Before you head into your next SEO interview, it’s important to brush up on the SEO interview questions you’re likely to face. Because as you progress in your career and depending on the business, the questions you face are likely to change. Which is why we’ve separated these questions you’re likely to face as an SEO Executive and as an SEO Manager.
Which is why we’ve put together a list of the common SEO interview questions you might see in your SEO interview.
If you’re applying for an SEO Executive position, you may face some technical questions to try and gauge your technical SEO ability.
This one might seem a bit obvious, and you may only be asked this if you’re early in your career. But it can be a good way for them to gauge your expertise across the entirety of SEO, whether you’re just an expert in content or technical SEO. But in general, your answer should be along the lines of:
SEO is the practice of optimising a business’s website to improve organic traffic from search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This can be done by improving site layout, improving site performance, and producing relevant content that attracts your target audience.
There is also the possibility that someone interviewing you may not be an expert in SEO themselves. So if that is the case, avoiding the jargon and explaining it in simple terms shows you really understand what you’re talking about.
The obvious answer here is organic growth and traffic. But it’s not the only answer. You could also talk about increased market share, higher domain authority, more backlinks, email sign-ups, content downloads, better site structure and site health, and of course, increased revenue and sales.
The things you could talk about are limitless, but what matters most depends on the business and business needs.
Most SEO tools are fairly similar in nature. For example, if you have lots of experience with SEMrush, then you can probably quickly adapt to Ahrefs.
But the employer will still be interested in that you have experience with a variety of tools, showing your curiosity and comprehensive skill set.
This is one of those questions where there is no exact right answer. Because there are so many different factors that are all important! But as long as you discuss the different factors, you show your understanding of the subject.
The factors are things such as: Search intent, competitiveness and keyword difficulty, SERP results etc. Not just search volume.
Content marketing is essential for SEO and organic growth. And when most people think of content SEO, they think of blogs and articles.
But, it’s important to show that you understand the importance of other content marketing efforts, such as videos, podcasts, whitepapers and downloadable assets.
SEO and PPC both fulfil essential functions for a businesses advertising efforts. There is no answer to which is better, so this is almost a trick question.
Instead, you should show that SEO is essential for long-term organic growth, whereas PPC gives short-term gains, and that best results come from the two working together. Which is “more important for a business”, depends on the business’s needs.
This is one we can’t answer for you. But it is a fairly standard question you can expect.
So we suggest preparing some statistics or data from previous roles where you can show just how much of an impact you had, whether that was on a client website, or the business’s own.
Now it’s time to show a little humility. But not really. Because instead of just discussing the aspects of SEO you’re not good at, you should discuss how you have, or are actively improving.
You should discuss an area of weakness, and how you have overcome this weakness or actively working to better yourself.
Digital marketing and SEO are constantly evolving. For example, Google updates can have a huge impact on websites and google rankings. Which means you need to stay on top of your SEO game.
Your answer should discuss which SEO news outlets you follow, such as Search Engine Journal or Search Engine Land. You will also want to discuss any courses or training you have recently completed or are working towards.
Unsurprisingly, the difference between short-tailed and long-tailed keywords is the length. But that’s just the beginning.
Long-tailed keywords are typically used for blog writing, and allow you to be focused and specific with what you’re writing and attract an audience you know is more likely to be interested in your service or product. They are generally lower volume, but can be easier to rank for.
Short-tailed keywords are typically higher volume, less specific, and harder to rank for. Which can make them attractive, but more difficult to attain keywords to earn: For example “SEO Consultant”, would be an attractive short-tailed keyword for an SEO Consultant selling their services.
The interviewer may use a question like this to try and gauge where you’re looking to go in your career. If your heart is set on content SEO or technical SEO, then discuss the steps you’re taking to become this expert.
Or if you’re looking to stay a generalist, then discuss the areas you want to learn new skills in. Whichever answer you give, it’s great to show that you’re actively planning to progress in your skills and career.
SEO Interview questions for SEO Managers can be much more complicated and technical than you would face as an SEO Executive. Which can mean tougher questions, with answers that are more complicated, and require a bit more preparation beforehand.
Obviously you want to shout about the times you were successful. But it’s important that you show your knowledge about just why your SEO campaigns or client accounts have been successful.
Because analysing your success lets you know about what you’re doing right, and how to replicate this success at the new business. So when answering this question be sure to include some analysis of your success, and also some statistics and examples. You want to provide evidence and examples that back up your points, so having some to hand is always a good idea.
In opposition, they may ask about a campaign that didn’t go to plan. Because in reality, not every campaign is a success.
What is important however, is to recognise your failures from your successes, and still show how you learned from them.
Managing budgets and workloads is essential for an SEO Manager, because it allows you to invest time and money into the best returns on investment.
So you should aim to discuss the steps you took to recognise what areas of SEO were most important for a business or client. And then detail the steps you took to invest in those areas, while remaining within budget and within the time frame of the campaign or client contract.
As you progress to an SEO Manager position, an employer will want to see some experience of managing a team. And more importantly, of managing the work of an SEO team.
Here you should discuss the different areas you successfully managed an SEO team: Team management, workload distribution, supporting the development and training of your team, and conflict resolution.
Client relationship management is a crucial skill as you progress to a managerial level in an agency setting. Which is why you need to discuss the different parts of client management and your experience with it.
This can include: New business acquisitions, client onboarding, leading client meetings, translating client aims into actionable outputs for the team, SEO analysis and reporting campaign results to clients.
A crucial part of SEO is understanding who your target audience is. So an interviewer may want to understand the steps you take to find this out.
You may want to discuss how you would actively research the pain points that your customers or target audience have, either by direct contact with them, anonymous forms and feedback, as well as obviously speaking to previous colleagues who had a better understanding than you did when you first started.
This question is designed to show an interviewer your understanding of the whole scope of content and technical SEO, as well as how to use this knowledge to identify gaps in current SEO strategy.
Factors of technical SEO factors include: crawl errors, page load speed, HTTPS status codes, metadata audit, mobile friendly website design, keyword cannibalisation etc.
Meanwhile, factors for content SEO factors could include: Indexing and crawlability, user experience, keyword research, competitor analysis, on-page SEO, site architecture, backlinks.
Conflict resolution can be crucial for an SEO Manager. Because SEO isn’t an exact science, people can have differing opinions on the right course of action, and can be a necessary part of managing difficult clients.
So aim to provide an example of a team where you found a resolution to an argument. Maybe this could be by using analysis and statistics to support a hypothesis or statement you’re making regarding campaign strategy.
Or for an interpersonal conflict, asking for input from a senior member of staff, showing you know when to avoid conflict and defer to a more experienced member of the business.
The interviewer wants to know not only about a time that you weren’t successful, but how you reacted, adapted, and developed from this.
For example, if a campaign wasn’t progressing as successfully as desired, how did you analyse where you were going wrong? What steps did you take to improve the process and results? And how did you ensure that it didn’t happen in future SEO campaigns?
Of course, preparing for the SEO interview questions you’re likely to face is a great start, but it’s also important to consider the questions you would like to ask the interviewer! Have a look at our guide here, to really get the most out of your SEO interviews. And of course, good luck with your job search!
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