What to look for when hiring an SEO expert

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Hiring for SEO isn't easy. If you bring on the wrong person or company for your team it can do worse than just wasting your money. In this video we explore some great tips and advice to finding…

Full Transcript of The Video

Eric Sui: In this video we're going to talk about what to look for when hiring an SEO expert. My name's Eric Sui and we're going to show you how to grow your business.
So, point number one. You have to look for the most impressive work that they've done. So I always like to ask, "What's the most impressive thing you've done in terms of SEO? And why do you think it's impressive?" So from there they can elaborate. You can ask them what projects they were assigned to. What they were specifically asked to do? What was their contribution? What were they measured on? You can start to get really deep with that kind of question. In fact, this is a question that Elon Musk likes to ask when he interviews people. And he's known to be very tough on people, which is why he's built such great companies.
You might give him your URL and say, "Hey, what would you do here?" And you would ask him to do it right in front of you. Slide them your laptop and say, "Hey, what do you see on this website? What would you change? Would you make any technical changes? What would you do from an internal linking perspective? What do you think is wrong with our link profile? Do we have some dirty links? Do we need to disavow? What would you do specifically on my site?" And from there you can really evaluate if they know, well, they know what it takes to become successful with SEO.
Point number three is, I always like to ask for referrals when I'm trying to source talent. So one of the key problems in finding good SEOs is there's a big shortage of SEOs nowadays. So I like asking for referrals all the time because, well, in the marketing space, even if you're not known in the marketing space. If you go to a site like inbound.org, if you go to a site like growthhackers.com, you can get referrals just by looking at the people that are posting there. That's a good place to source talent. I think going to Upwork, for example, it's a hit or miss for the most part.
Point number four is, what's their SEO process? Tell me how you approach SEO? What's your [inaudible 00:01:40] plan? How do you look at it? Do you start with an audit first? What do you do exactly? You want to understand how they think. And you need to understand how they think, so you can determine whether it aligns with how your thinking is when it comes to SEO.
Last, but certainly not least, is you have to make sure that you double/triple check on your reference checking. A lot of people will get to the final point, and it's like everything passed. They did well on the test. They did well on their SEO process. You're feeling good about them. But when you get to the reference check portion, people aren't feeling that excited about them. Especially the first three references. Oftentimes you can read between the lines and be like, "Oh, yeah. That guy, Noah." You can tell from that point, he's not really that excited.
You can tell when people are gushing. Let's say, for example, some person, a person we hired recently talked a reference check, and they were gushing. And I said, "So, how did you feel when that person left?" "Devastated." "Why'd you feel devastated?" "That person was everything to me." "How would you rate that person on a scale of one to ten versus their peers?" "Ten." I never hear tens. Maybe sometimes we'll get a nine, but I like asking that question because when someone's at a seven or eight, okay great. What's stopping them from being a nine or ten? Then you start to realize what they're true weaknesses are and if they're really a good fit.
The final thing I'll add around reference checking is, make sure that you do second order reference checking. You have the first line of defense, the first three. But you want to ask the first line of defense. "Hey, who else should I be talking to?" Then you get to the real meat and you get to talk to other people that aren't buddy buddies with the first line of defense. So you want to get to the bottom of it. And you want to do your due diligence, cause investing on SEO and investing on people is really big. It's a big time commitment and you can lose a lot of money, and lose your shirt that way.
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