Top 35 SEO Interview Questions & Answers You Need to be Familiar With

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Search engine optimization is essential for any business to be found online. With more and more companies realizing the need and importance of SEO for a business, the more they are investing in SEO services. After all, there are numerous benefits of SEO.

If you’re a fresher or an experienced candidate, here is a list of the top SEO interview questions and answers that you should refer to, to ace your interview!

And if you’re an HR and are looking for the right SEO interview questions to ask your potential candidates, this blog is for you too! 

Check this out: If you’re relatively new to SEO, we highly recommend opting for this Online SEO Course. Learn right from the basics to the advanced level of SEO in easy-to-learn formats. 

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15 Common SEO Interview Questions and Answers for Freshers & Beginners


1. What is a keyword?

Keywords are essentially words or phrases on your website that would make your page rank on a search engine. These are extremely important as it makes SEO professionals aware as to what a potential customer is searching for. It helps them aim their content towards that segment. 

2. What are the types of SEO?

There are primarily 3 types of SEO. These are –

On-page SEO: On-page SEO is optimizing the content on your web pages such as meta tags, keywords and internal links. All this is necessary for the search engine to understand your website. Once it does, it will reward you by displaying your website for a relevant query.

Off-page SEO: Off-page SEO is about creating visibility, exposure and trust for your company. Mostly off-page SEO is about link-building which is the practice of getting other companies to link back to your website. Quora marketing is another popular off-page optimization technique. 

Technical SEO: Technical SEO is about checking if your website is cached and compressed correctly. This directly influences your page speed which is also a part of technical SEO. Procuring an SSL certificate to secure payments on your website falls in this category too  

3. What SEO tools do you use?

The main and common SEO tools used for different types of SEO are listed below: 

For on-page: Google Search Console, Keywords Everywhere

For off-page: Ahrefs, Moz, SEMRush

For technical: Google page speed insights

For tracking: Google Search Console, Google Analytics

4. What’s the difference between on-page and off-page SEO? 

On-page SEO means optimizing everything on your page that you have access to and control over. Hence, content is king here – keyword optimization, title tags, meta tags, interlinking, etc are some on-page cornerstones.

Off-page SEO optimization is the use of external linking to drive back traffic to your own website from other websites. Here, influencer collaborations, brand outreaches, social media activities, forum submission and article submission techniques can be made to use. 

On-page SEO optimization simply put, is about enhancing what your website is about and off-page SEO is about how popular your website is. 

5. What makes a website optimized according to you?

Numerous factors can make a website optimized for ranking on a search engine. For on-page optimization, you can make sure that the title tags, meta tags, alt tags, keyword research are done correctly. 

For off-page optimization, you can procure quality backlinks from high DA websites. For technical optimization, you must ensure that the speed of your website is fast and that the SSL certificate has not expired. 

6. What are page speed and its role in SEO?

Page speed is how fast your site completely loads for a user. Search engines such as Google rank sites with a fast page speed as more often than not, users bounce back. 

To increase the page speed you can reduce image sizes, compression, improve server time response, reduce the number of redirects, minify the javascript and CSS coding, etc.

7. What is a backlink?

A backlink is a link from an internal or external source that brings the user onto your website. 

8. What is an outbound link?

Outbound links are links that your website gives to another third-party website and directs traffic over there. 

9. What do you mean by keyword density and proximity?

Keyword density is the percentage that tells you how often a search term appears in your content – it is calculated by “ No. of times the search term is used divided by the total number of words in the content multiplied by 100”. 

For example, if a keyword appears 5 times on a page with 100 words, the keyword density would be 5%. If it appears too often, Google can mark it as search engine spam as it may be ingenuine. 

Keyword proximity is the distance between the search term’s individual keywords. If your keywords are placed strategically throughout the content, there is a higher chance of your page getting a better ranking. 

10. What are meta tags? Name the important ones and their character limits.

Meta tags are a snippet of what a web page is about – something like a preview. This text does not appear on the page itself but it appears on Google SERP- it describes what the page is about and helps with search engine rankings. 

There are 2 important types of meta tags –

Meta Title – It is the headline, like a nametag for the page that appears on the search engine page – it is an HTML element. Google recommends a character limit of 70 characters although it is now calculated via pixels and the limit is 580px. 

Meta Description – Meta description is essentially the summary of the article below the meta title. It talks about what the blog is all about. The recommended character limit is 155-160 characters although it is now calculated via pixels and the limit is 990px. 

