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How to hire an SEO copywriter


Content reigns supreme in our digital world. It can attract new customers to your business, build your online presence, and develop your brand’s credibility. To produce it, you’ll need a writer who can craft clear, unique, SEO-optimized copy for your blog and website. 

Good SEO copywriters are creative self-starters with a talent for matching your brand’s tone of voice. They have a unique balance of hard and soft skills, including technical SEO knowledge and excellent communication abilities, that can help you grow your business and propel it to the top of Google.

But make the wrong hire, and your content might end up invisible, buried on the fourth page of search engine results with no page views and no impact. To prevent this, you’ll need to put your prospective copywriter through rigorous pre-employment testing. 

Sounds a bit intense? Don’t worry—we’re here to help.

Read on to learn how to hire a great SEO copywriter, including what skills to look for in a candidate, where to find great applicants, and how you can use an online platform like TestGorilla to measure their abilities.

What you need to know before hiring an SEO copywriter 

Before hiring an SEO copywriter, make sure you have the following information to hand:

Your content goals

Identify your objectives for your content. For example, are you looking to grow an audience, build authority in your niche, or drive sales? Your content goals are the foundation for your content marketing strategy and influence every aspect of your SEO copywriting efforts. 

Define your niche and target keywords

Be clear on your niche and the target keywords for a piece of content. SEO copywriters tend to specialize in different industries, such as fashion, finance, or lifestyle. However, they can also specialize in specific niches within those industries—for example, vintage fashion, cryptocurrency, or tarot card reading. Defining your target keywords within your niche will help you narrow down your search for the right SEO copywriter.

For example, in the fashion industry and vintage fashion niche, try using the following keywords to find a copywriter: 

  • Vintage fashion trends

  • Thrift store fashion finds

  • Retro style

  • Antique accessories 

Using an SEO copywriter with specific expertise in your industry is also crucial due to Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines. E-E-A-T- stands for “experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness”—so a copywriter who’s a recognized authority in your niche will help your content rank higher on the Google search results page.

Your voice and brand identity

You need to define your brand’s voice and identity before you hire a copywriter. For example, is your brand’s voice chatty and conversational or more formal and intellectual? Your niche, target market, and strategic brand positioning will all play a part in determining how your brand comes across.

A talented SEO copywriter should be able to match the tone and style of your brand regardless of their natural style. It will be essential to test this before hiring them, as they’ll contribute heavily towards maintaining your brand’s image.

What you’re offering in return

You need to decide on your compensation package before advertising your position. It should be competitive with other SEO copywriting jobs in your area and compared to the national average. For example, the average SEO copywriter salary in the US is $58,500.

You should also think about the benefits and perks of working for your business, such as the paid time off (PTO) allowance, sick leave, flexible working, gym membership, or on-site snacks. These can make your position more appealing to some candidates.

A clear job description

Your job description is an advertisement not only for the role but for you as an employer, so you need to pay close attention to it. A great description will include a clear overview of the role, the necessary skills and qualifications, the details of the compensation package, and a brief history of your business. You could also mention who your SEO copywriter will report to and provide positive job reviews from other employees. 

Skills and qualifications to look for in an SEO copywriter 

When hiring an SEO copywriter, look out for the following key skills:

Skills to look for in an SEO copywriter graphic

A skilled and knowledgeable writer

Your candidate should be a skilled writer and marketer with a solid understanding of grammar rules, sentence structure, and effective storytelling. They should also have a robust understanding of your niche through their qualifications or professional experience. For example, a skilled finance writer might have a degree in economics, a background as a financial advisor, or accounting qualifications. 


Good SEO copywriters are creative and original in their writing. Although it’s tricky to measure creativity, you should examine a candidate’s portfolio of work to assess their adaptability, wordplay, and language skills. It can also be beneficial to set a trial task for candidates to see how they approach a piece.

A self-starter

SEO copywriters need to be self-starters who can independently manage their work and take the initiative to meet deadlines and achieve goals. They often work alone, so they need to be resourceful, determined, and self-motivated in order to succeed. 

Technical understanding of SEO

A solid understanding of search engine optimization is essential for an SEO copywriter. They should be proficient in on-page and off-page SEO techniques, understand content optimization, and be able to do keyword research.

