Interview Questions for Your SEO
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Hiring an SEO is a little like hiring any other contractor or employee; you need to make sure the candidate can deliver and will be a good fit for your company. In this field, though, it’s hard to separate truth from fiction, and getting results takes time. Business owners, therefore, face real challenges: is the SEO they’re thinking of hiring a scam artist or the real deal? And how can they tell?
Every other person you hire to help your business in some way goes through an interview process. It shouldn’t be any different for an SEO. Indeed, you should give the questions you plan to ask (and the answers you receive) a great deal of thought. Your visibility (or lack of it) in Google and the other search engines can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line; for that reason alone, you need to proceed with caution.
Fortunately, Eric Siu over at Search Engine Journal put together a great list of questions to ask any SEO you’re thinking about hiring to work on a campaign for you. The answers to these questions will give you a sense of that SEO’s philosophy, and tell you whether you’ll be comfortable working with them. Little wonder, then, that these questions sound very much like typical interview questions specifically tailored to the tasks an SEO performs. Most of these questions are open-ended, inviting long answers that will help you understand the candidate’s philosophy and approach to his field.
Tell me about your expertise with SEO. The least specific of the nine questions Siu says you should ask before hiring an SEO, any candidate can answer with as much (or as little) detail as they wish. How a candidate answers this question will give you clues as to what they consider important, and could give you ideas for follow-up questions. “It’s a question that requires people to think of a great answer on the spot,” Siu notes.
Tell me about 3 SEO projects that you’re most proud of and why you’re proud of them. Here we go from the general to the painfully specific. How your SEO candidate answers this question can tell you whether they can see the forest for the trees. Does he talk about winning a ranking with a single keyword — or improving traffic and conversion? Keywords are only a way to keep score, and as a business owner they’re probably not the one that matters most to you.
What’s your number one rule with SEO? More than any other question, this one will reveal your candidate’s basic philosophy and approach to SEO. It will also give you some idea of how experienced they are. As your candidate answers this question, whether they’re white hat, black hat, or somewhere in between, ask yourself if you can work with someone with that approach. Are they the right fit for your business?
Tell me about your biggest failure with SEO and what you learned from it. Everyone dreads getting this type of question, and with good reason; nobody likes to discuss failure. But we grow from our failures more than from our successes. How deeply does your SEO candidate examine a problem? Ask for details when you ask this question, including what they would do differently if they faced the same or a similar problem now.