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Article

7 min read

15 Best SEO Manager Interview Questions (+Answers)

Global hiring

Author

Lorelei Trisca

Published

October 16, 2023

Last Update

June 28, 2024

Table of Contents

1. What is the importance of Google Webmaster Tools in SEO?

2. Can you share an example of a successful SEO strategy you implemented?

3. What is the importance of backlinks in SEO?

4. Which factors wouldn't change an account's optimization score?

5. How do you determine the right keywords for an SEO campaign?

6. What kind of company would benefit from the site links rich snippet?

7. Which of these are important KPIs to consider for SEO?

8. What are the most common searches on Google?

9. What is the role of an SEO strategist?

10. What effect does SEO have on your search rankings?

11. In two or three sentences, explain how you feel about search engines selling search rankings.

12. What is the toughest challenge you've faced in your SEO career, and how did you overcome it?

13. What is the most common way a search engine discovers a web page?

14. How would you approach conducting an SEO questionnaire with a client?

15. How do you stay updated with the latest SEO trends and changes?

Next steps

A career as an SEO manager is steadily gaining popularity in the digital marketing world. Similarly to SEO strategists and SEO consultants, SEO managers play a crucial role in optimizing websites and driving organic traffic through search engine rankings.

With the ever-increasing importance of online presence, businesses are investing heavily in SEO strategies, making this profession in high demand.

Key facts and data
  • Median salary: The median annual salary for an SEO Manager is around $78,000, depending on experience, location, and industry
  • Industry growth: The employment of marketing managers, including SEO managers, is predicted to grow by 6% from 2022-2032
  • Typical entry-level education: A bachelor's degree in marketing, business, or a related field is often preferred, although not a key requirement

Here are 15 common SEO manager interview questions you can use to assess a candidate's skills and knowledge and determine if they’re the right fit for your team.

1. What is the importance of Google Webmaster Tools in SEO?

Aim: Assess the candidate's familiarity with Google Webmaster Tools and their understanding of its impact on SEO

Key skills assessed: Knowledge of SEO tools, technical understanding, and data analysis

What to look for

Look for candidates who mention using Google Webmaster Tools for monitoring website health, identifying crawl errors, submitting sitemaps, and understanding search analytics.

Example answer

"Google Webmaster Tools is a vital resource for SEO professionals. It’s helped me monitor the health of websites, identify crawl errors, submit sitemaps, and analyze search analytics data to make informed optimization decisions."

2. Can you share an example of a successful SEO strategy you implemented?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's experience in devising and executing effective SEO strategies

Key skills assessed: Strategic thinking, problem-solving, data-driven decision-making

What to look for

Look for candidates who mention conducting thorough keyword research, optimizing on-page elements, building quality backlinks, and monitoring performance metrics to demonstrate the success of the strategy.

Example answer

"In my previous role, I developed a comprehensive SEO strategy for a client that included in-depth keyword research, optimizing on-page elements, building quality backlinks, and tracking performance metrics. As a result, the client's organic search rankings improved by 30% within six months, driving a significant increase in organic traffic and conversions."

Aim: Gauge the candidate's knowledge of the significance and impact of backlinks on SEO

Key skills assessed: Link building, off-page optimization, and understanding search engine algorithms

What to look for

Look for candidates who explain that backlinks act as "votes of confidence" for search engines, indicating the quality and relevance of a website. Mentioning the importance of building authoritative and relevant backlinks will be a positive sign.

Example answer

"Backlinks play a crucial role in SEO as they act as signals of a website's credibility. Search engines consider quality backlinks from authoritative and relevant sources as indicators of trust and relevance, positively impacting search rankings."

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4. Which factors wouldn't change an account's optimization score?

Aim: Assess the candidate's understanding of the optimization score and factors that can influence it

Key skills assessed: Technical knowledge, and familiarity with optimization metrics

What to look for

Look for candidates who mention factors such as website traffic, mobile-friendliness, website speed, and technical errors as potential contributors to an account's optimization score. They should also mention that external factors like backlinks don't directly impact the score.

