Digital Marketing has become one of the top career prospects in today’s world and SEO is the most in-demand skill in digital marketing. In fact, areas like Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media, and Analytics are going to create more than 150k jobs in the coming years. Be it fresher or experienced, if you are looking to land your dream job in SEO, the following SEO interview questions will help you gain an in-depth understanding of the most asked SEO questions. Before you sit for your SEO interview, here is a quick run-through to save you the time and effort.
Most-Asked SEO Interview Questions
Q1. What is SEO and how does it work?
Q2. What is a search engine?
Q3. What are on-page SEO and off-page SEO?
Q4. What is SEO writing?
Q5. What is local SEO?
Q6. What is schema markup?
Q7. What is a sitemap in SEO?
Q8. What are SEO tools?
Q9. What are white-hat SEO and black-hat SEO?
Q10. How to rank a website on Google?
This blog is divided into three sections and is better organized for studying purposes. It will guide you through the basic, intermediate, and advanced levels of SEO interview questions that you may have to tackle when you go for an SEO job interview.
1. Basic SEO Interview Questions and Answers
2. Intermediate SEO Interview Questions and Answers
3. Advanced SEO Interview Questions and Answers
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Basic SEO Interview Questions and Answers
1. What is SEO and how does it work?
This is almost always the first SEO interview question you will need to answer. SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic in organic search results. This is done by increasing the visibility of a website or web page on a search engine without paying for it.
2. What does SEO stand for?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
3. Why do you think we need SEO for business?
1993 saw the first clickable web-ad banner. HotWired had purchased a few banner ads for their promotion and advertising. There has been no looking back ever since. Marketing had seen a paradigm shift, and every year something new has been available on the Internet for people to use and explore. With the increase in online behavior, the race to show up on the first page of search engines has become extremely competitive. For a business to succeed in the online world, it must implement SEO to stay on top.
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4. What is local SEO?
Local SEO is targeted towards users and potential customers who are interested in local searches for a business’s products or services. These basically include location-based queries and results.
5. What is a search engine?
A search engine is a software system, which searches the world wide web for relevant information on a particular query raised by a user on the Internet.
6. Can you name a few search engines other than Google?
This is one of the popular SEO interview questions. Here are a few of them:
7. What does WWW stand for?
WWW stands for the World Wide Web. It is a collection of websites stored in web servers, which are connected to local computers.
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8. What do you know about web crawling?
Web crawling is the process where a web crawler (spiderbot/spider/crawler), an internet bot, browses the World Wide Web for web indexing. It uses hyperlinks to visit pages and copies them for processing and indexing by the search engine so that users on the Internet can search more quickly and efficiently.
9. Do you know about Googlebot?
Googlebot is Google’s web crawler. It finds, crawls, and indexes web pages.
10. What is search engine submission?
Search engine submission is the process of submitting your website to search engines to ensure that it gets crawled and indexed. Even though search engines are smart enough to find your website and index it easily, it is advisable to follow through with the search engine submission as you will get the opportunity to submit some useful information about your website from your end, and the search engines will alert you if potential errors are there on your site.
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11. What is SERP?
SERP stands for search engine results page. This is the page where users see all the results of their queries on search engines.
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12. Can you explain the difference between organic and paid results?
Both organic and paid results are types of search results on SERP shown on the basis of quality and relevance to the user query. Organic results are not paid to show up on SERP. It is very hard to rank high organically, and it requires SEO.
Paid results require bidding on keywords, and based on the Max CPC (cost per click) and quality score, they are positioned above the organic search results on SERP, and these are paid advertisements. The more you score, the less money you need to pay.
13. What are on-page SEO and off-page SEO?
On-page SEO is used to ensure that the website performance is improving and better by optimizing the meta tags and descriptions, page title, URL structure, keyword density, body tags, internal linking, images, etc.
Off-page SEO involves activities such as guest blogging, reverse guest blogging, press releases, social networking, etc. These are done away from the website to promote and increase the visibility of the same.
