Antoine Eripret, the SEO Lead at Liligo.com, decided to learn Python for SEO because he realized he was wasting time.
He got interested in search engine optimization as a student, and entered the industry full-time after getting his Masters in 2016.
As he built experience in the field, he says, “I realized that I was sometimes doing the same tasks over and over. Things like copy-pasting a value from one file to another — repetitive mechanical steps. I started to realize that maybe there’s a smarter way to do that.”
At the same time, his work with some clients involved dealing with large datasets. Excel and large datasets don’t always work well together, and Antoine realized he also wanted to find a way to “handle a lot of data without having to pray in front of your computer that Excel won’t crash.”
So he did what any SEO expert would do. He Googled it.
Learning Python the Wrong Way
Antoine quickly found that learning some Python programming could probably solve both of his problems. “With Python, you have the ability to automate tasks, and it’s also really great for data analysis,” he says.
So he started trying to learn Python. It didn’t last long. “I basically gave up,” he says, “because I started learning the wrong way.”
He bought Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, a well-liked book for Python beginners, but it just didn’t work for him.
“The issue was when I tried to apply the stuff explained in the book,” he says. “I had a really hard time going from the theory, which is explained in the book very well, to the practice of being able to apply it to my own problems. So I gave up.”
I have one script that I use on a weekly basis that saves me an hour. Python is a huge time-saver.
Antoine Eripret ● SEO Lead, Liligo.com
After a while, though, Antoine decided to give learning Python a second shot. That’s when he found Dataquest.
Why Dataquest Worked for Antoine
For his second attempt, Antoine knew he wanted to learn with an online platform. That way he’d be able to directly apply things as he learned them, and he’d have access to a built-in community that was familiar with what he was studying whenever he needed help.
Once he knew he needed a platform, he started looking up reviews, opinions, and trying out different platforms. Ultimately, he says, “I was choosing between DataCamp and Dataquest. I went for Dataquest because the way you explain things is better for going from the theory to the practice, at least for me.”
Since he wasn’t a total Python beginner, Antoine wanted to skip some of the introductory course material. But he found it difficult to do that with video-based platforms like DataCamp. He couldn’t know whether their videos contained new-to-him information unless he watched them.
This left him with an uncomfortable choice: waste time watching videos about things he already knew, or skip the videos and risk missing important information.
With Dataquest’s text-based approach, he didn’t have to make that choice. It was easy for him to skim through the lessons, skipping over sections on concepts he knew and slowing down whenever his eyes caught something new.
He also liked that Dataquest doesn’t leave out visual learners. It’s text-based, but it’s not just text — concepts are explained using illustrations and animations, too. “For instance, with Boolean indexing,” he says, “the first time I read about the concept I was like, ‘What the **** is that?’ But then you have that animation with the red and the blue where you show how it works.”
“That’s something that I really liked about Dataquest,” he says. “It’s written, yeah, but you also have some very, very good visual explanations.”
“Dataquest is an amazing platform,” he says, even for people who don’t aspire to have full-time jobs in data science. “It’s not SEO focused, it’s data science focused, but I don’t mind because when you work in SEO you have to handle and transform a lot of data.”
Antoine worked through our Data Analyst in Python courses, skipping things he already knew or that weren’t relevant to his work as he went. And now that he’s completed the path, he’s even more confident that he made the right choice.
“Dataquest was the best option for me because of the way things are taught and the way things are explained,” he says.
Using Python for SEO
So did learning Python skills help Antoine solve the problems he thought it would?
“Right now,” he says, “I basically use Python for data crunching, data blending, and being able to do whatever I want, because I have the Python community behind me.”
He’s no longer praying for Excel not to crash, and he’s written Python scripts to automate some of his regular tasks.
For example, he says, “I have one script that I use on a weekly basis that saves me an hour each Wednesday. I spent probably three hours to create it.”
That one script alone is now saving him 40+ hours of work each year, the equivalent of a full work week of time he now has back. And that’s not the only automation script he’s written.
“At the end of the day, Python is a huge time saver,” he says. “It also really helps for some specific SEO tasks where you can’t use commercially available tools like Screaming Frog.”
“For 95% of tasks, those commercial tools are fine,” he says. “But sometimes you need some more advanced tool, something that’s really custom-built. Python allows me to build these tools, and to work more efficiently.”
Dataquest was the best option for me because of the way things are taught and the way things are explained.
Antoine Eripret ● SEO Lead, Liligo.com
Despite the industry hype, Antoine says, Python skills aren’t required for working in SEO, although they can certainly be helpful. Antoine advises starting with a specific problem you’re trying to solve, rather than just trying to learn Python (or any other language) for its own sake.
It’s also a good idea to think about other factors, like the size of the learner community and whether the language’s syntax works for you.
He also echoes some advice we’ve heard from a lot of successful learners: don’t be afraid of Googling for answers, but don’t copy-paste code you don’t understand, either.
Everybody Googles, Antoine says. The key is trying to understand the solutions you find in the search results so that the next time you encounter that problem, you’re able to solve it on your own.
“You won’t be paid less or more because you’re Googling stuff,” he says. “At the end of the day, your client or your employer is concerned about the end results.”