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How to Become an SEO Specialist

SEO Specialist Interview Questions

Ready to start your career in Marketing? Find out more about BrainStation's Digital Marketing Bootcamp

After securing a job interview for a Search Engine Optimization Specialist position, you will need to impress your potential employer with your SEO experience, technical and soft skills, and passion for working with the company.

The format of an SEO interview can vary depending on the role and the company. You may have one interview with the Hiring Manager or several interviews with a panel of interviewers. Overall, they are assessing the same thing: are you the best candidate for the job, and for their business? To test your suitability, the interviewer will likely ask a range of questions that test your SEO knowledge and skills, as well as how well you would fit in with the company.

The best way to prepare for any job interview is by practising—try answering common interview questions on your own or ask a peer to conduct a mock interview with you. To help you perfect best practices and get ready for your SEO Specialist interview, we have compiled a list of frequently asked SEO interview questions.

SEO Specialists are expected to know the ins and out of SEO. Employers will be testing each candidate on everything from keyword research to inbound links. Not only do you need the right knowledge, but you also need to communicate your understanding in a clear and straightforward way.

Some SEO interview questions you may be asked include:

  • What is SEO? What are the important types of SEO methods?
  • What makes a website search engine friendly?
  • How do you measure SEO success?
  • What is a keyword and why is it important?
  • What is link building and why does it matter?
  • What are backlinks?
  • What search engines are you familiar with? Which search engine are you most familiar with?
  • What is page speed and why does it matter?
  • Which meta tags matter?
  • Explain domain authority.
  • What is the difference between a do-follow and no-follow? How are they used?
  • Which SEO factors are not in your control?
  • What is on-page vs. off-page SEO?
  • What are some black hat SEO practices to avoid?
  • What is the relationship between SEO and SEM?
  • What is keyword stemming and why does it matter?
  • What is the most important thing to look for when doing keyword research?
  • What is Google’s preferred method of configuring a mobile site?
  • What are rich snippets?
  • Why do you need to know about backlinks to competitors’ websites?
  • What is an SEO audit?
  • What is a link audit and why should you do one?
  • Explain spiders, robots and crawlers.
  • What is your familiarity with Screaming Frog?
  • What is keyword density and what is the formula for knowing keyword density?
  • How often should you perform a link audit?
  • What are some of the more recent Google algorithm changes and what are the implications?
  • What is the importance of meta descriptions?
  • Have you used Google Search Console?

List of SEO Specialist Interview Questions: Technical Skills Questions

Employers need to know if you have the right technical skills to perform the job. During the interview, they will use technical SEO interview questions to test your proficiency in various SEO strategies and tools. Expect technical interview questions such as:

  • Which SEO tools do you regularly use?
  • How do you approach keyword research?
  • What are the steps you take to optimize a website?
  • How does data inform your strategy?
  • What method do you use to redirect a page?
  • How can you do SEO for a video?
  • What is your approach to developing an SEO strategy?
  • How do you evaluate web analytics to measure SEO performance?
  • Which Webmaster tool do you use and why?
  • How will you measure success as an SEO Specialist at our organization?
  • How will you cross-check whether your SEO campaign is working or not?
  • What will be your next steps if your SEO methods or techniques do not work?
  • What would you do if the company website you are working for decides to move all their content to a new domain?
  • How can you optimize a website which has millions of web pages?
  • What do you understand by Frames in HTML?
  • What data can you get from using [Ahrefs / Semrush / Google Analytics]?
  • What is your process for developing an SEO growth strategy?
  • How do you go about link building for a client?

List of SEO Specialist Interview Questions: Personal Questions

Employers are seeking candidates who are passionate about SEO and enthusiastic to join their company. Personal interview questions help employers get a better feel for your interests, personality and work habits.

A few examples of personal interview questions are:

  • How did you learn SEO?
  • How do you see SEO changing in the near future?
  • Tell us about yourself.
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • In your opinion, what qualities are required in order to be effective in an SEO role?
  • How do you stay up-to-date on the near-constant search algorithm changes?
  • What is your proudest achievement in SEO?
  • What part of SEO do you like the most?
  • How do you feel about black hat SEO?
  • Why do you want to join our team?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What is it that interested you in applying for this position?
  • How long have you been studying and performing SEO?
  • Tell me about your personal projects, websites, blog, side hustle, conferences, etc.

List of SEO Specialist Interview Questions: Leadership and Communication

SEO Specialists need to have strong written and verbal communication skills to excel at their job. Since you will often be working in team environments—and may be the resident SEO specialist—employers will also be looking for your leadership ability.

Examples of SEO interview questions that test your leadership and communication skills are:

  • How do you work with Developers to implement SEO recommendations and strategy?
  • How often do you communicate with clients and/or management regarding your progress?
  • How would you go about simplifying a complex issue in order to explain it to a client or colleague?
  • What would you do if you misunderstood an important communication on the job?
  • Talk about a time when you made a point that you knew your colleagues would be resistant to.
  • Rate your communication skills on a scale of 1 to 10. Give examples of experiences that demonstrate the rating is accurate.
  • In what specific ways do you motivate your team?
  • Tell me about a time you took the lead in a team project. What was the outcome of the project?
  • How would you go about explaining a complex problem to a client who was already frustrated?
  • How do you make sure your recommendations are implemented?

List of SEO Specialist Interview Questions: Behavioral

You can expect a few behavioral questions in most interviews. These questions reveal how you handled past situations, which indicates to employers how you might deal with future situations. When answering behavioral interview questions, use specific examples and include what you did in the situation and the outcome of your actions.

Behavioral questions that SEO Specialists may be asked include:

  • Describe a SEO marketing campaign you worked on. What was your role and what were the results?
  • Have you ever been responsible for a site getting penalized by Google? What did you learn from that?
  • Tell me about your biggest SEO screw up. What were the results and what did you do about it?
  • What is your most significant success in SEO?
  • Have you ever worked with a Developer on optimization?
  • Please provide an example of when you analyzed a competitor’s backlink profile and you used that information to successfully acquire a quality link for a website.
  • Describe a time when you recommended a new strategy/approach that improved a company’s online content.

List of SEO Specialist Interview Questions From Top Companies (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft)

Here are few common questions that some of the top tech companies ask when they interview SEO job candidates.

  • What are your three biggest weaknesses, and how did you turn them into advantages in your most recent position?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you were more than halfway through a project and had to pivot quickly due to an unexpected change? How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time you faced a crisis at work. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a time when you were handling a project that went outside of your scope of work. How did you handle it?
  • Tell us about an incident where you took a risk and failed.
  • What else do you want me to know about you that I haven't discovered yet?
  • Describe a time when it was especially important to make a good impression on a client. How did you go about doing so?
  • Tell me about your best collaboration experience.
  • What do you do to stay motivated?
  • What is the biggest compliment you have received in your current role?
  • Tell me about a time you had a difficult relationship with a colleague. What steps did you take to ensure any challenges were resolved or, at a minimum, did not interfere with your ability to perform?
  • Name something unique that you bring to the table.
  • Name a product or service that you believe was marketed well. What about the campaign stands out to you?
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