Use this information to create an SEO abilities check and rent essentially the most certified SEO Manager for your group!
I used to be a brand new group lead. I knew the ins and outs of being SEO and content material creator, however inside my first month as a supervisor I confronted a problem I had by no means had to deal with earlier than…
Someone left and I had to discover a backfill.
I began desperately Googling issues like “interview questions” and “what to look for in a new employee” however shortly realized that was too generic for what I wanted. There was actually no steering obtainable on what makes SEO supervisor. I had to wing it.
What I want I’d have considered again then was creating an SEO evaluation. My group had check initiatives for content material builders based mostly on writing prompts, however there was actually nothing comparable to gauge a potential SEO’s skillset.
An evaluation like this may be good for a second stage interview after your candidate has handed a fundamental spherical one interview. If you already know you want this particular person, the subsequent step is to be certain they’ll stroll the discuss.
What to cowl in an SEO abilities check
There are so many issues you possibly can cowl in an SEO quiz for your potential new rent.
Generally although, there are three predominant pillars that I believe symbolize SEO nicely on the entire: technical (the muse), content material (the home), and hyperlinks (authority — yeah, yeah… I couldn’t sustain with the home analogy).
A very good check of your potential SEO supervisor’s abilities ought to hit someplace within the center.
Just remember the fact that, whereas I believe it is a good illustration of SEO on the entire, it’s not complete. For instance, native SEO isn’t addressed right here, so in the event you run a neighborhood SEO company then you possibly can select to deal with GMB optimization, NAP, and so on. Cater your evaluation to your distinctive wants.
How to construction your SEO abilities check
There are three predominant kinds of SEO assessments that I’ve seen:
- The a number of selection check: These are the kinds of exams that ask issues like “what’s a robots.txt file”? These exams gauge somebody’s head data (or their Googling prowess), however don’t gauge their sensible, rubber-meets-the-road abilities.
- The guidelines: These kinds of exams give somebody an inventory of duties to see how nicely they’re in a position to carry out them. For instance, “change this title tag.” These exams cease wanting gauging somebody’s problem-solving skills.
- The ambiguous audit: This may contain handing somebody an internet site and saying “see what you can find.” These might be extremely subjective: your candidate may deal with the “wrong” issues (belongings you don’t care about your new rent understanding), and the candidate might simply find yourself counting on instruments to do a number of the work for them.
While all have their deserves, none of them felt 100% acceptable for gauging a possible new rent’s SEO chops. That’s why I landed on a hybrid.
You’re not simply handing your prospect an internet site and saying “see what you find,” however you’re not simply having them color-by-number both. What you’re doing is asking them guiding questions on a selected web site, reminiscent of “what’s incorrect with this?” “Why?” and “How would you fix it?”
Setting them up for the check
There are a couple of concerns you want to make earlier than handing them the check and wishing them good luck. For instance:
- How a lot time have they got? Decide whether or not you need to deliver your candidate in for a Three-hour window (good in the event you’re watching out for the Costanzas of the bunch) or whether or not they can take the evaluation house and electronic mail it again by a sure date.
- What web site will they be evaluating? You’ll have to determine whether or not you’ll be giving them an internet site you management or selecting a random web site. If it’s an internet site you management, strive not to select an immaculate web site — give them one thing to discover.
- What instruments can they use? You may need to allow them to use their most popular auditing instruments or you may counsel they use your group’s most popular instruments (when you have any).
- Will you pay them for their time? There are differing opinions on this, however in the event you’re giving them a mission that you recognize will take various hours (particularly in the event you may find yourself utilizing their findings to enhance the web site) I’d take into account paying them for their time.
Content: Can your candidate discern top quality?
This part will deal with gauging how nicely your candidate understands what sort of content material it takes to carry out nicely in the major search engines for explicit queries.
Here’s what I would counsel asking:
- Find the low-quality content material on instance.com and listing some examples right here. Why are they low high quality?
- How would you suggest fixing the low-quality content material? Why would that technique work?
