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Braintrust is a user-owned talent platform created by and for the world’s top talent. This includes a talented network of experienced SEOs available for hire.

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Dominique Roy

Dominique Roy

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Vancouver, Canada
  • Copywriting
  • SEO

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Eduardo Castro

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Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Content Marketing
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Michael Peck

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Chicago, IL, USA
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How to hire Top SEOs


Hiring an SEO manager requires careful consideration of multiple factors. One needs to assess the individual's experience and expertise, understanding of all three levels of SEO, proficiency in various SEO tools, communication skills, analytical skills, adaptability, strategic planning abilities, and understanding of your industry. A thorough evaluation of these elements will ensure that you hire a professional who can drive your website's organic growth effectively.

The process and requirements for hiring an SEO manager may vary depending on whether you're a startup or a larger company. A startup may require an SEO manager who is a generalist, with broad skills to handle all aspects of SEO, given the limited resources and potential for wearing multiple hats. On the other hand, larger companies may look for specialists who can focus on a particular aspect of SEO, like technical SEO or link building, working in collaboration with a larger marketing team.

The nature of employment - full-time or hourly - also influences the hiring decision. Full-time employees might be ideal for businesses that require ongoing, extensive SEO work and can provide benefits like stability and a better understanding of your business over time. However, hiring an SEO manager on an hourly basis might be beneficial for smaller projects or businesses with budget constraints.

Startups and smaller businesses might also consider remote or freelance SEO professionals, providing flexibility and potential cost savings. However, larger organizations might prefer in-house employees to ensure closer collaboration with other teams.

Further, while technical skills and experience are crucial, it's also essential to consider cultural fit, especially for startups with a unique work culture. A candidate who aligns with your company's values, mission, and work environment can be more effective and have a higher job satisfaction level.

Additionally, irrespective of the size of the company or the nature of employment, it's critical to check the potential SEO manager's previous work, including case studies or references. This can provide insights into their actual skills, work ethic, and potential for success in your organization.

In conclusion, hiring an SEO manager is a crucial decision that requires balancing multiple factors. The right SEO manager can significantly impact your online visibility, web traffic, and overall business growth. Thus, investing time and effort in the hiring process is essential to ensure you find the best fit for your specific needs and circumstances.

Experience and Expertise

When hiring an SEO manager, a key consideration should be their years of experience in the field. More than just the number of years, it's essential to understand the depth and breadth of their experience. This includes their expertise in various aspects of SEO, such as keyword research, link building, on-page and off-page optimization, technical SEO, and local SEO. A good SEO manager should be skilled in conducting a thorough SEO audit to identify areas for improvement. They should understand how to leverage tools like Google Search Console and SEMrush for such audits. Also, their experience should extend to optimizing meta tags, headers, and content for search engine visibility. Expertise in creating and implementing link building strategies, including obtaining high-quality backlinks, is another crucial skill. Moreover, experience with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other web technologies can be beneficial for technical SEO.

Understanding of All Three SEO Levels

SEO comprises three levels: technical, on-page, and off-page optimization. Technical SEO involves making a website easy for search engines to crawl and index. This requires knowledge of XML sitemaps, robots.txt files, website architecture, and more. The SEO manager should be skilled in using tools such as Screaming Frog and Google's PageSpeed Insights for technical audits. On-page optimization involves optimizing individual webpages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic. This requires keyword research, content optimization, meta tags optimization, etc., and tools like Ahrefs and Moz Pro can come handy. Off-page SEO refers to activities outside your website to improve search engine rankings, such as link building and social media marketing. The SEO manager should be proficient in identifying high-quality backlink opportunities and managing relationships with other websites and influencers.

