The following list contains the basic to advanced level SEO interview questions. Prepare a list of the most important SEO questions and make sure that you know the answers of each and every question.

 

1.       What is SEO?

2.       What is Google PR as shown on Google toolbar?

3.       What is keywords analysis and how do you analyze your targeted keywords.

4.       What kinds of back links are considered the most powerful?

5.       What is Google sandbox?

6.       What are ranking factors in Google, Yahoo and MSN?

7.       What’s Google supplemental index.

8.       What’s do you know about the links buying and how Google treat links buying.

9.       What’s the difference between the indexed and non-indexed pages?

10.    What do you know about page segmentation?

11.    What is key word density?

12.    What’s the difference between the on-page and off-page optimization.

13.    What is Latent Semantic Analysis (LSI Indexing)?

14.    Is Frame based website recommended for SEO?

15.    What are general factors that can penalize a website from Google?

16.    Where do you think the SEO industry is headed?

17.    What’s spam indexing?

18.    What are your thoughts on the direction of Web 2.0 technologies with regards to SEO?

19.    What SEO tools do you regularly use?

20.    Have you any experience in the PPC and how do you manage the PPC campaigns.

21.    What SEO areas are you weak and strong in, and give examples of both?

22.    In Google, how do you find the backward links for a webpage?

23.    What kind of strategies do you normally implement for backlinks? What do you think about link buying, link bait, and other specific backlink strategies.

24.    What are the disadvantes of SEO?

25.    What do you know about the podcasting, blogs and RSS?

26.    What do you know about the XML sitemap and how do you generate it.

27.    What areas do you think are currently the most important in organically ranking a site?

28.    What is the difference between direct and indirect link?

29.    What is the recommended length (in characters) of the Title and the Description tags?

30.    What do you mean by SERPs?

 

31.What do you mean by keyword proximity?

Answer: Keyword proximity refers to the distance in space, as measured in within the keywords as well as the phrases including the keywords without repetition and with contextual relevance.

Keyword proximity measures the closeness between two keywords. In general, the closer the keywords are, the better.

For Search Engine Optimization,the proximity of the keywords or keywords included in a phrase in relation to each other and one another is of great importance and is the basis of using the appropriate combination of the words in the page titles,headers,paragraphs and page content.

 

32.    What do you mean by keyword stemming?

Answer: Keyword stemming is a useful tool for web pages and search engine optimization. The process of keyword stemming involves taking a basic but popular keyword pertaining to a particular website and adding a prefix, suffix, or pluralization to make the keyword into a new word. This particular process allows a website to expand upon the number of variable options, which can help a website get more traffic. Words that are a product of keyword stemming can expand in either direction, or even add words to the phrase, making the possibilities limitless.

An example of keyword stemming would be if you took the word “search” and made additional keywords out of words such as “searcher,” “searches,” “searching,” “searched,” and “searchable.” Using keyword stemming on the word “search” would bring in hits for each of the stemmed keywords when they are searched for in an engine.

 

 

33.    What do you mean by cloaking?

34.    What are the different ways of link building?

35.    How do you optimize dynamic web pages?

36.    What is Mod_Rewrite module?

37.    How you can target seo as country wise?

38.    What is Phrase Based Indexing and Retrieval and what roles does it play?

39.    What is Alexa ranking?

40.    What is an SEO, SEM and how important are they for an organization? Explain.

41.    Could you briefly explain pagerank algorithm?

42.    What is google spamdexing?

43.    Explain several steps that you would take to optimize a website?

44.    How important the site needs to be w3c compliant?

45.    How and what does msn, yahoo and google search looks for in a website?

46.    Define all the different ways to do marketing for a website? (PPC, Ads, Backlinks, etc.)

47.    What is an Organic search?

48.    Name few popular sites and how do you think they become popular?

49.    Why google ranks Wikipedia for most of the topics?

50.    Do you know about Signals, Classifiers and Topicality?

51.    How does a search engine work and what is the future?

52.    Can you get “abc” company listed for the keyword “google” in the first page?

53.    What is a Search Engine?

54.    Why are Search Engines important?

55.    What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

56.    Why do I need to consider SEO for my website?

57.    How do Search engines rank sites?

58.    Do I need to be number one on the search engine to get results?

59.    Does SEO just mean ‘submitting your site to Search Engines’?

60.    What is the difference between a Search Engine and a Directory?

61.    Do I have to change my website?

62.    What happens if I don’t optimise my website?

63.    What is HTML?

64.    What is a Meta tag?

65.    What is a Title?

66.    What is a keyword?

67.    What is a Description?

68.    What is “body content relevance”?

69.    What does the Submission Process Actually Do?

70.    When will my Submissions appear on the engines?

71.    What is the difference between submission and placement and when will my first page paid placement list on the search engines?

