How to do an SEO test to hire an area analyst – WAU
When hiring an SEO analyst, you should do a good job description, analyze resumes and interview candidates. But do you know what can be valuable in this selection process? The SEO test, which assesses candidates’ knowledge and skills in optimizing a website.
Imagine that you have already interviewed some professionals for a vacancy SEO analyst. They showed that they understand the subject, that they are aligned with your company’s culture and that they are excited about the opportunity! And now, how to choose the right candidate?
In the SEO area, some knowledge and skills – how to audit a website and research keywords – are essential for the professional to perform a good job.
So, you can use an interesting tool in the selection process, which we will talk about in this article: SEO test.
It is in practice that candidates will show that they really know the subject and that they know how to take a website to the top of the ranking! And this is how you will also identify who was just blah blah blah in the interview.
Now then, let’s show you how you can create an effective SEO test and what candidate skills you can test. Follow!
How is the selection process of an SEO analyst?
Who already works with SEO knows the day to day of the area and already knows what are the skills required. Auditing websites, researching keywords, monitoring competition and analyzing success indicators are just a few common activities.
However, a challenge appears when this professional becomes a manager or manager of the area and needs to hire a person for his team. Then, it is not enough to know SEO – you need to know how to hire. So, now let’s see some basic tips for the selection process.
The hiring of the best professional starts there in the job description, which should explain what the company expects from those who occupy that position.
In the case of the SEO analyst, he must know how to identify opportunities and execute actions to improve the ranking of a website, always keeping an eye on the user experience.
With a good job description, you will already attract candidates more aligned with what you expect. But the process is still long.
Then, with the resumes in hand, you can now make a filter based on the fulfillment of vacancy requirements (fluent English, for example), in addition to qualifications and experiences.
Next, you have two options:
- do the SEO test before the interviews;
- interview candidates and apply the test only to those selected.
In the first option, you can find candidates who are technically prepared, but who are not aligned with the company culture or who have other impediments.
In the second option, you can enjoy the conversation with a candidate, but then discover that he does not have the skills expected. In any case, there is a risk that must be taken into account when selection process planning.
In addition, in interviews, it is important to ask candidates about their experiences. What projects have you worked on? What results have they achieved? What challenges did they face and how were they overcome? It is worth exploring real situations, which escape the ready answers.
What are the pillars of ranking for planning an SEO test?
To take the SEO test, you must start with a plan. What do you want to evaluate in the candidates? What skills and knowledge do they need to demonstrate?
Instead of randomly listing expected skills, pay attention to the pillars of SEO, which can be summarized as follows:
- technology (crawling and indexing);
- content (creation of valuable content);
- authority (internal and external link network);
- experience (user expectations).
The test should cover all of these areas. For example: it is not enough to assess the candidate’s ability to index a page if he is not concerned with the experience that his actions generate for the site visitor.
SEO should be understood as a set of strategies that connect, where one action impacts the other. Then, evaluate this perception of the whole in the candidate.
It is also important to fit your company’s priorities into these pillars. For example: if you already have a good job of generating content, but need to improve link building, focus on your authority-building skills.
What SEO test formats can you adopt?
In planning the test, you also need to choose which line you will follow. It is possible to use different types of questions and approaches, which should be chosen according to your objectives. See some ideas!
Each type of question has its advantages and limitations, depending on the approach it offers. So it is good to think of a test that merges questions, to have a more complete perception about the candidate and extract more information from him.
See some of the most commonly used question types.
Multiple choice questions
This question model, as we used in our SEO Quiz, presents some answer alternatives, but only the correct one.
It is very practical and reduces the work for those who are responding; so it can be interesting to not take too much time from the candidate.
On the other hand, as it is objective, you are unable to assess the person’s creative or writing ability. It basically serves to gauge knowledge on a given subject.
Issues with checkboxes
A question with checkboxes has several answer options and more than one may be correct. It can also be used to speed up the SEO test, but it has the same problem of being quite objective and not allowing other perceptions about the candidate’s skills.
Instead of presenting ready-made answers, how about getting the candidate to develop them on their own? Thus, you have a richer response to assess the candidate and his ability to interpret, argue and write.
On the other hand, the answer is subjective and can even distort to other topics that do not interest the test. One idea is to outline the answer by saying which tools should be used, for example.
Here you can work with open questions to address a situation that could happen in your company and ask how the candidate would solve it. For example: “How would you make this site get more organic traffic from Google?”
So, you can evaluate the ability to formulate strategies and solve problems. However, it also has the possibility to obtain a distorted answer.
Time to finish
You also need to think about how long the candidate will need to answer the SEO test. Will he take the test inside the company? In 1h or 3h? Or will you email it to him to do at home and return in 3 days? Remember to adjust the time to the number of questions and the complexity of the questions.
Also think about what tools candidates can or should use to answer the SEO test. If you already use specific software, it may be interesting to create access for them to use. If not, it is also worth asking them to tell you what tools they used.
Should you pay for the candidate who is going to take the SEO test? There are different opinions about this, but it is important to think that if the test is going to take a lot of time from the candidate or if you are going to use his answers in your business, the payment is an ethical question.
What questions can you ask in the SEO test?
Now, you may already be in the mood to see some questions you can ask in your SEO test, right? So, let’s look at some examples.
It is interesting to ask the questions within the SEO pillars that we mentioned earlier, to understand if the candidate has a complete knowledge of the area.
But don’t forget that it is important to set up the test according to your goals and focus on the skills needed for the position.
Here we refer to technology as all the knowledge used to make a website be traceable and indexable by Google, in addition to being functional for the user.
The intention is to assess whether the candidate knows how the search engine works, how to diagnose and correct problems that are preventing indexing and how to improve Google’s understanding of pages.
