Stop. I know that you’re looking to hire SEO writers for your business’s website. Cool!
If you’ve done that in the past, you’ll know that there is a big difference between a good writer and a bad writer. A good writer can help you get “loyal” readers/customers for life… A bad writer can make a visitor click on the X sign of the tab in 10 seconds.
That’s why having a clear process of hiring great SEO writers is important. Would you agree with me?
I guess so.
In this blog post, we’ll go over a 3-step screening process that is proven to help you hire the best SEO writers for your website. The goal is not only to rank with your content but also to create loyal customers/readers.
If that’s something for you, please take this process seriously before you hire SEO writers. All right? Let’s start with an important caution.
The Effects When You Hire SEO Writers That Are Mediocre
When you hire SEO writers who are bad, you’ll get mediocre results. What do I mean by mediocre?
You’ll probably get a piece of content that is optimized for the search engines. But on the other hand, you’ll give the reader an awful experience.
Let me be clear:
When someone is searching for something, they have an intent. They want to get satisfied with the content they are going to invest time in. And what happens if you can’t satisfy their intent?
- They’ll have a bad experience with your business.
- The visitor will drop off of your website.
- They won’t share the content with their friends.
- They will talk bad about your business.
- They’ll put you in their blacklisted websites folder (maybe not literally but 100% mentally).
Google states this very clearly:
Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
If a searcher is typing on Google “How to lose belly fat”, you don’t want to talk about the anatomy of the human body. You want to give the exact recipe to losing belly fat. Of course, an introductory knowledge about the human body can be a piece of important information.
But if you put yourself into the shoes of the searcher, you’ll quickly understand that they are not looking for only the answer to “why they can’t lose belly fat”. The answer to this question can be explained in 2-3 sentences but not the whole content.
Don’t forget that people are in a rush and they have short attention spans.
If you can satisfy their intent with highly relevant information, you’ve won a loyal reader (maybe a future customer).
This Guy Ranked On Top While Spamming The Search Engine
Do you know the feeling when you search for something that you need help with right now… You click on one of the top-ranking search results. You quickly scan and read through the post only to find out that it’s not actually solving your problem…
It’s stacked with keywords.
What a bad taste. You’ve put the effort to only find out that you’ve read a 1000 word blog post that delivers nothing.
In the end, the only question you’ll think about is “What did I just waste time on?”.
The first time when I got into the world of SEO was through a friend. Back then, it worked when you just stacked up keywords in a blog post. This helped you rank high on the search engines.
One day he showed me the process on how to write an SEO blog post. I watched his screen while he was showing me the articles that he wrote. These were articles that were on the top 3 rankings for the keywords.
I’m not kidding… The first “internal” response I had was “What the…? Who reads that s#!t?”. The thing was that I didn’t understand that my friend was NOT writing for the reader. He was writing for the search engine.
And it worked! (back then, unfortunately)
Fast forward today, those blog posts won’t work anymore. You have to think about the intent of a searcher and satisfy it. You have to write for the reader.
Ahrefs Backlink Checker – Search Intent
An experiment that Ahrefs did showed exactly how important the search intent is. They optimized a landing page that was written for the keyword “backlink checker”.
After doing more research, they found out what the real intent of the searcher was. So what did they do?
They created what the searcher actually wanted. And in less than 6 months, the page went from 14,000 monthly visits to 53,000 monthly visits.
677% increase in a 6-month time frame but just optimizing for the actual intent. Check the full story by clicking here.
Step 1 – Look How Well The Writer Fits Your Company
The process that we’re outlining here, assumes that you’re actually in contact with an SEO writer. Maybe you’ve published a job posting on a freelancing website or anywhere else. People have started to submit and apply to your job.
Assuming that you have all of that done, you have to follow our screening process.
So when you’re in contact with an SEO writer, the first thing you have to consider is this: How does the writer fit your company culture? Ideally, you’re looking to build a long-term relationship with the writer. Why?
Finding great writers is difficult and when you find one, you’re probably going to stick to that person.
It’s important that the writer fits your company because s/he will be in contact with your team. Conflict and a bad attitude can have an enormous impact on your business. What are you going to do in order to understand that the writer fits your company culture?
1. Look For They’ve Done In The Past
Look at where they have written in the past. The publications or the companies that they have written for… If you know that they have successfully worked with good companies, this can be an implication of a great attitude.
The Balance Careers tell us that an enthusiastic employee creates an environment of goodwill and provides a positive role model of others. Even if you’re just hiring a freelancer who’s not writing in-house, his attitude on online meetings will either have a positive or a negative impact on your team.
Besides that, look for how long they are writing. Obviously, the more they have worked as an SEO writer, the better you know that they might have great skills.
Speaking of skills, check if they took any writing or SEO training before. If yes, which ones? Can they show proof of taking that training?
2. Their Tonality and Personality
When you’re speaking/writing with the writer, you’ll have a feeling of their personality and tone. These are critical.
Of course, you can’t decide if a person fits your company culture by just looking at how they are emailing you. But trust your gut feeling. People show a lot of personality through their way of communicating.