72.    What is a search engine and how does it work?

73.    What is an algorithm?

74.    What is PPC (Pay Per Click)?

75.    What is a Spider?

76.    What is Link Popularity?

77.    What is Search Engine Positioning (SEP)?

78.    What is Traffic?

79.    What is Inktomi?

80.    What is Spam?

81.    Summarize the steps of search engine optimization

82.    Do you know about dynamic optimization?

83.    Optimization of dynamic pages, shopping cart pages etc.

84.    Have you done any type of paid submission?

85.    What is the cost of paid yahoo directory submission?

86.    What is the cost of business.com paid directory submission?

87.    How much is your ppc experience?

88.    Currently how many accounts you are managing?

89.    How you can increase the CTR for any ppc listing?

90.    How you can increase the Convertions on ppc Campaign?

91.    What is the maximum character limit of google campaign title?

92.    What is the maximum character limit of display url in google ads?

93.    What is the maximum character limit of dispay url in yahoo

94.    Do you know visitor-tracking system?

95.    Do you know Urchin software?

96.    what is the use of yahoo site explorer?

97.    what is the use of google sitemap?

98.    How can you give search engines rank?

99.    Can you independently write or re-write content for any website.

100.What is the use of .htaccess file?

101.what is the use of 301 redirect?

102.Tell 3 major factor on which google assign page rank to any page.

103.Give me a description of your general SEO experience.

104.Do you currently do SEO on your own sites and give me some examples. Do you operate any blogs? Do you currently do any freelance work and do you plan on continuing it?

105.Where do you think the SEO industry is headed?

106.What industry sites, blogs, and forums do you regularly read?

107.Have you attended any search related conferences?

108.What SEO tools do you regularly use?

109.What SEO areas are you weak and strong in, and give examples of both.

110.What areas do you think are currently the most important in organically ranking a site?

111.Do you have experience in copywriting and can you provide some writing samples?

112.What kind of strategies do you normally implement for backlinks? What do you think about link buying, link bait, and other specific backlink strategies?

113.What are your thoughts on the direction of Web 2.0 technologies with regards to SEO?

114.Are you familiar with any blackhat SEO techniques, search arbitrage, and affiliate marketing?

115.Are you familiar with enterprise web analytics and what packages are your familiar with?

116.Are you familiar with A/B testing and multivariate testing?

117.Do you have experience in email marketing, banner advertising, other types of media buys and other forms of online advertising?

118.Are you experienced in managing PPC campaigns? To what extent and on what platforms?

119.Do you have experience in bid management tools, API tools, and click fraud issues?

120.Do you have experience in extensive competitive analysis and what techniques do you use?

121.What technologies are you familiar with? (We primarily use HTML, CSS, ASP, .net, PHP, SQL, and JavaScript)

122.Why are you moving from your current position and/or leaving any current projects?

123.Do you know who Matt Cutts is?

124.What is page segmentation? (ever heard of VIPS?)

125.What’s the difference bewtween PageRank and ToolBar PageRank?

126.What is Latent Semantic Analysis (LSI – Indexing)?

127.What is Phrase Based Indexing and Retrieval and what roles does it play?

128.In Google Lore – what are ‘Hilltop’ Florida’ and ‘Big Daddy’?

 

1) Give me a description of your general SEO experience.
2) Do you currently do SEO on your own sites and give me some examples. Do you operate any blogs? Do you currently do any freelance work and do you plan on continuing it?
3) Where do you think the SEO industry is headed?
4) What industry sites, blogs, and forums do you regularly read?
5) Have you attended any search related conferences?
6) What SEO tools do you regularly use?
7) What SEO areas are you weak and strong in, and give examples of both.
8) What areas do you think are currently the most important in organically ranking a site?
9) Do you have experience in copywriting and can you provide some writing samples?
10) What kind of strategies do you normally implement for backlinks? What do you think about link buying, link bait, and other specific backlink strategies?
11) What are your thoughts on the direction of Web 2.0 technologies with regards to SEO?
12) Are you familiar with any blackhat SEO techniques, search arbitrage, and affiliate marketing?
13) Are you familiar with enterprise web analytics and what packages are your familiar with?
14) Are you familiar with A/B testing and multivariate testing?
15) Do you have experience in email marketing, banner advertising, other types of media buys and other forms of online advertising?
16) Are you experienced in managing PPC campaigns? To what extent and on what platforms?
17) Do you have experience in bid management tools, API tools, and click fraud issues?
18) Do you have experience in extensive competitive analysis and what techniques do you use?
19) What technologies are you familiar with? (We primarily use HTML, CSS, ASP, .net, PHP, SQL, and JavaScript)
20) Why are you moving from your current position and/or leaving any current projects?
21) Do you know who Matt Cutts is?
22) What is the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything?
Thanks to Rand at SEOmoz.org for this post on SEO hiring. It helped quite a bit in assembling this list. Any additional questions anyone can think of?
*** UPDATE ***
22) What is page segmentation? (ever heard of VIPS?)
23) What’s the difference bewtween PageRank and ToolBar PageRank?
24) What is Latent Semantic Analysis (LSI – Indexing)?
25) What is Phrase Based Indexing and Retrieval and what roles does it play?
26) In Google Lore – what are ‘Hilltop’ Florida’ and ‘Big Daddy’?

