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80 Performance Review Questions for SEOs by Skills

October 11, 2023

Sharik Rasool

The eight key aspects of SEO

Image source: Oberlo

As captain of your company’s ship, you probably have a clear vision of where you’re going and what you want to achieve. But that doesn’t mean you must know how to navigate the treacherous seas of algorithms, keywords, and search results alone. That’s the job of your SEO expert.

They should be a valued crew member for anyone whose business relies on the Internet. But how can you be sure that they’re getting you to the results you need and not leading you around in circles? The answer is performance review questions for SEOs so you can judge their capabilities and success rates.

How to conduct performance reviews in 10 easy steps

There’s a difference between just doing reviews and doing them effectively. Take, for instance, the BBC’s 2023 case study. Implementing evidence-based performance management (with a mix of facts, views, and expert insights) dramatically increased the proportion of all 21,000 employees having “clear goals, helpful feedback and discussions about career development”.

Performance review

Image source: Screenshot of Effy AI provided by Author

How do you leave your team feeling focused, inspired, and appreciated? Here are ten steps that’ll help you conduct effective performance reviews:

  1. Use performance review software such as Effy AI. This tool can automate the process with ready-to-use templates. It can also analyze and summarize the received feedback.
  2. Prepare for the meeting by reviewing the employee’s job description, previous reviews, and achievements. Gather data and examples to support your evaluation. You can also use 360-degree feedback to ask the person’s coworkers for their opinions. 
  3. Schedule a meeting with the employee and inform them of the purpose and agenda of the review. Choose a private and comfortable location to avoid distractions and interruptions.
  4. Positive reinforcement is essential. So, start the meeting by expressing appreciation for the employee’s work and highlighting their strengths. Use specific and positive examples to illustrate your points.
  5. Discuss the areas where the employee needs to improve and provide constructive feedback. Explain how their performance affects the team and the organization. Avoid personal or emotional criticism and focus on facts.
  6. Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals for the future and agree on an action plan to achieve them. Experts agree that this method is priceless in performance management. It brings clarity, enhances feedback, improves productivity, and inspires collaboration. But, keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to it no matter what. Be open to changes within this structured framework.
  7. Provide all the necessary resources and support to help the employee succeed. No team member should feel left alone or wonder what to do to meet your expectations. Additionally, implementing corporate recognition programs can further motivate employees and foster a positive work environment by acknowledging and rewarding their contributions and achievements.
  8. End the meeting by summarizing the main points and asking for feedback from the employee to make their voice heard. Thank them for their participation and commitment. 
  9. Follow up with a written document outlining the review’s results and expectations. 
  10. Repeat! Remember that this isn’t a one-time thing. Creating a feedback loop is key to constant improvement and success.

80 performance review questions for SEOs by skills

Google visits and other page analytics

Image source: Similarweb

According to Similarweb, the most popular search engine in the world — Google — gets a staggering 85.3 billion monthly searches. And it’s not even the only tool of this kind. To ensure your content gets top rankings, you need great SEO specialists. Performance optimization plays a pivotal role here. You have to know that they consistently deliver excellent results — but how?

Here are some examples of performance review questions for SEO specialists, listed by skills or characteristics they test and relate to.

Strategic thinking

SEO can sometimes feel like a game of chess, where you need to strategize for the future and foresee the opponent’s moves — but in this case, there are hundreds of websites you’re competing with. Many actions won’t be visible at once, which is why an SEO expert needs to know how to plan ahead.

  1. Do they set goals that align with the client’s overall marketing strategy?
  2. Do they use relevant keywords to inform their strategy? Do they utilize a mix of short- and long-tail keywords?
  3. How successful is their content optimization strategy?
  4. What were the SEO expert’s main objectives for the past year, and how did they achieve them?
  5. How effective is their link-building strategy?
  6. How do they assess the long-term impact of their efforts beyond traffic and rankings?
  7. Was there a situation when they identified a previously unrecognized SEO opportunity for the company? How did they go about finding and implementing it? For example, did they perform a link audit to identify opportunities for more robust internal links as well as a stronger backlink strategy?
  8. How do they approach international SEO and its challenges compared to national SEO?
  9. Does an SEO specialist adapt their SEO strategy based on the latest trends and algorithm updates?
  10. How do they align their SEO efforts with other types of marketing, such as social media or email campaigns, to create an integrated strategy?

Data analysis

SEO success relies heavily on the expert’s ability to collect and correctly interpret data. It’s the one foolproof way to show if and how their efforts pay off.

  1. How does an SEO specialist collect and organize SEO data to gain insights into website performance and search rankings?
  2. How do they track KPIs and report on them?
  3. How do they ensure data accuracy and integrity in SEO reporting? How do they avoid errors in data interpretation?
  4. How well do they use SEO metrics and analytics to identify opportunities and resolve issues?
  5. How do they use analytics tools to make data-driven decisions?
  6. Do they know any new tools or techniques that could improve the company’s SEO analysis efforts? How much experience do they have with the tools you use (Google Analytics, Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, etc.)? 
  7. How do they analyze current website performance to develop their new strategy?
  8. Have they conducted any successful A/B experiments? How did they use the acquired data?
  9. How do they assess the quality and relevance of backlinks? How does this data influence their link-building strategy?
  10. What key insights do they include in reports or dashboards? Do they effectively communicate SEO performance to non-technical employees or stakeholders?
 Google Analytics monthly report

Image source: Whatagraph

Research

An SEO specialist needs to stay ahead of competition, trends, and algorithm updates. Research is an inseparable part of their job. It helps them identify growth opportunities as soon as they arise.

