SEOs make better programmers the same way programmers make better SEOs. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
After all, you can only work around the limitations of a search engine’s algorithms and behaviour if you understand how search engine bots crawl and index your website.
This leads us to the big question: What programming languages should SEOs learn to get the most out of their SEO effort?
Well, we’ll be answering that shortly, but first, let’s look at the basics of programming and how it relates to SEO.
How Programming and SEOs Intersect
The programmed algorithms are essentially bots that go around the net, scanning analysing, and indexing websites so they can be served up in search engine queries.
To improve your site’s visibility, you must understand how these algorithms work, speak their language and optimise your web pages accordingly.
You don’t want to operate in the dark, casting SEO spells at random.
So, let’s get to the meat of the matter and look at seven programming languages that SEOs should consider learning.
4 Reasons SEOs Should Learn Programming
Programming languages allow SEOs to do more than just improve their visibility. It helps them add a level of performance and scalability to their SEO efforts. Programming gives SEOs the ability to:
Work with Web Developers and Understand What They’re Doing
Part of SEO’s work is ensuring the web developers working on your website are doing the right thing SEO-wise.
Of course, you’ll have a few suggestions and recommendations for them, and you don’t want to assume they’ll get it right.
Learning a programming language will help you understand the process, clearly communicate your suggestions, and assess the work done.
Improve Expense Management
Not so many SEOs can code, so they outsource development tasks.
That can quickly become expensive, and if you don’t know what’s going on under the hood, it can be difficult to tell if a developer is taking shortcuts.
Learning programming will allow you to take charge of the code and do it yourself where necessary.
Improve Your Data Analysis Skills
Being an SEO means digging deeper into data to get the most out of it. And as we all know; you can’t do much with raw data until it is processed and analysed.
Programming languages allow you to write scripts that quickly process large datasets, helping you make informed decisions faster.
It allows you to exceed your data limits, increase productivity, and make data-driven decisions.
Increase Your SEO Literacy
Learning programming languages will help you understand the technicalities of SEO, allowing you to navigate the world of search engine algorithms.
Develop Your Own SEO Tools
Sometimes existing SEO tools don’t cut it. Being able to write your own will set you apart from other SEOs, giving you a competitive advantage when dealing with complex tasks and data sets.
Learning a programming language or two can help you unleash your creativity by helping you build customised SEO tools tailored for specific use cases.
Which Programming Languages Should SEOs Learn?
In the world of SEO, coding is a superpower. But with so many programming languages out there, which ones should SEOs learn?
Well, it goes beyond learning a language to understanding how a webpage or document object model (DOM) is rendered.
As an SEO, here are the programming languages you want:
HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language
CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets.
Often confused as programming languages by laypersons, HTML and CSS are actually markup languages.
They’re the building blocks of any web page, defining its content and how it should appear on a browser.
So, what’s the difference between markup and a programming language?
Markup means to tag, describe or add annotations to content. Markup languages are used to layout, format, render, and display page elements.
They’re used to create structure and format web pages and documents.
Without markup languages, webpages would look like a jumbled mess. Think of them as the skeleton of a webpage or document.
HTML isn’t the only markup language. There’s also XML, SGML, and YAML.
But for SEO, HTML is all you need.
CSS is a Styling Language
After you’ve structured your webpage content and added all the tags, you can use CSS to style the page and make it look the way you want.
It’s like giving your web page a makeover, so you don’t have to settle for a plain and boring design.
Think of it as the icing on the cake. Or the cherry on the sundae.
Using the skeleton analogy again, HTML/CSS would be the bones and muscles, while CSS is the skin.
Programming languages are used to control the behaviour of machines. They’re used to write software that can manipulate data and perform complex tasks, such as finding patterns in web pages or documents.
Whereas markup languages define structure and formatting, programming languages instruct computers on what actions need to be taken.
How Programming Languages Work
Computers speak only one language: machine code or binary.
Machine code consists of 1s and 0s. They’re processed by the computer’s processor, which then executes instructions based on that code.
Humans can’t understand machine code, leave alone type it out.
That’s why programming languages were invented. They serve as an intermediary between humans and computers, making them easier to interact with.
Programming languages are translated into machine code by a program called the compiler or interpreter, depending on the language.
So, when you write code in a programming language, it’s translated into machine code (by the compiler or interpreter) for the processor to understand.
Types of Programming Languages
Now that you understand the basics of programming languages, let’s dive into some of the types:
- Procedural Programming Language: This type of language allows for the creation of procedures to control how data is accessed and manipulated. Examples include C, C++, and FORTRAN. In layperson’s terms, it’s like giving a set of instructions for the computer to follow.
- Object-Oriented Programming Language: This type of language uses objects and classes as its main unit of code organisation. It’s used to create applications with graphical user interfaces (GUIs), such as web browsers and video games. Examples include Java, Python, and Ruby.
