50+ Must-ask SEO Interview Questions to Your Next Hire

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by Chandraveer Singh

In times of problem, uncertainty, or confusion we all first turn to Google. Yup, that’s the age we are living in!

In all likelihood, your clients found you through Google. So don’t expect anything less from your client’s target audience.

But, maintaining a solid presence for your client’s business in search results is an uphill task. SEO is a challenging game, especially now when almost every business, including your client’s competitors, is vying to excel at it.

To turn the tide in your favor, you need a master SEO specialist calling shots for your SEO clients.

But, how do you find the right SEO professionals? The best way is to ask the right SEO interview questions.

So, we have gathered a list of expert-suggested SEO interview questions to help you find an SEO wizard with the right blend of knowledge, skills, and values for your agency.

We also have a list of marketing interview questions you can use to hire for different marketing positions.

Let’s dive!

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Behavioral and Cultural Assessment SEO Interview Questions

The role of an SEO expert in an agency demands more than technical prowess.

An SEO expert must frequently connect with clients to explain site audits and constantly remain in touch with the content and programming team to incorporate various SEO strategies.

That’s why it’s crucial to hire someone who has the communication and interpersonal skills to maintain a smooth interaction across teams.

Here are the interview questions for SEO specialists that will help you gauge the behavioral and cultural skills of the candidates.

  1. What inspired you to pursue a career in SEO?
  2. What are your 3 top core values?
  3. What’s your favorite SEO strategy, and why?
  4. What areas would you say you’re better than most in SEO?
  5. How do you invest in yourself?
  6. Why do you want to work for our agency/company?
  7. What makes you different from other candidates, and how ambitious are you to take your success rate to new levels?
  8. How do you know you will add value to our product/service?
  9. What is the difference between a good place to work and a bad one?
  10. What was the last SEO book you read that inspired you, and when was it?
  11. Which SEO influencers/blogs inspire you the most? Why?
  12. What will you do in your first few months on the job as an SEO manager/specialist?
  13. What would you expect to happen if you underperform?
  14. What would the definition of the “world-class employee” mean to you? Would you say you match this definition?
  15. In what capacity was your team better with you being a part of it?
  16. Did you ever have to get creative with your resources because you didn’t have enough? Please, give examples.
  17. How do you approach juggling multiple shifting priorities?
  18. What would you do if you could do anything you wanted?
  19. If you could build a team, what qualities and skills would you look for in candidates?
  20. Tell me how you build relationships with fellow employees.
  21. Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker or team member. What happened?

SEO Interview Questions to Evaluate Skills and Experience

SEO is an ever-changing game. You need someone who is skilled and experienced enough to keep abreast of the trends and tactics and employ them for your SEO clients.

Remember, a tool can always be learned, but a demonstration of problem-solving skills, along with analytical skills, creativity, industry knowledge, and work experience is hard to find.

You need to see through the smooth talks and technical jargon to understand if the candidate has what it takes.

So once you are done with the behavioral assessment of the candidate, shoot the below SEO interview questions to assess candidates’ skills and experience.

“In an interview situation, I prioritize attitude over aptitude. An interviewee with a lesser skillset who is candid and can demonstrate willingness to learn will always turn out to be a better pick than a candidate who comes across as difficult to work with.”

Ben Major

Ben Major, Head of Tech & Content SEO, Skale

  1. What has been your biggest challenge in SEO, and how did you overcome it?
  2. Can you provide me with a top-level overview of how you approach keyword research?
  3. Talk me through the current gaps in your SEO knowledge. If you joined us, how can we help you fill them?
  4. How have your SEO processes changed in the last 12 months? And how different do you think they will be in 3 years?
  5. What are the risks of having a crawler trap? How can you fix it?

“The majority of individuals interviewed for positions such as SEO managers, experts, and analysts will employ all of the marketing terms you’re acquainted with and cause you to feel at ease throughout the interview process. This should not be seen as an indication of knowledge or expertise. Rather, ensure that your candidate’s technical understanding of SEO is up to date. Also, look for the experience of fruitful collaboration with team members and developers.”

Jeff Mains

Jeff Mains, CEO, Champion Leadership Group

  1. What strategies do you use to anticipate organic search profits?
  2. How long does it take before your strategies work?
  3. Have you ever collaborated with a developer on an optimization project before?
  4. What is your experience with link building?
  5. What data do you look at to determine if your SEO campaign is successful?
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“The four key qualities I try to check in every SEO manager candidate are work knowledge, relevant experience, ability to solve problems and creative thinking, and resourcefulness. An SEO manager should have a vision, a knack for creating strategy, and oversee its execution.”

