SEO Job Interview Questions

by TheMadHat on January 10, 2007

I’ve been tasked with adding an additional member to our team so I am posting about the process. These are the questions I’ll be asking in the first interview. If you’re looking for an SEO position, these might be some questions to be familiar with before you head into it.

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?

*** UPDATE ***

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’?

*** UPDATE ***

For in-depth answers to some of these questions, visit SEO Interview Questions Part II.

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{ 37 comments }

sawan singh August 7, 2007 at 6:50 am

where can i get answer to all these questions?

TheMadHat August 7, 2007 at 10:02 am

Not sure. I tell you what, I’ll do an update post this week on the questions, additional questions I’ve come up with since this post, AND the answers. Stay tuned.

Hemanth October 9, 2007 at 12:52 am

Thanks aaron. Great Post….

Clipping Path Services October 27, 2007 at 10:28 pm

Thanks for this post. I will be doing interviews this weekdays and the questions above will be my guide on what to ask.

XRumakTheBest November 6, 2007 at 8:08 pm

XRumer is the best tool for advertisement!
It’s have CAPTCHA recognizer, email verificator, and a lot of other functions…

But. I forgot link to it :(

Can you give me URL to the XRumer description? screenshots, etc.

Thanks

naisioxerloro November 28, 2007 at 11:25 am

Hi.
Good design, who make it?

TheMadHat November 28, 2007 at 11:28 am

I did. I bought the logo design from a designer in Australia and the blog is just a modified template from somewhere.

thecp December 4, 2007 at 9:39 am

it will be helpful if we can get answer to these questions

TheMadHat December 4, 2007 at 1:21 pm

Maybe you didn’t finish the post…the link to the answers is at the bottom…

And if you don’t know the ones I didn’t answer then you probably shouldn’t be applying for an SEO job.

Arpit Kothari January 1, 2008 at 6:59 am

hi there,

Thank you very much for nice questions?

can you send me this questions answers also..

Regards
Arpit Kothari

Abhay Mathur January 9, 2008 at 3:34 am

some answers of there questions are available on digital forum.

TheMadHat January 9, 2008 at 8:00 am

Yea, you mean the digital poser forum that copied my post? Screw that assbag.

Webster January 12, 2008 at 7:43 pm

I like the last four the best. Question 22, 23, 24, 25 can’t be BSed with buzzwords and fluff.

You REALLY have to watch it when hiring. Especially if you’re wanting a pro. I think the only way to make sure you are hiring a pro is to have a pro do the interview. Possible consulting niche here?

There are some of people out there who have been doing SEO for 4+ years that can rattle off “answers” that sound good to a lot of these questions, but won’t produce real results. Especially when being interviewed by non-SEOs and those new to the field. Some SEOs learned their stuff 4 or five years ago and are stuck in 2003. They read enough to “sound good” and know the buzz words, but when it comes to producing results…nada. Be careful.

plane_crazy January 13, 2008 at 1:54 pm

I’ve read a number of these posts in the last 2 weeks about hiring questions and they all seem to have a drawback in my mind

1- many, if not most, of the items listed are ‘teachable’. If I hire someone who doesn’t know all the blogs to read, I can tell show them that and off they go, same with many of the terms, on-page items, etc.
What you can’t easily teach someone and therefore what I look for is business maturity, the ability to communicate, the ability to probe with their own questions.

I lot of these questions seem to want to hire someone just like themselves with the same knowledge, but I’ve found that hiring someone who has the attitude to learn, the ability to communicate and business sense will do much better in the long run.

The other issue in today’s job market is that it is certainly a buyers market in that there is much greater demand for search professionals than supply. Therefore finding someone who can answer all these questions to you satisfaction is quite difficult. Again, an argument for my position of hiring someone with ‘hard to teach’ skill and helping them learn the teachable skills

Rosenstand January 14, 2008 at 11:40 am

Well… I normally ask:

1. Show me 3 different projects yuo’ve made within the last 6 month – and show me the results.

2. How much do you need in salary?

3. When can you start?

Nascar January 14, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Nice solid questions to vet a potential SEO. Number 22 stomps me, going to research page segmentation to see if it is of any importance.

Paul from SEO Training Live January 20, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Interesting questions….maybe you could also ask what to you think is the most important element in SEO. Last time I employed a contractor (to do consulting on a case by case basis) – I got them to do a report on an existing site- the standard was not good- not enough knowledge and focus on wrong points. Also the move from employment to self employed (accountability for independent actions) was also a challenge.

