Unlock the Secret Traits of Top In-House SEO Experts: Beyond Hard Skills

Do you ever lie awake at night, worrying if you’ll hire an SEO expert who promises a lot but can’t do what they say? You’re not alone.

Do you ever lie awake at night, worrying if you’ll hire an SEO expert who promises a lot but can’t do what they say? You’re not alone.

That niggling doubt, “Will they truly understand my business and drive real growth, or will they just bury me in jargon and empty promises?” hits harder than a double espresso on an empty stomach.

Here’s the thing—we get it. The SEO world can be a wild west, full of smooth-talkers with shiny boots but no horses.

So, how do you sift through the chaff to find the wheat? Fear not, we’re diving deep into the unspoken qualities that make an in-house SEO expert truly invaluable.

Let’s crack the code together, shall we?

What do you look for when hiring an in-house SEO expert? Aside from their hard skills, what are the other traits you look for? Here’s what 13 thought leaders have to say.

Table of Contents

Seek Process Transparency and Realism

The best way is to understand SEO to an extent and ask the right questions. If it sounds too good, run; if there is no confidence, run.

Someone who will show you their process and not throw buzzwords to confuse you. Someone who will set realistic expectations and hold themselves accountable. Also, making you a part of the process and keeping you involved.

You can find them anywhere, really—here, making a job posting… It is all about your vetting process.

Jugnu Nagar, SEO Specialist, GREAT Guest Posts

Jugnu Nagar -in house seo expert

Attention to Detail Matters

I always look for attention to detail. I’ve noticed that success in search optimisation usually comes from paying constant attention to many small details, not just one big strategy. Just look at on-page SEO factors for proof: things like optimised title and description tags, code-to-text ratio; well-placed and worded links, file and folder names; the text for images; URL canonicalization, and making sure pages load fast.

You won’t be happy with an SEO person who’s careless. The problems can range from the hassle of always having to check and fix their work, to big issues caused by their mistakes. When looking at a candidate, I start by checking their resume. Lots of typos? That’s a bad sign. Broken or wrong links (which is surprisingly common)? Even worse. If they can’t get the links right in their own resume, it makes you wonder how they’ll handle errors like 404s or redirects.

For those with a great resume, I dig deeper in the interview. I ask hypothetical questions to see how they feel about smaller tasks. If they don’t seem interested in getting into the nitty-gritty of a project, that’s a red flag. In SEO, it’s often the little things that make the biggest difference.

Patrick Beltran, Marketing Director, Ardoz Digital

Patrick Beltran

Team Player with Convincing Skills

When I’m looking to hire someone for an in-house SEO role, apart from their technical skills, I really focus on whether they are a team player. It might sound like something you read in every job ad, but for in-house SEO, it’s actually very important.

Doing SEO in-house is a lot about convincing other people in your company to support SEO efforts, not just doing it all yourself. If someone can’t get along well with others, they’re probably not going to be successful in getting people from different departments to join in on SEO projects.

During an interview, you can get a feel for how well a candidate works with others. If someone spends a lot of time bad-mouthing their previous or current employers and coworkers, they might not be great at creating trust, goodwill, and partnerships in your company.

Furthermore, consulting their references can provide a deeper understanding of their ability to collaborate within a team.

Precious Abacan, Marketing Director, Softlist

Precious Abacan

Genuine Interest in SEO Industry

In my experience, when hiring an in-house SEO, the key thing to look for, aside from hard skills, is a genuine interest in SEO as an industry and practice. SEO is such a broad topic that remaining ‘on the pulse’ and up to date with the latest studies and changes is key to achieving consistent, long-term results.

Keeping up with these trends and changes is much easier for someone who has a true curiosity and interest in SEO. Asking a potential hire about the news websites they read, or their favourite social media accounts to follow, provides good insight into this.

Danny Watkinson, Search Engine Optimization Manager, 20i

Danny Watkinson

Analytical Mindset with Strong Communication

When hiring an in-house SEO expert, beyond their hard skills, I prioritise individuals who demonstrate a keen analytical mindset coupled with strong communication abilities.

While technical SEO knowledge is crucial for optimising our content, the ability to effectively engage with clients and articulate complex SEO strategies in a clear, professional manner is equally important.

Finding someone who can strike a balance between delving into data analytics and confidently representing our agency in client interactions ensures not only exceptional results but also fosters positive relationships that drive long-term success.

