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Nine Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Expert

If you're not an SEO expert, you might wonder what to ask when hiring SEO staff or consultants. How do you tell the difference between someone who knows exactly what he or she is doing and someone who just knows a lot of lingo?

To help out, Rand Fishkin created an interview primer for a "Whiteboard Friday" video at the SEOmoz blog. He divides SEO-centric questions into three categories:

General Knowledge. First, determine whether the candidate is well-versed in the SEO basics. "You want to see that sort of knowledge that indicates ... they're really deep into the process of doing SEO," Fishkin explains. "They live and breathe this stuff. They know it like the back of their hand." He suggests you ask questions like:

  • What is rel=canonical? (What does it do? How does it work?)
  • How do search engines treat the meta refresh?
  • What's an image title versus an alt attribute?

Strategy and Tactics. Then it's time to go beyond general knowledge and find out how well a candidate can handle SEO:

  • How would you create a site to rank for this set of keywords?
  • What are some of your favorite scalable link-building tactics?
  • How would you get video content into Google?

Tools and Metrics. Finally, notes Fishkin, you want to discover how candidates approach problems, "whether they're a critical thinker or whether they just take things on face value, which in the SEO world is not a great idea."

  • What data would you use to judge the value of a link?
  • What tools do you use to measure your competitors' keywords and traffic?
  • How do you measure social activity on a site?

The Po!nt: Optimize your interviews. You'll make the best SEO hire by asking the best questions up front.

Source: SEOmoz.

Looking for great search marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Search Engine Marketing Factbook (May 2010). With 121 pages and 81 charts, it is full of relevant search marketing stats and trends. The Search Marketing Factbook is Part 2 of the complete Digital Marketing Factbook (our 296-page full report).

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Vol. 4, No. 31    August 15, 2011

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