Kateryna Reshetilo

Kateryna Reshetilo, Head of Marketing, Greenice.net

  1. What are the key ingredients of a successful SEO strategy? What can make or break an SEO strategy?
  2. How do you develop an SEO strategy for a company? Please, explain it step-by-step.
  3. Which problems do you see with our website? How would you go about solving them?
  4. Who do you need on an SEO team?
  5. How do you plan and organize SEO work?
  6. What KPIs do you track? Why?
  7. Share cases of how you helped to grow traffic from 0; helped to break through the plateau; helped to recover lost positions?
  8. Name the latest Google updates and their impact?
  9. Which SEO budgets are you used to working with? How do they compare to what competitors from your niche are working with?

“I try to understand how much the person is into SEO, have they worked on many projects and have they seen success and failure and what causes them in SEO. So ask questions that unveil their hands-on experience and curiosity for the trade.“

Filip Šilobod

Filip Šilobod, Founder, Honest Marketing

  1. What did you most focus on in SEO in your previous role? Off-page, on page SEO, content, technical?
  2. How often do you read about news in SEO? Which SEO ‘gurus’ or influencers do you follow and why?
  3. Name a few of your SEO successes and what you did to get there?
  4. Name some of your SEO failures, why did they happen, and is it ok to fail with SEO?
  5. Explain keyword frequency, density, difficulty, and proximity?

“I take an existing SEO client and request my candidates to devise a strategy for the first month (i.e., what would they implement for the client if they were successful)? These would then be followed by questions related to technical skills, past experiences, and challenges they have encountered when working in SEO.”

Connor Hewson

Connor Hewson, Co-Founder & Director, Assured Marketing

  1. What steps need to be taken before, during, and after a website migration?
  2. What are the three most essential areas of SEO?
  3. What are the five most important On-Page and Off-page optimization factors?
  4. What are some of your favorite SEO tools, and why?
  5. What do you do differently to optimize for search engines other than Google?

“I want to know if the candidate is up-to-date with the dynamic SEO market. Are they keeping up with the latest developments and news in their field? Do they continue to develop and learn constantly? It’s important that your SEO hire is proactive and has the knowledge to solve optimization problems.”

David Farkas

David Farkas, CEO, Theupperranks

  1. What are some of the most typical SEO blunders you’ve observed in other companies?
  2. What exactly is RankBrain, and why is it important?
  3. What is PageRank, and why is it important?
  4. What is a canonical URL tag, and what is it used for?
  5. How do you utilize content marketing to improve your SEO?
  6. How do you remove accidentally indexed pages from Google’s index?

Conclusion

Firstly, define your needs before moving forward with your SEO hiring process. Ask yourself: what are the qualities and skills you are looking for?

The role of SEO varies from company to company. Some people hire SEO for core technical reasons, some for PR and outreach, and some for content marketing. Though, all the tasks work hand-in-hand but have their distinction.

Once you are ready, utilize our list of expert-suggested SEO interview questions to vet out the best candidate from the pool of resumes flooding in your inbox.

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Frequently Asked Questions

🌟 What qualities does an SEO hiring manager look for in an SEO job candidate?

Here are the must-have qualities for an SEO job candidate:

  • Strategic and analytical mind
  • Critical thinking
  • Data understanding skills
  • Shrewdness
  • Writing and communication skills
  • Decent programming knowledge
  • Content marketing
  • Team building and management skills

🌟 What are the top 5 SEO manager interview questions to ask?

Here are the five common SEO manager interview questions:

  • What inspired you to pursue a career in SEO?
  • What are your 3 top core values?
  • What’s your favorite SEO strategy, and why?
  • What areas would you say you’re better than most in SEO?
  • How do you invest in yourself?

🌟 How do I pitch SEO to my existing clients?

Here are the 6 tips to promote SEO among your existing clientele:

  • Show them the latest SEO statistics
  • Track and show impacts of SEO on specific campaigns
  • Showcase your Industry knowledge
  • Strengthen your own SEO
  • Give their site an audit
  • Show them real examples and testimonials of your SEO services

🌟 How much do SEO specialists make?

According to Salary.com, the average salary of an SEO specialist in the United States ranges between $63K to $76K.

🌟 How do you take someone's interview?

Here are a few essential steps you must take to conduct an effective interview:

  • Decide your interview goals
  • Thoroughly examine the candidate’s CV
  • Gather all the information about the candidate
  • Set aside 30 minutes for the interview (and 15 minutes to assess the interview after it’s over)
  • Create and follow a consistent interview structure
  • Ask the right questions
  • Determine your interview assessment process
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Chandraveer Singh

Chandraveer is a content writer at SocialPilot. Writing well researched and quality content is his forte. He is an avid reader of cat memes and tries very hard to put them in company blogs. He also loves to write his bio in the third person.

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