Knowledge of SEO Tools

SEO is heavily reliant on various tools that help in research, analysis, monitoring, and optimization. Google Analytics, for instance, is a vital tool for tracking website traffic, user behavior, and conversions. The SEO manager should be able to set up and interpret Google Analytics data effectively. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz are essential for keyword research, competitor analysis, backlink tracking, and SEO audits. Google Search Console is another crucial tool for monitoring website performance in Google Search results, identifying crawling issues, and understanding which keywords are driving traffic. Knowledge of schema markup generators and other technical SEO tools is also beneficial. Hence, proficiency in these tools is a must for an SEO manager.

Communication Skills

SEO is not a solitary task. It involves collaboration with various teams such as content, design, tech, and marketing. An SEO manager must have excellent communication skills to coordinate with these different teams. They should be able to explain complex SEO concepts and strategies in an understandable way. The ability to present data, analysis, and strategies effectively, both in written and verbal form, is crucial. This includes creating clear and informative reports using tools like Google Data Studio. Additionally, the manager should be a good listener, understanding the perspectives and requirements of other teams and adjusting the SEO strategies accordingly. Good communication also extends to external interactions, such as negotiation skills for link building and managing relationships with influencers or other websites.

Analytical Skills

SEO is a data-driven practice. An SEO manager needs to sift through vast amounts of data, understand what it signifies, and derive meaningful insights to make informed decisions. They should be capable of analyzing website analytics to identify trends, anomalies, and opportunities for improvement. This requires familiarity with analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics. They should also be adept at conducting competitive analysis to understand the SEO strategies of competing websites and identify gaps in their own strategy. Tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs can be useful for this. Furthermore, they need to be skilled in tracking and measuring the performance of SEO campaigns, determining the effectiveness of different techniques, and optimizing strategies based on these insights. This requires a deep understanding of SEO KPIs and the ability to use tracking tools like Google Tag Manager and SEO dashboards like Google Data Studio.


The world of SEO is constantly evolving. Search engines regularly update their algorithms, new technologies emerge, and user behavior changes over time. An SEO manager must be adaptable to keep up with these changes. They should have a keen eye for trends and the ability to quickly learn and apply new SEO techniques. Following authoritative SEO blogs (like Moz Blog, Search Engine Journal), participating in SEO forums, attending industry conferences and webinars can help in staying updated. Also, they should be comfortable with experimenting, testing new strategies, and learning from failures. Understanding of programming languages, such as Python, can be advantageous to implement more advanced SEO tactics and handle large scale data for SEO.

Strategy and Planning Skills

An effective SEO manager should be capable of devising comprehensive SEO strategies that align with your business objectives. This involves setting clear SEO goals, identifying the best tactics to achieve these goals, and creating a detailed plan of action. They should be skilled at managing resources and timelines to ensure that SEO tasks are completed efficiently. Familiarity with project management tools like Asana or Trello can be beneficial. Also, they need to plan for the long term, anticipating future trends and changes in the SEO landscape. Moreover, they should be able to pivot strategies based on the analysis of campaign performance, website analytics, and industry developments.

Understanding of Your Industry

Having an SEO manager who understands your industry can be very beneficial. They'll have a better understanding of your target audience, which can lead to more effective keyword planning and content creation. They will also have a better grasp of industry trends, competitors' strategies, and potential challenges, which can help in creating a more effective and tailored SEO strategy. Familiarity with your industry's terminology and conventions can enhance the SEO manager's ability to communicate with other teams, stakeholders, and external contacts. They might also have established relationships with industry-specific websites, influencers, or forums, which can be leveraged for link building and outreach campaigns. While not a mandatory requirement, industry experience can significantly enhance the effectiveness of an SEO manager.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to hire someone for SEO?

The cost to hire an SEO manager can vary significantly depending on several factors. These include the professional's experience and expertise, the complexity and scope of your SEO needs, your geographic location, and whether you're hiring a freelancer, an agency, or a full-time employee. For instance, hiring a freelance SEO professional can range anywhere from $20 to over $150 per hour. An SEO agency might charge a monthly retainer fee that could range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. If you're hiring a full-time SEO manager, the average salary can range between $50,000 to over $100,000 per year depending on the location and experience level. It's important to balance cost considerations with the value and ROI the professional can provide.

