Your Entry-Level SEO Interview: 10 Common Questions & How to Answer Them

Preparing for an interview can feel daunting, especially when you’re relatively new to a field. But it doesn’t have to. Walking into the interview room well-prepared and ready to demonstrate your foundational SEO knowledge is key. 

An SEO interview is your opportunity to exhibit your understanding of basic SEO principles and convince the hiring managers that you are familiar with the essential aspects of SEO, eager to learn more, and ready to contribute effectively to the team’s goals. Approach it with confidence and a willingness to learn, and you’ll leave a lasting impression.

Even if you’re new to the world of SEO, diligent research and preparation can equip you with the knowledge needed to impress in your interview. To better prepare yourself for an upcoming entry-level SEO interview, let’s go over some basic SEO interview questions and answers to help you land that new SEO job. 

Common Entry-Level SEO Interview Questions 
  1. What’s the Difference Between Organic and Paid Search Results?

Paid search results are advertisements that are driven by payment that are shown on the search engine results page (SERP). Each paid result requires a specific bid amount and comes with a price tag attached. On the flip side, organic search results are not paid for and are achieved based on their relevance to the user’s search query. Organic search results are listed below the “sponsored” paid listings and cannot be influenced by paid advertising. 

  1. Why Is SEO Important to a Business? 

SEO is significant for all businesses, serving as one important place where potential customers discover their services or products. It plays a leading role in connecting businesses with new customers and attracting non-branded traffic, a cornerstone for enhancing brand visibility and expansion. 

Without SEO, the rankings they enjoy become vulnerable to competitors and other factors. Only a small fraction of individuals will go to the second page of search results or beyond, making the first page extremely valuable. As a result, optimizing your content for search engines becomes not just a strategic move but a vital necessity for maximum visibility and customer acquisition.

  1. What are Title Tags and Meta Descriptions, and Where Do They Appear?

Title tags and meta descriptions shape how a website appears in Google search results and can significantly impact user engagement. They serve as suggestions to Google, but it’s worth noting that Google may modify them or generate its own versions to display in the SERPs. 

The title tag is displayed on the browser tab when a user is on the website and acts as a recommended title link for the clickable link in the Google search results. A title tag should include a relevant keyword and the brand name to clearly indicate to users the website they are about to visit. 

Listed below the title link in the SERP is a concise description. This snippet provides a short overview of the page’s content, offering users a glimpse of what to expect. The meta description on a page can influence the description that search engines display in the snippet, or the snippet text can be pulled from the body of the page itself. Like the title tag, the meta description should also incorporate relevant keywords as well as a call to action that helps compel and entice users to draw them back to the site. 

  1. What Google Tools Are You Familiar With? 

Google offers many tools that SEO professionals can use (Ads, Analytics, and Search Console) to help discover new keywords, track progress, and more. Google Ads Keyword Planner is the compass when it comes to unearthing new keywords to target. Google Analytics guides you in comprehending performance and gauging the progress of SEO strategies. Lastly, Google Search Console helps to pinpoint what keywords are ranking on which pages, in addition to showing a wealth of data useful to technical SEO activities. 

  1. How Do You Stay Up To Date with Algorithm Updates and Other SEO Topics?

Some of the most reputable SEO news sites are Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, and Search Engine Roundtable. It’s also a great idea to follow John Mueller on social media to see his updates and his take on specific Google and technical SEO topics. The combination of these sites and sources keeps you in the SEO loop and on top of any changes in the Google sphere.  

  1. How Does PPC and SEO Work Together?

PPC and SEO complement each other like peanut butter and jelly. They both share a common goal: to drive more traffic to the site and gain conversions. Having two listings in a SERP — both a paid listing and an organic listing — can be a great trust signal to searchers. Additionally, appearing in the search results multiple times increases the likelihood of someone clicking on your business, essentially giving you double the chances. This dual approach not only enhances the possibilities of driving traffic but also offers a powerful channel for building brand awareness. 

  1. What is the Difference Between Backlinks and Outbound Links? 

A backlink is when an external website graciously links or points its visitors towards your webpage. This can also be referred to as an inbound link. Backlinks are incredibly valuable as the quality and quantity can affect the link authority of the site. On the other hand, outbound links are where your website takes the initiative to link to an external web page. Outbound links should be used with careful consideration and should only direct your audience to reputable and reliable sources. 

  1. What is Keyword Density, and Is There an Ideal Proportion? 

Keyword density refers to the number of times a given keyword or phrase appears on a web page relative to the total word count. In terms of ideal keyword density, it’s a bit misleading; there is no universal “magic number” or one-size-fits-all proportion. Rather than focusing on keyword density, priority should be given to producing high-quality, relevant content that integrates keywords naturally and meaningfully where they add value. 

  1. What is Search Intent?

Search intent refers to the underlying purpose or motive behind a user’s specific query. It’s the “why” behind every search, reflecting what the user is aiming to discover or accomplish. In SEO, aligning content with user search intent is crucial. There are typically four recognized types of search intent:

  • Navigational: The user is seeking a specific site or page.
  • Informational: The user desires knowledge or insights on a subject.
  • Commercial: The user intends to research and compare products or services before making a purchase decision.
  • Transactional: The user is ready to complete a specific action, generally making a purchase or filling out a contact form.

When selecting keywords, assessing their intent is critical to ensure alignment with your objectives and relevance to your audience. For example, with ecommerce, it’s important to understand that prioritizing transactional keywords could lead to additional revenue, while informational keywords could drive a higher volume of traffic that may not convert as strongly. By selecting keywords based on their intent, you can align your content to enhance user experience, drive more meaningful traffic, and increase conversion opportunities.

  1. What is the Difference Between Crawling and Indexing? 

Web crawling is the initial phase where search engine bots, often referred to as spiders or crawlers, systematically browse the web to discover and retrieve publicly available web pages. Crawlers follow links from one page to another, identifying new or updated content. Once the web pages are discovered, the process of indexing begins. Indexing involves parsing the page content, understanding its context, and categorizing it under relevant keywords and topics. This allows for quick and efficient retrieval of information when users perform a search. 

Demonstrating your understanding and passion for SEO can resonate strongly with employers, showing them your potential and eagerness to learn. Approach your upcoming SEO interview with confidence and enthusiasm. With the right preparation, you’ll find the interview process less intimidating. Here’s to your success – go conquer that SEO interview!

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