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 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.
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.
The Final Word
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!