Seo advertising

3 Steps to Hire the Right SEO Expert for Your Business

If organic growth is your goal as an entrepreneur, sooner or later you will need to consider a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. For many companies, this means hiring an SEO expert to handle this strategy for them. The problem is that most business owners don’t know enough about SEO, or their SEO needs to know how to write a good job description, ask relevant interview questions, or assess a candidate’s skills in this domain.

Eli Schwartz, author of Product-focused SEO, has developed a keen sense of what works and what doesn’t over more than a decade of working as an SEO expert and consultant. His strategies have generated millions of dollars in revenue for some of the internet’s top websites, and he’s helped clients like Shutterstock, WordPress, Blue Nile, Quora, and Zendesk execute highly successful global SEO strategies. As head of SurveyMonkey’s SEO team, he grew the company’s organic search from just 1% of revenue to a key driver of global revenue.

“I’ve seen many SEO job descriptions that don’t seem to know what they’re looking for,” Schwartz said. “Some have responsibilities that date back ten years, while others have incredibly high standards. You might want to someone who understands content, project management, engineering and analytics, but finds these divergent skills in one person? Unlikely.”

In his experience, the three steps to hiring an SEO expert are assessing your business needs, determining compensation, and writing an effective job description.

1. Assess your company’s SEO needs

Start by taking a step back to get an idea of ​​your company’s SEO needs. You don’t want to end up having a strong tactical person but someone to develop the overall strategy, Schwartz advised. Most strategists have tactical abilities, but not all tactical people have strategy skills.

“The skill strengths of SEO practitioners can be broken down into four distinct functional areas, which are product management, copywriting, technical, and public relations,” Schwartz said. “Who you should hire depends entirely on your company’s existing SEO capabilities and gaps.”

In most cases, Schwartz said start-up companies should ideally hire a handyman with a variety of marketing and product skills. In late-stage companies where the new hire will only be working on SEO projects, prioritizing skill sets is critical. Finding someone who has experience and skills in all of these areas isn’t impossible, but it isn’t easy.

Schwartz said it’s much more efficient to figure out exactly what the business will need and where the bandwidth is to get things done. There is no perfect formula for knowing how to hire and which skills to prioritize, as the specifics will always be unique to each company.

2. Calculate fair compensation correctly

As evidenced by the diversity of skills and requirements, your first SEO marketer’s compensation will cover a wide range. For this reason, Schwartz declined to state the “ideal salary” for the position, nor does he think anyone should make such statements.

“From experience, I’ve never seen the many public SEO salary surveys line up with real in-house compensation packages,” he said. “Therefore, I would take them with a pinch of salt.”

Larger companies will have salary ranges that place SEO managers in a job category with some of the most common placements in product management, product marketing, content producers, performance marketers, or specialists. online marketing.

Small businesses that don’t use formal pay scales should align SEO salaries with one of the other most common job functions when setting up compensation packages. A pitfall to avoid is to seek to pay as little as possible, because “you get what you pay for!”

Another mistake that Schwartz says should be avoided at all costs is making part of the salary variable based on a KPI. This will lead to the wrong incentives and won’t help you prioritize your SEO efforts in the right direction of long-term sustainable growth.

“I’ve seen SEO bonuses aligned with link metrics, ranking positions, search clicks, and even revenue,” he shared. “It has always caused long-term and far-reaching negative impacts.”

3. Write a detailed job description

What is the ultimate goal you want an SEO expert to help you achieve? Schwartz said the answer to this question will form the basis of your job description.

Looking to launch a new site? Develop your content or your organic visibility? Once you’ve set your goal, try to break down the steps that might be needed to get there. These will be the specific requirements that should be in the job description.

For example, understanding what type of report might be needed to know when this goal is achieved and requiring familiarity with this tool. You also need to decide what kind of specialized skills the person needs. If you want a link builder, they don’t need a math background. If you want a technical SEO specialist, they don’t have to be a great communicator.

Know if you want a senior or junior hire and include the appropriate years of experience. Understand what types of previous jobs provide the ideal background for your hire. Do they need experience in a large company? Agency? Start-up business? Finally, you can include other interesting skills, as long as you specify that they are not requirements.

“Good preparation will make it easier to review resumes and decide who to hire,” Schwartz said. “Because you have clearly defined what the new employee will do once they are on board, it will also be much easier to decide who is the best candidate.”

Remember that SEO is done by humans

As you begin this process, remember that “good SEO is done by humans, for humans.” For a good SEO, you absolutely need the right people. That’s why Schwartz recommends that you find the person or people you can imagine owning the future success of your business.

Hire someone who can operate beyond the confines of your typical digital marketer and who demonstrates adaptability and creativity. They will take your SEO far beyond what you thought possible, so be careful and diligent about finding people you can trust for this big task.

“Anyone with a modicum of SEO knowledge can perform an SEO audit or create a keyword list,” Schwartz explained. “However, it takes a unique person to be able to combine customer empathy with layered creativity in SEO knowledge.”