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Top Basic SEO Interview Questions & Answers

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What is SEO?
SEO is search engine optimization or optimizer is a collection of techniques applied to optimize our site so that it ranks well in SERPs (Search engine result pages) like Google, Yahoo, Bing and another major search engines.

Who Do SEO?
They are the Webmaster, SEO Engineer and Website optimizer etc.

What tools do you use for doing SEO?
I use Google webmaster tools, Google Analytics, Open site explorer, Alexa, Website grader etc. But now a days there are so many paid tools are available in market like Seo Moz, spydermate, bulkdachecker etc.

What is Google Sandbox?
Google Sandbox is an imaginary area where new and less authoritative sites are kept for a specified time period until they establish themselves of being displayed on the search results. It happens by building too many links within a short period of time.

What is the difference between On Page SEO and Off Page SEO?
On Page Optimization means optimizing your website and making changes on title, meta tags, site structure, site content, solving canonicalization problem, managingrobots.txt etc.
Off Page Optimization means optimizing your web presence which involves backlink building and social media promotion.

What are the limitations of title and description tags?
Title tag can be between 66-70 characters and Meta description tag can be between 160-170 characters.

How will you increase the Pagerank of a page?
By building more backlinks from authority sites and high page rank webpages.

What do you mean by anchor text?
Click-able text written on an hyperlink is known as Anchor Text.

How will you treat Web standards while optimizing a website?
Google loves web standards hence I will apply the web standards provided by W3C while optimizing a web site.

If the meta robots tag has a value of “no index, no follow” what does it mean? Does Google uses keyword tags?
It means the search engine crawlers would not index the contents and would not follow the links present on the page.
No, Google does not make use of keyword tags.

What is 301 redirect?
It is a method of redirecting user from the old page url to the new page url. 301 redirect is a permanent redirect and is helpful in passing the link juice from the old url to the new url.

What do you understand by Cloaking?
Cloaking involves using deceptive techniques which presents the user with a different version of the webpage than that presented to the search engines.

What methods would you apply for decreasing the loading time of a website?
I would use external style sheets, less images (unless necessary), optimize the images and decrease the file sizes of the image without reducing the quality of the image, use CSS sprites to reduce HTTP requests etc.

What are the Social Media channels you have used for marketing?
I have used blogs like blogger, word press, tumblr etc, social bookmarking sites like Digg, Jumptags, Delicious etc., social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn etc., Video Sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo etc.

What would you suggest to the client who has a website made on Flash?  How would you do Seo for that site?
Search engines find it harder to parse the contents presented using Flash. I would suggest the client to use an alternative to flash like HTML 5.

What do you understand by Frames in HTML?
A frame is a HTML technique which divides the content of a page onto several parts. Search engines see Frames as completely different pages and as such Frames have a negative impact on Seo. We should avoid the usage of Frames and use basic HTML instead.

Which is the most important area to include your keywords?
Page title and Body text are the most important areas where we can include keywords for the SEO purpose.

What are webmaster tools?
Webmaster tools is a free service by Google from where we can get free Indexing data, backlinks information, crawl errors, search queries, CTR, website malware errors and submit the XML sitemap.

A customer can give you an access to only one tool, which one will you choose, Webmasters or Analytics?
Of Course Webmaster tools, because these are almost the essential tools for the search engine optimization, we can have some analytics data in the webmasters as well. But now due to the inclusion of webmaster data in Analytics, we would like to have access to Analytics.

What is the main purpose of search engine spiders?
Index sites, because even though spiders visit sites, their main function is not only to visit them but to index their contents spiders do not monitor sites for unethical activities.

What is the best way to maximize the frequency of crawling of your website by search engines?
Frequently adding new, original and quality content on the website.

When do you apply for re inclusion in a search engine’s index?
If our website is banned by the search engines for black hat practices and if we have corrected our wrong doings we apply for reinclusion.