1) Give me a description of your general SEO experience.

2) Do you currently do SEO on your own sites and give me some examples. Do you operate any blogs? Do you currently do any

freelance work and do you plan on continuing it?

3) Where do you think the SEO industry is headed?

4) What industry sites, blogs, and forums do you regularly read?

5) Have you attended any search related conferences?

6) What SEO tools do you regularly use?

7) What SEO areas are you weak and strong in, and give examples of both.

8) What areas do you think are currently the most important in organically ranking a site?

9) Do you have experience in copywriting and can you provide some writing samples?

10) What kind of strategies do you normally implement for backlinks? What do you think about link buying, link bait, and

other specific backlink strategies?

11) What are your thoughts on the direction of Web 2.0 technologies with regards to SEO?

12) Are you familiar with any blackhat SEO techniques, search arbitrage, and affiliate marketing?

13) Are you familiar with enterprise web analytics and what packages are your familiar with?

14) Are you familiar with A/B testing and multivariate testing?

15) Do you have experience in email marketing, banner advertising, other types of media buys and other forms of online

advertising?

16) Are you experienced in managing PPC campaigns? To what extent and on what platforms?

17) Do you have experience in bid management tools, API tools, and click fraud issues?

18) Do you have experience in extensive competitive analysis and what techniques do you use?

19) What technologies are you familiar with? (We primarily use HTML, CSS, ASP, .net, PHP, SQL, and JavaScript)

20) Why are you moving from your current position and/or leaving any current projects?

21) Do you know who Matt Cutts is?

42) What is the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything?

Thanks to Rand at SEOmoz.org for this post on SEO hiring. It helped quite a bit in assembling this list. Any additional

questions anyone can think of?

I got several excellent questions from a couple forum postings. These get into the more complicated end of SEO.

22) What is page segmentation? (ever heard of VIPS?)

23) What’s the difference bewtween PageRank and ToolBar PageRank?

24) What is Latent Semantic Analysis (LSI – Indexing)?

25) What is Phrase Based Indexing and Retrieval and what roles does it play?

26) In Google Lore – what are ‘Hilltop’ Florida’ and ‘Big Daddy’?

8) What areas do you think are currently the most important in organically ranking a site?
Obviously a subjective answer, but domain trust, inbound links/anchor text, and properly formatted title tags are a good

start.

10) What kind of strategies do you normally implement for backlinks? What do you think about link buying, link bait, and

other specific backlink strategies?
There are too many correct answers for this one, so let’s go with the wrong answer: “Reciprocal link requests”

42) What is the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything?
42 of course. If your candidate doesn’t know this please shoot him with the Point-of-view gun.

22) What is page segmentation? (ever heard of VIPS?)
VIPS is a research paper from Microsoft that stands for Vision-based Page Segmentation which is just an offshoot of the

general topic of page segmentation. It is an analysis of how a user understands web layout structures based on visual

perception and is independent from the underlying code and technologies. Each section of the page is segmented into blocks

and different degrees of relevance are put on each block. This explains one reason why links in content areas are more

heavily weighed than sidebar and navigational links (another reason is through the use of shingling algorithms, which I’ll

get into on another question). Since this is a visual topic, I’ll give you a visual example from the research paper:
*************************************************************************************

40 SEO Interview Questions

SEO is best Promotion and Marketing I can think of and so instead of putting this into Search Engine I thought this would be better place to have this.

Here are some of the best interview questions for SEO and if you are looking to answer them read SEO FAQ’s and you would not have difficulty in answering most of them if not all.

1. If a website’s search engine saturation with respect to a particular search engine is 20%, what does it mean?
a. 20% of the webpages of the website have been indexed by the search engine
b. Only 20% of the pages of the website will be indexed by the search engine
c. 20% of the websites pages will never be indexed
d. The website ranks in the first 20% of all websites indexed by the search engine for its most important search terms

2. 10 people do a web search. In response, they see links to a variety of web pages. Three of the 10 people choose one particular link. That link then has a __________ clickthrough rate.
a. less than 30%
b. 30 percent
c. more than 30%

3. Which of the following factors have an impact on the Google PageRank?
a. The total number of inbound links to a page of a web site
b. The subject matter of the site providing the inbound link to a page of a web site
c. The text used to describe the inbound link to a page of a web site
d. The number of outbound links on the page that contains the inbound link to a page of a web site

4. What does the 301 server response code signify?
a. Not Modified
b. Moved Permanently
c. syntax error in the request
d. Payment is required
e. The request must be authorized before it can take place

5. If you enter ‘Help site:www.go4expert.com’ in the Google search box, what will Google search for?
a. It will open up the Google help pages applicable to www.go4expert.com
b. It will find pages about help within www.go4expert.com
c. It will only find page titles about help within www.go4expert.com
d. It will direct you to the request page for re-indexing of www.go4expert.com

