Are you struggling to find the perfect SEO candidate for your team? Hiring the right SEO professionals can be a challenging task, but with the right interview questions, you can separate the wheat from the chaff and ensure you hire the right person for the job.

In this article, we will provide you with 21 insightful interview questions that will help you evaluate the skills, experience, and potential of SEO candidates. We have gathered expertise from seasoned SEO professionals, conducted extensive research, and analyzed industry best practices to bring you this comprehensive guide.

What Makes for a Great SEO Candidate?

Before diving into the interview questions, it’s crucial to understand what makes a great SEO candidate. SEO roles can vary, from content-focused to technical SEO positions. The key is to have a clear picture of the type of person you are looking for.

Ask yourself if you need an SEO professional who excels in PR and outreach or someone with strong technical SEO skills. Understanding the specific expertise and traits you require will guide you in finding the right fit for your team.

Passion, grit, resourcefulness, shrewdness, and a hunger for learning are important personality traits to seek in SEO candidates.

Look for candidates who exhibit enthusiasm when discussing SEO, demonstrate perseverance and long-term thinking, think creatively to solve problems, question information critically, and have a thirst for continuous learning. Building a strong team requires finding individuals who align with your company’s values and can collaborate effectively.

Evaluating Soft Skills and Technical Knowledge:

When assessing SEO candidates, it’s essential to consider both their soft skills and technical knowledge. Soft skills, such as effective communication, are vital for building relationships with technical and non-technical stakeholders.

A successful SEO professional should be able to explain complex concepts in a clear and concise manner while understanding the needs and perspectives of others.

Regarding technical skills, SEO candidates should possess a foundational understanding of how search engines, websites, and the web function. The level of technical knowledge required varies depending on the role.

For technical SEO positions, candidates should demonstrate solid technical expertise. However, for other roles, a basic understanding is sufficient, as long as they can collaborate effectively with technical team members.

Now that we’ve covered the key qualities to look for in SEO candidates, let’s explore the 21 interview questions that will help you evaluate their skills, knowledge, and potential. These questions cover a range of topics and can be adapted to suit your specific requirements.

Interview Questions to Assess SEO Candidates:

  1. What is your proudest achievement in SEO? (Apply STAR method)
    • Desirable answer: The candidate shares a specific accomplishment, highlighting their role, tasks performed, actions taken, and the outcome achieved.
  2. What part of SEO do you enjoy the most?
    • Look for candidates who display a passion for a specific area within SEO, whether it’s technical aspects, content optimization, or link-building strategies.
  3. How do you approach black hat SEO?
    • Candidates should exhibit a strong ethical stance against black hat SEO practices while demonstrating an awareness of industry trends and innovation.
  4. How do you ensure the implementation of your SEO recommendations?
    • Look for candidates who can effectively communicate and persuade stakeholders to implement SEO recommendations. Emphasize the importance of business cases and projecting growth and revenue.
  5. What is your approach to conducting keyword research?
    • Candidates should explain their methodology for identifying valuable keywords, considering user intent, competition, and relevance. Look for comprehensive approaches that go beyond mere volume metrics.
  6. What elements contribute to creating a great, optimized page?
    • Look for candidates who understand the importance of meta information, high-quality content, keyword relevance, and user experience in on-page optimization.
  7. How would you address a situation where your website is significantly behind competitors in terms of content?
    • Candidates should demonstrate the ability to develop strategies for closing content gaps, considering audience needs, competitor analysis, and effective content creation.
  8. Can you explain the basics of how a search engine works?
    • Candidates should provide a clear overview of search engine processes, including crawling, indexing, and ranking.
  9. What are the risks of having a crawler trap, and how can you fix it?
    • Look for candidates who understand the potential issues that can arise from crawler traps and can propose effective solutions to prevent or rectify them.
  10. How can you prevent search engines from crawling certain URLs?
    • Candidates should demonstrate knowledge of techniques such as robots.txt, “nofollow” attributes, and canonical tags to control search engine crawling.
  11. What steps would you take to remove accidentally indexed pages from Google’s index?
    • Candidates should outline a process involving the use of various tools, such as Google Search Console and robots.txt, to remove unwanted pages from search engine indexes.
  12. How do you optimize an image for SEO?
    • Look for candidates who understand the importance of image file size optimization, alt tags, descriptive file names, and accessibility considerations.
  13. In your opinion, what is the best way to gain links from other sites?
    • Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of effective link-building strategies, emphasizing the importance of quality content, relationship building, and ethical outreach practices.
  14. As a white hat SEO, do we still need to be concerned about link-building penalties?
    • Candidates should discuss the evolution of search engine algorithms, emphasize the importance of ethical link-building practices, and highlight the potential risks associated with manipulative tactics.
  15. Imagine Google has penalized your website for link-building activities. How would you handle this situation?
    • Candidates should outline a process for identifying and addressing link penalties, including conducting link audits, removing or disavowing harmful links, and submitting reconsideration requests if necessary.
  16. Your website rankings have dropped significantly. How would you diagnose the cause?
    • Look for candidates who can analyze ranking fluctuations by considering technical issues, algorithm updates, content quality, backlink profiles, and user experience factors.
  17. What does your SEO routine entail? Which aspects do you check regularly and how often?
    • Candidates should explain their systematic approach to SEO monitoring, including key metrics, website health checks, performance analysis, and regular reporting.
  18. Which KPIs do you report on to demonstrate SEO progress?
    • Look for candidates who highlight relevant KPIs, such as organic traffic growth, keyword rankings, backlink acquisition, conversion rates, and ROI.
  19. How do you envision the future of SEO five years from now?
    • Candidates should showcase their ability to think critically and adapt to evolving trends and technologies in the SEO industry.
  20. If 80% of your website traffic comes from organic search, is that considered a success?
    • Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of the importance of diversifying traffic sources and explain potential risks associated with over-reliance on organic search.
  21. When might doubling down on SEO not be the most effective strategy for a company?
    • Look for candidates who recognize scenarios where SEO may not yield the desired results, such as limited budgets, intense competition, or market saturation.


Hiring the right SEO candidates is crucial for building a successful team and driving your website’s potential. By evaluating candidates’ soft skills, technical knowledge, critical thinking abilities, and strategic mindset, you can identify individuals who will contribute significantly to your company’s SEO efforts.

The 21 interview questions provided in this article cover various aspects of SEO and can help you assess candidates’ experience, expertise, and potential. Applying the STAR method to select questions will provide a comprehensive understanding of candidates’ past achievements and problem-solving abilities.

Remember, finding the perfect SEO candidate is not just about their skills; it’s also about their fit within your company culture and their alignment with your goals and values. Use these questions as a starting point to guide your interviews and make informed hiring decisions that will drive your SEO success.

By carefully evaluating SEO candidates and identifying those who possess the right mix of skills, knowledge, passion, and adaptability, you can build a high-performing SEO team that will propel your website to new heights. Good luck with your SEO hiring process!