Written By: Adam Dince
If your organization is looking to improve organic search rankings and performance, it’s important that you have the right people in place to get the job done well. Not the “quick/cheat the algorithm” well, but the long-term well that comes with a sound strategy that builds equity the honest way.
In order to get your SEO where it needs to be, I’ve created a list of 10 questions that any seasoned SEO should be able to answer with no problem. Your organic search performance is only going to be as good as the team you hire to do the job, so it’s important to ask the right questions. Also, you or non-SEO team members have a high-level understanding of the answers to the questions below. If this is new to you, I challenge you to search the Web and research away. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
- How do you ensure that you’re targeting the right keywords for the right pages on my site? This is key! If you’ve picked the wrong keywords or your keyword to landing page strategy is off, you’re going to have a difficult time improving quality of traffic and visibility for highly competitive terms.
- What is your server-side expertise? Provide a few examples of how you’ve leveraged server-side tactics for the good of organic search. Your server configurations can work for or against your organic search health. It’s important that your SEO team have fundamental experience with managing server-side complexities.
- Can you explain major changes to Google’s algorithm over the past 10 years and why they were and are important? This may sound like an uber-trivial geek question, but it’s important. Anyone who is passionate about their field has a sound understanding of its history. A good way to ensure you’ve got a team that is going to bring quality to the future is understanding what has happened in the past. We know that Google and Bing are striving to create better user-experiences so it’s important to know historically what’s been important to the search giants.
- What is SSL/Encrypted Search and how does it affect us? Analytics and SEO go hand-in-hand. Thus, it’s important to understand how Google has implemented privacy controls and what it means for your ability to track performance.
- What SEO SAAS tools are you familiar with and how do you use them? Back when I started in SEO, we did everything by hand. Like the old math professor who tells his or her class to put away their calculators until they understand how to write out a solution on paper. However, times have changed and there are useful solutions like Conductor’s Searchlight, which can help you effectively manage and scale your SEO operations. Its’ important that your team have used these tools or at least have the acumen to do so.
- What blog sites do you regularly read? I can’t stress this one enough. A good SEO is going to spend significant time reading. While sites like Search Engine Land and SEOMOz’s blog are best in class, it’s not enough to simply read those two. You want to make sure that your SEO team is well read across all things digital.
- How do SEO and Social Media work together and what are examples of your success in implementation? The line between social media and SEO continues to grow thinner and thinner. It’s important that your SEO team understand how social signals can impact your organic search performance and vice versa.
- How do you build quality inbound links? Another important question. Linking ain’t what it used to be and Google has gotten serious about sites that utilize outdated methods of link acquisition. It’s important that your SEO team understand how to drive high quality and useful links to your site to increase equity without doing harm or providing little to no value at all.
- What is semantic search and what does it mean for our business? Search engines are quickly changing and it’s important to know what those changes are. Some of the algorithm changes are small in nature, but some are massive game changers. Semantic search is a game changer. And while semantic search is young and still getting its sea legs, it won’t be long before it is the dominant factor in organic search.
- How much do you know about my business? If you’re going to succeed in organic search, you’ve got to have the right content and target the right keywords. In order to accomplish both, your SEO team must have more than a fundamental understanding of your business. Often times, you’ll find that the senior person on your team understands your business but more junior members do not. Everyone involved with your SEO project should understand exactly what your business is and what its goals are.