Common SEO Interview Questions And Answers
With the increasing scope of digital marketing career, SEO jobs became quite popular. If you’re getting ready for SEO interview, here may be a list of a number of the most popular SEO interview questions and answers.
- What is SEO?
SEO or Search engine optimization is a set of activities undertaken by people to make their website or web-page more comprehensible/attractive for the search engine algorithm. When a web-page or website is properly optimized, it appears in top positions for the queries on a search engine.
The purpose of SEO is to increase the organic or unpaid traffic to your website or web-page through organic search engine results.
- What is on-page & off-page SEO?
- On-page: The process of optimizing web pages by influencing internal factors like content quality, HTML source code, content structure, keyword density, Meta title and description, page title, URL structure, internal linking, etc. is called on-page SEO.
- Off-page: Improving the performance of a website on a search engine with the help of external factors like link building, blog directory submissions, forum submissions, social bookmarking, social media engagement, etc. is called Off-page SEO.
- Apart from Google what other search engines can you name?
Some of the popular search engines other than Google are:
Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Ask.com, Vimeo, DuckDuckGo, and Yandex
- What is crawling & indexing?
- Crawling: Crawling is a process by which, a crawler/bot of a search engine, gathers data about a web-page. In simple terms, a crawler studies websites, related web-pages, links, and content to create entries for search engine indexing.
- Indexing: A web-page is considered to be indexed when it is added to the database of a search engine. Once the indexing is done, the web-page will start appearing for queries on the search engine. However, it is important to note that the web-page will have to go through a process of search engine optimization to get reflected on top positions.
- What is the importance of Keywords?
Keywords are terms that define what a particular content is about. Well-researched keywords are very important as they lead the way in optimizing content on your website and making it comprehensible for search engines.
- What is your process for Keyword Research?
Keyword research can be a long and elaborate process, however, you can narrate the following process as a simple reply to this question:
- Step 1 (Analysis): Research words relevant to the industry/business and analyze the keywords used in the website of competitors to create a Keyword Bucket.
- Step 2 (Research related keywords): Find out the best related set of words along with the current set of keywords you have.
- Step 3 (Prepare long-tail Keywords): Create a list of long-tail keywords that are most likely to be searched by users.
- Step 4 (Test keyword phrases on Google Adwords Keyword Planner): Keyword planner will help you cut down your list and give you a set of keywords that will optimize the performance of your website. Google Adwords is also an effective tool for competitor analysis.
- What is keyword density?
Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword appears on your web page as compared to the total number of words on that page. The idea behind maintaining proper keyword density is to help optimize your web-page on a search engine, without having it penalized for keyword stuffing. The ideal keyword density is considered to be 1 to 3 percent.
- What is a long-tail keyword?
For understanding long-tail Keyword, it is first important to understand Head Keywords. Head keywords, also called short-tail keywords, are regular terms which a lot of people search about (e.g. – Sports Shoes). Long-term keywords are additions to head keywords that make the search more specific (e.g. – Sports Shoes under Rs. 2000).
- What are canonical URLs?
When the same or similar content is being used at different places within your website, the canonical URL function helps in specifying the source that should be considered as ‘original’ by the search engine. It, therefore, solves the problem of duplicate content by directing the search engine to the most preferred source.
- What is Meta description?
The links that appear after a query is entered in a search engine contain a 155 to 160 character snippet below it, which describes the contents of the web page. This snippet is called Meta description.
- What are alt-attributes used for?
In SEO, alt-attribute is used to give an alternative text to an image. If for some reason the image cannot be viewed, the Alt-attribute text gives information about that image.
- What do you understand by back linking & why is it important in SEO?
A back-link is a hyperlink on another website that leads a user to your website. In SEO, backlinks are of immense importance as the number and quality of backlinks have a huge impact on the popularity & performance of a website. Backlinks are one of the main factors that affect the domain authority of a website.
- What are the different methods of back linking?
Some of the popular methods of back linking are forum posting, blog commenting, guest posts on related websites, broken link method, skyscraper technique, etc.
- What are the most important SEO ranking factors?
Some of the most important SEO Ranking factors are:
- Quality content
- Relevant keywords
- Secured website
- Mobile Friendliness
- High-Quality backlinks
- What are Panda and Penguin updates?
Panda: The Panda update was introduced to lower the rank of sites with poor content quality and improve the performance of higher quality sites. It is updated time to time.
Penguin: Penguin is a machine learning algorithm. It was launched to penalize websites that use spams backlinks or low-quality backlinks.
- What is Google Hummingbird?
Unlike Panda and Penguin, which were just updates, Hummingbird is deemed to be a revamped and improved version of the old Google search algorithm. Launched in 2013, this algorithm is said to give more emphasis on context behind the words and is said to understand conversational queries.
