Building an SEO Team: 4 Tips from Marketing Experts

Sarah Kincius
April 22, 2022

This blog goes out to all the marketing leaders in new roles looking to assemble their first SEO team.

Keep on reading to learn more about the best SEO hiring tips and tricks from the Perfect Search playbook.

Building an SEO Team: 4 Tips from Marketing Experts

1. Set Some SEO Goals

First things first—you need to get down to the nitty-gritty of why you’re hiring an SEO team. At first glance, the answer to that quandary seems obvious: you’re creating an SEO department to…create an SEO department, right?

Sort of. But SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of gig. The search engine optimization needs of an e-commerce company selling apples aren’t going to be the same as a software company whose main clients are enterprise businesses.

That said, the first thing we’d recommend doing is coming up with a list of what you’d like your dream team of SEOs to accomplish. Consider:

  • What will your SEO team members be doing on a day-to-day basis?
  • How will your SEO team advance your company’s goals?
  • What would you like to see your SEO team accomplish in six months? What about after a year or two?
  • How many SEO team members will you need to hire to pull off all of the above?

Once you’ve made your way through the above questions (and any others you feel are important), set some goals for your up-and-coming department. After that, you can move on to the next step.

2. Study Up on SEO Team Structure

Remember when we said that SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of gig approximately ten sentences ago? Forget that for just a minute.

Even though it’s crucial to prioritize the unique needs of your up-and-coming SEO department, it’s also your responsibility as a marketing leader to ensure you’re doing so in a logical way—and by logical, we mean by looking at common SEO team structures for your baseline.

For starters, take the SEO team at PSM as an example. At Perfect Search, we’ve succeeded with the following hierarchy of SEO team roles:

  • Director of SEO – a team member in this role runs the whole SEO show while making sure the team steadily moves in the right direction
  • SEO Managers – a couple team members with serious SEO savvy who can oversee projects, create content, and navigate a CMS like it’s nobody’s business
  • SEO Copywriters – a team member or two who can write optimized and timely messages for many (if not all) digital mediums
  • SEO Analysts – a group of team members whose primary objective is to figure out what ranks, why it ranks, and how to make their OG organic content rank even better using on-page and off-page tactics
  • SEO Designer – a team member or two who can execute visuals with digital parameters and user experience in mind

We’re not trying to say that you should copy this SEO team structure role-for-role, but getting an idea of what’s worked for others will help you learn what works for you.

3. Select the Right Staff

After spending some time with the tips above, your real SEO search will begin. Our best advice? Focus on finding the right people with the right experience.

In an ideal situation, “right” will translate to team members who have the skills to get their job done. Generally speaking, skills for SEOs across the board include:

  • Analytical abilities
  • Critical thinking
  • Writing chops
  • Social skills
  • Technical skills

That said, don’t be afraid to hire for personality. Sometimes, picking someone with enough drive and charisma can make their unrelated or minimal work experiences less of a concern. I’m a decent example of that: I was hired at Perfect Search after talking for an unholy amount of time about my favorite cheeses from Eataly, and I had zero SEO experience.

Bottom line: know what you want from your future SEOs and do your darndest to find a mix of candidates to help you achieve that vision.

4. Share Your SEO Search

We’ll be the first if no one else has said it: starting an SEO department from scratch is hard.

That’s why our last tip is to share your search with your network. Whether that means asking for referrals or simply having connections share an application portal on LinkedIn, know you’re not alone in this process.

Referrals from a trusted source ensure that you’re speaking with qualified candidates without having to sift through countless applications.

Better yet, call on your favorite digital marketing agency (cough cough *PSM*) to help fill your SEO needs.

Starting a new marketing role can be even more difficult than forming an SEO team from scratch. Contact us today if your team could use a boost from experienced digital marketers.


Sarah Kincius

Sarah Kincius is a Naperville resident and student at Loyola University Chicago. She loves going to the Green Mill to read whatever’s etched on the bathroom stalls (and to listen to the music, of course). Sarah is currently teaching herself Italian from a book she found in Wisconsin.

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