Example answer

"An account's optimization score is influenced by various factors, but external elements like backlinks wouldn't directly affect it. However, factors like website traffic, mobile-friendliness, website speed, and resolving technical errors can significantly impact the optimization score."

5. How do you determine the right keywords for an SEO campaign?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's keyword research skills and methodology

Key skills assessed: Keyword research, data analysis, competitive analysis

What to look for

Look for candidates who mention conducting comprehensive keyword research using tools like Google Keyword Planner, analyzing search volume, competition, and relevance. They should also emphasize the importance of targeting long-tail keywords and considering user intent.

Example answer

"To determine the right keywords for an SEO campaign, I conduct thorough research using tools like Google Keyword Planner. I analyze search volume, competition, and relevance to identify target keywords. Additionally, I consider user intent and target long-tail keywords to align with specific search queries and drive more qualified traffic."

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Aim: Assess the candidate's knowledge of rich snippets and their understanding of their benefits

Key skills assessed: Technical SEO, familiarity with rich snippets, on-page optimization

What to look for

Look for candidates who explain that the site links rich snippet can benefit large websites or those with a hierarchical structure, as it provides additional visibility, credibility, and an improved user experience in search engine results.

Example answer

"The site links rich snippet would be beneficial for companies with large websites or a hierarchical structure. This snippet provides additional visibility by displaying multiple links within a search result, helping users navigate to specific sections of the website quickly. It also enhances credibility and improves the overall user experience."

7. Which of these are important KPIs to consider for SEO?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's understanding of key performance indicators (KPIs) in SEO

Key skills assessed: Data analysis, tracking and measuring SEO metrics, goal setting

What to look for

Look for candidates who mention key KPIs such as organic traffic growth, keyword rankings, conversion rates, bounce rates, backlink quality, and engagement metrics like time on page and pages per session.

Example answer

"There are several important KPIs to consider in SEO. Organic traffic growth, keyword rankings, conversion rates, bounce rates, backlink quality, and engagement metrics like time on page and pages per session are all critical indicators of SEO success."

8. What are the most common searches on Google?

Aim: Assess the candidate's understanding of user behavior and popular search queries

Key skills assessed: Keyword research, familiarity with search trends, search intent

What to look for

Look for candidates who mention that identifying the most common searches on Google requires analyzing search trends, tools like Google Trends, and keyword research. They should emphasize the importance of understanding user intent and providing relevant content.

Example answer

"Determining the most common searches on Google involves analyzing search trends, utilizing tools like Google Trends, and conducting keyword research. However, it's crucial to go beyond absolute search volume and consider user intent to provide relevant content that aligns with popular topics within a given niche or industry."

💡 Read more: The Benefits of Using Assessments to Hire Remote Employees

9. What is the role of an SEO strategist?

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's understanding of the responsibilities and scope of an SEO strategist

Key skills assessed: Strategic planning, competitive analysis, and project management

What to look for

Look for candidates who mention that an SEO strategist is responsible for analyzing competitors, performing keyword research, optimizing on-page elements, developing link-building strategies, monitoring performance metrics, and staying updated with industry trends to drive organic traffic and improve search rankings.

Example answer

"An SEO strategist's role is to develop and implement strategies to improve a website's organic visibility and search rankings. This involves conducting competitive analysis, performing keyword research, optimizing on-page elements, developing link-building strategies, tracking and analyzing performance metrics, and staying updated with the latest SEO trends and industry changes."

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Aim: Assess the candidate's understanding of the impact of SEO on search engine rankings

Key skills assessed: Technical SEO, on-page optimization, understanding search algorithms

What to look for

Look for candidates who explain that SEO helps improve search rankings by optimizing on-page factors, building high-quality backlinks, creating relevant and engaging content, ensuring website accessibility and crawlability, and aligning with search engine algorithms.