Here is a step-by-step tutorial for SEO beginners from Intellipaat:
14. Have you heard of Google Sandbox?
While the existence of Google Sandbox has long been a subject of discussion, Google has not addressed the matter directly. It is theorized that new websites go through a probation period before they show up on SERPs. It is also believed that two important factors cause this filter to come to play—the active age of a domain and the keyword competitiveness. If the search frequency is higher for the keyword used, it is most likely that the filter will be put into effect for anti-spam purposes.
15. What is a domain name?
On the Internet, a domain name is an address where the Internet users can access your website, and it includes web addresses, email addresses, and the addresses of the Internet protocols. It is basically a shortcut to the server that hosts your website.
Without a domain name, one would have to enter the full IP address to visit a website. IP addresses are numerical labels and not very convenient for regular use.
A domain name has two main elements:
- The website’s name (g., Intellipaat)
- The domain name extension (e.g., .com)
16. What is a URL?
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is the complete address of a web page or a document on www. A URL contains the following parts:
- Protocol: A method used to process the URL (https, http, etc.)
- Domain: The domain name
- Path/File: The exact location of a page, file, other assets, etc.
- Query string: Parameters for dynamic data
- Hash: A specific section of a web page
17. What are SEO-friendly URLs?
URLs that are easily understandable by both search engines and users are SEO-friendly URLs. They will typically include keywords, and they are mostly self-explanatory and future proof so that they will not become obsolete over the years).
18. What is web hosting?
Web hosting is the www equivalent of buying a property. Web hosting companies will provide you with space to build your website. The server will have to be connected to the Internet for this hosting purpose.
19. What is DA?
Here is another commonly asked SEO interview question. DA or domain authority (a metric developed by Moz) is a search engine ranking score, which ranges from 0 to 100. The score predicts how well a website will rank on SERP. The higher your DA, the better chances you have at ranking higher.
20. Explain the difference between DA and PA.
While DA (domain authority) explains the authority of your entire website, PA (page authority) describes the authority of a specific page based on quality backlinks, social sharing, etc. The DA requires more time and effort than PA, but the former is more worthwhile in the long run. However, both are mutually beneficial.
21. What is TLD?
Top-level domain (TLD) is the final extension of an Internet address, for example, .com, .net, .org, .co.in, etc.
22. What is ccTLD?
In SEO, ccTLD, also known as the country code top-level domain, is a domain extension reserved for a country and has two characters. Here are a few examples for ccTLD: .it for Italy and .in for India.
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23. What is PBN?
PBN or private blog network is a network of websites, which is built to link these websites to a single website for SERP ranking purposes. It is a form of black-hat SEO.
24. What are SEO tools?
SEO tools analyze the performance of web pages and give insights for high placement on the SERP.
25. Name some popular SEO tools.
This SEO interview question will be asked to gauge your expertise. So, here are a few popular SEO tools:
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- Sprout Social
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26. Distinguish between a dofollow link and a nofollow link.
All hyperlinks are dofollow links by default unless specified as nofollow links. When search engine crawlers find a link, they crawl the page and pass the link juice as a vote of quality. The dofollow links from high-authority sites will help a site rank better in SERP by being quality backlinks.
Nofollow links are coded in a way that search engines do not crawl them or count them as votes of quality. You can use this when you want to link third-party sites on your website without passing the authority to those sites.
This is another popular SEO interview question, so make sure that you get the idea here.
27. What is SEO writing?
The usage of keywords and keyphrases within a website’s content is known as SEO writing. This helps increase the organic visibility of the website on the SERP.
28. Explain keywords.
Keywords are words or phrases users on the Internet use to find relevant results to their queries. They are also known as search queries. Figuring out potential keywords and using them in your website content can help you get a better ranking by search engines.
29. What is keyword frequency?
The number of times a particular keyword appears in a web page content is called keyword frequency. While the appropriate keyword frequency can optimize your website, using them excessively can quickly become a case of keyword stuffing.
