So, You Want To Hire An SEO Specialist

SEO has steadily been one of the most popular responsibilities to outsource because it’s such a tedious job. It takes constant effort. You really have to stay on top of the latest updates. As a result, most entrepreneurs have a tough time personally handling SEO while also focusing on their core business and growth.

So, people look for a way to “hand off” SEO to another person, or an agency. And it can go either way. You can find a gem and end up with remarkable results. Or you get a dud that can get horrible results with a long-lasting impact.

So how do you avoid making a costly mistake? I’m going to give you the real deal on how to hire someone to handle your Search Engine Optimization if you choose to outsource to the Philippines.

Realities of Outsourcing to the Philippines

Before we go any further, let’s go over some facts about outsourcing to the Philippines. These are some things you may have not thought about before:

  1. Filipinos are taught English in school. As a result, most college educated Filipinos are fluent in reading / writing English.
  2. Many outsourced call centers have physical locations in the Philippines; thus many Filipino workers have experience working with global customers and speaking fluent English.
  3. 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 gem 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.

Biggest Mistake

The #1 Mistake!

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 find this person, 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 a good or bad thing. It’s good if you’re fortunate enough to find someone who has been trained properly. It’s bad if you find people who have been trained in tactics that are ineffective or worse, detrimental, in the current SEO environment.

Skills To Pay Attention To

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

Attention to Detail (1)

1. Attention to detail

This is critical. Someone who overlooks minor errors or mistakes will be awful at SEO. You need someone who pays attention to the little things and notices details.

2. Flexibility and willingness to learn

Someone who thinks they know it all and has it all figured out will be awful. SEO is constantly changing and evolving. Sometimes you come across people who are arrogant because they have a track record of ranking websites and they know what works. Ditch them. You will hate working with them.

Even the best SEOs constantly test, experiment, and try new things. Learning is a constant process. There is no way to be successful, long term, with SEO if you refuse to add new skills and knowledge to your arsenal.


3. Tenacity

You can’t hire someone who is easily discouraged. You will fail at SEO probably more times than you succeed. Your employee must have the tenacity to get back up and try again every time they’re knocked down.

4. Excellent with research

If you are interviewing someone who constantly asks you for information or for small things easily searchable in Google search, you won’t be able to hand off your SEO. SEO is a research-oriented job. Whether it’s keyword research, competition analysis, rank tracking, continuing education, it is a fact-finding job. If the prospective employee is too lazy to do research, don’t proceed!

Software Fluent

5. 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.

The #1 Screening Test

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.

Screening Test

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 for you.

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.

Where Most Employers Go Wrong

This is what a lot of employers get wrong. They look for specific skill sets. 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 that.

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 $450-800 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!

The Elephant

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.

And the great thing about this is you can hire and train Filipino VAs to do practically any type of job for your business. You can hire a VA to do FB ads, a real estate VA, you can even hire Filipino writers to do your content for you. Everything is possible with the right hiring, training, and management of Filipino workers.

With all of that said, outsourcing can even help you save on your taxes! Or you can go to if you need a step by step guide in hiring the right real estate VA for your business.

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About John Jonas

John Jonas is a long-time outsourcing expert and the creator of

Since 2005, John has taught hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs how to profitably delegate to VAs in the Philippines (and get their lives back in the process).

With help from his own VAs based in the Philippines, John has created an outsourcing empire that allows him to work 17 hours/week and to spend most of his time with his wife and 5 kids.

Find John at and Facebook.

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  1. Linkredible says

    Interesting analysis. I never thought of SEO in this way, but interesting nonetheless. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Shepstone says

    I haven’t really thought about this crucial concept of SEO. But now I without it any endeavor on online teaching could go awry. I need to learn more about this as to get the best. Do you share any work books in that space? If any I would like to be counted in

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