20 SEO Interview Questions and Answers Candidates Must Know

20 SEO Interview Questions and Answers Candidates Must Know

SEO interview questions can range from basic to advanced, depending on the position level. But even if you specialise in a specific SEO practice, you should know the concepts and principles of ranking a website on search results. 

So, when applying for an SEO job for a business or a digital marketing company, you must anticipate what questions you must prepare to answer to ace the interview. Here are some SEO interview questions and answers that candidates should know:

1. What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation (or search engine optimization in American English). It is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to a website through organic search engine results.


2. Can you explain the difference between on-page and off-page SEO?

On-page SEO refers to optimising elements on a website that you can control directly, such as content quality, title tags, meta descriptions, and site performance. Off-page SEO involves external factors that impact your site’s ranking but are not directly on your site, like backlinks, social media presence, and other promotional activities. A robust SEO strategy comprises devising tactics to optimise for these signals.

3. Why are backlinks important?

Backlinks are links from one website to another. As some of the most important Google ranking factors, they signal to search engines that other websites consider your content valuable and authoritative. By getting more backlinks from high-quality sites, you increase your domain authority, improving your site’s ranking on organic search results.

18. How do you approach link building in SEO?

Link building should focus on quality over quantity. Strategies include creating high-quality, shareable content, guest posting on reputable sites, building relationships with influencers, and engaging in community or industry forums. It’s also important to conduct backlink audits to disavow any toxic links. Ethical practices that adhere to search engine guidelines are key to successful link building.

4. How do you conduct keyword research?

Keyword research involves identifying the terms and phrases potential customers use to search for products or services. This can be done using tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs. The goal is to find relevant keywords and search queries with high search volume and low keyword difficulty to increase your site’s chances of driving targeted traffic.

5. What is the importance of the title tag and meta description?

The title tag is a crucial HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. It is displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a result. The meta description provides a brief summary of the page’s content and is also displayed in SERPs. Both are important for SEO because they influence click-through rates and can impact a page’s ranking.

6. What are some common SEO mistakes?

Some common SEO mistakes include keyword stuffing, duplicate content, ignoring meta tags, neglecting mobile optimization, slow site speed, and failing to include quality external and internal links. Not using analytics to track performance or ignoring search engine guidelines can harm SEO efforts.

7. How do you stay updated with SEO industry changes?

Staying updated with SEO changes can be done by subscribing to industry blogs and news sites like Search Engine Journal, engaging in SEO online communities like the SEO Signals Lab Facebook group, and following SEO influencers like Charles Floate on X. Attending webinars and conferences and networking with other SEO professionals are good practices.

8. Can you explain what a ‘canonical URL’ is?

A canonical URL is an HTML element that helps prevent duplicate content issues by specifying a web page’s “canonical” or “preferred” version. It’s used when there are multiple pages with similar content and tells search engines which version to index.

9. What are some ways to improve a website’s loading speed?

Improving website loading speed keeps users on your site instead of leaving it, correlated to increased search engine ranking for your keywords. You can achieve this by optimising image sizes, enabling compression, leveraging browser caching, reducing server response time, using content distribution networks (CDNs), and minimizing the number of plugins. 

10. What is the significance of ‘mobile-first indexing’?

Mobile-first indexing means that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Since most users now access Google Search with a mobile device, search engine crawlers prioritise your website’s mobile version on the search results page.

11. How do you measure the success of your SEO efforts?

The success of SEO efforts can be measured using metrics such as organic traffic, search engine rankings for targeted keywords, click-through rates (CTR), bounce rates, conversion rates, and the quality and quantity of backlinks. SEO tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can provide valuable data for assessing performance.

12. What is Google’s E-E-A-T, and why is it important?

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The concept first appeared on Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines and influences which web pages appear on the search engine result page (SERP). High E-E-A-T is particularly important for YMYL (Your Money Your Life) websites that could potentially impact users’ health, financial stability, or safety. Ensuring content is created by knowledgeable authors, cited authoritative sources, and provides accurate information can help improve a site’s E-E-A-T.

13. What is a 301 redirect, and when should it be used?

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. It should be used when a page has been moved or deleted to redirect traffic to a new URL, ensuring that link equity (ranking power) is passed to the new page and that users and search engines are directed to the correct content.

14. Can you explain what ‘search intent’ is and why it’s important?

Search intent refers to the purpose behind a user’s search query. Understanding search intent is crucial because it helps create content that satisfies what users seek, whether information, a specific website, or a product to purchase. Aligning content with user intent can improve relevance and increase the likelihood of a high ranking in SERPs.

15. What are structured data and schema markup, and how do they affect SEO?

Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content. Schema markup is a code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help search engines return more informative results for users. Implementing structured data and schema can enhance your search listings with rich snippets, improving click-through rates and visibility in search results.

16. How do you handle a penalty from a search engine?

A search engine penalty occurs when your site page immediately falls off the SERPs without warning due to some involvement with black hat SEO techniques. In this case, the first step is to identify the reason for the penalty by reviewing the search engine’s webmaster guidelines and your Search Console messages. 

Then you should take corrective actions, including removing spammy backlinks, fixing on-page issues, revising content to eliminate keyword stuffing, or making technical changes to comply with guidelines, among other SEO factors. 

Once the issues are resolved, you can submit a reconsideration request to the search engine and explain the changes made to rectify the problem. It’s important to monitor your site’s performance and adhere to best practices to avoid future penalties.

17. What are some key factors that you would consider while optimizing a website for voice search?

Consider using natural language with long-tail keywords to optimise voice search, structure content with question-based queries, and provide concise and direct answers. Ensure your website content has the right keyword density and reads naturally without making readers feel like certain words and phrases are forced into the context. Also, optimize for local SEO by maintaining an up-to-date Google My Business listing and including local keywords, as voice searches often have local intent.

19. What is the importance of HTTPS in SEO? 

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) indicates that a website uses a secure connection. It’s important for SEO because it’s a ranking signal for Google, and it helps protect the privacy and security of your users. Websites without HTTPS may be flagged as ‘not secure’ by browsers, which can deter users and negatively impact trust and conversion rates.

20. Can you explain what ‘SERP’ is? And why does it matter? 

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. It’s the page users see after entering a query into a search engine. It matters because the goal of SEO is to improve the visibility and ranking of a website on the SERPs for relevant queries. 

High rankings on SERPs can increase traffic, brand awareness, and potential conversions. The layout of SERPs, including organic listings, paid advertisements, featured snippets, and other search features, can also influence how users interact with search results.

Ready to Apply for SEO Jobs? Let SEO.Careers Help You

Now that we’ve discussed questions interviewers may ask about SEO and the Google algorithm and how you can answer each, it’s time to pass the interview with flying colours and land your SEO dream job with SEO.Careers.

We are a recruitment agency that connects organisations with SEO talents who can help make their website search engine-friendly to attract more highly qualified traffic on search engines. We do this by matching the right candidates with you based on your requirements so you screen the best applicants for the job position.

Send in your application here to find a job that’ll put your SEO skills and knowledge to the test while getting paid handsomely for it!

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