SEO questions to help candidates in an interview. If you want to hire an SEO, here are the questions to ask when interviewing SEO candidates
SEO interview questions are critical for both the interviewer and the interviewee. It’s a double edge. It means the SEO interview questions below will help two different groups of people to figure out their requirements. They are:
- How to answer SEO related questions in an SEO job interview?
- What answer to expect from potential candidates in an SEO job interview?
Hence, without much ado, let’s figure out the SEO interview questions and answers.
What is SEO? Explain in your own words.
The first question to kick off an interview for SEO candidates should start with the explanation of the SEO in a straightforward term.
SEO is an acronym of Search engine optimization. It is a step-by-step process to rank a website higher in the search engine result pages following the guidelines of the search engines, especially Google.
When a user triggers a search for a search term in Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo, they rank these web pages and show results.
The results are ranked based on the relevancy of the search term to the content on the landing page. A user searches and a list of results highly related to what the user is searching are displayed.
Why is SEO Important?
In a competitive digital world, SEO is crucial. People are searching for solutions to their problems than ever before. Additionally, search engines render millions of queries every day.
Under these circumstances, it becomes a must for any online business, blog, or store to achieve their objectives using SEO.
What is anchor text? How is it important in SEO?
Anchor text is the visible text for the link. As an example, let’s a link to the page on my blog is:
You can see the link text as Upwork SEO Proposal Template. The linked URL is https://imtips.co/write-seo-proposal.html.
So anchor text in the above link is Upwork SEO Proposal Template.
Anchor text is relevant because Google uses the backlinks anchor text to determine the relevancy factor of the landing page for a keyword.
In other words, because I linked this article (https://imtips.co/write-seo-proposal.html) with an anchor text as Upwork SEO Proposal Template, the relevancy of the page for the keyword increased.
What are the Types of SEO?
There are mainly two types of SEO
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
Define On-Page SEO
On-page SEO means optimizing webpages; it’s content and elements and to align them as per Google’s guidelines. However, it is an ongoing process. According to SEO experts, keyword research is part of on-page SEO.
Although keywords are essential for search engine optimization, still it’s a small part of a more critical process.
Define Off-Page SEO
Well, off-page SEO deals with activities performed outside a webpage—for instance, link building (backlinks).
Backlinks signify authority. The quality of backlinks majorly determines the position in the SERPs. If the incoming links are from a high authority domain with the keywords as anchor text, the page will rank higher.
On the contrary, bad quality links can or paid backlinks can negatively impact the ranking. Even links from article directories, link farms or link exchange may prove to be harmful, or at least they may not provide any benefits.
What is Link Building?
Link Building is a process of creating more and more inbound links to one’s website. The site or web page that has more incoming links has more authority in Google organic search results than the site or web page that has fewer inbound links given all other parameters for ranking the pages for a particular keyword remains the same.
In short, if you have more incoming useful quality links, you have more authority to ranking higher in Google organic search results.
What are the types of backlinks?
We have major two types of backlinks:
- Dofollow links
- Nofollow links
Dofollow links are those links that search engine counts as a vote to your website. Dofollow backlinks help your website increasing in ranking & domain authority of the website.
Nofollow links are those links that search engine doesn’t count as a vote. Nofollow links give little or no impacts on your website ranking and authority.
Moreover, one also has
- Internal Links
- External Links
Internal Links are links from the same domain. So when one links to other pages of his or her site or blog, they are known as internal links.
Any links from other websites or domains are termed as external links.
Do outbound links improve ranking?
No. Outbound links don’t improve rankings.
However, if one is linking to other websites, over time, other webmasters may return the same. The backlinks can help improve ranking.
Do you agree – URLs with .php extensions don’t rank as well as those with .html extensions?
No. No ranking factor depends on the extension of the page.
Will a .com site rank higher than <TLD here>(.in / .co)?
No. There are general top-level domains or TLD rank the same.
