Search engine optimization is a fast growing field in internet marketing. Most fortune 500 companies have already adopted SEO despite their strong branding and overwhelmingly large media spends on TV.
With increase in large company spends on social and search marketing, SEO jobs are on the rise. Whether you want to work as a SEO consultant or a corporate employee, these SEO interview questions will help you bag a client or get a job.
Popular SEO Interview Questions and Answers
Q1: What’s your SEO experience?
When you are asked this question, if you are a fresher, you must answer the theoretical knowledge you have. Say that you know about keyword research, on page and off page SEO, link building best practices and so on from a theoretical point of view.
If you are experienced, tell them the projects you have worked on, some of the rankings you have achieved and the time you took to accomplish this. It also helps to talk about technical aspects of SEO you have handled as well.
Q2: What do you think about the latest algorithm update from Google?
You must follow industry blogs and be updated about the SEO trends. So when you are asked about the latest algorithm update, you should talk about your views on what kind of sites/ search queries got affected, how it compares to the previous update which was rolled out and so on.
Here is a scenario. Assume the latest update rolled out was the Penguin update and the one before that was panda. You could say that Penguin update was mostly targeted at low quality content and not about links as the Panda update was. It hit heavily on content farms and thin content pages.
Q3: Are you technically savvy?
Not many SEO interviews focus on your technical skills. But those who really know what SEO is all about will really put your technical skills to test.
Most of the time, you’ll have to dig deep into a site code to find issues. If you are not at all technically inclined, doing SEO might be quite challenging. No matter how many tools you purchase, you still need some basic level of technical knowledge to succeed in SEO.
Q4: Do you take on freelance projects?
There are two things that an interviewer can find out from the answer you give.
If you take freelance projects, it means you are a go getter and that you are comfortable with interacting with clients and doing business development. This is a huge plus for any employee.
On the other hand, freelance consultants have a tendency to get clients for themselves instead of the company if it’s a service company.
If you are going to work in a company and their policy states that you should not take on other projects, you shouldn’t do it. It’s not only unethical; you could also lose your job and face prosecution for violating employment agreement.
Even if your company allows you to take freelance project on the side, it’s suggested that you don’t do it. Instead channel that lead to your employer. Not only are you showing commitment in your current role, but you are also contributing to the growth of the company that is paying your bills.
Q5: Do you use any SEO tools?
The tools you used also gives the employer an overview of what kind of work and projects you have been associated with. If you say you are good at SEOmoz tools, then the employer will know that you are a professional because it’s a paid tool and not many amateurs can afford it.
Q6: Mention some SEO myths you know and what the actual facts are
This question helps the interviewer understand your knowledge of SEO. Instead of throwing some myths at you and trying to make you answer, this broad question will help them understand your depth of knowledge. Here are some myths and answers for reference
- Meta description is used for ranking- Meta descriptions are not used for rankings by Google and only used as a short snippet of text which users see along with search results
- Google will always use my meta-data- No. Google will not always use your meta title or meta description. Based on the query, Google may change your meta data to suit the searchers query
- More links the better- False. Even one high quality relevant editorial links can trump 1 million spam links you might get via blog comments, forum posting, site wide links and so on (Not to mention your chance to get a penalty)
Q7: Which industry blogs and sites do you follow?
This question is asked so that the interviewer can judge how well you are updated with the current SEO trends. Some of the good ones to follow are
Q8: Do you do black hat SEO?
If you do black hat SEO, admit it. If you don’t, tell the interviewer why you do not follow such practices. If you are ready to stop blackhat and go completely white hat (which you should anyways), mention that as well.
Some of the reasons you do not want to use black hat are
- Risk of getting penalty
- Not a long term strategy
Q9: Can you tell me the difference between on page and off page SEO?
On page SEO refers to all SEO activities done on the website that needs to be ranked. They include
- Meta optimization
- Content creation
- Internal linking
- Fixing technical issues like page discovery, duplicate content, implementing canonical tags and so on
- Optimizing usage of keywords
Off page refers to any activity we do to get links to point to our site. These may include
- Guest posting
- Link outreach
- Viral link building
- Submission to niche sites
- PR outreach
Q10: What are your thoughts on buying links, article marketing, article spinning, and directory submissions?
Buying links: Don’t do it. Not only does it violate Google guidelines, it’s also a costly method which will backfire when caught.
Article marketing: Submitting high quality articles to article directories to get traffic and some link juice is fine. However, with the latest Google updates, most article directories have been rendered useless from a link acquisition point of view. Submitting articles to 1000’s of article directories is not a good idea.
Article spinning: It’s better to syndicate content rather than creating spun content. Article spinning rarely works and most of the spun content can be easily detected by advanced algorithms Google employs.
Directory submissions: It was valuable maybe 4-5 years back. But now it’s worthless. Links from directories other than maybe dmoz.org, botw.com etc is worthless.