James Parsons, Founder, Content Powered

James Parsons

Creative Thinker for Innovative Solutions

It’s important to me that they’re a super-creative person who can think outside the box in order to find appropriate solutions. Being in an industry that relies heavily on creativity in my renovation company, it’s essential for the person to be on the same wavelength as I am, especially because we’re going to work together so closely within the company.

Rick Berres, Owner, Honey-Doers

Rick Berres

Creative and Analytical Thinker Combo

I always look for creative and analytical thinkers for our SEO specialists. I believe creativity is really useful, if not essential, for a search marketing expert. For various tasks, like developing link-building ideas or social media strategies, having someone imaginative can really enhance your team’s efforts. This is also true for pay-per-click advertising, where inventing and experimenting with ad text requires quite a bit of creativity.

Equally important is the ability to think analytically. This skill is crucial for analysing data, deciding what’s most important, and many other jobs. Also, someone who learns independently but lacks analytical skills will struggle to evaluate the worth of different SEO tips they find online.

I like to ask candidates if they can give examples where they’ve either come up with new ideas or improved a process after analysing it. I’m interested in knowing whether they’ve generally been proactive or more passive in their past projects. It’s actually okay if they’ve caused a stir at work before. I prefer someone with lots of creative energy who might occasionally overstep, rather than an SEO expert who hardly ever feels inspired.

Craig Focht, Cofounder & CEO, All Pro Door Repair

Craig Focht

Industry Knowledge with Collaborative Approach

When I’m on the lookout for an in-house SEO expert, industry knowledge is a deal-breaker for me. At ZenMaid, we prefer SEO professionals who are well-versed in the SaaS industry. They just get it. They’re able to tailor their strategies to meet our specific needs, almost like they’re giving our campaigns a running start.

But it’s not just about their SEO skills. I value someone who’s genuinely interested in what we do. A person who’s keen to learn about our products or services. This collaborative approach is priceless. They bring their SEO knowledge, we provide our industry insights, and together, we develop a strategy that truly hits the mark.

Amar Ghose, CEO, ZenMaid

Amar Ghose

Communication, Creativity, and Adaptability

When hiring an in-house SEO expert, aside from hard skills, I also look for strong communication and collaboration skills, as SEO often requires working cross-functionally with content creators, developers, and marketing teams. Additionally, I value creativity and adaptability, as the SEO landscape is constantly evolving, and the ability to innovate and pivot strategies is essential for success in this role.

Madison T, Ecommerce Manager, My Supplement Store

Madison T

Adequate SEO Skill Set Required

When we decided to hire an in-house SEO expert, we faced a challenging task. We had to go through five candidates before finding someone with adequate skills to handle the job. The required skills for doing SEO include content creation and distribution, link-building, on-page SEO, SEO blog optimisation, and blogger outreach skills.

Tammy Sons, CEO, TN Nursery

Tammy Sons

Culture Fit and Strategic Adaptability

When hiring an in-house SEO expert, beyond their technical skills in keyword research, on-page and off-page optimisation, and analytics, I prioritise traits that align with our team’s culture and our strategic goals. Adaptability is crucial, as the SEO landscape is constantly evolving.

A strong candidate must demonstrate an ability to learn and apply new strategies effectively. Creativity is another key trait; the ability to think outside the box can differentiate our SEO approach in a competitive market.

Communication skills are essential for explaining complex concepts to team members across departments and for crafting compelling content that resonates with our audience. Lastly, a problem-solving mindset helps in navigating the challenges and setbacks inherent in SEO work, ensuring we continuously improve and achieve our objectives.

Fahd Khan, Director of Marketing & Technology, JetLevel Aviation

Fahd Khan

Independent Learner with Continuous Update

I always look for someone who is an independent learner. SEO is a constantly changing field. To be really good at it, you need to keep up with new things in SEO and related areas that matter for your company’s business. Being able to find new information and use it in your work is really important for an SEO expert.

When hiring someone with SEO experience, I check if they follow any specific SEO sites or people regularly, and which ones they prefer. Can they talk about any recent updates from Google that an SEO pro should know? Have they actually read any books on SEO or internet marketing?

For entry-level roles where past SEO experience isn’t a must, I still look at how much the candidate likes to learn on their own. Are they active on Twitter or other networks professionally? Do they have a blog or write guest posts? If they do, I can look at what they’ve written to understand their interests and how they think.

But it’s important to remember that I’m looking at how well they can learn and use new information on their own, not just how active they are online. You can be great at SEO without being super involved in the online SEO community. But you can’t be great at SEO if you don’t have the drive or ability to keep up with and understand all the new information that keeps coming.

