5-Step Guide to Hiring SEO Writers: Know What to Look For and Avoid


  September 23rd, 2023


Navigating the digital landscape can be a daunting task, especially when  you’re trying to make your voice heard amidst the cacophony of online content. As a small business owner or marketing manager, you understand the power of words, but it’s not just about crafting compelling narratives. It’s about ensuring those narratives reach the right audience.

Enter the world of SEO services, specifically content writing—a realm where art meets algorithms. If you’ve ever pondered the intricacies of hiring the right SEO content writer, you’re in the right place. This guide will illuminate the path, helping you discern the qualities of top-notch SEO writers, the red flags to watch out for, and the steps to ensure you’re making an informed decision.

Crash Course on Hiring SEO Writers

Define Your Content Needs

  • Determine the type of content you require, such as blog posts or product descriptions.
  • Identify your primary SEO content goals, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving more traffic, or both.

Initiate the Search for Writers

  • Explore reputable platforms like Upwork and LinkedIn to find potential candidates.
  • Seek referrals from industry peers or colleagues who’ve had positive experiences with SEO writers.

Evaluate Their SEO Expertise

  • Thoroughly review their portfolio to gauge their writing style and past SEO work.
  • Assign a test topic related to your industry to assess their SEO writing skills and adaptability.

Conduct Interviews and Check References

  • Engage in personal interactions, either virtually or face-to-face, to understand their approach and gauge compatibility.
  • Reach out to their provided references to get feedback on their reliability, professionalism, and quality of work.

Implement a Trial Period

  • Engage the writer for a short-term assignment, such as a set number of articles, to evaluate their consistency and responsiveness to feedback.
  • Throughout the trial, maintain open communication, providing constructive feedback and gauging their receptiveness to revisions.

Make a Hiring Decision

  • If satisfied with their performance during the trial, proceed to hire them for a longer-term engagement.
  • Clearly outline and agree upon the terms of engagement, including payment terms, content delivery schedules, and any other pertinent details.

Why Do You Need Professionals for SEO Writing Services?

In the bustling digital marketplace, standing out is more than just having a presence—it’s about making a lasting impact. While many might think that writing for the web is a straightforward task, the reality is far more nuanced. Here’s why roping in professionals for SEO writing services is not just a good idea, but a strategic necessity:

Expertise in Algorithm Dynamics

Search engines, especially Google, frequently update their algorithms. Professional SEO writers stay abreast of these changes, ensuring your content remains optimised and relevant.

Balancing User Experience and SEO

Crafting high-quality content that appeals to both readers and search engines is an art. Professionals know how to weave keywords seamlessly into compelling narratives, ensuring your content resonates with readers while ticking the SEO boxes.

Strategic Keyword Integration: 

It’s not just about inserting keywords; it’s about strategically placing them where they matter most. Professionals have the expertise to ensure keywords are integrated in a way that feels organic and boosts visibility.

Avoiding Penalties

Over-optimisation or using outdated SEO tactics can lead to search engine penalties, pushing your content down in rankings. Professionals ensure adherence to best practices, safeguarding your content’s position.

Consistent Quality and Tone

A consistent brand voice establishes trust and authority. Professional SEO writers can maintain this consistency across all content pieces, reinforcing your brand’s identity.


SEO writing requires research, understanding of the target audience, and knowledge of best practices. By hiring professionals, you free up valuable time, allowing you to focus on other core aspects of your business.

ROI and Conversion

Ultimately, it’s about results. Professional SEO writers not only drive organic traffic to your site but also craft content that encourages action, be it signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or any other desired outcome.

What to Look for in an SEO Writer

Finding the right expert SEO content writer can be the difference between content that soars and content that sinks. But with a sea of writers out there, how do you identify the gems? Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to look for:

Published Work

Before hiring, always ask for samples of their published work. This gives you a glimpse into their writing style, versatility, and ability to engage readers. For instance, if a writer provides you with a link to an article they penned for a reputable site (even better, one in your industry), it’s a testament to their credibility.

Work Experience

While budding writers can be talented, experience often brings a refined skill set. A writer with years of experience in the digital marketing realm might be more adept at understanding audience nuances and SEO intricacies.

Psst – curious about our work experience? Check out our case studies.

Communication Skills

Beyond writing, effective communication is crucial. How promptly and clearly does the writer respond to your emails? For example, if you send a brief and they revert with clarifying questions, it shows their commitment to getting it right.


Passion often translates to quality. A writer genuinely excited about your project will likely deliver content that resonates. If during an initial conversation, they’re brimming with ideas and show a keen interest in your industry, it’s a positive sign.

Industry Knowledge

Especially for niche sectors, having a writer with industry knowledge can be invaluable. If you’re in the health sector and a writer is familiar with terms like ‘telehealth’ or ‘biomedical engineering’, it can save time and ensure accuracy.

Research Skills

A good writer is also a good researcher. They should be able to delve deep into topics, even unfamiliar ones, and produce content that’s accurate and insightful. For instance, if you need a piece on ‘sustainable farming practices in Australia’, they should be able to source reliable data and present it coherently.


