How to Ace an SEO Interview #LikeABoss
March 25, 2015
There are fewer things more daunting than SEO interviews. While in depth technical knowledge is a must, that alone cannot land you the job. Your attitude and the amount of confidence you display will have a significant role in the decision making process.
Needless to say, read up as much as you can about the company, the kind of work they’ve done previously, their work culture and background. This will help you in two ways:
- You’ll be able to shape your answers better if you have an idea of the kind of attitude they expect from their employees, and
- You will be able to judge if you’ll be in an environment that augments your personal growth goals and if you’ll be a cultural fit in the organization or not.
In this article, I’ll share with you some of the most commonly asked interview questions and an ideal response to them.
What to say when you’re asked to Introduce yourself?
This seemingly simple and boring question is your window to making an impression and flaunting your achievements. Start by mentioning your educational qualifications and previous positions held and then steer the conversation to a personal achievement that displays your strengths as an ideal fit for the job.
For example, if it’s an account management profile, recalling a sticky situation and how you got your team out of it by providing a solution is a good idea. Similarly, for an SEO On-page position, flaunt a few things you’ve implemented on your site and the results they generated.
“Tell us a few important things you must fix in order to rank a website.”
Start with the most important SEO ranking factors; for instance, all website pages must be crawlable and indexed by major search engines like Google and Bing. And then add a few more details to show expertise, for example:
- Robots.txt files need to be checked for any accidentally blocked URLs or categories
- The website should have a user-friendly navigation- users should be able to reach all the important pages within three clicks
- All pages should have Title and other meta tags in place along with the targeted keywords
- Content on the page should be LSI based and in-line with the titles
- All pages should have sitemaps and schema codes in place
- Canonical issues must be resolved
Follow-up questions on the above answer:
- How can we improve indexing and crawling of the website?
The first step is to have an XML sitemap submitted with Google webmaster. The number of pages in your sitemap should not exceed 50k. And in case a website has more than 50k pages, Individual site maps need to be created for every 50k pages. These then need to be indexed and submitted to Google. While there is no free tool to generate XML sitemaps for such websites, they can be created using adequate Java scripts provided by developers.
Another important thing to do is to ping the RSS feeds manually and submit well connected pages in top search engines.
- What should be the URL structure of an E-Commerce website?
E-Commerce URL structuring is something that depends on a lot of factors other than needs and tracking, start by telling them that though knowing more about the nature of the business and the specific demands will shape most of this answer in practice, a few factors remain favorable as a rule. For example, all URLs should be independent of each other – like domain.com/category, domain.com/subcategory, domain.com/products. While this keeps the URLs close to root, it also resolves any canonical issues if a product is listed in multiple categories.
However, the above structure has one flaw. It does not facilitate category-based tracking unless the URLs have the necessary tracking parameters implemented on them.
- How would you deal with paginated pages on category pages and in other news sites?
Google provides “rel=next” and “rel=Prev” tags to solve this issue. These tags when used in all the pages successfully deals with pagination on category pages. However one thing needs to be taken care of, that “rel=prev” is not used on the first page and “rel=next” is not used on on the last page.
Do mention that these tags are independent of canonical tags and hence can be used n the same page without any issues.
And finally, here are a few basic short answer questions that are often asked in interviews.
Q: How can we track IP address through Google analytics?
A: We can’t track IP addresses using Google analytics.
Q: If your site uses E-Commerce tracking, can Google store confidential information such as CC details?
A: Google doesn’t store any personal information of users.
Q: What are Goals and how can we track those?
A: Goals are final actions that we want the user to complete. It could be anything from downloading of a PDF to filling a query form etc. For tracking purposes, these Goals are categorized in four parts:
- URL Destination Goals – Number of forms filled
- Event Tracking Goals – Number of PDF downloads and video views
- Time On Site Goals – For gaming & flash sites
- Number of pages viewed – For news websites like wikipedia
While each of the above mentioned Goals can be tracked by Google analytics, you can only set funnels on the URL destination Goal.
Q: How can we optimize multilingual websites?
A: Multilingual website optimization can be done in three easy steps:
- Ensure other language folders or domains(sub) are verified in GWT
- Use “lang” tag on all pages of the website, alternate tags for default website and all ‘other language’ websites.
- Make sure the lang tag is used in XML site-maps as well.
There you have it! While we’ve tried our best to cover most of the commonly asked questions, if you have a query that this article does not answer do write in to us in the comments. Our experts will be more than happy to help you out!
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