6. What is Anchor Text?
a. It is the main body of text on a particular web page
b. It is the text within the left or top panel of a web page
c. It is the visible text that is hyper linked to another page
d. It is the most prominent text on the page that the search engines use to assign a title to the page

7. Which of the following free tools/websites could help you identify which city in the world has the largest search for the keyword – “six sigma”?
a. Yahoo Search Term Suggestion Tool
b. Alexa
c. Google Traffic Estimator
d. Google Trends
e. WordTracker

8. What term is commonly used to describe the shuffling of positions in search engine results in between major updates?
a. Waves
b. Flux
c. Shuffling
d. Swaying

9. Are RSS/Atom feeds returned in Google’s search results?
a. Yes
b. No

10. Which of the following statements regarding website content are correct?
a. If you have two versions of a document on your website, Google recommends that you only allow the indexing of the better version
b. Linking to a page inconsistently does not affect the way Google views the page/s. Examples of inconsistent linking could be http://www.go4expert.com/page/ and http://www.go4expert.com/page and http://www.go4expert.com/page/index.htm.
c. Syndicating your content could lead to Google viewing the material as duplicate
d. Placeholders for pages which do not have content are never viewed as duplicate content by Google

11. What does the term Keyword Prominence refer to?
a. It refers to the fact that the importance of choosing high traffic keywords leads to the best return on investment
b. It refers to the importance attached to getting the right keyword density
c. It refers to the fact that the keywords placed in important parts of a webpage are given priority by the search engines
d. It refers to the fact that the keywords in bold font are given priority by the search engines

12. What is the term for Optimization strategies that are in an unknown area of reputability/validity?
a. Red hat techniques
b. Silver hat techniques
c. Grey hat techniques
d. Shady hat techniques

13. Which of the following statements is correct with regard to natural links?
a. They are two way links (reciprocal links)
b. They are from authority websites
c. They are voluntary in nature
d. They are from .edu or .gov extension websites

14. Which of the following can be termed as good keyword selection and placement strategies?
a. Targeting synonyms of the main keyword
b. Targeting the highest searched keywords only
c. Copying competitor keywords
d. Optimizing five or more keywords per page

15. What does the 302 server response code signify?
a. It signifies conflict, too many people wanted the same file at the same time
b. The page has been permanently removed
c. The method you are using to access the file is not allowed
d. The page has temporarily moved
e. What you requested is just too big to process

16. Which of the following statements about FFA pages are true?
a. They are greatly beneficial to SEO
b. They are also called link farms
c. They are paid listings
d. They contain numerous inbound links

17. What is the name of the search engine technology due to which a query for the word ‘actor’ will also show search results for related words such as actress, acting or act?
a. Spreading
b. Dilating
c. RSD (realtime synonym detection)
d. Stemming
e. Branching

18. What will the following robots.txt file do?
User-agent:Googlebot
Disallow:/*?
User-agent:Scooter
Disallow:
a. It will allow Google to crawl any of the dynamically generated pages. It will also allow the altavista scooter bot to access every page
b. It will disallow Google from crawling any of the dynamically generated pages. It will also disallow the altavista scooter bot from accessing any page
c. It will disallow Google from crawling any of the dynamically generated pages. It will allow the altavista scooter bot to access every page
d. None of the above

19. Which of the following statements about RSS are correct?
a. It is a form of XML
b. It stands for Realtime streamlined syndication
c. It is a good way of displaying static information
d. It is a microsoft technology

20. Which of the following statements are correct with regard to using javascript within the web pages?
a. It uses up the valuable space within the webpage, which should be used for placing meaningful text for the search engines
b. Search engines cannot read Javascript
c. It is a good idea to shift the Javascript into a separate file
d. Most of the search engines are unable to read links within Javascript code

21. Which of the following options are correct regarding the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) of a particular keyword?
a. It is directly proportional to the popularity of the keyword
b. It is inversely proportional to the competiton for the keyword
c. It is directly proportional to the chances of the keyword ranking on the first page of the Google search results

22. What is the illegal act of copying of a page by unauthorized parties in order to filter off traffic to another site called?
a. Trafficjacking
b. Visitorjacking
c. Viewjacking
d. Pagejacking

23. Which of the following search engines offers a popular list of the top 50 most searched keywords?
a. Google
b. Yahoo
c. AOL
d. Lycos

24. Which of the following search engines or directories provides the main search results for AOL?
a. Lycos
b. DMOZ
c. Google
d. Yahoo
e. Windows Live

25. Which of the following can be termed as appropriate Keyword Density?
a. 0.01-0.1%
b. 0.1-1%
c. 3-4%
d. 7-10%
e. More than 10%

