodeJS, I would now actually be able to write algorithms and all! I then got a couple of courses and really got into it.

Here are just some of the ways in which an SEO could benefit from learning a programming language:

  • Scraping the web. For literally everything. Product ideas for your store? Check. Competitor sites? Check. Keywords? Check. Leads? Check.
  • Understanding algorithms. Being in the SEO industry, we’re quite literally at the mercy of algorithms. Surely, knowing to write your own and being able to develop tools similar to those whose results we’re trying to manipulate wouldn’t hurt.
  • Knowing who to hire and for how much – chances are, if you’ve been doing this long enough, you’re not just an SEO, but an entrepreneur. And, you needed some custom coding work done. If you don’t know how long things should take and what actually needs to be done, chances are, you won’t be able to outsource or delegate that work very efficiently.
  • Executing ideas – next time you find something groundbreaking related to your work, turn it into a plugin or an extension, perhaps. Get it out there, so that other people would have the chance to benefit from your work, and pay you for it.
  • Making your own SEO work easier by being able to put tools together that will automate parts of the process, with or without the fancy interface
A famous Steve Jobs quote

Don’t get me wrong. I used to be as much against learning coding as the next guy. “I’m a marketer”, I would think. Why in the world would I ever need to know all that technical crap when I could simply hire people to do the legwork for me.

Well, here’s the thing. Hiring people is expensive, and hiring GOOD people even more so. A decent and secure mobile or web application can end up costing upwards of $30,000 to develop (that is, if you’re actually doing something that’s never been done before), and if you’re a bit of a perfectionist like myself, you’ll probably complain that the final product looks nothing like you imagined it. The solution? Be more involved in the actual creation of your product.

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