Here are some typical questions that you may be asked at by an ‘end client’, or even web design/SEO agency when you put on those formal clothes and go for your next job in the wonderful world of digital marketing and search engine optimisation. Now, to add a twist on this, I have deliberately answered them incorrectly – so that you may see what someone like me (who would be doing the interviewing for such a role) – does NOT want to hear.

SEO Interview Questions

What are some black hat SEO practices to avoid? “I’ve tried loads on my own sites – and for some clients – and a lot of them do work. I get links from PBNs all the time. I don’t think that you should be cloaking though,  nowadays.”

What is the difference between a do-follow and no-follow and how are they used?No-follows definitely don’t work. Moz influencers say this all the time, so I never try to earn no-follow links. But I do use them to link out to websites though, so that I can save all the juice for my own links.”

What qualities are required in order to be effective in an SEO role, in your opinion? “Keeping in touch with the people that I saw at Brighton SEO last year, and being a part of the cool discord groups is key to being a good SEO. That’s where the good stuff happens.”

Which SEO tools do you regularly use? “Moz is the best tool. I don’t use any others. No need.”

What method do you use to redirect a page? “I always use WordPress redirect plugins for this as it’s really easy.”

How did you learn SEO?” I gained my certificates from Coursera and became an expert, because my certificate says so.”

Which SEO factors are not in your control? “If the guys who sells me my links don’t respond to me for a while (they are based in Pakistan), or they change the prices. This causes me lots of headaches.”

What makes a website search engine friendly? “That’s an easy one – H1, titles, and some high DA links. That’s all you need.” What about content? “If you want to, then add some, you can get content really cheaply on Fiverr these days.”

Which meta tags matter? “Only title and description tags – and you must make sure that the description tag is less than 155 characters. There is a guy on a form who did a test on 8 websites with this.”

What is page speed and why does it matter?Page Speed is how Google really ranks you these days. If your site takes three seconds or more to load, then you instantly get put down 5 places.”

What is link building and why does it matter? “Link building is everything. If you don’t have links, you have nothing. Links are other websites that link to you. Getting university links, and then some PBN links means you can rank for anything.”

How do you measure SEO success? “Page 1 rankings for their head terms. It’s not my job to know how many leads they are getting. That’s up to the client. We get the visitors there and the rest is up to them.”

How do you approach keyword research? “For five years I have only ever used the Google keyword planner tool. It just works.

How can you do SEO for a video? “I know this trick where you put loads of links into the description of a YouTube video and it reall works!”

What you really should be doing with your time, to become a much better SEO, is to read at least 1,000 SEO blog posts and articles. Or, alternatively, read about 100 articles from Michael Martinez on seo-theory.com. To become an expert in any discipline, it is my belief that you should read at least 1,000 articles/blog posts. I read around 5,000 on my own journey to become an SEO, back in the early 2000s. However, if I had found Martinez a little earlier, then that number could have been much shorter. As those around me know, I recommend reading his work to all people new to the SEO world.

Please don’t answer the questions in the way that I have answered them above. Answering the questions in this way will ensure that you only ever work for poor SEO agencies.

James Welch

James is a digital industry veteran, and has worked various roles from SEO, head of research, to director level. He is a content nerd, and loves nothing more than demanding that evermore content is added to client sites - as well as the Embryo blog!