26. The following robots meta tag directs the search engine bots:
META CONTENT=”noindex,nofollow
a. Not to index the homepage and not to follow the links in the page
b. Not to index the page and not to follow the links in the page
c. To index the page and not to follow the links in the page
d. Not to index the page but to follow the links in the page

27. What is Keyword Density?
a. The number of times the keyword is used / (DIVIDED BY) the total word count on page – (MINUS)the total words in HTML on the page
b. The number of times the keyword is used X (MULTIPLIED BY) the total word count on page
c. The number of times the keyword is used in the page description
d. The number of times the keyword is used in the page title
e. The number of times the keyword is used / (DIVIDED BY) the total word count on the page

28. Which of the following are examples of agents?
a. Internet Explorer
b. Search engine spiders
c. Opera
d. SQL Server database attached to a website

29. If you search for the term “iq test” in the Word Tracker keyword suggestion tool, will it return the number of independent searches for the term “iq”?
a. Yes
b. No

30. Cloaking is a controversial SEO technique. What does it involve?
a. Increasing the keyword density on the web pages
b. Offering a different set of web pages to the search engines
c. Hiding the keywords within the webpage
d. Creating multiple pages and hiding them from the website visitors

31. Which of the following facts about Alexa are correct?
a. Alexa provides free data on relative website visitor traffic
b. Alexa and Quantcast provide information on visitor household incomes
c. Alexa is biased towards US based traffic
d. Quantcast only tracks people who have installed the Quantcast toolbar
This is the last question of your test.

32. Google gives priority to themed in-bound links.
a. True
b. False

33. Which of the following methods can help you get around the Google Sandbox?
a. Buying an old Website and getting it ranked
b. Buying a Google Adwords PPC campaign
c. Placing the website on a sub domain of a ranked website and then 301 re-directing the site after it has been indexed
d. Getting a DMOZ listing

34. A Hallway Page is used to:
a. Attract visitors from the search engines straight onto the Hallway Page
b. Organizes the Doorway Pages
c. Helps people navigate to different Doorway Pages
d. Enables search engine bots to index the Doorway Pages

35. Which of the following options describes the correct meaning of MouseTrapping?
a. The technique of monitoring the movement of the mouse on the webpage
b. The technique of monitoring the area on which an advertisement was clicked
c. The web browser trick, which attempts to redirect visitors away from major websites through a spyware program
d. The web browser trick, which attempts to keep a visitor captive at on a website

36. What is the most likely time period required for getting a Google page rank?
a. 1 week
b. 3 weeks
c. 2 months
d. More than 3 months

37. All major search engines are case sensitive.
a. True
b. False

38. Which of the following website design guidelines have been recommended by Google?
a. Having a clear hierarchy and text links
b. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link
c. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you should break the site map into separate pages
d. Keeping the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100)
e. Use less than 30 images or graphics per page

39. How are site maps important for the search engine optimization process?
a. Site maps help the search engine editorial staff to quickly go through a website, hence ensuring quicker placement
b. Google gives credit to the websites having site maps. The GoogleBot looks for the keyword or title “Site Map” on the home page of a website.
c. Site maps help the search engine spider pick up more pages from the website
d. None of the above

40. Google looks down upon paid links for enhancing page rank. If a website sells links, what action/s does Google recommend to avoid being penalized?
a. The text of the paid links should state the words “paid text link” for Google to identify it as a paid link
b. Only Paid text links to non profit websites should be accepted
c. Paid links should be disclosed through the “rel=nofollow” attribute in the hyperlink
d. Paid links should be disclosed through the “index=nofollow” attribute in the hyperlink
*******************************************************************************

Technical / Tactics

Every SEO prefers certain tactics over others, but familiarity with many could indicate a deeper understanding of the industry. And while every SEO doesn’t need to have a web developer background, having such skills can help set someone apart from the crowd.

1. Give me a description of your general SEO experience.
2. Can you write HTML code by hand?
3. Could you briefly explain the PageRank algorithm?
4. How you created any SEO tools either from scratch or pieced together from others?
5. What do you think of PageRank?
6. What do you think of using XML sitemaps?
7. What are your thoughts on the direction of Web 2.0 technologies with regards to SEO?
8. What SEO tools do you regularly use?
9. Under what circumstances would you look to exclude pages from search engines using robots.txt vs meta robots tag?
10. What areas do you think are currently the most important in organically ranking a site?
11. Do you have experience in copywriting and can you provide some writing samples?
12. Have you ever had something you’ve written reach the front-page of Digg? Sphinn? Or be Stumbled?
13. Explain to me what META tags matter in today’s world.
14. Explain various steps that you would take to optimize a website?
15. If the company whose site you’ve been workind for has decided to move all of its content to a new domain, what steps would you take?
16. Rate from 1 to 10, tell me the most important “on page” elements
17. Review the code of past clients/company websites where SEO was performed.
18. What do you think about link buying?
19. What is Latent Semantic Analysis (LSI Indexing)?
20. What is Phrase Based Indexing and Retrieval and what roles does it play?
21. What is the difference between SEO and SEM?
22. What kind of strategies do you normally implement for backlinks?
23. What role does social media play in an SEO strategy?
24. What things wouldn’t you to do increase rankings because the risk of penalty is too high?
25. What’s the difference bewtween PageRank and ToolBar PageRank?
26. Why might you want to use nofollow on an internal link?

