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SEO is a powerful way to get new eyeballs on your business day in and day out.
The problem is, SEO has many moving parts — from keyword research to content production, to technical optimization, to link-building campaigns.
Not only is this a time suck, but if you do it wrong or accidentally use outdated strategies, you could do more harm than good.
That’s where the glorious SEO VA comes in to save the day.
These experts take care of all the nitty gritties so you can rank higher in search engines, boost your online presence, and attract more customers.
That said, not all VAs are created equal.
Here’s how to hire an SEO virtual assistant that actually knows their stuff.
Table of Contents
- What is SEO?
- How to Hire an SEO Virtual Assistant
- SEO tasks your VA can help with
What is SEO?
Before we dive into how to hire an SEO virtual assistant, let’s talk about what SEO actually is.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
It’s a digital marketing strategy that makes your website easy to find on search engines like Google.
The higher your site ranks on search results, the more likely people will click on it.
In fact, the first result on Google gets 10 times more clicks than the 10th result.
You don’t want your website getting lost in the shadowland of Google (unless you’re okay with potential customers flocking to your competitors).
To rank higher and get in front of the right people, you need to use relevant keywords, write high-quality content, and get other websites to link to your site.
You can do these tasks yourself, but in my experience, they can easily consume your entire schedule.
As a business owner, you have more important things to focus your energy on.
Especially if SEO is not in your zone of genius.
How to Hire an SEO Virtual Assistant
1. List your needs
Figure out the specific SEO tasks you need help with – whether it’s keyword research, link building, creating user-friendly content, or the entire process.
If you’re not 100% sure, my advice is to start with an SEO audit.
This will reveal where your current website traffic is coming from, how your website compares to competitors, and any holes in your strategy.
You might realize your competitor is outranking you for an important search term. In that case, you could hire an SEO VA to build links to that page.
Or you may discover that your competitor has an informational blog with helpful articles that attract traffic to their site. In that case, you could hire an SEO VA to create a content calendar and write the articles for you.
Knowing your needs upfront lets you create a clear job description for the right candidates.
2. Find candidates
Another, less time-consuming option is to use a virtual assistant company, like Time Etc. These agencies match you with pre-screened VAs that have the SEO skills you’re looking for.
While an agency costs more than hiring a freelancer, you’ll save time digging through resumes. On the flip side, you have to give up some control in the selection process.
That said, I recommend Onlinejobs.ph. This is where I hired my virtual assistant and I couldn’t be happier with the decision.
Onlinejobs.ph lets you connect directly with VAs from the Philippines who have specific SEO skills.
You can even check their English skill level and IQ scores to find the perfect match.
3. Review resumes and profiles
It’s exciting to see resumes with flashy SEO skills like “site speed” or “indexing” expert. But I suggest taking things one thing at a time.
For most businesses, this means looking for a content strategist first. After all, it doesn’t matter how speedy your site is if there’s no content on it.
A content-savvy SEO VA can do content audits, find gaps in your current website, and offer fresh and new ideas to target different audiences.
Be on the lookout for VAs who have experience in your industry. They’re already familiar with the unique SEO challenges you’re probably dealing with and know how to solve them.
For example, if you’re a realtor and see a candidate who’s done SEO for real estate companies before, you may have just found gold.
4. Run interviews
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, start interviewing them to see if they have the qualities that make a good virtual assistant.
Ask candidates about their SEO knowledge, experience, and how they handle specific tasks.
Some ideas are:
- “What SEO tools do you currently use?”
- “What is your step-by-step strategy for finding easy-to-rank keywords?”
- “If you were to improve a website’s SEO with a limited budget, what would be your top priorities?
You can also ask how they’re adapting to changing SEO trends. A flexible SEO VA can handle Google algorithm updates and keep your website on track.
5. Give a test task
The secret to creating an SEO test task is to make it reflect real-world SEO challenges.
Give candidates a sample website (it can be your own or a hypothetical one) and ask them to do mini SEO audit.
Have them look at all aspects of the website’s SEO, including on-page optimization, backlink profile, and overall user experience.
You’ll know a candidate is good when they can:
1. Identify areas for improvement like missing meta tags or broken links.
2. Give specific recommendations for increasing the site’s search engine visibility and organic traffic.
I like giving the same test to my top three candidates. It costs a bit more, but the side-by-side comparison makes it easier to choose the best.
Remember, if it’s something that will take more than 10 minutes, you should pay for their time.
I pay for the test task using an hourly rate, then ask them to track their hours. This gives you extra insights on how fast they work.
6. Negotiate terms and rates
The cost of hiring an SEO virtual assistant depends on things like the VA’s location, experience, and skill level. Even the platform you use for hiring affects the VA’s rates.
SEO VAs from the US can cost from $10 to $100+ per hour. That’s a pretty wide range.
At the bottom of the scale, you’ll find new SEOs who need training and hand-holding.
At the top end, you have experts with long track-records of helping companies grow with SEO. They’ll come into your business and know exactly what to do.
