Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SEO Interview Questions

I’ve written a few questions that might help structure a SEO interview or even help someone get an SEO job. I think though, there are a great deal of ways to answer many of these questions. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing example answers but I think as long as you have a clear idea of the kind of answer you expect to hear back then this should do the trick.
A SEO interview needn’t be a long list of technical questions (as I expect many people might have differing perspectives anyway) but rather a chance for you, as the interviewer, to understand their technical SEO skills, depth of knowledge and interest the candidate has in SEO.
Some people might also disagree with the ethics of asking some of these questions, but feel free not ask them if, of course, you don’t want to.
SEO Interview Questions
Death by interview has been known so I wouldn’t recommend asking all of these questions. Pick and choose at will…
Open-ended SEO questions
1. What is your favourite aspect of SEO?
2. What is the most difficult aspect of SEO for you?
3. What has been your biggest mistake in optimising a website for search engines?
4. What has been you biggest success in SEO?
5. Do you have your own website(s)? What are they? What is their purpose? How effective have they been?
6. What business sectors have you previously worked in as a SEO?
7. What is the most competitive sector you have worked in as a SEO specialist?
8. Do you like Matt Cutt’s?!
Knowledge of the SEO Industry / engagement in learning about SEO and engagement with the SEO Community
9. What is your favourite SEO website/blog, and why?
10. Who do you most respect in the SEO industry, and why?
11. Who do you least respect in the SEO industry, and why?
12. Which website do you go to learn something new every time?
13. What Analytics packages have you used?
14. Talk me through the process of setting conversion goals?
15. Explain the process of advanced segmentation and an example of why you might use this?
16. If you could develop a new feature for an analytics package that is not currently/easily available what would it be?
17. Please explain the PageRank algorithm…
18. What is the most important aspect to you of the PageRank algorithm for link-building?
19. What is page segmentation?
20. What is LSI / LSA and its relevance to SEO?
21. Explain to me how phrase-base algorithms work? Clustering?
22. Describe any perceived differences in the main search engines?
23. Have you noticed any algorithm changes lately that you believe to have affected your rankings? How do you work to protect your online visibility?
24. What process do you typically go through when researching keywords?
25. How could this process be improved?
26. How do you carry out competitive analysis of keywords/SERPs as part of the keyword research process?
27. When targeting keywords on-page, discuss some considerations you might make?
28. What factors hinder search engines access to a website’s content?
29. What is the most responsible way of using Flash?
30. Tell me how you might use the Robots.txt file?
31. What is the difference between an xml sitemap and an html sitemap?
On-page Ranking Factors
32. If you were reviewing a landing page, what on-page ranking factors would you consider?
33. How would you analyse the strength of that page as part of the site?
34. Are you competent with HTML and CSS?
Onsite Ranking Factors
35. Talk me through factors you would consider in building an optimised website. (Possible answers might include the discussion around information architecture, site structure, title tags, link structures, keyword relevance, etc).
36. What are onsite ranking factors for building a successful landing page strategy?
37. Please provide examples of blackhat SEO techniques?
38. What are your thoughts on blackhat SEO techniques? What, if any, have you used, or tested?
Offsite Ranking Factors
39. What would the perfect inbound link look like?
40. What do you like and not like about link-building?
41. Explain to me your involvement in link-building in the past?
42. What approach to link-building have you had most success?
Linkbait Development and Marketing
43. Would you consider yourself as creative?
44. Have you ever successfully carried out a linkbait campaign for a client / in-house? What was the success?
45. Talk me through the process you might go through in developing a linkbait strategy?
46. Are you confident writing and publishing content online?
47. Please provide examples of the content that you have written. What was the purpose of this content and what keywords were you targeting?
SEO Tools
48. What keyword research tools do you use and why?
49. What is your favourite ‘SEO tool’? Why?
50. Do you think SEO tools are effective in competitive markets? Why?
51. Have you carried-out split-testing / multivariate testing of content?
52. What did you learn from this process?
Image Optimisation
53. What factors can you do to encourage the chance of ranking for images?
54. What is hotlinking? How can this be successfully optimised?
Video optimisation
55. Have you ever carried out video optimisation?
56. What are a few considerations of optimising video content?
Social Media Interview Questions
Open-ended Social Media Questions
57. Which social media sites do you most like? Why?
58. Which social media sites do you most dislike? Why?
59. What has been your biggest achievement in SMM?
60. Do you feel that you are well connected in Social media spheres? Does your social media account carry influence?
61. Do you prefer to use the same pseudonym across your social media profiles? What are the pros and cons of doing this?
62. When did you get into social media (and marketing)?
63. What is your oldest social media profile?
64. Would you ever sell or buy social media profiles?
65. What has been the most effective social media marketing campaign you have been involved in? How was it effective? Metrics / exposure / links?
66. How do you effectively use social media to support SEO campaigns, or vice versa?
PPC Interview questions
67. Although not strictly SEO, the understanding of the cross-over of visibility in paid-listings can be very important for effective SEO campaigns.
68. Have you worked on/with PPC accounts? How did it go?
69. How do you integrate PPC and SEO?
70. What considerations might you make when carrying out paid search competitive analysis?
Business Acumen and ROI
71. What are the key performance metrics you have previously reported to clients?
72. What are effective metrics for highlighting return on investment from SEO?
73. What would you like to change about the SEO reporting process?
74. What other areas of business present opportunities for organic search visibility?
75. If your SEO efforts aren’t getting the visibility you would hope, what would you do?
Pitching for Business
76. Have you prepared proposals for SEO clients?
77. Have you presented proposals to SEO clients? How did it go?
78. What was the biggest mistake you have made in a meeting with a client?
79. What is your greatest strength when presenting to prospective SEO clients?
Retaining Business
80. What do you think is the most important factor in retaining a client?
81. From the previous company that you worked for, what was one process that they could have improved in retaining and gaining clients?
Closing questions
82. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
83. What are you salary expectations? Availability? Etc, etc…
84. How did you feel the interview went?!

