If you’re looking to improve your website’s search engine ranking, you may be considering hiring an SEO professional. However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your business. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of finding and hiring the right SEO professionals for your business.
We’ll discuss what to look for in an SEO company, what questions to ask, and how to negotiate a contract. So whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been burned by bad SEO advice in the past, this guide will help you find the best professionals to help you achieve your online marketing goals!
I run an academy to train digital marketers, including SEO professionals. The objective of the 7boats Academy is simple: train young minds in the tenets of digital marketing and equip them with everything they need to be successful professionals. This is not entirely a commercial venture for me.
In my work as an internet marketer, I have noticed that it is quite tough to find the right person for the job of an SEO executive. There are no recognized or reliable training centers around to turn to. Instead of complaining about the lack of thoroughbred professionals, I decided to build up these minds, both for my in-house SEO team and for other SEO units where they choose to work.
No, this post is not about the 7boats Academy! This is about how important it is to find the right SEO professionals for your team. The online world is one that accepts no mistakes and once you commit them, they are indelible. No matter what you do, you cannot blot out blunders.
The lesson that I have learnt in my experience is that it is so much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to digital marketing. Without any trusted unit to train them, I have often hired amateurs in the hope of blooding them into the arena. It has worked in some cases and others have gone disastrously awry! Let me first talk about what it takes to be the right SEO professional.
Picking the Right Mind
SEO is not a fill-it-and-forget-it kind of job. The process of learning is dynamic and very research-oriented. Once you have imparted the basic training of SEO and explained the concepts, it will require active learning on the part of the SEO professional to continue with the learning process. In other words, the right mind for SEO is one that is inquisitive and interested in the profession.
As an SEO professional, they will be required to check up webinars, read blogs, keep updated on Google’s updates, test out new techniques and methods. Do they have the stomach for that kind of continued pursuit of SEO knowledge that may well extend beyond official working hours? These are some pre-requisites that go into making a successful SEO professional.
The Quick Learner
Here, you are looking at more than just skills and experience in the domain: you need aptitude. SEO is definitely a specialized job and professionals who end up being successful need a keen learner’s mind. SEO is more about learning on the job and attuning themselves to the changing times. Google is coming up with updates and new technologies all the time.
What you learn today may be rendered ineffective, even redundant, in a couple of months even! In such an industry, a professional who closes down his learning aperture will only die a premature death, and also pull down your company in the process.
The Write Factor
SEO involves some writing as well. I’m not talking about content writing here. I’m talking about the small snippets of writing required here and there for SEO work. For example, writing an appropriate title or meta tag for a web page. You cannot have a content writer at the SEO person’s beck and call all the time to write out these minor boxes during the course of work!
You need someone who’s good enough to handle these situations on their own. At times, it is important to convey technical details to clients in a jargon-free language that also packs in some persuasion! Can the SEO person handle it on their own? You are looking for someone who requires very little hand-holding in these matters.
Analytical Thinking and Data
No SEO professional’s life is complete without these two. You may argue here that teaching the tricks of Google Analytics is all it takes to throw up a SEO person. Not true! Knowing the tool is only half the job done. The trickier part is to make sense of the statistical data and draw conclusions. Will your SEO person have the stomach to go through pages of spreadsheets to pursue a probable explanation?
If the answer is no, you are barking up the wrong tree! A critical and analytical mind is absolutely necessary for SEO professionals. Data means little unless interpreted and that is the job of the SEO professional. I have little time for an SEO amateur who speaks in numbers without providing any clue to what those numbers signify.
Aptitude for research
Other than being a quick learner, an SEO executive needs the aptitude for research. Without fact finding missions and self-teaching assignments on complicated topics related to SEO, an SEO expert cannot function properly. Research includes not just finding out data and drawing up statistics about keywords, competitors and SEO rankings. It also includes figuring out what will work better for the SEO initiative and what will bring in quicker, more stable results.
