Top Ten SEO Job Interview Mistakes

interview mistakes

If you are going for an SEO position, certain interview mistakes could easily cost you a job offer. There are the obvious interviewing mistakes that you can find out through a simple internet search using your favorite search engine. Beyond that, there are certain things you should be aware before attending an interview for an SEO job. This list will tell you exactly what not to do so that your hiring manager or interviewer will get the best impression of you possible.

Top Ten SEO Job Interview Mistakes:

Mistake #1: Not doing enough meaningful research.

If you’re interviewing for an in-house SEO role, you need to know everything related to the company’s online presence. You’ll need to research the company thoroughly before the interview. Google the company to find out their online reputation and what people are saying about the brand. Perform a site audit and identify weaknesses in their SEO strategy that you can use as a basis for your answers in the interview. Find out where they are currently ranked on Google, and be prepared to explain the potential ROI from attaining higher search rankings on Google and Bing.

If they are ranking on the first page but not in the top five, then be prepared to explain the difference of having a top five position, and how much revenue an increased position can generate for the company. Find out as much detail about their social media presence as possible. Find out what they tweet about and share on their networks. How can you improve their branding reputation management and social media marketing strategy? Be thorough and detailed.

Mistake #2: Lying about reading SEO blogs.

You’re more than likely going to be asked about how you keep up with the latest industry trends and what SEO blogs you read. Memorizing SEO blogs without actually reading them is risky. The interviewer is likely an avid reader and can easily spot a faker. Pick one or two and be sure to remember any articles you’ve read as you are likely to be asked about them as well as your favorite authors on those blogs.

Mistake #3: Having negative information about you or your clients on Google’s front page.

If you or your current clients have any negative history on the front page of Google, it will speak volumes about your SEO skills. You should be able to bury any negativity to at least the 2nd or 3rd page of Google, and show the interviewer the result. This will demonstrate your expertise in no uncertain terms.

Mistake #4: Not having any analytics to show to your interviewer.

SEO is all about results, and you have to prove that you have produced strong results for your clients through your analytics. If you are interviewing for an agency position, your interviewer is going to want to see what you’ve achieved, particularly if you have less than one year’s experience or you haven’t got a strong client list. You’ll need to be ready to explain any spikes in traffic or other abnormalities.

Your traffic sources need to be diversified with referral traffic from social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, forums, and the like, and not just directories or other forced links. Engagement metrics and bounce rate will also be analyzed. If you make a strong impression here, this is where the interview could very well end.

Not having a portfolio, or having a portfolio without case studies.
As an SEO professional, you need to show evidence of your specific achievements and accomplishments attained over time. Your professional portfolio is a vehicle for collecting and presenting that evidence. You need to select examples of your best work to demonstrate how much you’ve learned and achieved in SEO.

Mistake #5: Having poor SEO working knowledge.

SEO interviewers expect you to live and breathe SEO. They expect you to have a strong working knowledge of the topic, and a poor general knowledge will show that this is not something you do on a regular basis, or take seriously.

Not being able to describe what you did on specific SEO campaigns.
This is linked to lack of preparation. You need to be able to describe specific processes. If you are explaining your keyword research strategy, elaborate on how you select your keywords and what type of keywords you choose (should be long tail keywords).

Outline the link building strategies you engage in or demonstrate how you perform competitor research. The best way to practice is to discuss specific SEO processes with a friend or family member who do not know anything about SEO, and make sure that they get the general gist of what you are describing.

Mistake #6: Giving answers that depict you as superficial.

It is very important to create the right impression in the mind of the interviewer. Think hard about the question being asked before answering, and be honest and forthcoming. For example, if the interviewer asks “What are your weaknesses” or “What are your biggest challenges or worst experience in SEO”, don’t give weak answers that depict you as superficial. This is a common mistake that many candidates make at interviews.

Think hard about an experience that you learned from, and show the interviewer that you are confident enough to acknowledge your mistakes and show that you’ve learned from them. Remember that you are representing your personal brand. It is important to be consistent with the image you are trying to portray to the world, and your target audience in particular.

Mistake #7: Having large numbers of followers and fans on your social media pages but very little engagement.

Quality is always far important than quantity in social media, and having a large number of followers without any real engagement just shows that you have purchased followers and fans. On the other hand, if your Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin/Google+ pages are thriving communities, it is a powerful statement. You will score major points, and the interview might even end right there.

Mistake #8: Having a spammy link profile.

If you are interviewing with a digital marketing agency, the interviewer will want to check out the link profile of your sites. Having a link profile consisting of spammy links, manufactured links or links that demonstrate you have purchased majority of your links is an automatic fail.

Mistake #9: Not knowing HTML.

It is very important to have at least a basic knowledge of HTML before embarking on an SEO career. An SEO without a working knowledge of HTML won’t be able to do any troubleshooting. It is an absolute necessity that you have HTML knowledge before you attend an SEO interview. If you’re not able to understand HTML, you’ll have to rely on your colleagues in the workplace to perform very common tasks such as optimizing images or troubleshooting indexing problems.

Mistake #10: Not keeping up with Current SEO Trends.

Google updates its algorithms 500-600 times a year, and it is important to keep up with the latest industry trends, guidlines and updates because you are likely to be asked about the latest happenings in the industry, especially if there has been a recent development. You’ll score strong points by showing a strong knowledge of what is happening in the industry.

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