- For the new employee with little to no SEO knowledge
- For the new employee with medium SEO knowledge
- For the new member with high / expert SEO knowledge
If you are in the process of expanding your SEO team and hiring new members, it is important to understand their individual SEO knowledge in order to successfully incorporate them into your SEO training program.
There is no single approach to training search skills.
Use this column as a guide to recommend appropriate training for your new hire's skill level.
Here are three main levels of knowledge that will give you the keys to identify and train each and every person.
For the new employee with little to no SEO knowledge
As any digital marketer who has worked on SEO will tell you, it's complicated and not an overnight issue.
If you hire a new employee for your SEO team, you will likely get a first glimpse of their expertise based on their previous professional experience alone.
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Keep in mind that those who have little or no experience with organic search marketing – for example, those who have worked full-time in digital marketing but only marginally worked on SEO – would definitely fall into this category.
Given the nature of search engine optimization, it is important that you teach this beginner group the real basics from day one.
Otherwise, they will likely be lost.
We recommend reading Why SEO is Important to determine the critical nature of SEO to the overall success of any digital marketing effort.
Team members need to learn about history and scalability as well as an introduction to more specific terms like SERP, universal results, algorithmic changes, title tags, meta description, and heading tags.
A good starting point for your SEO training program is to provide comprehensive resources such as videos, case studies, and articles.
This will make it easier for your new team member to absorb and internalize the information you teach them, and to look at or read it again later if necessary.
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In addition, you can combine this learning content with live training of implementations to demonstrate the optimization process more completely.
These SEO beginners need help understanding where and how to break up their workflow.
You need to understand the basic concepts of SEO and how to use your time wisely.
It is imperative for your new team members to understand the most basic aspects of search engine optimization and the principles of organic marketing before moving into the more advanced topics.
A real distinction of SEO basics and its three pillars (Expertise-Authority-Trustworthiness) will set up your new team members and then your SEO program for success.
The most important things to keep in mind when involving people with little or no SEO knowledge and experience are:
- To be thorough.
- Not to assume that these employees are familiar with general SEO knowledge.
- And to provide the resources necessary to teach them the basics before they go too deep into the weeds.
One of the greatest early insights should be understanding that SEO is about harnessing your prospect's voice about their Google search habits.
Then, you can teach them how to use those insights to create high quality content based on data so that it can ultimately be found by your target audience.
For the new employee with medium SEO knowledge
Assuming an employee has a background in SEO and you want to determine if they have medium or high SEO sophistication, it is important that you ask them about their experience and level of comfort.
You likely realized this to some extent during the interview process.
Unless an experienced person has an incredibly formidable SEO background that they know not only all the basics but also the advanced tricks of the trade, they will likely fit best into this group.
For those with this intermediate level of sophistication, spending too much time on the basics (as we did with the first group), wasting time, boring and solving them, and not bringing many benefits.
Once you've determined that someone fits into this group, quickly review the general principles of these fundamentals to make sure you are on the same page on the fundamental principles before proceeding.
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Next, you can start teaching the more advanced elements of search engine optimization.
Topics such as indexing (Robots.txt file), page yield and emerging trends in digital marketing should be brought into focus.
In this way, your team members can successfully measure the current organic performance of your website and develop new SEO strategies.
It's important for someone at this level to highlight the value of having unique content across all pages of your website and reviewing strategies for optimizing existing content that will improve organic keyword rankings.
An example of the latter would be explaining the effects of cannibalizing keywords, identifying duplicate content, and techniques to fix and avoid such problems in the future.
For this level of sophistication, it is important to have resources such as strategy decks, extensive reading materials, and real-world examples available to help your new team member grow.
Once this knowledge is acquired and best practices are learned, the next step will be knowing how to put these strategies into action.
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Over time, teaching them how to use data to write content that is supported and informed by SEO will be invaluable.
For the new member with high / expert SEO knowledge
As mentioned earlier, only very advanced search engine optimization belongs in this category.
Skip the basics and 101 best practices in favor of a more in-depth, layered SEO training program.
If someone has graduated from level 2 to this point, he should of course now also benefit from the more differentiated training of level 3.
Depending on your team setup, that person might be someone you want to teach how to quarter an SEO program from content to technical strategy.
A new team member joining this stage should be trained in technical search engine optimization, if this has not already been done.
First, they should learn how to conduct technical site audits using tools like DeepCrawl and Screaming Frog.
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This allows them to make changes that will benefit the technical foundation of your website and improve its visibility and user engagement in search engines.
Given that technical SEO is no walk in the park (though it would be a park) it is often helpful to provide this background and training to make it easier for the team member to learn technical SEO to ensure they succeed .
Additionally, it will be worthwhile for your website to go through the basics of off-page search engine optimization in the long run.
Make sure your team member knows how to build domain authority through a strong backlink profile, and that they understand the importance of structured data to capture various universal types of results.
This allows you to incorporate a well-engineered SEO program that will support and aid all of your digital marketing endeavors.
As mentioned earlier, you may want your new SEO guru to ultimately delegate, or even run, the entire SEO program.
You may soon be in the shoes you are in right now, training new hires and bringing the rest of the team to their level.
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As you train this sophisticated search engine optimization, make sure you teach them how to spread the knowledge beyond your SEO team.
Regardless of what SEO experience or skill your new team member has, there are certain resources and insights that will work for them.
Again, it's important to first determine what their skills are, and then provide them with the right materials to help them succeed in their role!