So, you’re hiring a Search Engine Optimisation (SE0) Consultant, you may have no experience or be an expert in the field, it really doesn’t matter Here are some very important questions which you will need to ask the potential SEO candidate if you are to secure a winning search strategy for your business.
If you are to structure your interview with the following 13 questions then you will find that the hiring process achieves a successful outcome – an efficient, profitable and top class SEO consultant working for your organisation.
13 Very Important Questions For The Candidate:
- Does he/she promise you the world and create some kind of fantasy idea that your business’ sales are going to double in month two?
If the real answer to this is yes,o, re-think hiring this SEO consultant, it’s unrealistic that any SEO manager / consultant / agency / company can simply flick a switch and your sales are transformed.
Every project size is different, therefore, every project timeline will be different, this is the real answer.
Take a deeper analysis and look into your business environment, industry and competition to think of what kind of time you should need to allocate to SEO.
Is it a large enterprise? If this is the case, it’s going to take longer as there will need to be more time spend on your entire SEO strategy.
- Does he or she confuse you with technical answers when you ask a simple question?
If so, the potential SEO consultant is unable to clearly communicate simple language (i.e. easily able to translate ‘SEO talk’ into plain English) then he or she is incompetent in describing the service which he is providing, therefore this is an instant signal not to hire for me.
- Does he or she place valuable weight on the importance of monthly and weekly reporting?
Reporting to clients and internally to your staff results in projects being analysed and kept updated, this also allows for understanding project efficiency and improvements which need to be made.
- Does the SEO Consultant actually pro-actively build relevant, high-authority links?
If your SEO consultant doesn’t understand how to link one relevant website to another, you’ve got a problem. If your potential staff member places more important on high-quality content too he’s got the strategy wrong, your SEO strategy must be holistic, considering all digital channels, search, paid, e-mail and social. High-quality content is just one part of a strong, structured SEO strategy.
- Ask your potential SEO Consultant – how important are facts, figures, statistics and percentages within written content?
Google is building a knowledge graphic and now ranks websites based on quality and accuracy. of information. See why Google wants to rank websites based on facts.
With Google expressed that it is now placing importance on accuracy of knowledge, see this knowledge graphic article.
- Does your SEO Consultant candidate use tools to automate laborious practices which will ultimately cost you lots of money in the long-term?
Tools are mandatory for things such as rank reporting and tracking website traffic, enquiries, sales and other innovative marketing solutions, such as tracking creative info-graphics, images and videos.
- Ask your SEO Consultant what structured data mark-up means?
Put simply, naming code properly so your pages appear in Google’s Search Results Pages, if he or she names things such as “breadcrumbs” and “rich snippets” you are on to a winner.
If he or she doesn’t understand this small technical element of website health and visibility then I would say no to this candidate. This is simple, very effective at improving search engine visibility and is a MUST for all SEO strategies. Think again if the candidate stutters, doesn’t know or passes on this question.
- Ask your potential SEO consultant – What kind of practices do you use? Are they ethical?
The winning answer to this question is: “I work within Google’s guidelines and webmaster tools policy”.
Hiring the perfect SEO consultant can be very difficult, and you may have to filter your way through what seems like a large list. However, this particular question is one of the most important SEO success factors.
If he or she uses malicious, manipulative or “fast cash” strategies then move on to the next candidate, you’re business will vanish over night using these methods and practices.
- Ask your potential SEO consultant- Can you achieve strong keyword ranking results in 6-9 months?
If you both agree this is a reasonable timeframe then this SEO consultant is competent enough to lead your SEO strategy successfully. However do make sure every client is tightly managed at all times and full, in-depth keyword research has been completed prior to SEO work taking place (this is absolutely essential).
On the other hand, if he or she does not understand that their job, as an SEO consultant, is to build relevant traffic and generate leads, think again with this candidate.
- Does your SEO consultant place too much weight on social media activity and its impact on the suggested SEO strategy?
Creating high-quality content which answers questions and is factual, syndicating this content (obviously), building high-quality natural links and improving technical SEO tweaks and changes, such as h1, h2, h3s etc.
Making sure there are categories on your blog, products have relevant image alt-tags, categories are tagged appropriately, meta description optimisation and page title optimisation on all pages is taking place is very important/ If the majority of these are answered accordingly then you may be onto a winning SEO consultant.
Social media isn’t the winning answer unfortunately, in actual fact, it’s very far from it, and if it was SEO would be much, much easier. I’m not knocking social media. By all means share your content, but don’t place any more than an hour per week on social media management, when was the last time that you heard of a company gaining a lead from Facebook? Facebook advertising may be correct for some business models, but for other ‘s it may not. You need to weigh up the pros and cons
- Ask your SEO About historic algorithm updates. Here’s a great question to ask:
“Can you please explain the Google Penguin & Google Panda algorithm updates have their impact on websites?”
Answer? Put simply,
Google Penguin Algorithm Update – Put simply, a landmark Google update which refreshed a perceived website’s link-graph and rating indication with Google.
Google Panda Algorithm Update – This update refers to on-page elements such as duplicate content on websites. Bad websites got penalised.
Any hesitations, stutters, shifty looks or long pauses and no direct answers is again, a no for this candidate.
- Ask your potential SEO consultant – how important is domain authority and trust in general?
Again, this is very simple, high-authority domains and authority links will improve your SEO results. Linking to websites such as BBC, Wikipedia and Reddit are examples of high-authority and trusted online sources.
In its most simplistic term, would you trust a person if your friend indicated that the said person was un-trustworthy?
Back-links are votes for trusted sources, similar to the way academic journal articles reference to trusted sources.
If the potential candidate wants to build lots of links within the first few weeks he or she may be building low-quality links. See here for Google’s guidelines on link-building practices.
- Does your SEO have strong practical results and examples where he can show has provided a real return on investment (ROI)?
Note: Ask your potential SEO consultant for practical examples.
- Has he built high-quality and trust worth back-links for his previous customers, if so, what are the examples?
- What kind of competitive keywords has or she managed to achieve position 1 results for?
Can’t find your SEO consultant?
Good luck, enjoy your interview and if you need any help with this SEO interview guide please just contact me.