- What is domain Authority & why is it important?
Domain Authority or DA refers to the strength of a domain to rank high on search engines. This metric gives a score between 1 to 100. The higher the score, the better is the DA.
DA is important as it gauges the quality of a website and also its ability to rank high in future. Generally, a website with an excellent quality of content and reasonable number of high-quality backlinks gets a high DA score.
- What is Rank Brain?
An artificial intelligence program developed by Google, Rank brain uses machine learning to gather data from a variety of sources and teaches itself to generate the most relevant search results for the user. Many SEO commentators say that ‘user intent’ is the primary motive behind Rank Brain.
- What is an XML sitemap?
XML Sitemaps (Extensible markup language) is a list of URLs on your website in machine-readable format, which facilitates search engines to crawl the website more effectively.
- What is AMP and how is it useful?
An open source coding framework launched by Google, Accelerated Mobile pages (AMP) is used to create a simple mobile responsive website which loads quickly on mobile devices.
AMPs are very useful as it speeds up loading, reduces bounce rate, and gives a boost to SEO efforts.
- Explain organic, referral & Paid Traffic.
Organic traffic: When visitors come to your website after finding its link as a result of a query in a search engine.
Referral traffic: When traffic comes to your website not through a search engine but through a hyperlink on another website.
Paid traffic: Traffic that gets directed to your website through ‘paid’ search engine marketing & paid social media marketing campaigns.
- What is the limit of description & title tag?
Meta Description: The suggested limit for Meta description is between 150 – 160 characters.
Title tag: The suggested limit is between 50 to 60 characters.
- What is structured data?
If you want your web page to be reflected as a ‘rich snippet’ in search engine results, you must integrate structured data in your website. In simple terms, it is data coded in a specific format that makes it easier for search engines to understand it comprehensively and present it to the users in a structured rich snippet format.
- What is anchor text?
A hyperlink visible in the form of text on a website is called anchor text. Anchor texts are valuable in SEO as they are often backlinks to other websites. Relevant anchor texts have a positive effect on websites search engine performance.
- How will you go about optimizing a website for SEO?
Here is a list of simple steps which you can narrate in an SEO interview:
- Conduct keyword analysis and list down accurate long-tail keywords.
- Develop high-quality long-form content, preferably between 1600 to 2000 words.
Related: Content writer interview questions
- Carry out on-page & off-page optimization, and try to generate high-quality backlinks.
- Use a mobile responsive web design.
- Ensure optimum page speed.
- What is your process of conducting competitor analysis?
Different SEO professionals use different ways to conduct competitor analysis. However, for the purpose of the interview you can narrate the following steps:
- Step 1 (Shortlist keywords):To begin with, shortlist the keywords (words, phrases, and long tail keywords) that best define your website and which are used frequently.
- Step 2 (Create a list of competitor’s): Search for shortlisted keywords on Google and make a list of websites/webpages that rank on the top
- Step 3 (Analyze competitor’s website): Do a thorough analysis of the competitor’s website & check key factors like keywords, meta data, backlinks, domain authority, blog frequency, social media engagement. etc.
- Step 4 (Identify the gaps): Compare your website with that of your competitors, and identify the gaps.
- How do you assess the performance of an SEO campaign?
Some of the metrics by which you can assess the performance of an SEO campaign are:
- Keyword ranking: The rank of your website for a specific keyword is the primary metric for your SEO campaign. If your SEO campaign is doing well, your website will rank higher in the search engine result pages (SERP’s).
- Backlinks: The number & quality of inbound links to your website also indicate its growing popularity.
- Traffic (Organic, referral & Paid): The traffic and its source will help you gauge the efficacy of your SEM (Search engine marketing) & SMM (Social Media Marketing) strategy.
- Conversion: Conversion is the ultimate goal of all marketing activities and SEO campaigns are no different. This therefore, makes CTA (Call to action by way of sales, sign-ups, services, etc.) one of the most important metrics to assess the performance of an SEO campaign.
- What is the importance of social media in SEO?
- Increased visibility: Although social shares do not affect your ranking on Google, it does have the ability to reach a wider audience. This eventually leads to more people visiting your website, thereby improving the search engine ranking.
- Increased brand awareness: SEO and Social media marketing are two methods that complement each other. A brand with good social media engagement along with high-quality content on its website is likely to rank well on a search engine.
- Helps in link building: There’s a good chance that influences who use your website often, may share the link on their own websites or blogs.
- What are some of the common errors that can derail an SEO campaign?
Some of the common errors that can harm an SEO campaign are:
- Choosing the wrong keyword
- Not using alternative keywords
- Using mediocre or low-quality content
- Publishing content that does not drive ‘Call to action’
- Ignoring backlinks
- Ignoring technical aspects like site speed, schema markup, mobile compatibility, website security, etc.