If you want your company to be visible online, you need to have not only a beautifully designed website with well-written content but also – and perhaps most importantly – a lot of organic traffic. And although ads can also help boost traffic, nothing beats the impact of organic search.
This is why having a top SEO specialist on your team is key for leveraging your content marketing efforts and getting your website to rank.
But how can you make sure the next person you hire will actually be able to achieve the results you’re aiming for? How can you assess their SEO skills accurately?
Thankfully, this is easy if you have the right hiring tools at hand:
- A Technical SEO test to evaluate applicants’ technical SEO knowledge
- The right SEO-related interview questions to make the most of your interviews
In this article, we’ll explain why it’s vital to hire the best of the best to handle your website’s SEO and the skills that the perfect candidate for the role should have.
Table of contents
- Why should you care about SEO? SEO’s benefits for businesses
- Why should you prioritize hiring a top SEO specialist?
- What skills do expert SEO specialists need to be successful?
- ✅ Hire your next SEO specialist the easy way
Why should you care about SEO? SEO’s benefits for businesses
Let’s first start with the basics: Why is SEO so important?
When users search for information or a product online, they rarely click on any of the results past the first three or four – if they scroll down that far at all.
On average, Google’s first result has a click-through rate of 28.5%, whereas the second and third results have click-through rates of 15.7% and 11%, respectively. And the 10th one? Only 2.5%. This makes it easy to see how ranking in the first three spots can translate into real, tangible business results, such as more sales or signups.
Let’s look at all the ways that a well-designed SEO strategy can benefit your organization:
- Ranking in the top results translates into business success: If your website ranks in the top three results for some of your most important keywords, you’ll get in front of more people, which helps you sell more.
- SEO helps you match users’ search intent: Whenever visitors are looking for something, they expect a specific result – to learn more about a topic, buy a product or a service, compare products, and so on. SEO helps you match your content to users’ search intent and give them exactly what they’re looking for.
- Your brand image gets a boost: With the help of SEO, you can make your brand more recognizable and visible and build your customers’ trust over the long term.
- SEO can help you uncover unexplored growth opportunities: With the help of keyword research and analysis, you could find ranking and growth opportunities that your competitors haven’t yet discovered.
Why should you prioritize hiring a top SEO specialist?
Given the many benefits of SEO, it’s not surprising that companies are competing to source and hire the best talent. If you care about inbound marketing and traffic growth, hiring a technical SEO specialist should be at the top of your priority list.
To find out who has what it takes to perform well, you need to test their technical skills and other qualities. However, this is easier said than done.
The market is flooded with SEO experts who are not actually experts at all, and only a few of them can help you rank well consistently. Therefore, it’s crucial to know how to hire the best and avoid the headache and expenses of making a bad hire.
Otherwise said, making an informed, data-driven hiring decision when hiring your next SEO expert is super important and can make all the difference to your company’s success.
What skills do expert SEO specialists need to be successful?
Let’s look at the top five skills an SEO expert should have. This will help you understand the role and how to assess SEO professionals.
1. Technical SEO skills
Most importantly, your next SEO specialist should have a deep understanding of SEO and always be looking for ways to stay up to date with the latest developments in the field. Keep in mind that technical SEO is not the same as SEO writing.
If you need to hire a strong SEO writer, you must find someone who’s familiar with SEO content strategies and best practices. However, if you’re looking for an SEO strategist, you need someone who understands the technical aspects of SEO, like the performance and speed of your website, site errors, redirects, and more.
We’ve built a Technical SEO online test specifically designed to assess applicants’ comprehension of technical SEO. It helps you get an accurate understanding of your candidates’ knowledge and immediately identify who has the talent you need. You can then invite the most successful applicants to an interview to discuss SEO further.
You can also give them a Google Analytics test to ensure you hire the best candidates.
2. Critical thinking
SEO experts need strong critical-thinking skills to look at a problem from different angles. It’s essential for an SEO expert to be able to look at the results of their work and determine the reason behind them.
Did your website lose half of its organic traffic after the last Google update? Your SEO expert must understand why and how to address issues like this. Did an article perform much better than expected? If so, they should be able to analyze the reasons behind its success and replicate it for other pieces of content you create.
It’s best to evaluate candidates’ critical thinking with a skills test and interview questions.
3. Problem solving
Identifying and solving problems is a large part of an SEO expert’s job. They need problem-solving skills to assess a website’s ranking performance, find problems that impact it, and act on their findings.
To assess applicants’ problem-solving abilities, discuss with them past challenges and issues they’ve tackled in previous roles. Do they have a consistent strategy? Are they able to explain it?
Additionally, you can use an online Problem Solving test to get a more detailed understanding of the way applicants approach problems.
4. Analytical skills
SEO isn’t magic, and Google’s algorithms aren’t fully transparent. In other words, nobody can guarantee a specific ranking position or result by a specific date. But with strong analytical skills, you can achieve a lot in terms of search performance.
Your next hire should be able to:
- Perform keyword research for your niche and industry
- Analyze current results and build a strategy based on their findings
- Implement strategies and look at performance to identify potential areas of improvement
- Look at large volumes of data and draw meaningful conclusions
To evaluate an applicant’s analytical skills, discuss their portfolio with them. Ask them to show you specific results they’ve achieved, and examine their methods.
5. Cognitive flexibility
According to the WEF, cognitive flexibility is one of the most important skills for the future. There’s a good reason for this: The ability to learn and upskill, rather than just having specific technical skills and knowledge, sets outstanding employees apart from the rest.
SEO is a field that is constantly evolving. Strategies that worked in 2021 won’t work in 2023, and approaches that helped propel websites into the stratosphere five years ago are now considered black-hat SEO and could get your website penalized.
For this reason, it’s essential to hire not only an expert but an expert learner, i.e., someone with the cognitive flexibility to constantly acquire new knowledge and implement it in their work. Look at your candidates’ career progression and ask them questions related to past roles in which they’ve needed to quickly acquire new skills to succeed.
Hire your next SEO specialist the easy way
Hiring an expert SEO specialist doesn’t need to be mission impossible; in fact, it can be quite easy if you use the right hiring tools.
We advise creating a skills assessment of up to five skills tests, including some of the tests mentioned above (especially the Technical SEO test). You can also add tests to evaluate other skills that are relevant to the role. Then send the assessment to all your applicants, and invite the best ones to an interview.
This approach enables you to concentrate on only the most qualified applicants and screen out those who don’t match your requirements early on without wasting time interviewing them. Plus, you get accurate data on applicants’ skills and other qualities, helping you make the right hiring decision.
Get rid of lengthy, inefficient hiring processes: Hire your next SEO expert with TestGorilla’s skills assessments at a fraction of the time and cost. Get started for free today.