What to look for when hiring your next in-house SEO

Oct 29, 2021 by
What to look for when hiring your next in-house SEO

As your business begins to expand and digital marketing becomes an increasingly important concern, you might want to consider hiring an in-house SEO expert to bulk out your team and bring some targeted expertise to the table. But while SEO was once a relatively straightforward task, the last decade or so has seen it evolve into an incredibly in-depth concept so hiring the wrong person can be a serious mistake.

The best in-house SEO experts will be proficient in both on and off-page SEO as well as the more technical aspects that many might choose to ignore. But there is also a certain degree of emotional intelligence required in modern SEO and a balance of skills that we’ll be outlining in detail below.

Critical thinking

There is a lot of analysis that goes into SEO and being able to take those insights and apply them holistically to the SEO strategy. Given the fact that the industry is constantly changing, there’s also a lot of problem-solving.

For this reason, critical thinkers generally make strong SEO experts. Of course, critical thinking goes hand-in-hand with data analysis, so a good SEO expert should be able to analyse your data and use their critical thinking skills to figure out how to use that data to make the next camping better.


Brands that lack empathy will eventually lose customers. For SEO experts, being empathic enough to put themselves in the place of users is crucial as they need to be able to understand whether or not somebody would be interested in a topic.

A top SEO expert is able to understand an audience at every level. And let’s not forget, content exists to facilitate an emotional connection. Focus on candidates with good listening skills and an obvious interest in other people.

Strategic planning

Strategy is all about understanding your goals and using everything at your disposal to reach those goals through a carefully curated process. Strategic planning is a vital skill that all SEO experts must possess if they are to focus on the minor details and the long-term plans, particularly given the many months that it can take to achieve any significant SEO results.

The best way to test a candidate’s strategic skill (or lack thereof) is to offer them a test. Tell them what you hope your SEO efforts will achieve and offer them some analytical insight then ask them to present a plan to you.

Technical skills

Tech-savvy doesn’t mean what it once did. We live in an age where smartphones and tablets are introduced to children that can barely walk, after all. This is why you should be looking beyond somebody who knows their way around a Zoom call or understands the ins and outs of Google Docs. You need somebody who is not only familiar with SEO but everything that surrounds it.

Put your candidate’s technical SEO skills to the test by giving them a topic and asking them to find the top keywords. Then, ask them to outline their content ideas for those keywords and how they plan on tracking results once that content has been published. If they can’t give you a thorough step-by-step rundown of their process then they’re probably not right for the job.