11. What is a longtail keyword?

A longtail keyword is a phrase that is usually 3-5 words long. Since it is very specific, it helps the brand to target very niche demographics which would attract quality traffic and in turn, lead to conversions. 

For example Nike stores in Mumbai, or best digital marketing courses in Mumbai, etc. 

12. What is a landing page?

A landing page is a web page that a user ‘lands’ on when he clicks on a particular link. The source of this link can be from an email, ad, other website or any other source. 

A landing page is usually created for a particular campaign to track the results. The 2 main goals of a landing page are lead generation and conversion. 

13. What are organic results?

Organic search results are also called natural search results. These are not paid. So, when a user searches for a query on a search engine, the results displayed without the “Ad ” mark are called organic search results. 

If your page ranks organically, or naturally, it means that your on-page and off-page strategy is working well. 

14. What is image alt text?

Alt text also called alt tag or alt descriptions is as the name suggests, a written copy for an image that appears on a webpage and describes what the image represents. 

It is useful for the times when the image cannot load and also rank the images in the “Image” tab on search engines.

15. How to make a URL SEO friendly?

Enhanced URLs are extremely important for both the search engine as well as the user experience. They should be short, easy to remember, to-the-point and well-structured.

Describe your content – the user must be able to tell what your page is about only by looking at the URL. Include your focus keywords in the URL. Include hyphens to separate words as Google recommends this over underscore. Keep URLs brief, well-structured and only use the lower case.  

Avoid using dynamic URLs and stick to static URLs for your site – you can use dynamic URLs for social media to track your data. Use folders that are necessary to your URL and add value. Do not unnecessarily add them in – keep the site structure flat and clean. 

13 SEO Interview Questions and Answers for 3+ Years of Experience 

If you’re a professional already working in the industry, we have compiled a list of common SEO interview questions and answers relevant to you which are relatively advanced in nature. 

1. What are the common SEO mistakes?

Some common SEO mistakes include slow page speed, plagiarized content, vague SEO plan or roadmap, skipping to add meta tags and not investing in mobile optimization.  

2. What is the sandbox effect?

The Google Sandbox effect is a kind of filter that stops new websites from ranking in Google’s top search results. Even though you may have done everything right, it is like building trust. Think of it as a probationary period.

3. What is the Penguin update?

Google’s Penguin update was launched in 2012. It is a ranking algorithm that tracks sites that violate the guidelines of Google Webmaster. It is aimed at reducing webspam. 

They have a penalty for websites that rank high with poor quality content or ingenuine ways that do not serve the end-user. And there was a recent update announced wherein Google can choose to nullify your practices instead of penalising. 

4. What are the doorway pages?

A doorway page is also referred to as a gateway page. It is a web page that is created solely to rank high for particular search queries and they do not offer what the user is looking for.

For example, if you create multiple domains or web pages targeting different regions and ultimately leading the user to that one main page is called doorway pages. Google doesn’t prefer such practices. 

5. How to remove toxic links from a site?

Toxic links are links from websites that can tarnish your SEO efforts which can lead to fewer organic visitors. 

Google suggests that when you come across a bad link, you should ideally reach out to its owner by sending them a request. If this does not work, then using the disavow tool is recommended.

6. What are SERP and DA?

SERPs are Search Engine Result Pages, i.e., the web pages that come up as a result of any search queries. 

DA is domain authority – a search engine ranking metric developed by Moz and many other tools that estimates how likely a website is to rank in a SERP. 

It essentially helps evaluate your website with competitors on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher your score, the higher the likelihood of your page to rank. 

7. What is an XML sitemap and what is its importance?

An XML sitemap acts as a roadmap of your website listing the most important pages so that Google can understand your website structure. The aim is to ensure that the search engine crawls every important page. 

8. Explain rich snippet.

Rich snippets are excerpts or previews of your page. It is additional data that is extracted from your page and displayed before a user clicks on your link. Some common rich snippets include reviews, recipes and events. 

Rich snippets increase the chances of a higher click-through rate as people prefer clicking on the preview that gives them enough data to understand what the webpage is all about.

9. What is a bounce rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of users that leave a webpage immediately or without taking any kind of action. This can be any kind of action – scrolling through the article, filling a form, clicking on a link or making a purchase. 

A high bounce rate is indicative that your page needs improvement in layout, content or overall user experience. It is also a major Google ranking factor. Google prefers websites with a low bounce rate.

10. Explain – spiders, crawlers and robots.

Web crawlers have many synonyms – crawlers and robots or bots being a few. These are automated programmes that crawl across the World Wide Web and index all the content on it. 