However, for local search, some localized TLDs have higher preference. For example, anyone from India may have higher chances of ranking a .in domain over the generic .com domain.
So when someone in India searches for Apple, the local Indian website of Apple India may outrank the global one.
Do you agree – Pages with query strings don’t rank as well as without query strings?
No. Search engines are smart enough to understand the query strings as well as the canonical URLs to rank pages with query strings.
However, it is always preferable to have friendly URLs than having ID-based query string URLs.
What are Canonical URLs?
One can have multiple URLs for the same content. Out of each of those url, the canonical URL is the preferred version.
As an example – for product sorting, a page can display results based on the query string. Each page has almost the same content with the difference in the order of the content.
So, one can specify one of them as the canonical URL for the other. It instructs the search engines that the url of the page is different, but the content is the same as the canonical version.
It helps avoid duplicate content penalties from search engines.
What is a redirect? Which redirect is preferred?
There are multiple ways one can redirect the user from one URL to another.
- HTML Meta Redirect
- Server-side temporary 302 redirect
- Server-side permanent 301 Redirect
Google recommends a 301 permanent redirect to pass the SEO benefits of the old URL to the new one.
How to Check if Redirect is a 301 Permanent Redirect?
There are tools like DNSChecker Server Header Checkup Tool to check the server headers for the redirect.
I want to change URLs from.PHP to from.HTML. How can I switch without significant SEO traffic impact?
Use a 301 redirect in htaccess to redirect all the URLs ending in PHP to HTML.
Note: One will need to configure the server to parse HTML files like PHP scripts.
How can I change the domain name without losing SEO ranking?
Do a 301 permanent redirect in the old domain to the new one.
Put the following code in the htaccess of the old domain.
Which SEO tools do you suggest using daily?
In my opinion, every SEO enthusiast must use some or all of these tools.
- Google Analytics – To track site traffic, conversion/leads, audience, etc.
- Google search console – To verify a site, keep track of the errors, and submit a sitemap.
- Yoast SEO – This is one of my favorite SEO tools. It helps in content analysis, page optimization, site-wide meta tags, allows to add focus keywords, and offers site SEO analysis.
- Answer the public – A keyword research tool that generates keyphrases in a question format.
- Quora – A globally popular Q&A site like Yahoo answers to search keywords and topics.
- Ubersuggest – This tool is by Neil Patel to start with the site SEO and research process.
- Copyscape – It’s a free tool that allows you to check duplicate content. However, I prefer and use Grammarly to check for plagiarism.
- Bing Webmaster tool – It has some cool SEO tools that aren’t even part of Google search console.
- Google Alerts is a service by Google to get email notifications for search terms you wish to monitor for Google search results.
- Grammarly – An insane grammar nazi tool for every online user. It helps rectify grammar mistakes in the site content.
Google keyword planner. Why didn’t you mention it? Don’t you think Google’s keyword planner is the best keyword research tool?
Google keyword planner is one of the best keyword research tools. But we need to understand one thing about it. The keyword planner is not an SEO tool but a PPC tool. It doesn’t analyze the SEO competition but the PPC competition.
Hence, I don’t recommend the Google keyword planner for keyword research because keyword research deals in competitive intensity for a keyword.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process to find search terms your potential visitors are likely to search in Google. Then add some extra phrases at the front or at the end to reduce the competition.
How many keywords should I put into my <title>, <a>, and <hx> tags?
One Keyphrase. Ideally, a keyphrase should comprise of 2 to 4 keywords.
The maximum recommended keywords are four words per keyphrase.
Each page should target one keyphrase. However, there can be various search terms for the keyphrase.
As an example, the key phrase for this article is “SEO Interview Questions“.
The search term a user may type can be anything related to the phrase like for example: “what are common interview questions being asked for an SEO position”
What is a Meta Description?
The meta description is a summary of the content for Google to show up on the search results pages. The meta description aims to drive clicks from organic SERP.