What aspects of a hyperlink are important for SEO?
The place from which the link originates, The anchor text, especially the keywords in it is very important. The place to which the link leads and for back links the reputation of the web site from which the link originates is also crucial, because if you link to link farms, this might get you banned from search engines.

What is robots.txt?
Robots.txt is a text file used to give instructions to the search engine crawlers about the caching and indexing of a webpage, domain, directory or a file of a website.

What is Keyword Difficulty?
Keyword difficulty identifies how difficult it would be to rank well for a particular keyword. and the value is higher for more popular words because it will be more difficult to compete with 1,000s of other sites for a popular word than with 10s of others for the less popular ones

Which of the options below is the best way to select the keywords to optimize for?
Use a tool to determine the theme of your web site, because it is the whole theme of a website that is more important than separate keywords. Selecting competitors keywords which have the highest density  is not recommendable because if your competitor has wrongly selected the keywords, or even if the keywords are right for them, this does not mean that they are right for you, so actually you get on the wrong trace from the very beginning.

Which is better Robots.txt or Meta Robots Tag?
Meta Robots tag is much better as it helps in forcing the search engine crawlers not to index and display the hidden pages in your server.

What is a landing page?
A landing page is a page in the website which is designed to attract the visitors to contact/subscribe/buy a service or the product by reading few lines of important information about that particular service or the product on that page.

If you have a site that is targeted at a particular country only, which of the following are recommendable to do in order to rank well in country specific search results?
Use the appropriate language attribute in the HTML code of the page, The web site should be hosted in the same country, so that its IP falls in the range of IPs that are specific for this country. Have the web site written in the language of the country. Submit the site to local search engines, search engines use their own algorithms to determine the language of a a particular sites, even there are SEO experts who say that no efforts on your side are necessary for ranking well in country specific search results.

Why are metatags important?
Because search engines still use them for estimating search relevancy. although search engines might not rely on metatags to generate search results, metatags are used (to a differing extend) by most of the search engines Because it is a professional approach to Web design to have complete and accurate metatags,  since metatags are part of the html code of a page, they must also be done professionally, as the rest of the code.

Do you know who Danny Sullivan is?
He is a Journalist who covers the field of web search, considered as search engine guru and editor at searchengineland.com

Who is Matt Cutts?
He is the head of web spam team at Google.

From SEO point of view, which is better – one big site or several smaller site?
If you have enough content in the same niche it is better to have it in one big site because first, this way the site is easier to maintain and the great number of pages is good for ranking high in search results. Many small sites allow focusing on specific niches, therefore competing for different keywords.

How do you know how much to pay for a text link from another site to yours?
The price of a text link from another site to yours depends on many factors, The price is often different because it depends on the current rating of the site that will back link to us. The most important of which is the Web Site the back link originates from, because there can’t be universal prices for text links. when you don’t know the real price of a link, negotiating to drop the price is pointless and generally, reputable sites are not going to negotiate the price of their links.

Do you use separate SEO strategies for Google,Yahoo and Bing?
Yes I use separate strategies for Google,Yahoo and other searchengines.Morebacklinks are required for Google. It pays more attention to backlinks and site authority while Yahoo and Bing pays more attention to title and Meta tags. Hence, a site takes time to rank on Google as compared to Yahoo and Bing.

Which technique is unethical and can be a reason for banning?
Creating a doorway page instead a home page is considered as unethical because doorway pages are aimed at misleading search engines.

Explain some SEO practices?
Building back links. Rewriting the titles to include the target keywords, Rewriting dynamic URLs into static.

For which of the following file types a SEO expert needs to provide an alternative textual description?
(swf. – gif.) Since .html, .pdf and .doc are text file formats and spiders can read their contents directly, it is pointless to provide an alternative textual description. On the contrary, .swf and image file types, like .gif and .jpg, need alternative textual descriptions because spiders cannot read their contents directly.

