Putting The Brakes On Python

I write a lot of Python “code.” I put “code” in “quotes” because what I write would make any respectable programmer stab their own eyes out with weenie forks. But a few lines of code goes a long way when you’re trying to generate 5,000 description tags or optimize ads, trust me.

So I say to you: Python is neato. It’s helpful. It pumps up your nerd pectorals.

But it doesn’t automatically make you a better SEO. And it’s a trap. For every Python-inspired victory dance, there’s a five-hour coding jag that leaves me curled up with my cats, sobbing uncontrollably.

If you’re considering writing a script to automate some oh-so-dull SEO task, you need to do the math:

Tc = Time to code
Ts = Time saved
Ta = Times you will use this code again


Ta * Ts < Tc

Then you’re not coding for efficiency. You can still code for fun or to learn, but don’t expect a direct payoff.

Learning Python will help you out. You’ll understand:

  • The potential power of a few lines of code
  • Why developers push back on “simple” requests from the marketing team
  • How computers “think” about syntax, types of data, and resources
  • The importance of caffeinated beverages and electronica

I highly recommend dabbling. But tools are tools. Before you spend time on that Python script, ask yourself:

  • Am I coding for efficiency, or for fun? Either one’s fine, but be honest with yourself
  • Can I do the same thing with VLOOKUP? Folks talk about Python’s power as a data consolidator. They’re right – it’s wonderful. But Excel ain’t too shabby, either
  • Do I have software that already performs this task for me? Too often, we don’t know the tools we’ve got. Spend ten minutes learning Screaming Frog, for example, and you’ll save yourself a lot of indent-related headaches.

Otherwise, you may spend a lot of time coding and less time marketing. You have been warned.

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