Past clients can provide insights into a writer’s professionalism, reliability, and quality of work. If a past client raves about how a writer transformed their blog content, increasing engagement and traffic, it’s a strong endorsement.


While not always necessary, certifications can validate a writer’s expertise in SEO and content marketing. For example, a certification from HubSpot can vouch for their proficiency.


Timeliness is crucial. Your content calendar shouldn’t suffer due to missed deadlines. If a writer has a track record of punctuality, like consistently delivering content for a monthly magazine without fail, it’s indicative of their professionalism

On-Page SEO Knowledge

A proficient SEO writer should be well-versed in on-page SEO elements like meta descriptions, title tags, and keyword placement. For instance, if they can optimise an article’s header tags (H1, H2, H3) while maintaining a natural flow, it showcases their on-page SEO acumen.

Ability to Write for Real, Human Readers

While SEO is vital, the end reader is a human, not a search engine. A writer’s content should resonate with readers, telling a story or providing value. For example, a piece on ‘Home Gardening Tips’ should not just be keyword-stuffed but should genuinely guide and inspire budding gardeners.

SEO Research and Writing Technique

Beyond basic writing, an SEO writer should be adept at keyword research, understanding search intent, and crafting content that aligns with it. If they can identify long-tail keywords or LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) terms that boost an article’s relevance, it’s a testament to their SEO research prowess.

Marketing/Communication Background

A background in marketing or communication can be a bonus. Such writers often have a deeper understanding of audience personas, buyer journeys, and crafting content that not only informs but persuades. For instance, a writer with a degree in Marketing might be adept at creating compelling CTAs (Calls to Action) that drive conversions.

Incorporating these attributes into your screening process will further refine your search, ensuring you find a writer who is not just skilled but is also aligned with your brand’s vision and goals. Remember, the right writer can be a game-changer, propelling your content to new heights.

What to Avoid When Hiring SEO Writers

The journey to finding the perfect SEO writer is filled with potential pitfalls. While it’s essential to know what to look for, it’s equally crucial to be aware of red flags. Here’s a guide on what to steer clear of when hiring writers:

Content Mills

These are platforms where content is produced in large quantities, often sacrificing quality for quantity. While they might offer tempting rates, the content can often be generic and lack depth. For instance, if you receive a 500-word article on ‘Australian Wine Regions’ that merely lists names without delving into the unique characteristics of each region, it’s likely sourced from a content mill.

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) solely

AI has made significant advancements in content generation, and when used correctly, it can be a valuable tool. However, relying solely on AI without human oversight can lead to content that lacks depth, emotion, and a genuine understanding of human readers. The ideal approach is to use AI as a supplementary tool, allowing writers to generate ideas, streamline processes, or enhance research. For instance, while AI can provide data-driven insights on ‘Popular Beach Activities in Sydney’, a human touch is needed to weave those insights into a captivating narrative that resonates with readers.

Excluding the Wrong Candidates

Sometimes, in the haste to hire, you might overlook candidates who don’t fit the traditional mould but are incredibly talented. A writer might lack formal education in writing but could have a rich portfolio that showcases their skill. It’s essential to keep an open mind and not dismiss candidates based on rigid criteria.

Lofty Promises

Beware of writers who promise the moon, like guaranteeing a top spot on Google search results. SEO writing can improve rankings, but there are many factors at play, and no genuine writer can guarantee specific results. If a writer claims they can get your website to rank #1 for a highly competitive keyword like ‘Australian Real Estate’ in a week, approach with caution.

Poor Communication

If a writer takes days to respond to a simple query or doesn’t provide clear answers, it’s a red flag. Effective communication is the cornerstone of a successful collaboration. For example, if you send feedback on a draft and the writer goes silent for an extended period, it can disrupt your content schedule.

Grammar Errors in Resume

The resume is a writer’s first impression. If it’s riddled with errors, it’s indicative of their attention to detail. A resume claiming expertise in ‘meticulous proofreading’ but having evident typos or grammatical mistakes is a clear warning sign.

In the quest to find the right writer, being aware of these pitfalls can save you time, money, and potential frustration. By being vigilant and prioritising quality, you’ll be better positioned to find a writer who aligns with your brand’s ethos and goals.

How to Hire SEO Writers in 5 Steps

In the digital realm, content is king, but not all content reigns supreme. SEO-optimised content stands out, driving organic traffic and boosting online visibility. But how do you find writers adept at crafting such content? Here’s a step-by-step guide to hiring top-notch SEO writers:

  1. Define Your Needs and Expectations:

  • Scope of Work: Determine the type of content you need – blog articles, product descriptions, long-form articles, etc.
  • SEO Goals: Are you aiming for brand awareness, increased traffic, or higher conversions? Knowing your goals will help you communicate your needs clearly to potential writers.

  1. Search in the Right Places:

  • Reputable Platforms: Websites like Upwork, ProBlogger, and LinkedIn are teeming with freelance SEO writers.
  • Referrals: Sometimes, the best recommendations come from industry peers or colleagues who’ve had positive experiences with certain writers.

