Five Questions To Ask Your SEO Candidate

March 25, 2024 , 8 minutes
SEO Questions

Transcript for SEO Job Interview Questions

Welcome to my video, five questions to ask your next SEO candidate. My name is Simon Dell. I am the CEO of Cemoh We are about really good marketing people. We do two core things, marketing recruitment and fractional marketing staff. So if you wanna find out a little bit more about us, you can check us out at

Now, I’m going to jump into these questions. These questions are designed for two different sets of people, but both with the same problems. The first one is if you’re in HR leadership, people in culture, and you’re interviewing an SEO candidate or a candidate for an SEO role, these are for you. These will help you potentially work out what are good candidates and what are bad candidates.

I’m doing this on the assumption that you probably don’t know much about SEO being in People and Culture. That’s not one of your core skill sets. So this is here to help you in terms of the interview with the candidate. Also, this is for essentially senior marketing people, not all marketing managers know a lot about SEO. And these questions might help you when you interview somebody to join your team. So let’s jump straight into it.

Let’s get the right page going. So these questions have designed, we’ve got three relatively easy ones that most people who know have a decent understanding of SEO should be able to answer. And then there’s two more that are slightly more complicated. So we’ll see how they do. So the first one is to get your candidate to explain the difference between on -page and off -page SEO. Now, this is one of the basic SEO fundamentals. They should know this one. They should be able to reel this off the top of their head.

And just for your benefit, on -page SEO refers to optimizations might directly on the website to improve search engine rankings. And that could be lots of different things. So meta tags, content optimization, headers, all those kinds of bits and pieces. Whereas off -page SEO involves activities performed outside the website to enhance its visibility. They may sound obvious, but they’re not always obvious to everyone. So that could be a link back from someone else’s website to your website. That could be your social media strategy in terms of driving traffic to view your content on your website. So those kinds of things. And it’s very easy to dig deeper in both of those areas. You know, the first one you can ask them to give you some examples. Second one you can ask them to give you some examples as well. So this one should be the basic. If they don’t get past this one, I would stop the interview and walk out.

Second one, what strategies would you employ to recover from a sudden drop in organic search traffic? So this has got a couple of benefits of this question. You can talk about the candidate’s problem solving skills and their ability to troubleshoot SEO. They should know as well how they’re tracking these rankings. So, you know, sudden drops in organic search traffic can literally happen overnight. So there should be some sort of systems that tracks this.

There’s lots of software that tracks these kinds of things. So some examples of that software would be good. So yes, a good candidate will be able to conduct a thorough site audit to identify personal, sorry, potential issues, technical issues, or if Google has penalized the website, something like that. It’s a lot about refreshing content. One of the key reasons for sudden drops in organic traffic is toxic backlinks.

You can get rid of those. You can disavow them in Google. So another question to ask them how you disavow a toxic backlink and reassessing the keyword targeting and content quality. Sometimes these things are down to the fact that somebody has changed something on the website without anybody’s knowledge. And that’s why you can get a sudden drop in rankings. The third one, third question is how would you approach keyword research in a highly competitive industry?

Keyword research is the starting block of any SEO project and all candidates should be able to understand how to do keyword research. There are lots of tools that you can use, Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs. You can use Google Search Console as well to see what existing keywords you’re ranking for, all those kinds of things.

You can also make sure you’re analyzing competitor keywords, identifying long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are essentially just longer keywords, you know, maybe with three or four or five words in the sentence. Short tail keywords are one or two word keyword. And then focusing on the intent rather than just search volume. I give you a very quick example about that. If people were going to search marketing recruitment, that could have two different intents behind it. Number one could be people looking for a recruiter that hires marketing people, i .e. somebody like Cemoh, or it could be a candidate themself looking for a marketing recruiter in order to apply through. So whilst that’s the same keyword, they could be typing into Google, there’s two different intents behind that keyword.

Now, the next two questions are slightly more complicated. It depends on the level of the SEO person that you’re recruiting here. But these are probably the slightly more curly questions that are going to expose the good from the not so good. Describe your approach to optimizing website performance for mobile search. Now, obviously mobile is a key component of any search engine optimization strategy.

And, you know, huge amounts of volume are done by mobile phones. So this is all about assessing the candidate’s knowledge of mobile best mobile SEO best practices. And you’ve got things like responsive design, optimize optimizing page speed, because that’s super important when you’re out on 4G or 5G connections, using mobile friendly formats, AMP is a key one.

That’s a good secondary question. What does AMP stand for? And what does it mean? An accelerated mobile page. And we’ll talk about that in a second. Optimizing for local search, you know, especially localized businesses, local search is absolutely imperative because people often take action very quickly after they’ve done a search on their mobile phones. And then ensuring a seamless user experience across devices. Now, AMP’s can be considered a red herring from Google’s perspective, there is actually no benefit from AMP pages, which sounds like a bit of a trick question and it actually is. Whilst there is no benefit for Google, there is a benefit to the end user. I mean, if the end user enjoys using your pages and comes back more frequently and reads more pages on your website, then there actually is a benefit then to the website and its rankings.

So, AMPs can be quite complicated, can be considered a bit of a red herring. Be interesting if you get them to talk about that and they appear to have a good in -depth knowledge, that’s a good indication that they are very knowledgeable about SEO. Now, the last question, can you explain how schema markup impacts SEO and provides examples of its implementation? This is where we’re sort of now talking into really sort of advanced SEO. Schema markup helps search engines understand the content on web pages better.

So essentially what you’re doing with schema markup is you’re telling Google that a website page on a website is a particular type of page. So if it’s an event page, if it’s got recipes, if it’s got reviews, if it’s got blogs, if it’s got pricing products to sell on it, you’re basically telling Google what that particular page is about.

And if you do that properly, then the benefit, there’s all sorts of benefits from them. Probably the one that you see the most is those frequently asked questions that you see in Google searches called sort of rich snippets. But there’s a lot of benefits for getting that schema markup done well and done properly. And the whole point of all of these questions is that better SEO leads to better traffic. Better traffic leads to more customers and more customers lead to a business growth. So that’s why SEO is so important.

Now, hopefully that’s given you a little bit of help and support when it comes to the SEO job interview questions that you have for somebody looking for an SEO role. But if there are any other questions, feel free to contact me directly, [email protected].