Analysis

A big part of SEO involves assessing the effectiveness of a campaign both relative to past performance as well as to competiting sites.

1. Are you familiar with web analytics and what packages are your familiar with?
2. From an analytics perspective, what is different between a user from organic search results vs. a type-in user?
3. How do you distinguish the results of your search optimization work from a seasonal change in traffic patterns?
4. How do you evaluate whether an SEO campaign is working?
5. What does competitive analysis mean to you and what techniques do you use?
6. If you’ve done 6 months of SEO for a site and yet there haven’t been any improvements, how would you go about diagnosing the problem?
7. How many target keywords should a site have?
8. How do *you* help a customer decide how to their budget between organic SEO and pay-per-click SEM?
9. You hear a rumor that Google is weighting the HTML LAYER tag very heavily in ranking the relevance of its results – how does this affect your work?
10. Why does Google rank Wikipedia for so many topics?

Industry Involvement

Is SEO just a job to pay the bills? Nothing wrong with that, but some senior positions can benefit from more enthusiasm and interest that can be measured by work done outside of the office.

1. If salary and location were not an issue, who would you work for?
2. In Google Lore – what are ‘Hilltop’, ‘Florida’ and ‘Big Daddy’?
3. Have you attended any search related conferences?
4. Google search on this candidates name, (if you cannot find them, that’s a red flag).
5. Do you currently do SEO on your own sites? Do you operate any blogs? Do you currently do any freelance work and do you plan on continuing it?
6. Of the well-known SEOs, who are you not likely to pay attention to?
7. What are some challenges facing the SEO industry?
8. What industry sites, blogs, and forums do you regularly read?
9. Who are the two key people – who started Google?
10. Who is Matt Cutts?
11. If you were bidding on a contract, what competitor would you most worry about?

Open-Ended

These questions are more about how an answer is given rather than the actual answer. They often scare interviewees, but with no wrong answer they’re actually a good opportunity to shine.

1. Tell me your biggest failure in an SEO project
2. What areas of SEO do you most enjoy?
3. In what areas of SEO are you strongest?
4. In what areas of SEO are you weakest?
5. How do you handle a client who does not implement your SEO recommendations?
6. Can you get “xyz� company listed for the keyword “Google� in the first page?
7. What do you think is different about working for an SEO agency vs. doing SEO in-house?
8. Why are you moving from your current position and/or leaving any current projects?
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SEO Interview Questions & Answers is one of the hot topics among SEOs. There are many companies, software as their core business, SEO as their side business, and looking for SEO experts who can manage their clients SEO projects. The problem behind this situation is the interviewer’s lack of SEO stuffs. Some SEO newbies are getting benefits with this. Some interviewer are having wrong idea about SEO and not accepting the points from a SEO candidate. This is worse than the interviewer having zero knowledge in SEO.

If an interviewer doesn’t have any stuff about SEO, then he will be asking general questions. As a candidate, if we make the interviewer understand some basic points of SEO then the interview will be successful.

In my SEO career, I have attended many interviews and some ended up with comedies. Recently I attended an interview from a pure Internet marketing company is the special one which I got a feel that is an SEO interview. Even as an interviewer in my present company I haven’t thought of asking such questions. Really I enjoyed the interview very well and just want to share the questions asked by interviewer and answers from my side.

1) Can you tell me your own definition for SEO?

Yes sure, SEO is the collection of strategies that we are following to get visitors to our website from search engines via organic search results. (But almost similar)

2) What’s your idea about page rank and how it’s calculated?

Let me first tell about the calculation behind that. Google says that page rank calculation formula is having more than 2 lakh variables. I am sure that following things are the main factor,

1) Internal Back Links
2) External Back Links
3) Domain Age

Apart from this, number of visits, bounce rate, CTR etc may be a factor in calculating the page rank. Page rank is just a metric from Google which defines the quality of the page. Moreover we do have many other targets like keyword position, quality traffic and conversions. In my vision, I am having very least importance to page rank. But I am crazy about getting full green PR tool bar for my blog.

3) I want to change the domain name of well ranked website in SERP. Is it possible to retain the same keyword positions?

Yes, definitely we can. Just 301 redirecting the corresponding old URLs to the new URLs. In initial after we did this, we may experience a drop in rankings. Once our new URLs got indexed, we can expect a same position that we had earlier.

4) Can you name the SEO blogs that you regularly read?

1) Search Engine journal
2) Search Engine Land
3) SEOMOZ
4) SEOSmarty
5) Jimboykins

5) What SEO tools do you regularly use?

