When you work in-house search marketing, you come across the need to find a link builder for your site(s). Now, I see Craigslist, Careerbuilder, and meta jobs search engines, etc. littered with job ads for link builders, but I noticed that I never see any consistency. It’s hard to come across a job ad, specifically titled, “Link Builder” or “SEO Link Builder”. Instead, at the entry level, you tend to find ads like, “Junior SEO”, or “Internet Marketing Intern”, or “SEO Assistant”, or even something as vague as, “Online Marketing Position”. And, at the more experienced level, you see “Link Building Expert”, “SEO Specialist”, and titles as vague as “Search Engine Optimizer”.
Now look, it isn’t enough to put up a title and a short description in your job posting. If you want to attract quality SEOs, you have to think and act like one. If you are hiring a link builder, it is usually safe to assume that you do internet marketing/SEO in some capacity. You spend all day optimizing copy, landing pages, ads, structure. Why, then, are you NOT optimizing your job postings? Sure, you will get applicants (oh, you WILL get applicants), and sure, you will eventually find someone that you like enough to hire, but what have you forgotten? Have you considered the cost, time spent, applicant volume, experience/quality per applicant, or how about ROI? Yes, you invest your time and money into finding the right person. Why not try to get the best bang-for-your-buck?
Entry Level Job Postings
Title: The title, here, is important because it tells the job-seeker what the job is. Or at least it should. Too many job-posters leave vague titles. You want the title of the job posting to be as revealing as possible. This is the first filter that weeds out the candidates that you do not want.
For example, if this is an entry-level position, put “Entry Level” in the title. If not that, then use, “New Grads,” or “Coordinator,” although “coordinator” could be a bit too vague. If this is an internship position, mention it, but at this level, are you going to find what you are looking for? Don’t expect to use “entry level,” on “intern,” and find someone that can just start the job on day 1. Expect that they will need training.
Content: I see a lot of posts, out there on the internet, whose job description is only a 2-4 sentence paragraph with no company information. These posts are only going to attract the people that apply to everything. It is not very efficient. It is usually a good idea to give a little information about your company; if you can’t reveal what company you are, paint a picture as to what kind of company you are. If want someone who has shown they can survive in your company/site environment, make sure you require a year of experience as at least an intern.
What to look for: Look for someone who knows how to work hard and is organized. Link building should require someone who can keep track of what they have done, and what they have not done, yet. A good GPA is a good start, but also look at activities they mention in their resume. Did they teach a class? Are they dedicated to something? These are indicators of someone who can keep things organized. Also, you obviously want to look for someone that is tech-savvy – someone who knows what a search engine does, and uses the internet, fluently, and writes good emails (look at all of your email exchanges with them – a good emailer/writer can get links at a much better rate than someone who writes poorly or is unfamiliar with email practices).
Pros: You can teach your entry-level person your own method of SEO. Their pay rate will be lower.
Cons: They won’t be able to bring anything new to the table – it’s always good to be able to learn from someone else. Although pay is lower, you have to invest time into training.
Experienced Link Builder/SEO Job Posting
Title: Make sure you include the words, “Manager,” or, “Experienced.” If you use “specialist,” or, “expert,” you will get a lot of people applying that only think in their mind that they are specialists/experts. You will get a lot of people applying that are better suited for entry-level or low-experience positions, and trust me, you don’t want to have to read through those cover letters, emails, or resumes.
Content: See, this is where it gets tricky. Not because it is, but because we forget to optimize. If you want a Link Builder who knows what they are doing, you are going to need keywords in your post, and they are going to have to be noticeable. By keywords, I mean buzzwords. “Social networking skills” is a good start, but you need words that flash aspects of your business. If your site is membership-driven, ask for experience on a membership-driven site. If it is an ecommerce site, you better be asking for ecommerce experience. What you DON’T need, here, is “5-7 years SEO experience.” With around 2 years of experience, you can find extremely well-rounded link builders. You can also find weak ones with 5 years of experience. Search Marketing is changing every day, and you want someone who is up-to-date on all standard and advanced practices. Include experience, but make it a “plus,” rather than a requirement. This way, you can still weed out those who are better-suited for entry-level positions.
What to look for: Well, I already started to go into this, but you need someone who is up-to-date on all the best link development strategies. Instead of looking for experience in years, look for it in knowledge. Make sure that they are fluent with each of your qualifications. You should be able to tell right from their first email/cover letter how knowledgeable they are.
Newbies or Experience?
Well I always think that it is easier to train someone than to bring someone in with their own set of ways. However, if your business needs some variation, then experience comes with a premium. Also, the larger the organization, the more knowledgeable of a candidate you are going to want to seek out. However, in a small business setting, a recent college grad or intern may suit you just fine. This is may be because you are not overwhelmed with other SEO tasks, and you just need someone to lighten your work load by taking on some link building duties. Plus, if you teach a man to fish… well do SEO… err… there was a metaphor in there, but I lost it.
What To Do
I can’t tell you how to optimize your job postings without knowing your company, your niche, your sector, your audience, or your requirements, but you need to do your own analysis. Put yourself in the position of the job seeker. An experienced link developer is going to find a title and short paragraph too shady to pursue, and a newbie is going to be scared-off by an onslaught of qualifications/requirements. Find your center-of-balance, and once you do, optimize it.
If you find a small number of people you think may be perfectly qualified for your needs, consider them your conversions. Don’t think of this as a guide (although, take the tips into consideration), but instead, as a reminder that you need to approach your head hunting the same way you tackle search marketing. Always Be Converting.