You could ask, for example:
In response, the candidate should say that they serve to guide Google’s crawl on the hierarchy of topics covered within a page.
A more in-depth answer would also say that they are tags in the HTML code that identify the page titles and intertitles, with h1 being the most important in the hierarchy, followed by h2 and so on.
Here are some other questions that may come into your assessment within this pillar:
- Why isn’t the site appearing in Google’s ranking? How would you fix this problem?
- How does the site use structured data? Why is it important?
- What practices does Google consider black hat?
- Which of these URL structures would be the best choice according to good SEO practices?
You may be interested in these other technology content!
Black Hat: How can this strategy harm your website?
Missed Google results: know what to do to re-rank
Understand what structured data is and its importance
URL: find out what it is and how it can help your business!
Now, you must investigate whether the candidate understands the importance of content for an SEO strategy and whether it knows how to apply best practices.
This involves knowing how Google works, which always seeks to eliminate poor quality content from search results and prioritize who delivers relevance and value to users.
In terms of content, then, this is a question you could ask in the SEO test:
- This site has been punished by Google for containing low quality content. What identifies this practice on the page? Why does Google give these punishments?
In this case, the candidate must indicate practices such as excessive repetition of keywords, titles that do not match the content, content copied from other sites and the use of links that lead to malicious sites.
Google downgrades the placement of sites like this or even excludes them from the ranking because they harm the user experience.
Basically, Google means that you should create people-focused content, not the search engine robot. Today, he is already smart enough to identify practices that try to deceive him.
See also other questions that can enter here:
- How would you do keyword research for a blog? Why is this procedure important?
- How to improve the scannability of this blog article?
- What is LSI (latent semantic indexing)?
- What are the correct guidelines for creating a meta description?
- How can creating personas help with content production?
Also check out these other contents:
Keyword research: how to do well in SEO!
Scannability: why this is so important for your blog
What is semantics and why is it fundamental in Digital Marketing
Meta Description: find out why it is essential for SEO!
Persona: Learn what buyer personas are and how to create them
Building authority is essential for optimizing a website. This depends on its technical part and the quality of the content, which we have already seen above, but it is more linked to the relationship with other sites.
Google evaluates the network of links between web pages to understand what are the main references for users.
How much more quality and reputable websites direct to your pages, the more points you get with the search engine.
With the question below, you can identify if the candidate understands the subject:
- What strategies would you use to get more backlinks to a website?
The answer here can be quite broad, but it helps to realize the candidate’s ability to create an efficient link building strategy and within Google’s best practices.
He can mention actions such as guest posts, co-marketing, press relations, creation of infographics, analysis of competitors’ backlinks, among others.
Other questions about creating authority for a website are:
- Is this site suitable for our company’s link building strategy?
- Why is it important to diversify the anchor texts of the backlinks to a website?
- What is the function of the “nofollow” attribute in backlinks?
We put user experience as one of the pillars, but it must permeate all others. Every SEO analyst must understand that the top priority for Google and an SEO strategy is to quality of the search experience, from the search engine results page to the completion of an e-commerce purchase, for example.
Now see what you can ask:
- Which indicators can be used to evaluate the user experience on a website?
It is important to know noticing user signals that the site experience is being positive.
Google Analytics metrics such as length of stay, bounce rate and number of pages visited help with this perception, and the candidate must know how to make this assessment.
In an e-commerce, the cart abandonment rate is also an important indicator.
These are other questions you can ask in the SEO test on the user experience:
- Does this site offer a good experience on mobile devices?
- Why does Google consider loading speed to be a ranking factor?
- What steps would you take to improve the visitor experience for that site?
We separated some other blog content about user experience:
Mobile friendly: what is it and what is the impact on Google ranking
Google algorithm: learn how to rank first in 2019
User experience: understand everything about this concept
Other factors to evaluate in the SEO test
You now have the information to assess whether the candidate has the skills you expect from an SEO analyst. But that’s not all that counts in the test.
In addition to the answers, you can also keep an eye on whether the person followed the evaluation guidelines and if they were punctual in delivering the activity.
These questions reveal the level of commitment and responsibility, behaviors that will be essential in daily work.
Is SEO testing the only selection tool?
Another interesting question to think about is this: if the candidate does not do well in the SEO test, should you soon discard him? If you do, you might be a great professional.
Imagine that you did the interview before the test, you liked the candidate very much, you think he has everything to be a great professional, but he missed the question about “what is a guest post”.
On the other hand, one candidate who scored 10 on the test does not seem to have as many social skills as the other, who would be indispensable for the position. So, who would you choose?
Testing is a great tool for selection, but you don’t have to trust it blindly.
It is interesting to work with SEO test how one of the selection instruments, in conjunction with curriculum analysis, interviews, group dynamics or other tools you can use.
Depending on what you need, perhaps social experiences and skills, for example, weigh more for the vacancy than technical knowledge. And this assessment can only be done through the analysis of different instruments.
It is also interesting to note that the learning curve of a concept, tool or strategy is much faster than a change in behavior or personality trait.
The company itself can teach or afford a course for the contracted professional to learn to use Google Analytics, but it is difficult to make an introverted person become an extrovert, for example.
Therefore, the selection process of an SEO analyst must involve several recruitment and selection tools. O SEO testing is an excellent ally in this process, because it validates the knowledge that the candidates have and that are necessary for the position – and this would not be possible only with resumes and interviews.
But, to be successful in your application, it is important to align it with your goals, so that it covers the requirements of the vacancy and helps to hire the right professional.
Now, it’s also worth checking out our SEO e-book: a complete guide to placing your pages at the top of Google. Download for free!