30. What is keyword difficulty?
Keyword difficulty gives the measure of how difficult it is to get ranked for a particular keyword based on its high usage.
31. What is keyword proximity?
The distance or proximity between two keywords within a body of text on a web page is called keyword proximity. If the keywords are closer to each other in a phrase, the phrase will carry more weight.
32. What is keyword density?
Keyword density is the ratio or percentage of keywords used on a specific page. Around 3 to 4 percent is considered best practice.
33. What is keyword stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is considered to be a form of the black-hat SEO method. Increasing the keyword frequency to rank for specific keywords is generally frowned upon and could get your website penalized.
34. What is keyword stemming?
Google algorithm’s ability to identify different word forms on the basis of a particular word in a search query is called keyword stemming. This is done by adding prefixes, suffixes, pluralization, etc.
35. What is keyword prominence?
Keyword prominence shows the prominent placement (on the header, in the opening paragraph, at the start of a sentence, in meta tags, etc.) of keywords within a web page.
36. How many keywords should you use on a page?
It is good to have three primary keywords and some secondary keywords, but it shouldn’t look unnatural within the content, and the number of keywords to be used depends on the content length, page flow, keyword difficulty, etc.
37. What are long-tail keywords?
Keywords can be made into a more specific combination of several words. These are called long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords can be very specific and, hence, can be good for attracting quality traffic from people who are interested in that specific search query, and they are more likely to transform this kind of traffic into conversions.
38. What is NAP?
NAP (name, address, phone number) helps search engines to identify the list of businesses to be displayed for location-based searches.
39. Define the bounce rate.
Get ready to face this important SEO interview question. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who exit the website from the landing page without visiting any other pages or without any activity. It is the ratio of a single-page session to all sessions on a website.
40. What are header tags?
HTML header tags are used to highlight the headings (h1 level) and the subheadings (h2–h6 levels) within the content of a web page. These tags are also called header tags or heading tags. If you skip from h1 to h3, the hierarchy will be broken, and it is not advisable for on-page SEO. Every page should possess only one h1 tag unless it is using HTML5, which allows for more.
41. What are meta titles and meta descriptions?
Meta titles (page titles) and meta descriptions are two different pieces of the HTML code, which are important when you are creating a web page. Much like the back-cover blurb of a book, these elements will tell users the title of the page they have landed on and will give them the summary of that page when it shows up on SERPs. This gives the users an idea of what your page is all about and whether it will be relevant for them to visit your website.
Moreover, web browsers use the meta titles in the browser bars so that it is easy to distinguish between different tabs of different pages if the users have opened multiple tabs in a session. The page titles are also used when people bookmark a web page for future reference.
42. What are internal links?
Internal links are hyperlinks that connect one web page to another web page in the same domain.
A well-planned internal linking structure can help users navigate the website without any confusion. It is a good practice to keep every important page within two–three clicks from the home page.
43. What are inbound links and outbound links?
Inbound links are links coming from another domain to your domain.
Outbound links are links going out from your domain to another domain.
Keeping a few outbound links to high-authority sites may be helpful, but excessive outbound links could hurt your SEO. So, you need to make sure to use nofollow links to avoid passing on the link juice.
44. What are backlinks?
Inbound links are also known as backlinks and are links coming from another domain to your domain.
45. What are anchor texts?
Anchor texts are used by search engines to understand the context of the web page to which it is linking. The clickable text in a hyperlink is called an anchor text. See the below example:
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46. What is robots.txt?
Robots.txt is a text file that instructs web crawlers about the pages on your site to crawl or not to crawl.
47. Explain the robots meta tag.
Robots meta tags (or robots meta directives) provide a granular approach on how to crawl and index a page’s content, for example, FOLLOW, NOFOLLOW, INDEX & NOINDEX, etc.
48. What is 301 redirect?
301 redirect helps redirect users and search engines from an old URL to a new one. 301 redirect passes most of the link juice from the old page to the new page.
