How to Hire for and Develop a Successful SEO Department

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The author's views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

It’s a highly competitive market for SEO skills at the moment. But as a hiring manager, how do you ensure that you are selecting the right fit for your team, and not just the available candidates? It’s crucial for the well-being of your existing team, your prospective hires, as well as your SEO performance, to hire well.

Who you hire, when, and in what order can come down to several factors. Working in-house may mean your budget for hiring SEOs is limited, so you might need to find someone who ticks a lot of skill boxes broadly, but less deeply. With an agency, or enterprise team, you may have the luxury of investing in a broad roster of talent where each individual is highly-focused.

Skills needed for a well-rounded team

Not every SEO team is created equal. You have to ensure that you’re hiring in a way that suits your organization. To do this, consider what skill sets already exist in your business and where there are gaps.

SEO skills

First, let’s look at some commonly sought-after SEO skills. I’m loosely categorizing these into practical skills (those that are needed specifically for great SEO performance) and soft skills (those that are needed for a good team dynamic).

Practical skills

Practical skills are often the ones focused on more in the hiring process. After all, we want to ensure our new colleagues are proficient SEOs! How you cover these skills might be a mix of staff, freelancers, and agency support.

  • On-page optimization

  • Technical optimization

  • Digital PR

  • Data analysis

  • Strategy development

  • Project/account management

Soft skills

As important as practical skills are the “soft” ones. These are

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