Revealing an SEO’s Thought Process: 37 Questions

Jerrod Hauser
Jun 15, 2017 · 3 min read

With search engines being very important for many businesses to survive, it is essential that sites be Search Engine Optimized or SEO. When hiring an SEO to optimize your website, it is essential that their SEO strategies align with your own. Although understanding a candidate’s knowledge and experience is essential, it is more beneficial to know what an SEO will do in different situations. The following are a list of 37 questions to screen candidates in order to find the best fit for your company.

What three things are important to know before working on a new site?
You are looking for why they are important. This shows you how the SEO assesses site needs and responsibilities.

Optimizing a site: what’s first?
They will say, “Depends on the site”. SEOs will do different things first, ask them to explain.

What’s the difference between optimized and landing pages and how will you use them?

A good SEO will think of optimized pages as landing pages thus creating leads and sales.

How do you optimize 1000 pages?
Look for large-scale SEO tactics and strategies.

First SEO attempt failed, now what?
See how much time and assistance they are putting in.

How do you guard against algorithm changes?
Discuss specific long-term tactics

Besides content, what else do they optimize?
Usability, visual appeal and other factors just as important as SEO.

Dealing with duplicate content
Ask for permanent and effective solutions

What are some optimization no-no’s?
An open-ended question, the candidate can think on their feet.

What plugins and tools used?
Ask how specific tool assesses a site and the implementation of strategies.

Using competitor’s knowledge against them
They should explain their integration of competitor data and when to ignore competitor.

A new website is coming, what’s your role?
How will they ensure everything is smooth? What’s needed before launch?

Approach to Keyword Research
They should have 1+ processes to find and assess keywords for optimization.

Which keywords to optimize and where?
Address searcher’s intent in connection to a keyword.

Optimize the keywords
Determine if they integrate all keywords, or general topic.

Is keyword proximity a factor?
They should know how search algorithms see different proximity.

Assess inbound links
The difference between good and bad links. Ensure bad links don’t hurt.

Backlinks process?
Need to know how, and be willing to do so.

Dealing with link penalties.
What would they do to get out of this?

Paying for links
Their beliefs and discuss link-related search penalties.

Internal linking strategy
How they message internal links for a search engine.

How they’re used and when they shouldn’t be.

How to redirect a page
When and where to use redirects and which types.

Optimize for local performance.
Prioritize actions and why so.

Configure site for phone
Preference for different sites and why so .

Improving site speed.
Ask for the big picture.

Nofollow tags.
Strategy for using them, shouldn’t mention PageRank

Analytics to assist SEO strategy
How to use and compare metrics.

Role of TLD in SEO.
Ask opinion on country specific TLD for marketing.

Optimize multinational/multilingual site

Heading tags and SEO strategy
What is their priority on this?

Sitemaps and SEO
The difference in the two maps, when they’re used, multiple vs one.

Improving click-through rates
What strategy employed?

Improve bounce rates?
SEO reason for occurring.

Improve Conversion Rate
Any improvement ideas

Improve sites engagement.
Won’t have the knowledge, see what they say.

Microsites and SEO
How, when and why to use microsites.

This provides a deeper test for candidates in order to find the best choice