49. What is Google Search Console or the Webmaster tool?
Google Search Console (previously known as Webmaster Tool) is a free service by Google that allows users to monitor the health and visibility of their websites. It offers the following insights:
- A confirmation that Google can find and crawl a site
- Troubleshooting indexing issues
- Re-indexing the fresh or updated content
- Showing the backlinks to the site
- Fixing problems in mobile usability, AMP, and other search features
- Monitoring Google Search traffic data for the site: How often the site appears on SERP, which specific search queries show the site, how often users click through for those search queries, etc.
- Alerts and notifications about spam, indexing problems, or other issues
50. What is image alt text?
A search engine cannot understand an image or what it is about. So, to give it an idea, the image alt text helps. It is an HTML attribute. If for some reason, the image is unable to be displayed on a browser, one can read the alt tags and understand what the image is about. It even optimizes the image for image searches and can be a Google ranking factor as well.
51. What is forum posting?
Forum posting is one of the off-page SEO techniques. You can join a forum and create a thread, or interact on an existing one, and engage with other users to have online discussions about topics. This is a good way to backlink to your site.
52. What is referral traffic?
Referral traffic is the visits that you get from uncrawlable websites like getting traffic from a link within an email or social media.
53. What is PPC?
This is again a common SEO interview question. Pay-per-click or PPC is an advertising model in which an advertiser pays the publisher when the ad is clicked. This helps drive traffic to your website, and you only pay when users click on your ad.
54. What is CTR?
Click-through rate or CTR is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view it on a web page or other medium. This is yet another popular SEO interview question.
55. What is EMD?
EMD stands for the exact match domain and is a domain name that includes the search phrase, for example, buyflipphones.com. It is just an example and not an existing domain name, but you get the point.
56. What does an SEO Manager do?
- Execute SEO projects and campaigns to improve the website
- Generate leads
- Monitor and report the performance of projects and campaigns
- Monitor team performance and guide the team
- Optimize the website
- Fill the content gap and track KPIs
- Possess excellent communication skills
- Collaborate with other teams
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Intermediate SEO Interview Questions and Answers
57. What is a canonical URL?
If a page is accessible by several URLs or several pages have similar content (e.g., pages with both mobile and desktop versions), Google will see these as duplicates and will pick one as the canonical version to crawl unless you specify the canonical URL.
58. What is an HTML sitemap?
This is again a sure-shot SEO interview question. When on a page all the subpages of your website are listed, it is called an HTML sitemap. It is helpful for the navigation of big websites with a lot of subpages. Generally, HTML sitemaps are placed in the footer of websites.
59. What is a sitemap in SEO?
It lists the web pages and the frequency of updates. It is also called an XML (extensible markup language) sitemap and is meant only for search engines. Through this, the search engines will know that they are supposed to crawl and index the important pages frequently.
60. Explain LSI keywords.
LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords are the keywords that Google sees as semantically related to the topic. Most SEOs see them as related words and phrases. Despite this, being technically inaccurate, we will roll with that definition. But then again, John Mueller from Google is on a totally different page:
61. What is Google algorithm?
Google algorithm is a set of rules, helping the search engine to find on the web the relevant search results to a search query by a user. It uses several factors to rank a web page for specific keywords. They are updated every year.
62. What are white-hat SEO and black-hat SEO?
Be prepared for this SEO interview question as well. White-hat SEO is a type of SEO that follows the guidelines of search engines. It doesn’t involve the manipulation of search engines to rank higher, deploying questionable methods.
Black-hat SEO violates search engine guidelines and manipulates search engines to improve the ranking on the search engines. If a website is found guilty of keyword stuffing, cloaking, link exchange, link farming, PBN, buying links, link hiding, using doorway or gateway pages, etc., then it gets penalized.
63. What is Google Penalty?
Google executives manually penalize websites when they are observed to be violating any Google guidelines. Notifications are sent via Google Search Console when such breaches happen. It takes so much time and effort to lift the penalization that it is better not to get penalized in the first place.
