36 Questions for the Job to Reveal Strategic SEO Thinking

Every SEO has its own preferred strategy to implement. When interviewing candidates for SEO positions, it is important to know if their strategies align with yours. While you will never be in 100% agreement, in the interview you should have a basic understanding of how the candidate’s strategies will align with your business.

It is necessary to have an understanding of the candidate’s knowledge and experience, and I have addressed those questions in previous posts. But knowledge and experience is only the most important thing: what SEO will actually do.

The following questions will help you better understand how your candidates stack up against each other and help you filter out those that are not right for your company.

36 Questions for the Job to Reveal Strategic SEO Thinking

1. What are the three things you need to know before


Three things are not important as to why those things are important to them. This can tell you a lot about how a candidate assesses the needs of a site and the responsibilities that lie ahead.

2. What is the first thing you do when you start

Candidates will tell you that it depends on what they know about the site, but don’t turn off the hook that’s easy. There are usually many things that any SEO would like to do first. Encourage them to clarify what they are.

3. How do customized pages and landing pages differ, and how do you employ them in your strategy?

Historically, landing pages have been for PPC and optimized pages have been for SEO. But really good SEO think of every optimized page as landing page. They need to be able to outline customized pages in a way that they do.

4. How do you

You do not need a million page site for this question to be relevant. You want to provide the candidate some large-scale SEO strategy and tactics. Each aspect of SEO does not need to take long time, and with the help of these strategies small sites can get results even more quickly.

5. What do you do if your first attempt at

First attempts at SEO are rarely successful, at least not immediately. And this is what you want to hear from a candidate: not only what they do when their first attempt fails, but whether they allow their efforts a reasonable amount of time (and support) to produce the desired results Are.

6. How do you build future-proof websites against algorithm changes?

This exposes the overall philosophy of the candidate. Every SEO will tell you that they do SEO for the long term, but this is where you can force them to discuss specific long term strategy.

7. Apart from the content, which page elements do you optimize?

The candidate should talk about other important factors that may not be related to the content – or even related to SEO. Today, things like usability, visual appeal and other factors are as important to the success of the site as keywords and content .

8. How do you deal with duplicate content?

Most SEOs will talk about canonical tags, but they are really just band-aids. More sustainable and effective – press candidates to discuss solutions.

9. What are the things that you never want to do as part of optimizing a site?

This is an open-ended question, which can be difficult to answer. Candidates have a problem with SEO from the beginning that can return for more specific answers. However, a more experienced candidate may go into some unknown or more controversial area.

10. Which plug-ins or tools do you use?

The tool was discussed in experience-related questions, but this time you can either dive deeper into the list of tools or specifically how the tool is used to assess a site and implement effective strategies. is.

11. How do you use competitive knowledge to succeed in SEO?

Competitive knowledge can be a goldsmith of information, but not always. The candidate needs to be able to outline the ways that they use competitor data, how they integrate it into their strategy, and when they neglect what a competitor is doing.

12. A customer is ready to create a new website. What do you do

Tell the candidate in detail about the process of launching a new website. What steps will they take for a seamless launch? Listen to them to list things to be done long before the launch date.

13. How can you do

Tools, processes, keyword evaluation – all these are on the table for discussion. The candidate must have one or more processes that they use to search and evaluate keywords for optimization.

14. How do you determine which keywords to

Moving away from the previous question, talk more in depth about the selection of keywords for specific pages. Ensure that the conversation addresses the intent of the searcher and how it factors in page / keyword selection.

15. What is your process for

Encourage them to be as detailed as possible so that you can determine whether they try to integrate all the keyword phrases targeted or how they go about focusing on the overall topic.

16. How does keyword proximity occur in your optimization efforts?

You do not have to specify proximity to do what. Let the candidate do this. They must understand the different ways that algorithms look at keywords in relation to other elements on the page. Let them talk to see if they know how to take advantage of it.

17. How do you assess the quality of inbound links?

Candidates can give you a tool to evaluate and use to understand the backlink profile of a site. They should be able to clarify whether a good or bad is formed and their process to ensure a bad does not hurt the site.


Getting links is still important. SEO may not want to demonstrate actual link building, but they need to know how and if they are ready if necessary. Let them take you through their process of researching, assessing and obtaining high quality links.