- Functional Programming Language: This language evaluates expressions rather than manipulating data and state. It’s used for mathematical calculations and creating algorithms. Examples include Lisp and Haskell.
Programming languages can also be divided into low-level, mid-level and high-level.
- Low-level languages are closer to machine code — they’re easier for the processor to understand but harder for humans. Examples include machine code and assembly language.
- Mid-level languages combine the two — they’re easier for us to understand yet still efficient for the processor. Examples include C and Objective-C.
Now, onto the meaty part: which language should you learn as an SEO?
Start with HTML and CSS — they’re the foundation of all web pages. HTML defines the structure and content of a web page, while CSS is used to style it.
Here’s what you should learn about these two:
- Tags: Understand what tags are and how they’re structured. After that, learn about the different tags and what they’re used for.
At the time of writing this, there are 111 tags in HTML5 and 77 in HTML4.
- Attributes: Learn about attributes and how they add additional properties to tags.
- Selectors: Master the selectors used in CSS so you can style your page precisely. Responsive Design: Ensure your pages look good on all devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) by learning about media queries and other responsive design techniques.
You can use it to create animations, games, visualisations, and more. Plus, you’ll need it for SEO tasks like tracking clicks and scroll depth.
In terms of what you should learn, here’s a good starting point:
- Syntax: Understand the syntax and basic concepts like variables, loops, objects, functions, and events.
- Libraries and Frameworks: Get acquainted with popular libraries like jQuery, React, and Vue to make your code more efficient.
- Web APIs: Learn how to use web APIs such as the Geolocation API or Speech Recognition API for SEO tasks.
Coordinate How Client-side Scripts Communicate: There are many SEO use cases for this, from processing data forms to creating headless CMSs and serverless searches.
Implement Single-Page Applications (SPAs): SPAs are web applications that don’t necessarily need to reload the entire page when the user interacts with them. Instead, only the necessary parts of the page are updated.
Python is an excellent programming language for SEO. It’s high-level, versatile, and easy to learn. Plus, it can handle complex tasks like collecting data from multiple sources and manipulating it into a format you can use.
You may also use Python to automate tasks such as creating reports or emailing clients when certain conditions are met.
When it comes to learning Python for SEO, here’s what you should focus on:
- Variables and Data Structures: Learn about strings, integers, floats, lists, and dictionaries.
- Control Flow Statements: Understand the if/else statements used for logic control. It will help when coding complex tasks such as data validation.
- Functions: Learn how to create functions to reuse code and save time.
- Regular Expressions: Master regular expressions so you can use them to search through large amounts of content quickly.
How Python Will Help You as an SEO
Python adds a lot to your toolbox as an SEO. For starters, you can use it to automate tedious or manual tasks like generating reports. Plus, you can use it to analyse data from multiple sources and clean it up for better insights.
You can also use Python for more complex tasks like generating dynamic content, sorting through large datasets quickly, or even developing web applications that help with SEO-related tasks.
PHP is a programming language for creating dynamic websites. It’s most commonly used in Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. PHP allows you to create pages with content that can be changed without hard-coding the page each time it needs to be updated.
It’s a server-side language used for general programming, web development, and SEO.
If you’re looking to use PHP for SEO, here are a few topics to focus on:
- Syntax: Learn the syntax and basic concepts like variables, loops, objects, and functions.
- MySQL Database: Acquaint yourself with creating tables in MySQL databases. That will come in handy when dealing with website elements that need to be stored and retrieved.
- HTTP Headers: Understand the basics of HTTP headers and how they affect user interactions with websites. It’s also important for SEO, as certain headers can be used to improve web performance and security.
How PHP Will Help You as an SEO
You can use PHP to create dynamic web pages and store data in a database. This can come in handy when dealing with large amounts of content, such as blogs or ecommerce stores. Additionally, you can use it to improve page performance and security by manipulating HTTP headers.
Finally, if you’re working with a CMS such as WordPress or Drupal, a good understanding of PHP will help you customise pages and functions to make them more SEO-friendly.
Go (or Golang) is a relatively new programming language created by Google on November 10th, 2009. It’s quickly becoming the go-to language for high-performance web applications and microservices.
It’s better than other programming languages because it’s not an interpreter language. It’s compiled, which means it runs faster and is more secure. It’s also easier to learn than other languages due to its simple syntax.
If you’re looking to use Go for SEO, here are the main topics you should focus on:
- Variables: Learn how to declare, assign and modify variables in Go.
- Arrays and Slices: Understand how arrays and slices work in Go so you can use them for data manipulation.
- Control Flow Statements: Learn about if/else statements and other control flow statements to make your code more efficient.
- Functions: Get a solid understanding of functions and how to create them, so you can reuse code and save time.
How Go Will Help You as an SEO
Go is an excellent choice for SEOs who want to build web applications or microservices. It’s fast, secure, and easy to learn due to its simple syntax. Additionally, it has built-in features that allow you to control data flow and make your code more efficient.