Previous experience

Although some SEO copywriters may have a journalism, marketing, or creative writing degree, many skilled writers are self-taught. They have gained their expertise through practical experience and have a vibrant portfolio of work to showcase their talents. Don’t disregard these candidates—they bring a wealth of qualities and experience to the table.  

Where to find skilled SEO copywriters 

When hiring a copywriter, it’s important to identify those with genuine skill and knowledge in your niche. A first step might be to post a job advert on LinkedIn, but using a range of recruitment channels will improve your reach. Try using the methods below to find your new hire:

5 creative ways to find SEO copywriter candidates 

  1. Attend industry events. Attending industry events for your niche can help you find SEO copywriters. For example, if you’re an HR and recruitment blog manager, try attending the HR Virginia Leadership Conference or the HR Tech Show. 

  2. Use freelance job boards. Freelance job boards like Upwork and Fiverr are home to thousands of content writers looking for gigs. You can also use specialist writing job boards like ProBlogger and bestwriting.com

  3. Engage with writers on social media. X (formerly Twitter) is great for finding freelance writers. Try using hashtags like #hiringcontentwriter or #freelancewritingwork to connect with potential candidates. 

  4. Browse online portfolios. Many skilled copywriters have online portfolios that showcase the best of their work. This can help you measure their writing ability, range of skills, and understanding of marketing techniques. Try searching for “Copywriter website + [your niche]” on Google to find appropriate writers.

  5. Collaborate with SEO agencies. If you’re looking for large-scale content production, an SEO agency may be the right choice, as they will have a team of skilled writers who can produce high-quality content for you. Look out for agencies with specific expertise in your subject area.  

How to select the best SEO copywriter candidates

To hire the best SEO copywriter, you need to adopt a skills-based hiring approach. This means focusing on the competencies and capabilities of a candidate rather than just on their past writing jobs or qualifications. 

Many SEO copywriters are self-taught or pivoted into content writing after a successful career in a particular niche or industry. Such people bring a wealth of industry knowledge to the table, so you shouldn’t overlook them because of a lack of copywriting qualifications. 

Instead, you can use pre-employment testing platforms like TestGorilla to measure crucial skills like writing ability, creativity, and SEO understanding. With over 300 scientifically validated tests, TestGorilla’s library has all you need to assess a prospective SEO copywriter.

For example, you can use TestGorilla’s SEO copywriting test to assess a candidate’s understanding of both on-page and off-page SEO, keywords, search behaviors, and website content optimization. Additionally, you can use English language tests, typing speed tests, and technical SEO skills tests to measure a candidate’s proficiency in these core copywriting skills. 

To test whether a candidate will be a good culture add, you could also test their motivation and Enneagram personality type.

Once you’ve assessed a candidate’s skills and personality, invite the top performers to an in-person interview. To inspire your questions, check out this list of 50 copywriter interview questions.

Common mistakes when hiring an SEO copywriter 

Avoid these common pitfalls when hiring your next SEO copywriter. 

1. Disregarding writing samples

Writing samples are core to evaluating a copywriter's capabilities. They are arguably more important than a candidate’s resume as they offer concrete evidence of their expertise. If you don’t check samples, you risk hiring a candidate who doesn’t possess the necessary skills for the job. 

2. Focusing on cost alone

Good copywriters are expensive, and the phrase “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be truer in this industry. If you hire the cheapest possible writer, their work is unlikely to meet your standards. You may find yourself needing to re-write poor-quality writing, or worse, paying for another article!

3. Expecting overnight results

SEO marketing is a slow process. It takes time to build an audience and create domain authority. As a result, you shouldn’t measure an SEO copywriter’s competency through immediate results. It can take months of work to see an impact from SEO. Instead, measure their success through the quality of their articles or word count output. 

Hire your perfect SEO copywriter with TestGorilla

An SEO copywriter will help you achieve your content goals, build domain authority, and establish a strong online presence for your brand. However, it can be tricky to find a copywriter with the right skills, adaptability, and understanding of your industry. Plus, they need to be a good fit for your company culture.

TestGorilla can help you measure all these qualities and more. Our range of over 300 scientifically validated tests has been created in collaboration with copywriters and subject matter experts to ensure you can confidently assess a copywriter's capabilities and personality. Plus, you can combine up to five pre-made tests and add your own questions to create a bespoke assessment.

Curious to learn more? Take a free product tour with one of our friendly customer service teams. Alternatively, sign up for a free plan today


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