SEO Canada February 1, 2008 at 1:34 am

Nice questions, I had a client a few weeks ago who gave us a questionaire even larger then that. I’d also say that conferences isn’t that big of a deal if your big into reading, and on the Sphinn scheme… speaking of which where is the question asking “Do you know what Sphinn is?” ;)

Fucktard March 5, 2008 at 2:59 am

If I had no idea of what SEO was, and I read this for the first time I would have assumed, my god SEO is like rocket science!
All those amazing terms (ViPS, LSI, Hilltop). OH PLEASE !
Knowing what ViPS/LSI/Hilltop is wont really grant you in ranking in the SERP. Sure it’s great to blah blah about it, and maybe bait a few links, but thats about it.

One of the biggest part of SEO are just hard and monotonous tasks. Stop over glorifying this profession. and I point to shoe money’s article about SEO s are the new used car salesmen).

Enough with the crap darn it.

TheMadHat March 5, 2008 at 10:40 am

Great, another shoemoney fanboy. First of all, you’re name is now Fucktard, since you’re too much of a chicken shit to leave an actual one. Second, Mr Fucktard, look at the date on this post…over a year ago.

Yes, LSI and Hilltop are rather out of date questions at this point, but knowing what they are will give the person asking the questions an idea of how long you’ve been around.

As for page segmentation, if you think knowing that doesn’t help then you’re a tool fucktard and I certainly wouldn’t hire you. What you’re saying is a footer link carries the same weight as a link inside editorial content. But being the fucktard you probably are you probably do think that.

Thirdly, learn how to link to a post fucktard. Get the fuck off my blog you troll piece of shit.

Web Analytics Forum March 24, 2008 at 12:35 am

Another question asking at interview is: “How do you analyze website traffic? Is the traffic factors analysis is compulsory in SEO Process?”

I have asked these question two times in my interview. But I am sure these question are important.

SEO beginner April 16, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Hi there,

I’m a SEO beginner/noob and all these questions got me thinking how much of a noob I really am and also how much I still have to learn. I’m no expert at research but I know questions are always a great starting point. Seems I have a lot of starting points to take away with me after reading your post.

Thanks,

Erfan.

Aidan Rogers April 17, 2008 at 12:06 am

…and here’s my question for you Aaron…

What’s the salary like? ;)

James April 27, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Good list of questions… but would someone conducting interviews be that familiar with SEO? It’s kind of a new profession.. I bet you that most companies are hiring their first SEOs

TheMadHat April 28, 2008 at 10:38 am

@James, Yes that does depend. These are the questions I would ask when looking for people to add to my team. Actually, some of these are a bit outdated as I wrote this over a year ago, but the fundamentals are still there.

David Swad May 29, 2008 at 12:55 pm

What SEO tools do you regularly use?
I use alot of different tools, about 6 at the moment, some free some not so free. but each does its job well, i really like ibp

TheMadHat May 29, 2008 at 1:14 pm

I generally use tools developed internally. As for public tools, Wordtracker, Trellian, some of the SEOmoz tools occasionally. IBP and web position gold are dead, I wouldn’t bother.

shiv November 20, 2008 at 9:17 am

Thanks great questions recording to seo but i also wanted answer that’s possible.

TheMadHat November 24, 2008 at 10:46 am

Seriously, did you read the post? There is a link to the answers.

George The Web Designer December 14, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Forget me my ignorance, but I didn’t even know until now that there are such specific job position as SEO specialist. I am aware about the web marketing and so on, but just SEO seems too weird for me.
Anyway, I’m here to ask about something, which I don’t understand. How would someone estimate if a person is succeeded in SEOing a particular website? That’s because there are so many parameters in the equasion: term popularity, website information, money involved, time involved, resources involved… It’s not like a particular development project in a company – started/developed/finished – result! It’s much more complex, this is why I’m puzzled about the SEO specialist interview and the work archievements.

Kumar January 20, 2009 at 10:09 am

Hi

Thank you very much for nice questions!

can you send me this questions answers also..

Regards
Kumar

TheMadHat January 21, 2009 at 12:38 pm

There is a link to the answers at the bottom of the post.

kumar January 25, 2009 at 5:17 am

Hi All,

Can u answer my question?

HOW MUCH TIME NEED FOR MAKING SEO ON SINGLE WEBSITE (ANY)?

REgards
Kumar

rajaash March 4, 2009 at 8:08 am

thanks for post the seo interview questions

Naveen March 29, 2009 at 11:26 am

Thanks for this post. I will be doing interviews this weekdays and the questions above will be my guide on what to ask. please provide me answer also.

Christian April 29, 2009 at 10:30 am

Great SEO and marketing questions!

loveskie May 18, 2009 at 9:25 am

thank you so much for posting this one, my job interview is coming wew and this post is really helpful to me, i think this is a possible question during my interview huhuhu, while im reading some of questions here my mind is thinking for the possible answer of this…anyway thank you so much for posting this useful question..

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