Monday, November 15, 2010

5 Ways to Improve Your Local Business Website

When customers don't stay on your website for long, it's hardly surprising you fail to connect with them and build the trust needed for them to get out their credít cards and purchase from you.

The great news for you is there are tons of quick and easy - usually free ways - to make your website more appealing to your customers.

Here's 5 you can apply today.

1. Site Search

When you have more than 20 pages, it's a good idea to add a search facility. If you have a site search, make sure it's prominent. Usability guidelines tend to prefer the upper-right corner of the page. Keep the button label simple and clear - "Search" still works best for most sites. Don't unleash your powers of lateral thinking and swap in a word like "Retrieve". Keep it simple.

To Do: Just using your search, try to find 3 pages of content. Is that process "quick, easy and straight-forward?" Or is it "hit and miss?"

2. Ensure Your Web pages Can Be Skim-read Easily

Few people read word for word online; the vast majority skim-read to get a sense of the page before they read any of it in detail. Make it easy for visitors to skim-read your content. Always use headings and bullets to break up text.

Think about it. If a heading is not relevant for your visitor, they can easily skim down to the next heading, making it straightforward for them to get directly to the information they need.

Always keep your text in manageable chunks, not an unbroken wall of words like insurance small print, so it's easier for customers to look up what they want right away and with confidence - which is critical if they are making a buying decision.

To Do: Give your website a quick review and make sure all your text is broken up into clear, manageable sections.

3. Keep Your Styles & Colors Consistent

Make sure people know they're still on your site by being consistent - confuse them and you'll lose them. Keep the look and feel of your website sections consistent and avoid any radical changes. Visitors can get confused and think they have left your site accidentally.

Layout, headings, and styles should be consistent site-wide, and colors should usually have the same meaning.

For example, don't use red for headers on one page, red for hyperlinks on another, and red as standard text somewhere else.

To Do: Ensure all your web pages appear to be part of the main site and that they are consistent with each other. Are there any "nasty surprises" depending on the part of the site you're in?

4. Use Emphasis (bold, etc.) Sparingly

It's a fact of human psychology: try to draw attention to everything and you'll effectively draw attention to nothing. We've all seen that site, the one with a red, blinking, underlined "NEW!" next to everything. Don't be that guy or gal.

Remember, if your site's graphic design is counter-intuitive and doesn't help visitors get something done quickly, it's going to make your site much slower and difficult to work with.

Slow, awkward sites don't ever, ever, delight your customer or create a good rapport online.

Visitors will be back at the search engine in seconds if they find your website "complicated" or "busy".

To Do: Ensure your website is only highlighting critical factors you absolutely need your visitors to gaze at or clíck on in order to meet your online business goals. Menus, buy buttons, opt–in boxes and so on.

5. Keep Your Ads & Pop-ups Unobtrusive

Ads are a fact of life, but integrate them nicely into your site. Don't try to force ads and pop-ups down peoples' throats; you'll end up creating frustration for your visitors. Also, do people a favor and make your ads clear. If you blur the line between ads and content too much, your content may suffer, since many people have developed "banner blindness" when it comes to surfing, and might overlook some important content by mistake.

To Do: Double check if your popup window is significantly increasing your opt–in rate. If it isn't, you could be annoying present and future customers unnecessarily.

Final Word

Always make sure you view your website through the eyes of the customer and not through your eyes, the website owner.

Make sure there are no red-flags on your site that are going to frustrate, confuse or bore customers. Keep everything nice and simple to make sure your visitors enjoy spending time (and money) on your site
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