Finally, you can use Go to develop web applications that help with SEO-related tasks such as crawling large websites or analysing backlinks. So if you’re looking for a powerful language that will take your SEO skills to the next level, then Go is the way to go.
C is a low-level language designed in the early 1970s. It’s used for system-level programming tasks and is still widely used today.
Compared to other languages, C is quite complex – so it might not be the best choice for SEOs just getting started with coding. However, if you want to get into system-level programming and have some experience with coding, then C is a language you should consider.
There are several variations of the language, such as C++, C#, and Objective-C, but for SEO, the original C language should be your focus. Here are a few topics to keep in mind:
- Syntax and Data Types: Understand how to write code in C, including declaring variables and using operators.
- Memory Management: Learn about memory management in C, including allocating and freeing memory.
- Pointers: Get familiar with pointers in C to better understand how data is stored and handled in memory.
How C Will Help You as an SEO
C is a powerful language for system-level programming tasks. Understanding C is necessary if you want to build programs that interact with websites or databases. It will also help you write low-level code to improve page performance and security.
Some old programmers believe that C should be the first language you learn. That’s because other programming languages are built on the foundation of C. Therefore, learning C should be a priority if you want to become an adept programmer and take your SEO skills to the next level.
C++ is a popular object-oriented language created in 1985. It’s an extension of the C language and can be used for high-performance applications such as web browsers and operating systems.
C++ has a steep learning curve compared to other languages due to its complex syntax and wide range of features. However, the transition to C++ shouldn’t be too difficult if you are familiar with C.
Here are a few topics to focus on when learning C++ for SEO purposes:
- Classes and Objects: Learn how to create and use classes and objects in C++.
- Inheritance and Polymorphism: Understand the inheritance concept to reuse code efficiently.
- Templates: Learn how to use templates to create generic code that can be used for different types of data.
How C++ Will Help You as an SEO
C++ is an excellent choice of language for SEOs who want to create high-performance applications or programs with advanced features. It also offers some unique features, such as templates and polymorphism, which can help you write more efficient code.
Plus, many web browsers and operating systems are written in C++. So if you want to get into system-level programming or build applications that interact with websites, then learning C++ should be a priority.
Objective-C is an object-oriented language created in the 1980s. It is a superset of the C language and was developed specifically for Apple’s OS X operating system.
Compared to other languages, Objective-C has a simpler syntax and is easier to learn. However, its syntax is also quite different from other languages, so you must practice much to get used to it.
Here are a few topics to focus on when learning Objective-C for SEO purposes:
- Classes and Objects: Learn how to create and use classes and objects in Objective-C.
- Memory Management: Understand how to allocate and free memory in Objective-C to avoid memory leaks
- Protocols: Learn about protocols in Objective-C so you can create reusable components.
How Objective-C Will Help You as an SEO
Objective-C is an excellent choice for SEOs who want to create iOS and OS X apps. It’s also the language of choice when creating desktop applications for Mac computers.
Plus, many popular web browsers and operating systems are written in Objective-C. So if you want to get into system-level programming or build applications that interact with websites, then perhaps you should consider learning Objective-C.
C# is a modern, object-oriented language developed by Microsoft in 2000. It’s used primarily for creating Windows applications but can also be used to write robust programs and websites.
Compared to other languages, C# has a reasonably simple syntax and is relatively easy to learn. However, its syntax is quite different from other languages, so you must get used to it.
Here are a few topics to focus on when learning C# for SEO purposes:
- Classes and Objects: Learn how to create and use classes and objects in C#.
- LINQ: Understand the basics of Language-Integrated Query (LINQ), so you can query data efficiently.
- Asynchronous Programming: Learn about asynchronous programming to create responsive web applications.
How C# Will Help You as an SEO
C# is an excellent choice for SEOs who want to create Windows applications or websites with powerful features. It’s also the language of choice when creating desktop applications for Windows computers.
Web browsers such as Edge and Internet Explorer are written in C#, so it’s an excellent choice for SEOs who want to create applications that interact with them. Plus, with the introduction of .NET Core, you can now write code that works on multiple platforms, including Mac OS and Linux.
Now that you know which programming languages to focus on as an SEO, it’s time to decide how to approach the learning process. Here are some tips for building your programming knowledge:
- Get a good book or tutorial on the language you want to learn.
- Join forums and discussion boards related to the language and ask questions.
- Look for open-source projects related to the language and try to contribute.
- Spend time looking at existing code written in the language and think about how you can improve it.
- Participate in user groups or hackathons related to the language so you can learn from other developers.
Practice, practice, practice! You will not become an expert overnight, but with enough practice and dedication, you can learn any programming language.
Here are a few suggestions on the roadmaps to take:
No matter which roadmap you choose, the important thing is to have a clear goal and timeline. Set milestones for yourself and make sure you stick to them. And remember – practice makes perfect! With enough persistence, you’ll be writing code like a pro in no time. Good luck!