In today’s fiercely competitive online business space, a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy can make or break a business and this is largely dependent on how you hire an SEO expert. In fact, research has shown that the entire success of your online marketing strategy depends largely on the success of the SEO strategy you employ. This means that unless you’re well-versed in SEO, you might need to hire a competent person to manage and expand your business’s online presence.
Hiring for a crucial position is one of the most challenging tasks an entrepreneur has to perform as you can waste time and lose money if you hire wrongly. You don’t want to invest time and money into a person who will not deliver as expected. So, how can you go about hiring an SEO professional?
Here are 5 great ways to get in contact with and hire an SEO expert that can help you achieve your business goals.
1. Create a ‘Search List’
Work first on coming up with a pool of possible avenues where you can look for great digital marketing specialists. This will save you time and make your hiring process more focused. Digital Marketing agencies are a good place to start.
You can also ask other business owners for recommendations. Read SEO Consultant reviews on techie sites, examine the type of work they have done and the results achieved and contact a few that seem like a good fit for you.
While considering possible candidates, elevate work experience and past track records over education. This is because no college, university degree or marketing program can teach all the specific technical skills and savvy needed to succeed as an SEO expert.
Instead, look out for candidates with educational backgrounds in related fields such as communication, business, marketing etc., and consider it a plus if a candidate has an additional certification in a digital marketing oriented course.
2. Identify what you want before you start interviewing
You can’t hire correctly if you’re not clear on what you need them to do, how you need them to do it and why you need them to do it. If you’re not clear on the above yet, then you’re probably not ready to make a hire.
One of the best ways to hire an SEO expert is by making a list of the things you’re looking to achieve with SEO. For example, is your aim to drive more traffic to your site? To reach a wider online audience? To increase your conversion rate?
State the ways you think SEO can help you achieve them and then include what skills you think the SEO expert should possess to make your SEO goals a reality. Doing this gives you a reference you can turn to during the interview process.
3. Identify the SEO expert’s responsibilities
SEO job responsibilities vary depending on the organizational context. Clearly aligning your SEO goals with the job descriptions you intend to give a prospective candidate should give you a broad look at what you’re looking for.
However, there are basic skills you should look out for in an SEO expert and these include; ability to meet deadlines, excellent communication skills i.e copywriting, content and email writing; great organizational skills which mean the ability to work independently and within a team, and tech-savviness (i.e up-to-date technical skills).
4. Ask questions that prompt them to apply knowledge or give a practical test
If you’ve hired your employees before, you’d agree that a lot of candidates talk the talk but only very few can walk the walk. Make the effort to look beyond each candidate’s glowing resume and ask questions that cause them to engage their knowledge.
For example, if a candidate claims to be able to make a post on your site to rank #1 on Google in a very short time, ask them to enunciate in clear terms how they intend to do it. Here are a few practical questions you can ask them below:
- Give a brief record of your SEO experience – This will include the URL of sites you have worked on, what you did over a period of time and the results achieved.
- Take a look at our company’s site, what SEO mistakes are we making? What effect has it had on our site? How can we rectify it? What are we doing right? Why do you think so?
- How do you stay relevant and aware of the latest SEO trends?
- Should you be hired as our SEO expert?
- What do you plan to achieve after 3-6 months of working with us?
Feel free to expand on the questions above and tweak them to suit your organizational needs.
5. Ask for and analyze a quantifiable track record
As mentioned earlier, a positive track record is your best bet that a candidate can help you achieve your SEO goals. Ask them to give you a list of companies or former clients they have worked with and you can get in touch with the companies or people listed to ascertain what their working experience was like.
Successful SEO experts are usually quite proud of their work and will be eager to show you past successes. Additionally, they will be able to show long term results of their former clients that they are responsible or partly responsible for.
6. Make specific and firm contract agreements
Before you hire an SEO expert, you need to ask a lot of questions. Apart from helping you decide if the candidate is a good fit for the job, questions also aid you in coming to a work agreement you both feel good about.
It’s important to make sure that the SEO expert you’re looking to hire isn’t commencing work based on assumptions. State your expectations clearly. Ensure both of you come to an agreement on mode of work, communication style, work accountability, price etc.
Now you’re ready to hire an SEO Expert!
Remember that communicating your expectations, asking the right questions and following up on some positive track records are key. Any hiring process, if not handled effectively, can impede your organization’s growth.
However, using the tips outlined above will guide you through hiring skirmishes and ultimately help you pick the right person or agency to execute your SEO strategy. Go ahead and hire than SEO expert right away!