If you’re outsourcing your SEO tasks to a virtual assistant in the Philippines, like I do, the prices are more affordable, starting at $4 an hour.
Wherever you choose to hire, talk to your VA about your budget and their preferred rates so you can set the right expectations.
SEO tasks your VA can help with
User experience (UX)
If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 53% of mobile consumers will leave. It’s worse if your site has confusing pages or broken links.
When this happens, your website might not show up in search results. And your customers will run to another business.
The solution is to let your SEO virtual assistant work their magic on your site’s layout and navigation. They’ll reorganize your pages so visitors can instantly find what they’re looking for.
For example, they can create a separate section for your “Best-Selling Products” or “Top-Rated Tools” to make them easy to find for customers.
Your trusty VA can also increase your load speed by cleaning up codes, finding a better website hosting service, and using other special tools.
Unless you’re a tech nerd, this is NOT stuff you want to figure out yourself (unless you want to break your website).
Imagine for a sec you’re a dentist in Los Angeles. Your SEO virtual assistant can find which keywords people use when searching for dental services, like “LA dentist” or “teeth cleaning LA.”
This helps them decide what type of content your website needs.
You can create a service page telling visitors you have the best teeth cleaning techniques in LA. Or write a helpful blog post about how much a dentist costs in LA.
You’re free to use other keywords, but keep in mind that 95% of all keywords in the US don’t get much attention.
Your SEO VA will choose the ones that are most likely to attract traffic to your site.
Metadata and structured data
Metadata are hidden tags or labels on your website.
Google uses them to understand what your page is about and when to show it in search results.
Your SEO virtual assistant can improve your metadata by writing optimized titles and descriptions for each page.
They can also add structured data and schema markup to your page. This instructs Google to present your page differently in the search results.
For example, adding a review schema tells Google to add a star rating next your web page in the search results.
These are all little things your SEO VA can help you with that encourage searchers to click your website over competitors.
Why spend hours making sense of complicated SEO data when your virtual assistant can prepare simple SEO reports for you.
They’ll use Google Analytics to track your website metrics like button clicks, downloads, or form submissions. You can use this info to improve your content or adjust your SEO strategy.
Continuing with the dentist example:
Your VA runs a report and discovers that your blog post about the worst foods for kid’s teeth is driving the most traffic to your website.
But she also notices that not many visitors make it to your Schedule an Appointment page.
Armed with this knowledge, you might consider writing more blog articles about dental hygeine for kids, and in each one, reminding readers how important regular cleanings are (with a big, fat button to your Appointments page).
Without a VA to help you find these types of insights, you could be leaving big opportunities on the table.
Your website has an amazing blog. But it’s hidden away in the darkest corner of Google’s search results.
With the help of your SEO VA, your content can climb the search engine ladder for the world to see.
Your VA can:
1. Optimize title tags, headings, and meta descriptions to grab attention and send signals to Google.
2. Fill in information gaps to make your articles more comprehensive than the competition
3. Use keywords without making your content sound like a broken record.
While SEO focuses on written content, Google also looks at the text attached to images and videos. Your virtual assistant can write image alt tags, file names, and descriptions for your site’s visual content.
The more of these small signals your VA sends to Google, the higher you’ll rank.
Google looks at links as one of their top criteria for ranking pages. Each link is basically a “vote” showing your website can be trusted.
But instead of just asking other websites for links (spoiler alert: this doesn’t work), your SEO virtual assistant can reach out and offer something of value in exchange.
A you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours type of situation.
They can even work with your social media virtual assistant to target other bloggers and influencers in your industry.
This gets your website more natural backlinks, which search engines like.
Sometimes, other websites might link to your site, but the link ends up broken. Either the page changed or got removed.
Your VA can find these broken links and ask the website owners to update them.
These tasks are tedious, but they can make a big difference.
Local SEO Strategy
98% of consumers learn more about a local company online. So your website needs to be visible to people who search for businesses in specific locations.
Going back to the dentist in LA example. Your skilled SEO virtual assistant can optimize your content to reach customers searching for “best dentist in LA” or “best teeth cleaning in LA”
They’ll also set up your Google My Business profile (if you don’t have one already).
This helps people find your contact number and business hours on Google’s search results page.
It also helps you show up in Google Maps when people search for “dentist near me.”
An important part of SEO is checking out the competition – which websites in your industry rank higher and how they do it.
Your SEO VA can be your spy. They’ll scout other websites’ top-performing keywords and give you suggestions for content.
But their spywork doesn’t end with keywords.
They can also dig up entire traffic sources that your competitors are using. For example, they may discover your competition is paying for ads, driving traffic with social media, or collaborating with other companies in your industry.
All this knowledge helps you avoid getting left in the dust.
Whatever business you have, you can’t ignore that having a strong online presence is important to your success. SEO is a key way to make that happen. So stop wasting your valuable time, and hire a virtual assistant to do it for you!
Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered — where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.
His advice has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo, MSN, Reader’s Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, and more.
Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).