19. How have you dealt with the link penalty?

Not every SEO will have experience with link penalties, but they should know what to do if they come across one. Should they discuss their procedure for exit under such penalties.

20. Is it ever okay to pay for a link?

If it is not discussed above, get an understanding of the candidate’s beliefs regarding paying for the link. This may include a healthy discussion on search penalties related to links.

21. What is your internal linking strategy?

The candidate should outline a course of action to massage internal links for search engine ranking performance. Look for a measured approach. The candidate should be able to articulate the difference between good and bad internal linking strategies.

22. How do you use redirects?

Broken links may not harm your SEO, but this does not mean that redirects will not help your efforts. Candidates discuss when, where and how they use redirects, the benefits of doing so, and when redirection should not be employed.

23. How will you redirect a page?

The candidate should be familiar with different methods of redirecting pages and different types of redirection. Discuss with them when and where each type should be used.


You are not discussing local search algorithm signals, but about a list of things that candidates will do and why. Do they get an indication of the level of priority for each action.

25. How do you configure a site for mobile?

There are mobile sites, responsive sites and AMP sites. The candidate should be familiar with the pros and cons of each of these and indicate their choice and why.

26. How will you assess and improve the speed of the site?

This can be a detailed and technical question. Ask the candidate for extensive strokes so that you can determine their assessment skills and what they can (or cannot) do to improve site speed.

27. How do you use nofollow tags?

Nofollow can be used strategically for good customization, but as once assumed. The candidate should outline a sensible strategy to use them, which should have nothing to do with PageRank.

28. How do you use analytics to help your SEO strategy?

Every SEO should have a basic understanding of analytics and the necessary data to assess and improve their SEO strategy. Don’t just discuss metrics but how they use and compare those matrices.

29. What role does TLD play in your SEO strategy?

Search engines generally do not prioritize more than one top-level domain (TLD) unless you fall within the country-specific TLD for international SEO. However, some TLDs can help with branding and marketing. See what your candidate says about this.

30. How do you optimize a site that targets customers using multiple languages in many countries?

If you are not optimizing for an international audience, you can skip this question. However, it cannot hurt to get a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of strategy. Discuss the options of adaptation for different countries and multiple languages, what will be the impact on the existing site and what is the best way forward for the candidate.

31. What role do headers play in your SEO strategy?

Many believe that titles have minimal impact on SEO, but “minimum” means “none”, discussing how much optimization in candidate titles as well as the time vs. reward factor Will try Get an understanding of where the candidate prioritizes it over other efforts.

32. How do you use sitemaps in your SEO strategy?

The candidate should be able to discuss two types of sitemaps, how each is used, and why. They should also be able to tell that sitemaps are a bad idea and when multiple sitemaps are better than one.

33. How will you try to improve click-through rates?

Many SEOs think that their job stops getting a ranking, but it is not. Not only is the click-through rate impact ranking, it is an important part of business success. And this is what makes it an SEO business.

There are some specific things that SERPs can do to influence CTR. Find out under which strategy the candidate can work.

34. How would you try to improve bounce rates?

With click-through rates, the bounce rate affects not only the ranking but also the bottom line of the business. Bounces occur for many reasons, and the candidate should be able to make a good handful of them, but make sure they dial in on them that are particularly influenced by the work done by SEO.

35. How would you try to improve conversion rates?

Improve conversion rates. This may technically be outside the scope of SEO, it is crucial to the success of the company, which makes it important for SEO. They may not be conversion specialists, but they must have some conversion improvement ideas. 36. How would you try to improve the busyness of a site?
This question will be of a candidate who is likely to have the least amount of knowledge, but it makes a great question to ask. It is always good for team members who can provide feedback in other areas based on their own industry knowledge and a general user. See what ideas they have and how much candidates stumble on this question, or not.

36. How do you employ microsites in your SEO strategy?

Microsites have a location, but they are often more harmful to main site optimization, as they are helpful. The candidate should be able to explain how, when and why to use microsites.

As an interviewer, you need to be assured that the candidate’s strategies are to help sites that never harm those sites. Questions of knowledge and experience should be asked first as they can be used to make candidates with poor qualifications more easily. But every remaining candidate is required to pass a strategy test.