This will present you if they’ve grasp of what serps like Google take into account low high quality content material, and what viable programs of motion exist for remedying it.
For instance, you may anticipate to get again one thing like this:
Example.com/page-two/ is low high quality as a result of it’s a near-duplicate of instance.com/page-one/. It’s additionally getting little-to-no natural site visitors. If it’s crucial to hold /page-two/ on the web site, you possibly can add a rel=canonical to point out which model of the pages is the first/authentic. If /page-two/ wants to stay within the index, take into account modifying the content material so it’s distinctive. If it’s not crucial to hold /page-two/ on the web site, take into account 301 redirecting it to /page-one/.
Again, you’re simply wanting for whether or not they perceive what low-quality content material is, how to discover it, and the way to deal with it.
Other content-related questions you may want to take into account asking:
- What topical gaps (if any) exist on this web site’s content material?
- What are some causes their competitor’s content material may be performing higher?
Links: Does your candidate know the way to construct authority & keep away from penalties?
This part would deal with gauging how nicely your potential SEO Manager understands inbound hyperlinks (backlinks) and their impact on a website/web page’s efficiency in search outcomes. Again, with out giving an excessive amount of away, I’d instruct them to:
- Find any inbound hyperlinks that may be harming instance.com’s efficiency. Why are they dangerous?
- What motion would you suggest taking to deal with the dangerous inbound hyperlinks? Why?
For these kinds of questions, you may anticipate to get one thing again like this:
Example.com has a variety of inbound hyperlinks using exact-match anchor textual content that aren’t nofollow and seem to match Google’s definition of a hyperlink scheme, particularly “low-quality directory or bookmark site links.” They don’t seem to be harming the location’s efficiency in search outcomes, however you possibly can add these hyperlinks to their disavow file preemptively.
Other link-related questions you possibly can take into account asking:
- What’s one technique you’d suggest utilizing to assist this web site get extra hyperlinks? Why?
- Benchmark this web site’s hyperlinks towards its rivals and listing out any key insights you discover.
Technical: Does your candidate know what makes a powerful web site basis?
“Technical” is broad and never everybody agrees the place the traces are drawn between technical and non-technical actions, however right here, I’m utilizing “technical” to refer to uncovering your potential SEO Manager’s competence at diagnosing and fixing any boundaries to crawling, points with the indexing of a web site’s content material, areas for bettering how a search engine understands the web site, and areas for bettering the consumer expertise.
- Are there any crawl inefficiencies/issues with this web site? If so, please describe what they’re and the way you’d repair them.
- Are there any points with how the pages seem within the index? If so, please describe what they’re and the way you’d repair them.
In response, you may anticipate to get an reply reminiscent of:
As is widespread with many e-commerce web sites, this one makes use of a faceted navigation. However, as a result of these filters are open to crawlers, crawl finances is being wasted on non-unique, skinny pages. Disallow crawlers from crawling non-valuable sides in robots.txt to save crawl finances.
Other questions you may take into account asking to gauge their technical chops:
- How does this web site make the most of (or fail to make the most of) structured knowledge? Why is that important?
- What (if something) is harming customer expertise on this web site? How would you repair?
The work doesn’t cease there…
I hope these tips about creating an SEO evaluation assist not solely make the hiring course of simpler, however allow you to get the most effective SEO expertise you may — your group deserves it!
But we additionally know that including a brand new member to your SEO group includes a lot greater than this. You’ll want to work along with your group’s hiring supervisor to put collectively the job posting and also you’ll additionally want to put money into coaching this new worker to allow them to hit the bottom operating shortly to begin making an influence for your group.
We hear ya — that’s why we additionally put collectively “The Agency’s Guide to Finding & Onboarding New SEO Managers” white paper.
Download your free copy!
If you’ve ever been tasked with discovering, assessing, hiring, and coaching a brand new SEO supervisor, we’d love to hear from you! What strategies have been profitable for you up to now? What errors are you able to assist others keep away from? Share them within the feedback.