As a business owner, you don’t let your employees take advantage of you, or your vendors, or other people you work with.  Don’t let your SEO take advantage of your (temporary) lack of knowledge.  I’ve found that the best approach to really ask more questions about what they can and will do for you, opposed to what they’ve done in the past.  There is an ebb and flow of the interview (which you probably know from interviewing employees doing more of what you know) but of course, SEO is its own best.  So start simple before you get into the nitty gritty.

  • A little bit about their background and how it relates to your industry.
  • Ask a few things here and there about previous places of employment and their favorite things about those jobs.
  • Educational background (honestly, we have worked with stellar people with no higher education) if any, and how it relates.

Many potential SEOs are entrepreneurial, meaning you’ll meet a lot of people that have a few different ventures and businesses currently going whether its consulting, social, PR, or e-commerce.  Don’t forget to ask them why they would want to work for someone else if they are already in a position to be their own boss.  Personally, I don’t like answers like “security” and “stability” because some of the best SEOs I’ve ever met are basically risk-takers.  Look for more unique responses in this scenario.

Once you’ve heard enough about their background and their technical expertise, it is time to give them a few technical questions (give them a heads up that you’re heading there).
You can ask really anything you want, but here are some ones that would easily separate the BS’ers from the legitimate ones.

  • Let’s say I wanted to implement a microsite strategy to capture a few niche keywords for my website and its landing pages were currently having some difficulty ranking for.  I create a nice template, do the keyword research, and want to launch about 10 to 15 of these things with domains I already purchased that have the appropriate keywords within them, and they are .com websites.  What are a handful of precautions I should really strongly consider to do this launch successfully without harming my main website?
  • My website is already ranking pretty well for a ton of keywords I want.  I don’t really have any complaints (besides the fact it would be nice to rank number 1 for literally every single one).  I get a postcard from Google saying “Try Out Google AdWords!  Pay $50 Dollars for $250 in Ad Credit!”.  To me, Google AdWords seems really expensive.  I have some friends that say it is painfully expensive and they can’t imagine it is worth it.  Could you think of some reasons I would benefit from it?  Would you be able to appropriately give me a budget I should spend, and how did you come to that number?  Also, how could you track it to see if it was worth it?
  • I have a few landing pages on my website for my main products – Product A, B, C, D and E.  All of these pages were constructed with the same amount of words (unique content of course) and mostly the same SEO strategy for optimizing a page according to Google’s White Hat standards.  After a few weeks, I see that A, B, C, and D are starting to make their way to the first page for the keywords I’m going after, but E is nowhere to be found.  I really want E to rank.  Name at least five elements of this page you would check and tell me what you think is the appropriate approach for re-optimizing the page.
  • My site just got trashed by Google.  I have a friend in SEO that took a look and came to the conclusion I have crappy links…first, I need you to explain that to me.  Next I need you to explain how I got so many – I haven’t retained a company to do link building for me and I also haven’t done any myself.  My friend said that a competitor may have bought 10’s of thousands of crappy links and ‘pointed’ them at my site.  Can that really work?  What’s to stop me from doing the same back to him?  If you don’t think it is links, what other factors do you think could contribute to my site falling off the face of the Earth, and why did it happen overnight?

There aren’t concrete answers for these, but there are definitely ballpark answers.  Their thought process is very important.  You also have to know what kind of answer you have in mind.

Believe it or not, these questions aren’t nearly as technical as they get.  At the highest level, you would likely talk about topics like site architecture, code superfluousness, link portfolios, and complex server implications like IP relativity and C Blocks.  But what is mentioned above is certainly going to be killer for an mid-level SEO.

So there you have it for now.  Have any other questions for a potential SEO?  We’d be happy to help. Market My Market is a sincere and highly qualified digital marketing company well-versed in all things SEO and online success. We’ve helped a variety of clients by steering them clear of phony marketing companies and providing real, top-notch services. Contact our team at (800) 954-9441 to learn more about us and receive a free service quote today!