Is it worth hiring someone for SEO?

Yes, hiring a professional for SEO can be a worthwhile investment. An experienced SEO manager can improve your website's visibility on search engines, drive more organic traffic, and ultimately contribute to increased sales and growth. They bring specialized knowledge and skills that can help navigate the complexities of SEO, keep up with the latest algorithm changes, and implement effective strategies. While there are costs involved, the potential for higher organic rankings, increased brand visibility, and improved conversion rates can offer significant returns over the long term. It's about investing in a strategic function that can support sustainable growth.

How do I hire someone for SEO?

Start by identifying your SEO needs and goals. Then, you can start searching for candidates on various platforms - job boards, LinkedIn, freelance platforms, or through an agency. Look for candidates who have the right mix of experience, skills, and knowledge as per your needs. Once you have a shortlist, conduct interviews to assess their expertise and cultural fit. Ask them about their previous work, strategies they have implemented, and results achieved. You can also request case studies or references. For final candidates, consider giving them a small, paid project to evaluate their skills practically. Finally, discuss terms, deliverables, and set clear expectations before bringing them on board.

Can I do SEO on my own?

While it is possible to learn and do SEO on your own, it can be time-consuming and complex given the dynamic nature of SEO. There's a steep learning curve involved in understanding SEO techniques and staying updated with frequent search engine algorithm changes. If you're a small business owner or a startup, you might initially handle SEO on your own using online resources, blogs, and SEO tools. However, as your business grows, you might find that SEO requires a significant time investment and specialized expertise. At that point, hiring a professional or outsourcing your SEO needs can free up your time to focus on core business activities while ensuring your SEO strategies are up-to-date and effective.

Is SEO still in demand?

Absolutely, SEO is still in high demand and will continue to be crucial for online businesses. As long as search engines serve as a primary method for people to navigate the internet, SEO will remain relevant. It's an effective strategy to increase organic traffic, improve online visibility, and gain a competitive edge. With increasing digital competition, businesses are seeking SEO professionals who can help them rank higher in search engine results, reach their target audience, and enhance their online presence. The fact that search engine algorithms are constantly evolving creates a continuous need for businesses to update and adapt their SEO strategies, further emphasizing the demand for SEO expertise.

Is SEO worth it for small businesses?

Yes, SEO is certainly worth it for small businesses. In fact, it can be a game changer. When done effectively, SEO can help a small business compete with larger companies by gaining visibility on search engines, attracting high-quality organic traffic, and building credibility and trust. SEO is a cost-effective marketing strategy that focuses on attracting users who are actively searching for products or services like yours. Unlike paid advertising, the effects of SEO are long-lasting, providing a sustained return on investment over time. It's a crucial component of creating a robust, well-rounded online presence for any small business.

Can a single person do SEO?

Yes, a single person can handle SEO, especially in the early stages of a business or for smaller websites. However, as a business grows, the complexity and demands of SEO tend to increase, involving aspects like technical SEO, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, content creation, link building, and more. While one person can manage these aspects, it can become time-consuming and may require a broad skill set. SEO is also constantly evolving, requiring continuous learning and adaptation. For larger businesses or websites, an SEO team or hiring an agency might be more efficient and effective.

Why is SEO so expensive?

SEO may seem expensive because it's a labor-intensive process requiring a wide range of skills and constant attention. It involves technical website changes, content creation, backlink acquisition, keyword research, and ongoing optimization - all of which require considerable time and expertise. Additionally, SEO is a long-term strategy involving continuous monitoring, analysis, and adjustments. SEO tools and software, necessary for effective management and tracking, also add to the cost. The price reflects not just the immediate work, but the long-term value SEO can bring in terms of increased visibility, traffic, and conversions. It's an investment in sustainable growth rather than a quick fix.

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