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How to Use Python to Analyze SEO Data: A Reference Guide

Do you find yourself doing the same repetitive SEO tasks each day or facing challenges where there are not tools that can help you?

If so, it might be time for you to learn Python.

An initial investment of time and sweat will pay off in significantly increased productivity.

While I’m writing this article primarily for SEO professionals who are new to programming, I hope that it’ll be useful to those who already have a background in software or Python, but who are looking for an easy-to-scan reference to use in data analysis projects.

Table of Contents

Python Fundamentals

Python is easy to learn and I recommend you spend an afternoon walking over the official tutorial. I’m going to focus on practical applications for SEO.

When writing Python programs, you can decide between Python 2 or Python 3. It is better to write new programs in Python 3, but it is possible your system might come with Python 2 already installed, particularly if you use a Mac. Please also install Python 3 to be able to use this cheat sheet.

You can check your Python version using:

$python --version

Using Virtual Environments

When you complete your work, it is important to make sure other people in the community can reproduce your results. They will need to be able to install the same third-party libraries that you use, often using the exact same versions.

Python encourages creating virtual environments for this.

If your system comes with Python 2, please download and install Python 3 using the Anaconda distribution and run these steps in your command line.

$sudo easy_install pip
$sudo pip install virtualenv
$mkdir seowork 
$virtualenv -p python3 seowork

If you are already using Python 3, please run these alternative steps in your command line:

$mkdir seowork
$python3 -m venv seowork

The next steps allow work in any Python version and allow you to use the virtual environments.

$cd seowork
$source bin/activate
(seowork)$deactivate

When you deactivate the environment, you are back to your command line, and…

 

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