Lucas Ochoa, Founder & CEO, Automat

Lucas Ochoa

Strategic Vision and Collaborative Mindset

I prefer to choose beyond hard skills for an in-house SEO expert with a proven ability to align SEO strategies with broader business goals. Strong communication skills and a collaborative mindset are very important. The candidate must effectively work with a cross-functional team to drive organic growth.

The experience of adapting to industry changes and a data-driven approach is vital, demonstrating the adaptability required in the dynamic SEO landscape. On the other hand, I also consider a passion for staying ahead in the field, a problem-solving mindset, and a track record of achieving measurable results that contribute to a well-rounded SEO professional.

Faizan Khan, Public Relations and Content Marketing Specialist, Ubuy UK

Faizan Khan

Bringing It All Home: Hiring In-House SEO Experts

Feeling a tad overwhelmed, like you’re trying to nail jelly to the wall? Totally normal. Deciphering the true gems from the sea of SEO “experts” can feel like a treasure hunt without a map. But armed with the insights you’ve just soaked up, you’re now the captain of this ship.

Imagine your business riding the waves of Google’s ever-changing algorithm, steadily climbing to the top because you’ve got an SEO wizard who’s not just about keywords and backlinks, but understands your vision and propels it forward.

This isn’t just about rankings; it’s about building a legacy. With the right person by your side, you’re not just surviving the digital jungle; you’re thriving, transforming clicks into loyal customers.

Ready to make that leap? Let’s turn those dreams into reality. Here’s to the brave, the bold, and the brilliant. Feeling a tad overwhelmed, like you’re trying to nail jelly to the wall? Totally normal.

Deciphering the true gems from the sea of SEO “experts” can feel like a treasure hunt without a map. But armed with the insights you’ve just soaked up, you’re now the captain of this ship.

Imagine your business riding the waves of Google’s ever-changing algorithm, steadily climbing to the top because you’ve got an SEO wizard who’s not just about keywords and backlinks, but understands your vision and propels it forward.

This isn’t just about rankings; it’s about building a legacy. With the right person by your side, you’re not just surviving the digital jungle; you’re thriving, transforming clicks into loyal customers.

Ready to make that leap? Let’s turn those dreams into reality. Here’s to the brave, the bold, and the brilliant. Your journey to SEO mastery begins now. Your journey to SEO mastery begins now.

SEO Hiring Secrets Unveiled: Navigating the Maze

How much does it cost to hire an SEO expert?

Think of it like picking out a fine wine. Prices vary widely, from the budget-friendly to the eye-wateringly expensive. Business owners, brace yourselves. A solid SEO expert could set you back anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand a month. Remember, it’s not about the cost; it’s about investing in your future.

Can SEO be done in-house?

Absolutely! With the right SEO tools and a sprinkle of determination, your house SEO team can boost those ranking factors and conversion rates. It’s like baking a cake; follow the recipe (or in this case, SEO best practices), and you’ll have a delicious result.

Can I hire someone to do my SEO?

Sure, you can! Whether it’s a full-time guru or collaborating with ace SEO agencies, getting someone else to sprinkle their magic on your SEO campaigns can leave you free to focus on the bigger picture. Just make sure they’re the real deal.

Should I pay someone to do SEO?

Paying for SEO is like paying for gym membership – if you use it wisely, you’ll see stunning results. If your plate’s already full, bringing in an SEO heavyweight can give your user experience and relevance a massive boost.

Are SEO experts worth it?

In a word, yes. A top-notch SEO whiz can transform your web presence, making your site irresistible to your target audience and search engines alike. It’s an investment that can significantly up your game.

Is SEO needed monthly?

SEO isn’t a one-and-done deal; it’s more like a marathon. Regular tweaks and updates are vital to stay ahead of the curve and keep those conversion rates sweet. Monthly SEO keeps your content fresh and relevant keywords in check.

What is the difference between in house SEO and SEO agency?

Think of in-house SEO as your home-cooked meal, tailored to your taste, while an SEO agency is like a buffet of different skills and services. Agencies offer a breadth of experience across various industries but might not be as deeply immersed in your specific business context as an in-house team.

When should you not use SEO?

Skipping on SEO is like refusing a map in uncharted territory; you can still explore, but you might miss out on hidden treasures. However, if your business is all about instant results or if your target market doesn’t start their journey with a Google search, you might want to allocate your resources elsewhere. But let’s be real, that’s rare. For most, SEO is the compass that leads to success.

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