  1. How do they perform keyword research, and how effective is their process?
  2. What methods do they use to conduct competitor analysis? How does it affect their decisions?
  3. How detailed is their product research? How does it connect with audience research?
  4. What keyword research tools and resources do they use to research the latest updates and algorithm changes?
  5. What’s their process of assessing the impact of new technologies on their current strategies?
  6. How have their research skills contributed to the overall success of SEO projects?
  7. What are some examples of content gap analysis that helped to identify opportunities for content creation and optimization?
  8. What criteria do they use to evaluate websites for outreach and potential backlinking opportunities?
  9. How do they approach target audience research? Does it inform their understanding of the target demographic and their demands?
  10. What’s their approach to local search trends, and how do they use these opportunities?
Keyword research tools

Image source: Startup Talky

Communication

Communication is vital for anyone who’s part of a team. SEO experts often have to explain technical information to people with little or no similar experience, so they need good communication skills.

  1. How do they adjust their communication style when working with different teams?
  2. How effectively does an SEO specialist communicate SEO strategies, recommendations, and results to clients and other team members?
  3. Are their SEO reports easy to follow, well-structured, and visually appealing?
  4. How well do they collaborate with cross-functional teams such as content writers, developers, and designers?
  5. How do they resolve conflicts or misunderstandings?
  6. Do they encourage client feedback and act on it?
  7. How do they handle situations when client expectations are unrealistic?
  8. How do they handle feedback? Are there some specific examples when it led to improvements in the SEO processes or strategies?
  9. Can they effectively lead and participate in SEO meetings or presentations that are engaging and informative?
  10. Could they provide training or guidance about SEO to others should they need to expand the team?

Technical skills

Don’t forget to assess their technical knowledge and ability to use the latest search engine optimization tools.

  1. Does an SEO specialist know how to perform a technical SEO audit?
  2. How effective are they in optimizing website speed?
  3. Do they know how to optimize robots.txt files and XML sitemaps?
  4. How effectively do they resolve technical SEO issues, such as 404 errors, 301 redirects, and server errors?
  5. What does their typical technical SEO audit process look like? What key issues do they look for, and how are they prioritized for maximum efficiency?
  6. Do they make use of schema markups?
  7. What techniques or practices do they use to ensure a website is mobile-friendly?
  8. How do they approach crawlability and indexability issues?
  9. What’s their strategy to optimize website architecture to improve SEO?
  10. How do they balance media quality with site performance?
SEO-friendly site architecture example

Image source: Semrush

Flexibility

New technologies keep popping up left and right. The best SEO experts should be able to keep up with them, as well as client needs and industry trends. This industry is a particularly dynamic one.

  1. How well does an SEO expert adapt to changes in search engine algorithms and industry trends?
  2. How well do they adapt their approach to suit different markets and audiences?
  3. What’s their approach to handling many projects and clients simultaneously?
  4. Can they provide an example of adopting new SEO tools and techniques into their strategy?
  5. How well do they respond to varying client needs?
  6. How do they handle constructive criticism and negative feedback?
  7. Do they effectively adapt their strategies to suit the unique needs of different industries or niches?
  8. Are they willing to experiment with new tactics and tools, or do they prefer to stick to the ones they know?
  9. How would they react to discovering that their current strategies are no longer achieving the desired results?
  10. What’s their approach to handling setbacks and challenges?

Project management

Sometimes, an SEO expert has to take on the role of a PM. They need to plan and supervise projects to guarantee on-time completion and delivery of desired results.

  1. How effectively does an SEO expert allocate resources and ensure the team members are in alignment?
  2. Do they meet deadlines?
  3. What are the results they have achieved managing projects?
  4. Do they set realistic goals for projects and track their success?
  5. What tools do they use for creating workflows and schedules, ensuring that they stay on track?
  6. How do they identify potential risks, and what strategies do they use to avoid them?
  7. What’s their approach to adapting project management methodologies like Agile or Waterfall to fit the specific needs of SEO projects?
  8. What’s their process for post-project evaluations that help to improve future SEO activities?
  9. Have they ever effectively managed a team, and if so — how big was it?
  10. How do they handle budgets, and can they optimize ROI in their projects?
Five stages of project management

Image source: HubSpot

Problem-solving

This aspect ties into most of the previous ones mentioned. In such a dynamic industry, unexpected obstacles can sometimes arise, so you want someone on your team who knows how to handle them.

  1. How effective is an SEO specialist in identifying and resolving technical SEO issues?
  2. How do they address sudden drops in search engine rankings or traffic?
  3. What do they do to optimize both for SEO and user satisfaction? How do they address SEO-related UX issues, such as a high bounce rate or low conversion rate?
  4. How do they handle situations with limited resources or budget constraints?
  5. How do they resolve backlink issues, e.g., toxic or spammy links that negatively impact SEO?
  6. How effectively do they solve content-related problems like duplicate content, thin content, or keyword cannibalization?
  7. Can they stay calm and focused when faced with urgent SEO problems and unhappy clients?
  8. How do they handle challenging projects with tight deadlines and limited resources?
  9. How do they resolve disagreements within the team or with clients?
  10. How do they handle situations where they must act with limited data or tools available to make informed decisions?

Conclusion

The SEO goal pyramid including process goals, performance goals and an outcome goal

Image source: Ahrefs

Evaluating your team’s performance is critical, and SEO specialists are no exception. But if you want your reviews to be effective, you must conduct them well. Otherwise, they might bring you more harm than good

Thankfully, finding the right balance between constructive and positive feedback isn’t that hard. You just follow a few simple rules, know what questions to ask, and have the suitable software toolset. 

We hope this article provided you with the help you need to boost your SEO experts’ productivity and effectiveness.

Sharik Rasool
Latest posts by Sharik Rasool (see all)

Sharik Rasool

Sharik Rasool is a consultant specializing in SaaS marketing and organic growth. He helps all-size businesses achieve organic growth.