How to Screen and Recruit the Best SEO Content Writers
It’s simple to find writers; they’re everywhere — from a one-second Google search to asking on LinkedIn.
But hiring the very best ones? That’s the daunting task marketers and business owners face. And you may not only need writers, you need exceptional SEO content writers.
For the reason that that’s what Google (aka the greatest traffic driver on most sites) has clearly been clamoring for since their Panda update in 2011, RankBrain in 2015, and their “Fred” update (and by the way, Gary Illyes from Google coined “Fred’for every single unnamed Google update) in March, 2017.
It’s obvious how each of these major updates communicates Google’s preference for excellent SEO writers:
If you’re a frequent Moz reader, you most likely discover how they work — but if not: Panda penalizes every webpage with content that adds little to no value to people online, giving more visibility to content pieces that do. By itself, the RankBrain update has made Google almost as smart as humans — when selecting probably the most relevant and high-quality content to rank on page #1 of search engine result pages (SERPs).
The “Fred” update further tackled sites with low-quality content that aren’t doing anything beyond providing information that’s already available on the internet. In addition it penalized sites that prioritized revenue above user experience.
Next update, 100+ sites saw their traffic drop by 50 percent to 90 percent.
It’s evident that Google has, through these core updates, been requiring brands, publishers, and marketers to utilize SEO content writers who know their onions; the people who know how to write with on-page SEO mastery.
But how do you find these exceptional wordsmiths? With out a plan, you will have to screen tens (or even hundreds) of these to locate those who find themselves a great fit.
But let’s allow it to be easier for you. Essentially, your ideal SEO writers must have two key traits:
- Good on-page SEO expertise
- A good eye for user experience (i.e. adding relevant images, formatting, etc.)
An author with these two skills is a great SEO writer. But let’s dig a bit deeper into what that means.
(Note: this post is about hiring exceptional SEO content writers — i.e., wordsmiths who don’t need you monitoring them to complete great work. So, things can get a bit techie as you read on. I’ll be assuming your ideal writer understands or is accountable for things like formatting, on-page SEO, and correctly uploading content into your CMS.)
1. On-page SEO knowledge
Right now, you know what on-page SEO is. But if not, it’s simply the elements you add on a site or web page to let search engines realize that you’ve content on specific topics individuals are searching for.
So, how have you any idea if an author has good on-page SEO knowledge?
Frankly, “Can you return me your previous writing samples?” is the best question to ask any writer you’re considering hiring. Once they show their samples, ask them to walk you through each one, and think about the following questions:
Question A: Do they’ve ‘focus keywords’within their previous samples?
Several factors come into play when wanting to rank any page, however your ideal writer must know how to hold things down on the keyword side of things.
Look through their samples; see if they’ve optimized any content piece for a certain keyword previously so you can know if they’ll manage to do the same for your content.
Question B: How do they choose title tags?
Search engines use title tags to detect the headings in your content.
You know how it works: put “SEO strategy” — for instance — in a couple of, relevant headings on a typical page and search engines will understand the page is teaching SEO strategy.
Essentially, your ideal SEO writer should understand how to use them to boost your rankings and attract clicks from your potential customers browsing results.
Are title tags really that important? They are. Ahrefs, as an example, made their title tag on a typical page more descriptive and this alone upped their traffic by 37.58%.
So, examine the titles in your candidate’s samples, especially the h1 title. Here’s what you should try to find when examining what sort of candidate uses HTML tags:
i. Header tags should, ideally, not become more than 60 characters. This really is in order to avoid results that appear to be this in SERPs: