If your company is lucky enough (or profitable enough or large enough) to have an in-house marketing department, why not consider adding an SEO expert to the team? Having your SEO handled in-house is great because it seamlessly falls in lines with your other marketing efforts. Your in-house SEO employee is going to be fully immersed in the culture of your company and values of your brand. They will know your business better than any outside SEO agency ever could, simply because they are there every day, working in the trenches with the rest of the marketing staff.
But hiring an employee to handle your SEO involves asking the right set of questions, some of which may differ from your standard hiring procedure. Here are a few things to ask a potential hire during the interview:
“What does SEO mean to you?”
If they answer with “SEO means search engine optimization. Getting your site to rank well,” they aren’t technically wrong. But SEO is much more complex than that. SEO is not only about ranking well in the search engines, it’s about building your online presence overall. This includes brand awareness, connecting with customers, becoming an authority in the industry and more. Your new in-house SEO employee should understand and be able to explain that to you.
“If I wrote you a blank check, what would you do with it?”
Don’t expect them to give you an SEO strategy right then and there, but they should have a rough outline of what your company needs to be doing to better compete online. It shows they’ve done their homework. They know what you company is or isn’t doing and how to do it better. They should be excited to work with your brand and it should be evident in their answer. The more ideas they have, the better. It shows their experience and excitement for SEO.
“How do you stay ahead of the game?”
SEO is constantly evolving. As the Internet continues to grow and new technology is changing the way people communicate online, SEO has to roll with the punches and adapt. Your new SEO employee should know this about their field. What resources do they turn to for industry news? Where do they go to learn? A good SEO expert is always looking for the newest way to help your site succeed.
Of course your in-house SEO employee has to have previous experience with SEO. They should also be decent writers, as a lot of SEO centers on content. They don’t have to be the best writers on your marketing staff (that’s what copywriters are for) but they need to be able to take a well-written piece of content and make it SEO friendly without detracting from the overall message or style of the content.
You’ll likely find that a good SEO candidate has a strong background in marketing. While technical skills are useful, SEO is really 80% marketing. They have to understand branding, the various aspects of a marketing campaign and how your company connects with its consumers.