Thursday, July 16, 2015

Google Wants to Hire an SEO (And It Reveals Some Things About Google)

Google SEO
Search Engine Land found something quite funny: Google has a hiring post out that it's looking to hire an "SEO expert."  Ha, ha, ha. This has been picked up by the media, ironically, as if Google doesn't understand its own algorithm, and need someone to "game the system" to get to the top of Google.

Read the Google SEO Job Posting

You can read it -

Google (Still) Believes in Technical SEO!

Humor, aside, if you read the job posting it tells you some interesting things about Google, or at least about the mindset about the person who brainstormed the job offer.

First and foremost, the job offer is all about "technical SEO." Despite what Google has been telling the world (for years now), that you "just need to write good content" and "write for humans" and "not for search engines," to get this job at Google you need -

  • BA/BS degree in Computer Science, Engineering or equivalent practical experience.
  • 4 years of experience developing websites and applications with SQL, HTML5, and XML.
  • 2 years of SEO experience.Experience with Google App Engine, Google Custom Search, Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics and experience creating and maintaining project schedules using project management systems.

And preferred skills -

  • Experience working with back-end SEO elements such as .htaccess, robots.txt, metadata and site speed optimization to optimize website performance.
  • Experience in quantifying marketing impact and SEO performance and strong understanding of technical SEO (sitemaps, crawl budget, canonicalization, etc.).
  • Knowledge of one or more of the following: Java, C/C++, or Python.
  • Excellent problem solving and analytical skills with the ability to dig extensively into metrics and analytics.

No Marketing Skills Required

So, you don't need to know anything about content, much about marketing, next to nothing about how humans think or dream or feel or brainstorm their needs for new products or services. You just need to be a computer science expert, and be able to code. Because if you can code, you can do SEO: 4 years of experience in SQL, HTML5, and XML, to be precise, is what you "need" to "do SEO."

Not a word about link-building or traditional outreach to get other sites to link back to, and mention your own.

And not a word about social (Google+ anyone? Twitter anyone?). Not only do you need to know next to nothing about how to produce interesting, lively content but you also don't need to bother with how and why people might share or interact with that content on social media.

Is SEO Technical or is it Content or is it Social?

SEO, historically, has been the domain of computer science nerds. Definitely, being good with HTML code (in particular) and good with some basic "best practices" in terms of tag structure, and website architecture, still helps a great deal. But today - more than ever - good SEO is not only about those technical skills. It is also about content marketing, about the human factor, and about social media.

I am always reminding people it's not content marketing OR technical SEO. It's content marketing AND SEO. It's social media marketing AND SEO...

The fact that this job posting says next to nothing about those skillsets tells us a lot about the mentality at Google, and about how still - today - it remains quite feasible to "game the Google system" through technical SEO. As well as about how people still perceive SEO largely as a technical skill, when in reality it is a marketing skill with technical aspects (not a technical skill with marketing aspects). But that tirade is the subject of a different blog post.