1) Google Adwords Tool to find keywords suggestions and search count
2) IP Blacklist tool
3) Server Header checker

6) How can you rate you out of 10 in the following areas On-Page Optimization, Off-Page Optimization, Photoshop, and Coding (PHP)

On-Page Optimization – 09
Off-Page Optimization – 08
Designing – 06
Coding (PHP) – 03

7) How can you optimize a website having 2 lakh pages?

Following are the special additional SEO stuffs that we have to implement for dynamic website.

1) Generation of dynamic title & description
2) Dynamic XML Sitemap generation
3) Good Internal link structure (Normal)

8 ) Have you attended any search related conferences?

Yes, I have attended one conference named “search Camp 2008″ held at Chennai (India). I had a wonderful time there by sharing the SEO ideas with many webmasters.

9) What’s special in XML Sitemap and where do you submit that?

That is a file which list all the pages of website in XML format designed for SE’s. Here we can give the crawlable frequency and also we can define the priority of all the web pages (1.0, 08. 065 etc). This can be submitted in Google Webmaster tools.

10) What areas do you think are currently the most important in organically ranking a site for a particular keyword?

1) Keyword in anchor text of external & internal back links
2) Internal link structure
3) Keyword density in content, title, description, alt tags, h1 tag etc
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1.
Give me a description of your general SEO experience.
A. My experience is mainly with my own site at www.afreshpath.com and one other site www.qualitymotorsreno.com. So far, my site is on page one for narrow search terms involving outdoor recreation in Nevada. The other site has gone from not being listed at all in the first 10 pages of any search result to being in pages 2 and 3 of a couple of search engines. That work is ongoing at this time.
2.
Can you write HTML code by hand?
A. Yes I can. I do use some WYSIWYG editors and then modify the code by hand as needed.
3.
Could you briefly explain the PageRank algorithm?
A. In simple terms, Google uses the gross number of inbound links to a page to determine how important the page is. This “pagerank” has little to do with actual search results but can make a difference on user behavior.
4.
Have you created any SEO tools either from scratch or pieced together from others?
A. No, I do make use of many tools already available on the internet as well as SEO programs that I have purchased.
5.
What do you think of PageRank?
A. In relation to SEO projects, it is relatively unimportant but can give an indication of how much work needs to be done in gaining inbound links.
6.
What do you think of using XML sitemaps?
A. I use them. They are an additional tool to help the search engines when they crawl a site. There is no requirement for any sitemap and your pages will get indexed without them if you pay close attention to navigation within your site.
7.
What SEO tools do you regularly use?
A. Keyword analysis tools, keyword density tools, index checking, backlink checking, wordprocessor to check spelling and grammar, HTML validation and others.
8.
Under what circumstances would you look to exclude pages from search engines using robots.txt vs meta robots tag?
A. Usually I would use the robots.txt to keep a search engine from indexing an entire directory on a site. This would often be directories dealing with admin functions or directories that only contain script or image libraries.
9.
What areas do you think are currently the most important in organically ranking a site?
A. Text on page! Search engines utilize text and only text in providing search results. That text is found in many place including the URL and title of your pages as well as the visible text you place on your pages.
10.
Do you have experience in copywriting and can you provide some writing samples?
A. My experience in “copywriting” is limited to my site at www.afreshpath.com. It is a blog about outdoor recreation in Nevada and so far is placing well in search results.
11.
Have you ever had something you’ve written reach the front-page of Digg? Sphinn? Or be Stumbled?
A. Not yet! I am not particularly worried about it but I do try to write in such a way that others would be inticed to submit my articles.
12.
Explain to me what META tags matter in today’s world.
A. The most important META tag for SEO is your page description. Search engines do make use of this tag but it does not outweigh the title or visible text. The META keywords tag is not much of a factor in the major search engines but should not be overlooked.
13.
Explain various steps that you would take to optimize a website?
A. 1. Interview website owner or webmaster to get a good grasp of the site’s purpose and goals.
2. Perform a keyword analysis to find best performing keywords that should be used for that site and for individual pages of the site
3. Analyze site content to determine usage of relavant keywords and phrases. This includes visible text as well at titles, META tags, and “alt” attributes.
4. Examine site navigation
5. Determine the existence of robots.txt and sitemap and examine those for effectivenes.
6. Make recommendations for changes needed for the site and each individual page.
14.
If the company whose site you’ve been workind for has decided to move all of its content to a new domain, what steps would you take?
A. I would update the old site with permanent redirects to to new page for every page. Then I would attempt to remove old content from the major search engines to avoid duplicate content issues.
15.
Rate from 1 to 10, tell me the most important “on page” elements
A. #1 issue is visible text being relevant to expected search terms.
# 2 would then be page titles
# 3 is navigation and “alt” attributes for navigation items and link text.
# 4 would be “alt” attributes for images and other media presented on pages.
16.
What do you think about link buying?
A. I discourage the practice for the most part. There are more effective means of paid marketing. One exception would be purchasing listings in highly reputable directories such as Yahoo directory.
17.
What is Latent Semantic Analysis (LSI Indexing)?
