Programming for SEOs – Whiteboard Friday

Maybe it is crossed your thoughts a few times earlier than: You know, this is able to be quite a bit simpler if I simply knew how you can program. But it is an intimidating topic, particularly in case you’re undecided of your technical experience, and there is a lot to be taught that it is laborious to know the place to begin.

In at this time’s Whiteboard Friday, grasp technical search engine marketing Paul Shapiro shares why it is so essential for SEOs and entrepreneurs to take the programming plunge, explains key ideas, and helps you identify one of the best plan of action for you to get began with regards to leveling up your technical prowess.

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz followers. Paul Shapiro right here, Head of search engine marketing at Catalyst. I am right here to speak to you at this time about programming for SEOs and entrepreneurs. 

Why do you have to discover ways to program? 

I believe there are actually a number of key advantages to studying how you can program.

1. Improved developer relations

First, being developer relations. As SEOs, we’re always working with builders to implement our suggestions. Understanding why they make sure choices, how they assume is absolutely pivotal to working with them higher. 

2. Become a greater technical search engine marketing

Understanding how you can program makes you a greater technical search engine marketing. Just understanding the development of internet sites and the way they function actually helps you do quite a bit higher along with your search engine marketing. Automation. As entrepreneurs, as SEOs, all of us typically do very repetitive duties, and having the ability to reduce down on the time spent to do these repetitive duties is absolutely key.

It actually opens up the chance to do issues and focus extra on technique and the opposite issues that you may’t go away to automation. 

three. Leveling up your information evaluation

If anybody is acquainted with this quantity, 1,048,576, that is the row restrict in Microsoft Excel.

As entrepreneurs, we’re swimming in a sea of knowledge. It’s very straightforward to work with a dataset that effectively exceeds that. I usually work with a whole lot of thousands and thousands of rows of knowledge. Utilizing a program language like R or Python is a extremely great way of dealing with that quantity of knowledge. 

four. Literacy

It’s turning into actually, actually extra frequent within the States to be taught how you can program in elementary college. So by studying how you can program, you are on equal footing with the kids of the world, folks which will enter the office sooner or later. So you do not even need to discover ways to program in depth. But I do suggest you at the least perceive the ideas and logic behind programming.

Which language do you have to be taught? 

Oftentimes I hear folks say, “I did a little bit of programming in college or high school. I learned so-and-so language.” To them, I say, “You’re in great shape. Stick to whichever programming language you’re comfortable with.” You haven’t got to begin from sq. one.

Plenty of the programming languages share a typical logic. But in case you are ranging from sq. one and you should simply resolve on which programming language I’ll be taught at this time, I’ve two suggestions. 


If you are happening the trail of knowledge evaluation, your main motive for studying how you can program is to work with information and do extra refined issues with information, then I believe there is not any higher language than Python.

Python could be very effectively-outfitted. There are a lot of libraries designed particularly for information evaluation, and it is a very way more strong language than one thing like R. 


If you are happening the trail of net growth, you need to be a greater technical search engine marketing, you need to perceive how web sites are constructed, JavaScript is an extremely strong programming language that has boomed in utilization on web sites over the previous couple of years.

It’s additionally very able to doing backend net growth with a language like Node.js, which is only a variant of JavaScript. The solely difficulty with studying JavaScript is I might say that you should be taught CSS and HTML first. So there’s a bit bit extra of a studying curve than say studying Python.

Example ideas

Now I need to undergo some primary programming ideas so that you just stroll away feeling a bit bit extra snug with the thought of studying a program so it is rather less intimidating. 


The first idea I need to undergo is the thought of a variable. These are similar to algebra, like primary algebra.

So you’ll be able to assign x is the same as 2 or another worth, after which we are able to use that later. So x plus 2 is four. Variables can have any identify. We’re utilizing Python syntax for example. So the primary variable we now have is a variable referred to as “animal,”and it is equal to the worth “cat.”

This is a string, which is only a little bit of textual content that we assign to it. Now variables may very well be of many differing types. So the variable “number” will be equal to 2, an integer. Or the variable “colors” is usually a record, which is a kind of Python array. Arrays are simply variables with a number of values. So on this occasion, colours is the same as pink, blue, and inexperienced, and it is simply denoted with the brackets.


The subsequent idea I would such as you to know is situations, so if/else being a primary situation that we’d work with. It reads quite a bit like English. So if the variable “animal” is the same as “cat,” which it’s, print out the textual content “MEOW!” If “animal” wasn’t equal to “cat,” say it was equal to “dog,”then we’d print out “Woof!”

Then the output, since “animal” is the same as “cat,” is “MEOW!” Loops. There are many various kinds of loops. I’ll use a for loop for example. Again, it reads a bit bit just like the English language. So we now have a variable “colors,”which we all know is the same as pink, blue, and inexperienced.

So we need to say for each worth in that variable “colors,”print out that worth. So for x in colours, print (x). It will undergo every one, one after the other and print it out. So the primary worth is pink. It will get printed out. The second worth is blue. It will get printed out.


The final worth is inexperienced. It will get printed out, and the code ceases. Now the final idea I need to clarify is features. Functions very merely are reusable snippets of code. So we now have a really primary perform right here, which we outline as moz, so the perform moz, which has the worth one line of code print (“WBF!”) for Whiteboard Friday.

If we execute the perform moz, it’ll print out the worth “WBF!” So all these ideas in themselves aren’t very helpful. But whenever you begin actually programming and also you begin stringing all of them collectively, you are doing all types of refined issues, and it turns into very, very highly effective constructing blocks to doing a lot higher issues.

Learning sources

So now that you just perceive programming and why you need to do it, I need to go away you with some sources to really be taught. 

Lynda/LinkedIn Learning

The first useful resource I like to recommend is Lynda. It bought rebranded LinkedIn Learning. The motive why I like to recommend Lynda is as a result of many, many public libraries give you a subscription for free.

There’s a ton of various programming courses in there. You can definitely get a Python class. Many ranges of superior Python and JavaScript. You may also be taught different issues, which I believe is fairly cool. So I positively suggest Lynda/LinkedIn Learning. 


When I used to be studying to program initially, I truly went to the library and needed to take out books and attempt to do it myself. Nowadays, there are tons of different sources, like Codecademy.

Codecademy is improbable. It’s fully interactive. So it’ll undergo all the assorted ideas, and one after the other it’ll ask you to kind of carry out them in a really logical method so that you be taught it in an optimum manner. I positively suggest Codecademy. They have each a JavaScript and a Python module. The MOOCs on-line.


If you’re the person who wants a extra conventional classroom surroundings, you’ll be able to be taught for free, replicating that classroom surroundings at dwelling. These are web sites like Coursera. Plenty of the foremost universities supply them. There are programs there. W3Schools, which could be very useful for any kind of net growth, they’ve excellent, very primary tutorials on JavaScript and CSS and HTML and something you would possibly have to be taught net growth.

Python for Data Analysis

It additionally acts as a useful reference information. If you are occupied with studying Python for information evaluation, there’s one guide that I extremely suggest. It is “Python for Data Analysis” by McKinney. That’s an O’Reilly guide. McKinney was the creator of Pandas, which is a really effectively used Python library for information evaluation. So hopefully you have walked away rather less afraid of programming and are excited to be taught.

Bonus: FreeCodeCamp

Another nice free useful resource for studying net growth and JavaScript is 

Leave your feedback within the part under. Thanks for watching. Till subsequent time.

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