64. What are rich snippets?
Rich snippets are also called rich results. These are regular Google search results but with additional information shown on the SERP. This information is pulled from the structured data found in the HTML of the page. Rich snippets can have recipes, reviews, events, etc.
65. What is schema markup?
Schema markup is a piece of code that you put on your site to help search engines display additional information to users on SERPs.
66. What is cloaking?
Cloaking is a black-hat SEO technique used to display to users the content that is not what is presented to search engine crawlers to manipulate search engine rankings for certain keywords.
67. What are doorway pages?
Using a doorway page (gateway pages/portal pages/entry pages) is another means of implementing black-hat SEO to manipulate search engine rankings by creating low-quality web pages for particular phrases while sending visitors to a different page. Cloaking and redirecting pages are forms of doorway pages.
68. What does E-A-T mean?
E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness and is mentioned in Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines to ensure that every website considers E-A-T for obtaining a good ranking.
69. How can you decrease the loading time of a website?
One can decrease the loading time by:
- Optimizing CSS delivery to reduce HTTP request
- Compressing images
- Minifying code
- Browser caching
- Using external style sheets
- Minimizing self-hosted videos
70. What is Google Analytics?
This is typically one of the first-asked SEO interview questions. Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool offered that tracks and analyzes the performance of a website. The main purpose of GA is to help you make sound decisions to improve your site’s performance, drive traffic to it, and generate revenues for you.
71. What are some of the Google Analytics Reports?
This SEO interview question will be asked to test your GA knowledge. So, don’t forget to read up on the following Google Analytics Reports:
- Real-time Reports
- Audience Reports
- Acquisition Reports
- Behavior Reports
- Conversion Reports
72. What are conversions and how will you track conversions on Google Analytics?
It is a conversion when a predefined Google Analytics goal is accomplished, for example, a user downloading an ebook, purchasing an item from your website, signing up for a newsletter, etc. Conversions can be easily tracked and monitored by Google Analytics under conversion reports. This SEO interview question is frequently asked during SEO interviews.
73. How to rank a website on Google?
You can get a website to rank on Google through the Google ranking factors. Google ranking factors affect where your website stands on SERPs. The higher your Google ranking, the better is the visibility of your website. Although no one concretely knows the most important Google ranking factors, user optimization, quality content, quality backlinks, mobile optimization, page speed, domain strength, domain authority, social signals, HTTPS, schema code, etc. are a few of the more obvious ones.
74. How can you improve Google rankings?
While E-A-T is a good way to go about it, there are a few other factors that have been observed to give Google rankings a boost:
- Content quality
- Freshness and accuracy of the content
- Authority of your domain for the topic
- Quality backlinks
75. What are the common SEO mistakes?
- Lacking a unique title and description
- No freshness and quality in content
- Poorly written content
- Using of very broad keywords
- Keyword stuffing
- Low-quality backlinks
76. How will you optimize a URL?
URLs should be:
- Optimized for keywords
- Short and easy to understand
77. What is competitive analysis?
Competitive analysis is the process of analyzing a competitor’s performance and using the information to improve your site.
78. How can you see the list of pages indexed by Google?
Google Search Console records the pages that Google indexes. You can also use Google Search operators to manually check the list of all pages indexed.
79. What is mobile-first indexing?
Mobile-first indexing is when Google predominantly uses your mobile version of the content to index and rank your website.
80. Explain cross-linking.
Cross-linking is the process of linking one site to another.
81. What is Google Fetch?
Google Fetch allows one to see whether a Googlebot can access a web page, how it renders the page, and whether any page resources are inaccessible to the bot.
82. What are some of the popular SEO blogs to follow?
- Search Engine Journal
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Watch
- Content Marketing Institute
83. What is Google Knowledge Graph?
Google Knowledge Graph on SERPs shows up a visually appealing and graphical presentation of information relevant to search queries. It is a semantic search result gathered from different sources. See the below image for an example:
84. What is HTTPS?
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, and it ensures secure communication on the World Wide Web. It encrypts the data between a user and the server.
