As digital marketers, we reach a point where we realize that it is time to hire help. New clients and quickly increased workload make it necessary to outsource some tasks and delegate responsibilities. Keyword research is definitely a part of our job that can be easily outsourced. But many don’t know where to start from when it comes to finding the perfect freelancer for SEO help.
In this article, we will share the hiring process through which the team at Semantic Mastery finds reliable help time and time again. This article will tell you where and how they search for freelancers, and what they look for in our ideal keyword research candidates.
Where To Look
There are plenty of platforms to find freelancers out there: Upwork, OnlineJobs.ph (specific to freelancers from the Philippines), etc. All these are good alternatives but at Semantic Mastery, they use the Outsource Kingpin hiring funnel. So far, they have hired more than thirty VAs through the channel, and were very impressed by the candidates. So much so, that they usually keep the 2nd or 3rd best applicants on file for when additional work comes up.
If you have signed up for the Semantic Mastery Mastermind, you have access to the Outsource Kingpin funnel method.
What To Look For
Don’t be too specific in your ad. Looking for a “Keyword VA” could be too selective - “SEO Virtual Assistant”, simply “Virtual Assistant” or even “Seeking administrative help” may be better alternatives. This is because you will provide your Assistant with training, tutorials and precise instructions on how to perform research and other tasks in exactly the way you need them.
It may help if your Assistant has worked in customer service positions before, and of course, their English skills need to be of a certain level, especially for any writing-related tasks. Previous SEO knowledge and experience, foreign language skills and other abilities may or may not be useful, depending on your specific needs. The most important trait is that they are willing and able to go through a training process and follow detailed instructions.
Obviously, this is not true for coders, programmers, and other skilled help. In that case, the hiring process becomes more specific and a little lengthier. It can work well to create a private ad on Upwork - that is to say, a job opening that is only visible upon invitation. Once you have gone through a number of freelancer profiles, you can hand-pick those you feel could be suitable for the position and invite them to bid for the job.
How to train your remote staff
As mentioned before, training is definitely more important than finding skilled labor for VAs. As it is likely that you will need to outsource help again in the future, having a training system in place and keeping your documents in one place is a great strategy for optimal staff management.
We like to record instructional videos and accompany them with a bulleted transcription on Google Docs. The result is a series of numbered and bulleted lists - our process documents - easy to digest and to refer to should the trainee have specific questions or doubts.
This may seem like a lot of work, especially if it is your first time doing it. Yet if you think about it, most VAs are hired on a full-time basis and will soon be joined by more support professionals, making this initial time investment valuable in the long run.
You can also resort to external training resources, such as the keyword training in Jeffrey Smith's SEO Ultimate Boot Camp, or even using Done For You services like the MGYB complete Keyword Research package.. All these are fantastic tools that can help your keyword VA in the beginning and beyond.
As a final thought, outsourcing can seem like a lengthy and risky process: what if you can’t find the right person, what if they don’t perform the job as well as you would?
In all honesty, these doubts should not stop you and simply don’t come up in the vast majority of the cases. When they do, you deal with them and move on - creating a process for it as you go.. There are plenty of great candidates out there, and if you spend some time putting a good training system in place, you will soon be asking yourself why you didn't think of outsourcing earlier.