What is Keyword proximity?
It measures the distance between two keywords in the text. Keyword proximity is used by some search engines to measure relevancy of a given page to the search request. The idea is that the closer two keywords to each other are, the more relevant the page , keyword density measures how many times (not how far) a given keyword appears on a page.

If you were a SEO for a technology web site, what would you do to build backlinks for it?
Four practices are a quite legal and recommendable way of building backlinks are:-
Post in technology blogs.
Submit articles to technology engines.
Exchange links with other reputable technology web sites.
Provide free syndicated content to partner-websites.

Explain onsite search box, and how it helps to attract traffic?
An onsite search box allows searching for pages that are inaccessible to unregistered users (i.e. search engine spiders). When you have an onsite search box, your visitors will get more search results than in comparison to using Google and the other search engines. If you have an onsite search box and see what users are searching for, you will be able to notice new keywords that are of interest to your audience.
Using the “site:” operator in search engines makes onsite search boxes obsolete is false because generally search engines do not index every single page of a site, even if these pages are not disallowed in the robots.txt or are password-protected. A good onsite search box is really valuable but it is a fact that occasionally onsite search boxes use so imprecise algorithms that using the “site:” operator in Google gives much more reliable results.

What are the advantages of submitting sites to search directories?
By submitting to a search directory, you get a back link to your web site. When your site is listed in search directories, this increases the chances that search engines will index it sooner, compared to when it is not listed. Submitting to search directories is a good Web marketing initiative. Because that increases the chances of having your web site index and when your site is listed in a search directory, you list its URL as well, so you actually get a valuable link
Submitting to search directories neither gets higher ranking nor gets your web site certified.

What are the criteria for the uniqueness of a page (unique as opposed to duplicate content)?
Code similarity, Text similarity, Page names. Titles, headings, page titles and metatags.

What does the abbreviation PPC stand for?
Pay per click, Pay per Click measures how much online advertisers must pay each time their advertisement is clicked on.

What is LSI?
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. It is a data retrieval technique which finds connection between words and the use of synonyms while fetching data from the index.

Will you use an ordinary html sitemap with Google?
Google has a special format for sitemaps rather than ordinary html format. So it is good to use special XML format that Google uses for sitemaps.

What is Page Rank?
This is the Google technology for measuring popularity among users. Yahoo has a similar technology, called Web Rank, and Alexa Rank is the Alexa technology. The way Google measures how popular a given page is based on the number and quality of sites that link to it.

You have just launched a new web site. Unfortunately, nobody visits it, even search engines’ spiders don’t notice it. What can you do for its SEO success?
Submit the URL of the web site to search engines and search directories.

If you own a web site and have a weekly newsletter that features the same content as the site, how can you include Google AdSense in your newsletter when you mail it to your subscribers?
We can’t include AdSense in our newsletter, because we cannot include Google ads in offsite content, as an e-mail newsletter.

Difference between exit rate and bounce rate?
Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leaves a particular website just after visiting a single page on this and exit rate refers to the percentage of people who leaves from a particular page.

Can search engines see password protected pages?
In most of the cases Search engines are not different from regular users. Search engines cannot go anywhere that a regular user cannot go. If we have a password protected area on our website that cannot be accessed without a login and password then the search engines also cannot see it.

For seo which is better text links or graphical links?
Text links are better for SEO. Text links can contain the anchor text that our web page wishes to rank well for and that is an important factor in many search engines, especially Google. Image links are still valuable but do have less benefits compared to text links.

What is Cross Linking?
Cross Linking- a strategy that can come in handy to get high search engine rankings, by leveraging multiple domains owned by you. Search engines value these links, as they are from relevant sites, with related content- and you stand a chance of getting a better rank

What is Google EMD updates?
The EMD Update – for “Exact Match Domain” – is a filter Google launched in September 2012 to prevent poor quality sites from ranking well simply because they had words that match search terms in their domain names. When a fresh EMD Update happens, sites that have improved their content may regain good rankings. New sites with poor content – or those previously missed by EMD – may get caught. In addition, “false positives” may get released

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