Once the spider crawls your page, it is put onto Google’s index or simply put, its search engine result page (SERP).

11. Explain LSI keywords

LSI stands for latent semantic indexing keywords. These are related terms or phrases related to a web page’s target keyword. Search engines have become smarter over the years. If a particular keyword density is high, then they would realize it is not an authentic page. 

For example, if your page is about SEO, then your content would include terms and phrases such as bounce rate, keywords, ranking, etc and not only the term ‘SEO’.

LSI keywords help the search engine understand what your content is about and also help your page rank for related keywords. 

12. What does it mean if your domain does not appear in the search?

There can be several reasons if your domain does not show up in the search. 

Some of them are that Google may not have indexed your website yet, your website just went live, the index tags might be missing, your keyword market is very saturated, your website is penalised or you may have unknowingly blocked spider from visiting your website.  

13. What are the reports in Google Analytics?

Google Analytics gives access to multiple kinds of reports. A few common and popular ones are the Mobile Overview report, audience report, referrals report, channels report, navigations summary, landing pages report, site speed review and goal overview report are some of the important Google Analytics reports. 

7 Tough SEO Interview Questions

Some tough SEO interview questions that you need to familiarize yourself with are –

1. How would you measure SEO success?

SEO success can be measured via the following factors for each of the types: 

On-page SEO success factors: Organic traffic, good keyword ranking, SERP visibility, low bounce rate and a high click-through rate. 

Off-page SEO success factors: Quality backlinks, Quora answers ranking on top, etc.

Technical SEO success factors: high page speed, secure and successful payments, etc. 

2. What is SILO structure and how does it benefit SEO?

A silo structure is a website structure, wherein content is logically organized.  It is creating categories and subcategories within your website with relevant content.

This benefits your website in search engine ranking as it can tell that there are abundant related keywords throughout your website with a clean structure that makes it easy for Google to crawl and understand. 

3. What is a link-building strategy?

A link-building strategy can help you leaps and bounds to track and optimize your links. It can increase conversions and boost search engine rankings. 

Guest blogging, social media, replicating your best-performing links are a few link-building strategies that will help your brand.

4. What is AMP?

AMP stands for accelerated mobile pages. It is an open-sourced project designed to aid web publishers with content that is already mobile-optimized and instantly loads on all devices. 

AMP allows your page to load quickly but you have to compromise on certain visual elements of that page. 

5. Explain how the Disavow tool works

The Disavow tool is a part of the Google search console, previously known as Webmaster tools. It allows you to request Google to disregard selected backlinks. It helps you get rid of low-quality backlinks that can lead to marking your website as spam thus, lowering your site’s ranking. 

Go to the disavow links tool in the Google search console, select your site and upload the file with the links you want to disavow. Google will review these links, ask spiders to crawl your website and analyze the situation which takes a few weeks. This feature is great to manage your SEO hygiene. 

6. What is PBN?

A PBN (private blogs network) is a network of authoritative websites used to build links with the aim of manipulating search engine rankings. It involves several different websites all linking to one another or a particular central website.

7. What do you think makes you a good SEO candidate?

This is a very subjective answer and you could answer this as per your understanding of your best points. You could answer this by highlighting that you have experience with the tools and technical know-how, always keeping yourself up-to-date with breakthroughs and trends. 

You could also mention some KPIs that you fulfilled in your previous work and how committed you were to your job. Talk about some of the SEO strategies that you used and the results you obtained. 

You can also mention a situation where a strategy may have backfired and how you fixed it. This will showcase your ability to solve problems. 

With so many candidates, it is important to stand out from the crowd and be well prepared when it comes to cracking the interview. 

Digital Marketing Courses in Delhi - masterclass

With this, we come to the end of our SEO interview questions and answers blog. If you’re new in this field, we highly recommend opting for the course mentioned in the beginning because SEO is a technical skill and cannot be learned easily. 

Even the SEO tools require hands-on practice and knowledge of the entire dashboard. All the important SEO tools are taught in this course. 

And in case you’re looking for something more advanced, check out our 11-month  MBA-level post-graduation in digital marketing which offers guaranteed placement assistance at mid-senior managerial levels. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Let us know in the comments below!

Chief Learning Officer at IIDE

He has over 17 years of experience in the Digital Marketing and Design space. He is someone who understands all the elements of the Digital gamut ranging from User Experience, Graphics Design, SEO, SEM, Analytics, Media Planning, Social Media Marketing & eCommerce......[Read full bio]

Meherzad Karanjia


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