A. LSI indexing ries to overcome the limitations of “literal” search term matching . For example, if someone is searching for “hiking in Norhter Nevada” a literal search would only match the words used without taking into account words such as “hike”, “hiked”. LSI can give more relevant results because it does take word usage and context into account determining what a page is “about” rather than a strict reliance on literal wording.
18.
What is Phrase Based Indexing and Retrieval and what roles does it play?
A. In regards to search results, it is a method that search engines such as google use to determine relevance of a page based on phrases acutally used in a document. For example, if you have a page instructing people on wildlife photography, the search engine would reasonably expect to see terms and phrases such as “selecting a camera”, “appraoching wildlife”, and “low light photo conditions”. Related phrases will add to the relevance of a page where unrelated phrases will reduce the relevance of a page. This is one technique that Google is using to weed out “spam” sites.
19.
What is the difference between SEO and SEM?
A. Seo is search engine optimization and is the process you use in getting your pages to place well on search results. SEM is search engine marketing and involves purchasing advertising space on search result pages. Sponsored listings are SEM. Both are related though! When using Google Adwords, the better you optimize your pages for search, the less you will be paying for your selected keywords in the PPC campaign and the better placment your ads will get.
20.
What kind of strategies do you normally implement for backlinks?
A. I check the competitors backlinks to find hightly relevant sites and request a link from them. If reciprocal linking is required, I may be able to place a lik back to them in a relevant portion of a page on the site but if not, I will state so and may not gain that link. Another method I use is to submit press releases to relevant media.
21.
What role does social media play in an SEO strategy?
A. Social media such as social networking sites and news sites can provide for viral marketing. Viral marketing has proven to be powerful if the content of a site is appealing.
22.
What things wouldn’t you to do increase rankings because the risk of penalty is too high?
A. I would avoid any site with the appearance of a link farm. I would also avoid any “spam” practice such as unsolicited email campaigns, certain affiliate advertising sites, sites that re-direct visitors to your site, and anything resembling the practices of Zango.
23.
Why might you want to use nofollow on an internal link?
A. Many sites have shoping carts and member login or logout links. This type of link is simply an administrative function and does nothig to contribute to site content. The search engine does not need to index those pages.
24.
Are you familiar with web analytics and what packages are your familiar with?
A. Yes I am and the tool I use most frequently is Google’s webmaster tools. I also use the available Yahoo hosting tools for my own sites. Knowing what search terms your visitors are actually using to find your site as well as where those visitors are coming from will help refine SEO efforts. The amount of time each visitor spends on your site will help in determining if content changes are needed.
25.
From an analytics perspective, what is different between a user from organic search results vs. a type-in user?
A A user coming into your site from an organic search usually has never visited your site before or is performing a general search for a specific product or topic. These visitors are trying to find the site that most suits thier needs. A “type-in” user is specifally interested in your website. They may have found your URL in print advertising or from a friend. Often, these users are familiar with what you are offering and are coming back to your site as a repeat visitor.
26.
How do you evaluate whether an SEO campaign is working?
A. The main indicator is to perform a search on all major search engines using the keywords/ keyphrases I am optimizing for. An analysis of those results will help to determine if optimization has gained in the results or lost ground. This analysis should be done over time as each search engine will update and index on a varying schedule. Another aspect is to use website statistics to determine where traffic is originating.
27.
What does competitive analysis mean to you and what techniques do you use?
A. Competitive analysis means taking a close look at websites that rank highly in search results and comparing those sites to the one you are optimizing. They have employed methods that are working and are a valuable source for ideas.
28.
If you’ve done 6 months of SEO for a site and yet there haven’t been any improvements, how would you go about diagnosing the problem?
A. I might approach the problem as if it were an entirely new project. Again taking a look at the keywords and phrases that I am attempting to optimize for and again taking a close inspection of top ranking competition. If the site is indexed and does show up in the irst 10 pages of a search but on in the top three, I would look into modification of major areas such as page titles, on page text, and page descriptions. If the site is not yet indexed or has been dropped from an index, there are major problems and the site may require a total re-work and re-submission.
29.
How many target keywords should a site have?
A. I advise not more than three or four well related keyword phrases. This allows for more effective optimization.
30.
You hear a rumor that Google is weighting the HTML LAYER tag very heavily in ranking the relevance of its results – how does this affect your work?
A. It doesn’t unless the rumor proves to be fact. Yes, I check on the rumor but as with all rumors, it can have detrimental effects if you “jump on the band wagon” and it proves to be just a rumor with no basis in fact.
31.Why does Google rank Wikipedia for so many topics?
A. Wikipedia is an established authority! As such, it is referenced by huge numbers of other documents with relevant text associated with links back to Wikipedia.
32.If salary and location were not an issue, who would you work for?
A. Myself and only myself if those conditions existed.

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