So, You Want To Hire An SEO Specialist

One of the most popular responsibilities to outsource is Search Engine Optimization. It’s tedious, it takes constant effort and you really have to stay on top of the ins and outs of many updates. As a result, most entrepreneurs have a difficult time personally handling SEO while also focusing on their core business and growth.

So people look for a way to “hand off” the SEO to another person, or an agency. The problem is that this can be a minefield as you can end up with great results, as well as tragically horrible results with a long lasting impact.

I’m going to give you the real deal about hiring someone to handle your Search Engine Optimization, if you choose to outsource to the Philippines.

Now, before we go any further, let’s go over a few realities about outsourcing to the Philippines, because it’s something you may not have thought about before:

  • Filipinos are taught English in school. As a result, most college educated Filipinos are fluent in reading/writing English.
  • Many outsourced call centers have physical locations in the Philippines, thus many Filipino workers have experience working with global customers, and speaking fluent English.
  • Most Filipinos looking for work are internet savvy, which can be a tremendous benefit to your business.

This doesn’t mean that everything is perfect and you’ll be able to find a superstar who can take most of your SEO work off your hands. Like any employee, you will need to provide training on what you need and how you want things done.

Now that we’ve covered that, I want to tell you what I think is the biggest mistake people make when outsourcing SEO

They expect to hand everything off to someone else, let them handle everything, and wait for the rankings.

If you are able to find this, consider yourself lucky. Most of us don’t get the benefit of a fairy tale outsourcing experience.

This causes most entrepreneurs to look for someone with the most experience, so they don’t have to work with any training or education. This can be good or this can be bad. It can be good if you’re fortunate enough to find someone who has been trained properly, and it can be bad if you find people who have been trained in tactics that are currently ineffective or worse, detrimental, in the current SEO environment.

What you need, when you’re Outsourcing SEO, are the following:

  • Attention to detail: This is critical. Someone who overlooks minor errors or mistakes will likely be awful at SEO. You need someone who pays attention to the little things and picks up on minor details. I don’t think there’s any workaround for this. While you may not find someone who can write perfectly, you definitely want someone who picks up on misspellings and minor errors.
  • Flexibility and willingness to learn: Someone who thinks they know it all and has it all figured out will be awful because SEO is constantly changing and evolving. Sometimes you come across people who are arrogant because they have a track record of ranking clients and they know what works. Ditch them. You will hate working with them. even the best SEOs have to constantly test, experiment and try new things. Learning is constant. There is no way to be successful, long term, with SEO if you refuse to add new skills and knowledge to your arsenal.
  • Tenacity: You can’t hire someone who is easily discouraged. You will fail at SEO probably more times than you succeed. Your employee has to have the tenacity to get knocked down and get back up and give it another go.
  • Excellent with research: If you are interviewing someone who always asks you for answers, you probably will not be able to hand off your SEO simply because SEO is a research oriented profession. Whether it’s keyword research, competition analysis, rank tracking, continuing education, it is a research oriented profession. If the prospective employee is horrible at research, don’t proceed!
  • Software fluency: You’re going to end up using something. Maybe even a bunch of things. It’s difficult to do SEO completely manually. You need someone who is a bit of a whiz with both desktop and web-based software and they should already have experience using a few tools, even if you’re not using those specific tools.

This isn’t an all-inclusive list everything you need to look for, but it covers the ones that are usually a big deal.

Read it, re-read it and make sure you understand it. Please do not deviate from this list, these are the essentials. Not the traits that would be nice or good to have, these are the must-haves.

Having said all of that, what is a good screening test for hiring an SEO specialist? Keyword research. This is the backbone of SEO and any good SEO does this consistently and has a method for keyword research. If you’re doing a test-task, ask for keyword research. Give a seed keyword, or better yet a page from a website. Don’t give any more details. That’s it. Ask for a keyword research report for (fill in the blank). Don’t tell them what tool to use, how you want it reported, nothing else.

The information you’ll get from this will give you a lot of insight into the potential hire. You’re going to learn how they research keywords. If they already have a software tool, you’ll probably pick up on that. But most importantly, you will see how they think, how they organize information and how they track.

If, for example, you get back an email with a list of keywords copied and pasted, skip that. That person is not organized enough to handle SEO, they’re not tracking, they’re not keeping records, it will be a nightmare. If you get back reports from a keyword research tool (any tool), that’s a person worthy of consideration. If you get back a neat, easy to read, organized report, where the file names (or excel tab names) are detailed and organized by project, keyword and date, that candidate is a winner.

The reason you don’t want to give a lot of direction is because you want to see what the candidate does on their own, their experience level and frankly, some things are difficult to teach. It is difficult to teach someone how to be thorough and organized. It is difficult to teach habits of tracking and attention to detail. It is easy to teach someone how to use Moz or SEM rush. It is difficult to teach someone how to categorize information and data. You’re looking for existing character traits you can build upon.

This is what a lot of employers get wrong. They look for specific skill set like a list of software the candidate has installed and knows how to use. Skills can be taught. It’s extremely difficult to teach these other things and quite frankly, as an entrepreneur, you probably don’t have the resources to do it.

I hope we’ve given you solid information that helps you understand the process of outsourcing your SEO. The great thing is you can hire someone with a college education and work experience for anywhere from $350-650 per month, for full time work! Just imagine what you could do with that much help with SEO. Just think of how much you can grow with someone dedicated to working on your SEO full time!

Having said that, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Have you heard outsourcing horror stories? Yes! Can things go wrong? Absolutely. Have you heard horror stories of hiring regular employees? Absolutely! So where am I going with this? Any time you hire someone you have some risk involved, a chance that things won’t work out and you’ve wasted money and/or time. The biggest tip I can give you is to take outsourcing as seriously as you would hiring a regular employee. Most people are stringent with “real world” hiring but treat outsourcing as though they can just find the “perfect profile”, hire the person and things magically fall into place. You would not treat a regular hire that way and outsourcing is no different.

With all of that said, we have a few resources for you. First, bookmark this page so you can get back to it. You can download a few of our ebooks here (they are free) if you love to read and want to learn more about outsourcing. You can search our database for qualified Filipinos looking for work. You can join our Facebook group if you want feedback from other employers, just like you. Or you can contact us if you need one-on-one help.