A meta description is optional. If one doesn’t provide it, Google generates it from the content and the search term. However, it is recommended to provide one.
What are the types of SEO keywords?
Yes, there are broadly 13 types of SEO keywords. They are:
- Generic Keywords
- Buyer-Centric Keywords
- Product Keywords
- Branded Keywords
- Competitor Keywords
- Location-Based Keywords (Geo-Targeted)
- Short tail Keywords
- Descriptive Keywords
- Long-tail Keywords
- Primary Keywords
- LSI Keywords
- Informational Keywords
- Transactional Keywords
Why is Keyword Research Important?
Keyword research helps to find profitable keywords for a website or blog that is high in traffic and low on competition. It is critical to building a continuous source of traffic. Moreover, it helps in:
- Traffic growth
- Online marketing
- Search engine rankings
- Lead generation
- Content ideas
Does the order of the keywords in a search affect the search results?
No. The order of keywords doesn’t alter the search results unless the intent of the search changes with the order.
SEO Interview Questions, Interview Questions for SEO, Questions Asked in an SEO Interview all apply the same intent for the user. So the order of words doesn’t matter.
However, for many other terms, the order can become important as well.
Which is better for SEO: text links or graphical links?
Always text links as they have an Anchor text. Graphical links are better for click-through from users.
Does W3C Validation help in search ranking?
Invalid W3C with warnings is okay for SEO and ranking. However, having a valid W3C HTML should always be a preferred choice.
Going for a validated W3C HTML code can always help rectify errors and warnings, which are even helpful in SEO, especially providing the alt text for images malformed HTML code.
Will changing hosts/IP addresses affect my rankings?
No, it doesn’t. Google and other search engines only focus on the domain name and not the IP associated with the domain.
Does having Adsense on my website help in more search engine traffic?
No, it has no impact whatsoever.
If you search ‘SEO site:imtips.co’ in Google, what will the results consist of?
The query in Google will find all the pages related to the keyword SEO on the site imtips.co.
What it means: <META NAME=”robots” CONTENT=”noindex,nofollow”>
The meta directive means the search engine robots shouldn’t index the page as well as shouldn’t follow any links on the page.
Similarly, we can have <META NAME=”robots” CONTENT=”noindex,follow”> which means Google shouldn’t index the page, but it can follow the available links on the page.
How is a sitemap important for the search engine optimization process?
Sitemaps are an absolute necessity for SEO. It contains the complete list of URLs on a website Google needs to crawl and index.
There are two types of sitemaps, XML, and HTML.
An HTML sitemap lists all the pages on a website and enhances the user experience. HTML sitemap is mainly for users but helps in Google as well to an extent.
XML sitemaps are purely for search engines. An XML sitemap helps webmasters to let Google and other search engine bots know specific URLs to be crawled. Additionally, one can provide priority and update frequency of the content.
Robots.txt is for blocking search engine bots from accessing part (or whole) of a website.
As it is generally used for preventing search engines to sites, very few SEO experts make full use of it, thinking more pages in Google index from the domain is better, but it is entirely false.
One should block Google from indexing pages that are thin on content as well.
Tell us something about the white hat and black hat SEO.
White hat SEO is to optimize a website as per the search engine guidelines.
On the contrary, black hat SEO includes anything that isn’t within the guidelines of search engines, which may consist of link purchasing or link cloaking.
I strongly advise not to indulge in any of the Black Hat SEO tactics.
Can a blog help SEO for an eCommerce site? If yes, How?
Yes, the blog can help in the SEO of an eCommerce site.
Once we have a clear picture of an ideal customer for the products, the blog can be used to answer some of the common questions that customers may have before making a purchase. The blog not only drives potential customers to the site, but it can increase the overall sales as well.
The above interview questions are important to test the SEO knowledge of a potential candidate. On the other hand, the above questions will help you evaluate potential SEO candidates if you are planning to hire one.
Besides, there’s a WordPress SEO Checklist.
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