  1. Assess Their SEO Expertise:

  • Portfolio Review: Examine their previous works, looking for effective keyword integration, quality backlinks, and reader engagement.
  • Test Assignment: Give them a topic related to your industry and see how they handle SEO elements. For example, if you’re in the travel industry, ask for a piece on “Top Beach Destinations in Australia.”

  1. Conduct Interviews and Check References:

  • Personal Interaction: An interview, even if it’s virtual, can give you insights into the writer’s communication skills, enthusiasm, and professionalism.
  • Reference Checks: Reach out to their past clients or employers to gauge their reliability, adherence to deadlines, and overall work ethic.

  1. Start with a Trial Period:

  • Short-Term Engagement: Before diving into a long-term commitment, start with a few assignments to assess their consistency, adaptability to feedback, and the results their content yields in terms of SEO.
  • Feedback Loop: Maintain open communication, providing constructive feedback and understanding their approach to content creation.

Tips for Hiring and Managing SEO Writers

Managing SEO content writers effectively is crucial for ensuring consistent, high-quality output that aligns with your brand’s goals. Here are some strategies to help you navigate this relationship seamlessly:

Clear Communication

Set clear expectations from the outset. Whether it’s about deadlines, content length, tone, or keyword usage, clarity can prevent misunderstandings and ensure smoother collaborations.

Provide Constructive Feedback

Writers thrive on feedback. Instead of just pointing out what’s wrong, offer suggestions on how they can improve. For instance, if a piece lacks keyword density, suggest areas where they could organically incorporate more keywords.

Stay Updated on SEO Trends

SEO is ever-evolving. Encourage your writers to stay updated with the latest trends and share any new insights or strategies you come across. This ensures that your content remains relevant and optimised.

Regular Check-ins

Schedule periodic meetings to discuss progress, address any concerns, and brainstorm ideas. This not only keeps everyone on the same page but also fosters a sense of teamwork.

Provide the Necessary SEO Tools

Invest in writing and keyword research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Grammarly to aid your writers. These tools can help in keyword research, content optimisation, and proofreading, ensuring top-notch content.

Flexible Deadlines

While punctuality is essential, understand that quality writing can sometimes take time. If a writer needs an extra day to polish a piece, consider being flexible for the sake of better content.

Consider Hiring an Agency

If managing individual freelance writers becomes overwhelming, think about hiring an SEO agency that offers content writing services, like Ape-X. We have a team of skilled content writers who can handle bulk content needs, ensuring consistency and quality. 

Acknowledge Good Work

A little appreciation goes a long way. If a writer delivers an exceptional piece or goes the extra mile, acknowledge their effort. It boosts morale and encourages them to maintain high standards.

Provide Growth Opportunities

Offer opportunities for your writers to upskill, whether it’s through workshops, courses, or webinars. A writer who grows in their craft will invariably produce better content for your brand.

Skip the Hard Part with Ape-X

Navigating the intricate maze of hiring the right SEO writer can be a daunting task. From sifting through countless portfolios to conducting interviews and trials, the process demands time, effort, and expertise. But what if there was a shortcut to ensuring top-tier content without the hurdles? Enter Ape-X SEO and PPC Services.

Expertise at Your Fingertips

At Ape-X, we’ve already done the legwork for you. Our team comprises seasoned SEO writers, handpicked for their prowess in crafting content that resonates with readers and ranks on search engines. With a deep understanding of the Australian market, they tailor content to speak directly to your target audience.

Seamless Collaboration

Bid farewell to the endless back-and-forth emails and communication gaps. Our streamlined process ensures you’re always in the loop, with regular updates, drafts for approval, and a dedicated team ready to address your feedback.

Consistency and Quality

With Ape-X, you’re not just hiring freelance content writers; you’re partnering with a team committed to your brand’s vision. Whether it’s a one-off article or a long-term content strategy, we ensure consistency in voice, style, and quality, fortifying your brand’s online presence.

Cost-Effective Solutions

The costs of hiring, onboarding, and managing freelance writers can add up. With Ape-X, you get the benefit of a dedicated team without the overheads, ensuring value for every dollar spent.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

The digital landscape is ever-evolving. Our team stays abreast of the latest SEO trends, algorithm changes, and industry insights, ensuring your content is always a step ahead.

Comprehensive Services

Beyond SEO writing, Ape-X offers a suite of digital marketing services, from content marketing strategies to paid ads management. Consider us your one-stop-shop for all things digital.

In essence, while the DIY approach has its merits, partnering with a content marketing agency like Ape-X offers a hassle-free, efficient, and effective solution. So, why wade through the complexities of hiring when you can skip straight to results? Let Ape-X elevate your content game today.


Alyssa Jose

Alyssa started her digital marketing journey six years ago in social media management, later switching gears to focus on Search Engine Optimisation. As an SEO Content Coordinator, Alyssa combines her technical SEO knowledge, content writing, and graphic design skills to create engaging online content for Australian businesses

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