The aptitude to conduct tireless research, to glean and parse data, to draw analyses, to coalesce them and then come up with new facts is something that cannot be taught. You need an SEO executive who has a natural flair for doing this kind of homework and research for your assignment, keeping the time factor in mind.
Born for the Internet
Borrowing this tagline of a brand, SEO professionals really have to someone who’s born for the internet! It helps when you take on someone who’s already used Facebook and Twitter actively in their personal capacity. Or better still, someone who’s blogged and participated in forum discussions, etc.
These young guns have an advantage over the others: they are comfortable with the internet in a very unobtrusive kind of way. What happens is, when you ask them to handle a profile on Twitter or something, they are already well-aware of many basic ideas! That is a definite advantage for an SEO professional.
Steps to choose the right SEO professionals or SEO agency
When you’re ready to start looking for an SEO professional, the first step is to identify your goals. What do you want to achieve with your website? Do you want to increase your traffic, improve your conversion rate, or both? Once you know what you’re trying to accomplish, you can start looking for an SEO company that specializes in those areas.
Next, you’ll want to ask around for recommendations. Talk to other businesses in your industry and see who they’ve used in the past. Once you have a few names, you can start researching each company. Look at their website and see if they have any case studies or testimonials that you can read. You should also check out their social media profiles to see what kind of content they share and how engaged their followers are.
When you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to start reaching out to companies for quotes. This is where you’ll want to have a good understanding of your budget. SEO services can vary widely in price, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting quotes from companies that you can afford. Once you have a few quotes in hand, you can start comparing services and prices to see who offers the best value for your money.
Finally, when you’re ready to hire an SEO company, be sure to sign a contract. This will protect both you and the company in case of any misunderstandings or disagreements down the road. A contract should outline the scope of work, deliverables, and payment terms. Once you’ve signed a contract, you can sit back and let the SEO professionals do their job!
What to Ask New SEO Recruits for Your Team
To get the best minds on board for your SEO team, you have to begin by asking the right questions at the recruiting stage itself. Unless you do that, you will not be able to get those SEO specialists who think out of the box. The answers that the new hires give to these questions will give you a fair idea about their knowledge, their attitude towards SEO and what value they will add to your online marketing division. Here are the top questions that you must always ask SEO hires:
What are SEO hands without specialized knowledge? You have to ask them about their specialty and how much they know about the latest trends and norms of the industry. You can find out a lot about the passion and interest of the concerned interviewee by this question.
Online Reading Habits
By finding out what your prospective SEO hire reads online, you will be able to find out how much they are in touch with the changing times. Are they reading up on Google’s new updates and their effect on SEO? If the blogs that they name are premiere sources of information when it comes to SEO, you are interviewing the right choice.
SEO is not a one-way street. One has to multitask furiously in order to be successful. The new SEO additions to your team will have to multitask if they have to meet with success. If they are attuned to handling one job at a time, you might do better to get a multitasking person onboard.
An SEO executive without a strategy to work on is like a rudderless ship. They cannot reach any goal. The new SEO recruit must be clear about strategy and how to chalk out a working plan to achieve the desired goal. You can share your website’s analytics data with them and find out what kind of strategy they can offer you.
When the new SEO recruit talks about grabbing SERP slots as a primary goal, you have to look elsewhere! Pay more respect to goals like online branding, exposure to newer avenues and the likes. SEO goals go a long way to determine what your SEO recruit can do for your company or brand.
The Final Word
If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to finding and hiring the right SEO professionals for your business. Just remember to be clear about your goals, do your research, and don’t be afraid to negotiate a contract. With the right team in place, you can achieve amazing things with your website!
I’m a firm believer in training people myself, especially those who are going to matter so much to me professionally! That is why I’d prefer a young mind that I can shape up with my own SEO values as opposed to an inflexible but experienced person. Such a hiring usually ends in disaster! What other qualities do you think are important in an SEO professional? Write in!
Do you have any tips for hiring an SEO professional? Share them in the comments below! And if you’re looking for more help with your website’s SEO, be sure to check out our other blog posts on the topic!