In his recent article on Fast Company, Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic tells us that there is an alliance between the words someone uses and their personality. The more you use a word, the more likely it is that you’re representing a personality trait.
Step 2 – Read Through Their Samples
After you’ve decided that they may be a good fit for your company, ask for writing samples. This is a wonderful strategy to check on their previous work. When you’re looking into the samples, there are a couple of things that you should consider.
1. How Relevant Is The Topic?
Are the samples that they’ve sent relevant to your business topic? Or are they about a completely different topic?
If they’ve sent writing samples that are relevant to your business, that means that they’ve given some thought. This is a great sign.
Obviously, a good writer has to know what his audience wants to read. In our case, you’re his audience and if he can give it a thought about what you might like, that’s great!
2. What’s Their Expertise About The Subject?
You’re probably an expert in your field. That’s why you can see if the writer has expertise in the field, too. If they have written in a way that shows that they are a knowledgable writer in the field, keep considering the person.
But if they are just writing vague statements that everybody can quickly learn, take a step back. The in-depth knowledge that an SEO writer has about the topic is important.
So when you’re reading through the writing samples, please consider their subject expertise.
IMPORTANT: We also know that real experts are humble and they admit that there is a lot more to learn. They won’t tell you in a hyped way that they know EVERYTHING. This is something that a faker can do to persuade his audience.
Obviously this is also a sign to consider when you’re in contact with a writer.
3. How Is Their Writing Ability?
Is their writing style easy to comprehend? You have to know that complex writing styles are not welcomed by readers. Of course, this depends on the topic that your business operates in. But if the writer can explain complex things in an easy-to-understand format, brilliant!
This is what you’re looking for.
Read through the post and see how they explain difficult terms.
4. What’s Their Attention To Detail?
Is the writer going for the extra mile?
Everyone can put together a piece of 1000-word content in 30 minutes. But writing something that completely answers the intent of a reader is on another level.
The way you can understand if someone really cares about what they are writing and how it will affect the reader is this:
- Maybe s/he’s pointing out to research that proofs a point.
- Quoting other experts that have said something relevant (which makes the content more credible).
- Researching other blogs and linking to relevant information (that satisfies the reader).
You can see vague writing when you just read claims that are not backed up with proof (research or other experts).
Step 3 – Request An Original Writing Sample
If you’ve gone through the first 2 steps, you’ve eliminated a lot of applicants. Right now, you have a handful of expert SEO writers that you can consider to hire.
Here is the thing: The samples that they have sent are probably edited and made better by the editors.
But their original writing may be totally different. This is why you need to read an original sample. At our last step, we’ll ask for an original piece that they are going to write for us. There some rules that you should consider. Let’s talk about the rules:
1. Ask Only Those That You’re Seriously Considering To Hire
Ask for an original writing sample from only those writers that you’re seriously considering. So please don’t ask everyone else. There is a basic strategy that will help you decide who to ask for an original writing sample.
The way you understand if you’re seriously considering someone is;
- The Screening Process You’ve Taken: You’ve eliminated all those writers that were not successful through the first 2 steps of the screening process.
- Your Gut Feeling.
So far, writers have gone through a screening process. If they have been successful, there is a high probability that you can hire them.
But at the same time, there will be a feeling about each person. Try to listen to your gut feeling. If you’re still unsure about the benefits that a writer can deliver, eliminate them now. There is no need to ask for an original writing sample.
If you’ve decided who to ask for, then please consider these additional rules:
2. Make Them Understand That They Have The Rights For The Content
So you’ve decided who you’re going to ask for an original writing sample. The truth is, even if 4-5 people sent you their original piece, you’re not going to hire all of them. This is why it’s important to state that the right of the content will be theirs.
They can do whatever they want to do.
- Publish it on their own blogs.
- Publish on Social Media.
- Or publish on Medium.
- Whatever they want.
Tell them clearly that the right of this original sample will be theirs.
3. Set A Deadline To Test Their Speed.
Give them a deadline to see how quickly they respond. Ideally somewhere between 24-48 hours.
This will give you an impression of how quickly they can produce new content. Not only the quickness but also what type of quality they produce on time pressure.
4. Give Them 3-4 Topics By ONLY Providing The Headlines
They need to have something to start with. When you’re asking for an original sample, it’s important to give directions about the topic.
What I recommend you to do is to have topics and headlines ready before you ask.
Give them 3-4 headlines and let them choose one.
5. Don’t Give Strict Guidelines
Please don’t have strict writing guidelines on this one. You can do that in the future when you’ve hired the writer. But for now, leave them to use their own creativity.
This way, you’ll make sure that you really see how their writing style is. This is important, so be loose about your guidelines.
Conclusion On How To Hire SEO Writers
When you’ve gone through this 3 step screening process, you’ll end up with a writer that you’re 100% satisfied with. Lastly, we recommend that you build a long-term relationship with this writer because the truth is:
You can find good writers, but great writers are not easy to be found.
NOTE: Thanks for reading our 3-step screening process to hire SEO writers. Our team at Content Stackers has already gone through the process. We have a talent pool of 10.036 highly skills SEO writers in our system. If you want to skip the screening process and get directly to your SEO writer, contact us by clicking here.