Advanced SEO Interview Questions and Answers
These are the advanced SEO interview questions and answers for experienced professionals.
85. What is AMP?
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source project intended to help web pages load faster. Google reports that AMPs typically load within a second and use ten times lesser data than regular mobile pages.
86. What is RankBrain?
RankBrain is part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, and it interprets query searches and finds pages that may not have the exact words that were searched for.
87. What does the BERT algorithm do?
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. A Deep Learning algorithm employed for Natural Language Processing, BERT lets Google make out what words mean with all the nuances of the context. It can handle entity recognition, question-answering, and parts-of-speech tagging, among others.
88. What is SEO Audit?
SEO audit is the process of analyzing the health of a website, and it helps improve the health according to the insights received. There are multiple sections to it, such as on-page, off-page, and technical SEO audits.
89. What is a link audit?
A link audit is an activity to evaluate the backlinks of your domain.
90. What is a Rich Answer Box?
Offered by Google, Rich Answer Box gives users direct and precise answers to their search queries. The answer will be given in a box at the top of a SERP.
91. What is a Disavow tool?
The Disavowal tool allows publishers to tell Google that they don’t want certain backlinks from external domains to be considered for their site ranking. Publishers can use this tool in case the backlinks are not reliable or adding value to their website.
92. Explain guest posting.
Guest posting is where you reach out to a relevant, quality website and offer to write content for it. It is a good way to drive traffic to your website by providing a contextual link within the content or in your bio. It is also a part of Content Marketing.
93. How can we increase the frequency of crawling by search engines?
We can increase the frequency of crawling by updating our pages regularly, adding fresh content, removing unnecessary pages, getting quality backlinks, ensuring that the server has no downtime, updating sitemaps, decreasing the loading time, etc.
94. What is ‘not provided’ data in Keyword Reports?
In 2011, Google had changed the way it collects data from searches in the interest of protecting user privacy. From then, the keywords that result in a specific landing page are not provided in the Google Analytics Report. However, Google provides complete keyword data for AdWords advertisers, which has met with a lot of disapproval from SEOs.
95. How will you optimize a website with millions of pages?
We can optimize a website with millions of pages by making use of the following:
- Dynamic meta tags
- Dynamic XML sitemap
- Strong internal navigation structure
96. How will you improve the landing page quality?
We can improve the landing page quality by using the following:
- Reduced page load time
- A strong headline
- A supportive tagline
- Optimized user experience
- Fresh, original, and quality content
- Good visual imagery
- Clear CTAs
- Easy navigation
- No excessive links
- Trust symbols
- Brand connection
- Simple lead capture form
- Following Google guidelines
97. What is event tracking?
Downloads, mobile ad clicks, flash elements, and video plays can all be predefined and tracked as ‘events’ in Google Analytics.
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98. How does the model comparison tool work?
Attribution models can be used to identify the right marketing channel for a business. The model comparison tool will allow the business to do a comparison among three distinct attribution models and measure the impact on how the company evaluates its marketing channels.
99. What is Panda Update?
Google introduced its Panda Update in 2011. It de-ranks or penalizes web pages lacking useful content or those pages with duplicate content.
100. What is Penguin Update?
Google Penguin Update was introduced in 2012 to identify sites with spammy backlinks and to detect sites that use every other black-hat linking methods.
101. What is the Hummingbird update?
The Hummingbird update is a Google Search algorithm that was introduced in 2013 to make searches more about context and less about keywords. Google now better understands the intent of the keywords used than just the keywords.
102. What is the Mobilegeddon update?
The Mobilegeddon update focuses on the mobile-friendliness of a website for better SERP ranking as the number of people using Google on mobile devices has increased significantly over the years.
103. Explain Google Pigeon.
The Google Pigeon update was introduced in 2014 to provide preference to local search results (location and distance are the key aspects of the search strategy here).
This comprehensive guide to SEO questions for interviews is just what you need to go through before you sit for your job interview. Of course, your practical know-how will also help you more to crack the interview. This is just a quick revision of what you already know. Best of luck!
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