Example answer

"SEO plays a significant role in improving search rankings. By optimizing on-page factors, building high-quality backlinks, creating relevant and engaging content, ensuring website accessibility and crawlability, and aligning with search engine algorithms, SEO helps search engines understand the relevance and quality of a website, leading to higher rankings."

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's ethical stance on search engine rankings and their approach to SEO

Key skills assessed: Ethical SEO practices, understanding search engine guidelines, and critical thinking

What to look for

Look for candidates who express a commitment to ethical SEO practices and believe that search rankings should be earned through providing valuable content and meeting user needs rather than being bought. They should emphasize the importance of long-term sustainability and user trust.

Example answer

"I strongly believe that search engine rankings should be based on merit and earned through ethical SEO practices. Buying search rankings undermines the integrity of search results and compromises the long-term sustainability and user trust. By focusing on providing valuable content and meeting user needs, SEO professionals can achieve sustainable, organic growth."

12. What is the toughest challenge you've faced in your SEO career, and how did you overcome it?

Aim: Assess the candidate's problem-solving skills and ability to overcome challenges in the SEO field.

Key skills assessed: Critical thinking, adaptability, strategic planning.

What to look for

Look for candidates who mention a specific challenge they faced, provide relevant details, and explain their approach to overcoming it. Look for problem-solving skills, adaptability, and the willingness to learn from setbacks.

Example answer

"The toughest challenge I faced in my SEO career was handling a major website migration with a tight deadline. To overcome it, I meticulously planned the migration process, coordinated with web developers and content creators, conducted extensive testing, and closely monitored the post-migration performance. Despite some unexpected issues, we successfully migrated the site without significant disruptions and achieved improved search rankings."

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's technical knowledge and understanding of how search engines index web pages.

Key skills assessed: Technical SEO, website crawling, understanding search engine algorithms.

What to look for

Look for candidates who mention that search engines primarily discover web pages through crawling. They should explain that search engine bots follow links from other websites, sitemaps, and RSS feeds to discover and index new web pages.

Example answer

"The most common way a search engine discovers a web page is through crawling. Search engine bots follow links from other websites, sitemaps, and RSS feeds to discover and index new web pages. Once a page is indexed, it becomes eligible to appear in search results."

14. How would you approach conducting an SEO questionnaire with a client?

Aim: Assess the candidate's communication skills and ability to gather relevant information from clients.

Key skills assessed: Client communication, information gathering, needs assessment.

What to look for

Look for candidates who explain the importance of understanding the client's goals, target audience, industry, and current SEO efforts. They should mention using a comprehensive questionnaire to gather information and conduct an initial SEO audit.

Example answer

"When conducting an SEO questionnaire with a client, I would begin by understanding their goals, target audience, industry, and current SEO efforts. I would then create a comprehensive questionnaire that covers aspects such as website performance, keyword targeting, content strategy, and competitor analysis. This information, combined with an initial SEO audit, helps me tailor an effective SEO strategy according to the client's specific needs and objectives."

Aim: Evaluate the candidate's commitment to professional growth and staying up-to-date with industry changes.

Key skills assessed: Continuous learning, industry research, networking.

What to look for

Look for candidates who mention following industry blogs, attending webinars and conferences, participating in SEO forums, and networking with other professionals. Look for their willingness to adapt to new techniques and algorithm updates.

Example answer

"To stay updated with the latest SEO trends and changes, I regularly follow reputable industry blogs, attend webinars and conferences, participate in SEO forums, and engage with other professionals in the field. I believe in the importance of continuous learning and adapting to new techniques and algorithm updates to deliver successful SEO strategies."

Next steps

These 15 interview questions and sample answers cover a wide range of important topics and skills crucial for an SEO Manager who will be successful in their role, from proficiency in SEO strategy and analysis to experience in using various SEO tools.

Both candidates and recruiters can rely on this article to help them prepare for an efficient interview allowing both sides to assess if they’re a good fit for each other.

Additional resources
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