Wednesday, 29 January 2014

How to Screw an SEO Interview? A Crash Course for Internet Lovers Who Want to Make a Living

What really disgusts me in the world of SEO is to find a smart person who loves the internet and social media, eager to learn and have high sense of creativity, being asked some silly questions about SEO and based on his/her "By the Book Answers" will be hired or rejected.

What those employers do not know is that SEO is not a Science, it is Literature; It is ART. 
And as an employer you may stumble one day upon an SEO Picasso, Michelangelo, Bernini, Dante, etc,... will you ask them by which hand do they hold the brush, or What is the definition of "Mosaic"? If you do, then congratulations, your future as an Internet Businessman is almost over. 

Anyway, This post is not for employers, but for those fresh-minded Internet Lovers who, like me, believe that SEO is an Art, and want to pursue a career as SEO specialists, Web Strategists, or Internet Marketing Professionals but need to get pass all those silly HR background checks or Old-fashioned SEO questions. 

I am not saying an SEO specialist should not have "The Basic SEO knowledge". What I am saying is that such knowledge can be simply acquired in a couple of days. Plus, SEO is always evolving and changing, and what was considered "Basic SEO tasks" is now considered spamming and harmful, Further, if the SEO algorithm is pure science and everybody did it according to the theory, how do you think millions of sites will be ranked if all of them used the same techniques on that same book?!!

Neil Patel SEO Method

OK Let's Start.... 

Q: What are the most important onsite SEO factors?
A: Meta Tags, Content, inner links

Q: What is a good Back-linking Strategy?
  1. Directory listing (relevant niche) inc. DMOZ and Yahoo! Dir
  2. Local Directories (for Local Businesses)
  3. Link Baits and Skyscrapers (Content based)
  4. Link Chains and Link Pyramids
  5. Social Media
  6. Press Releases
  7. Guest Posting (on relevant and authoritative pages) 
  8. Social Bookmarking
  9. Microsites (WordPress or Tumblr)
  10. Affiliation links
  11. Review links
  12. Testimonial Links
  13. Sponsorship Links
  14. Links from clients or suppliers
  15. Sweepstakes, Promotions, and coupons distribution 
  16. Forums Participation (relevant and authoritative)
  17. Commenting on relevant blogs (avoid automatic scraping and Spinning)
  18. Monitoring backlinks (with tools like OpenSiteExplrer, MajesticSEO, or ahrefs)
  19. Disavowing harmful links
  20. Analyzing Traffic Channels (Google Analytics) 

Q: What is a good Local SEO Strategy?

  1. Use a Local TLD (Top Level Domain) - .CA for Canada, .IT for Italy, .EG for Egypt, etc.
  2. Submit to Google Locals and link map to contact us page
  3. have business address, phone number, and working hours onsite (in a Structured data format)
  4. Use Local Keywords 
  5. Use a Local phone number (not a 1-800 toll free)
  6. Submit business to Local Directories
  7. Participate in online Local social activities (Forums, social media, etc.)
  8. Get reviews and testimonials
  9. Add the site link and logo to employees email signatures
  10. Be active on social media with promotions, discounts, competitions, sweepstakes, and seasonal coupons (use scarcity marketing) and do a local press release (online and offline) to advertise such promos. 

Q: What is Canonicalization, EMD, Pagination, KeyWord Proximity, Keyword density, Keyword Frequency, Keyword Prominence, Keyword Stuffing, Cloaking, 404, 301, LSA, and LSI
  1. URL Canonicalization: picking a canonical (preferred) URL as the preferred version of a page with a duplicate version.
  2. Pagination: Using rel="next" and rel="prev" attributes to tell search engines that a page is continued in other pages (used mainly with products or long articles)
  3. EMD: Exact Match Domain; Using the target KW as a domain name (e.g.:" Although Google says that an EMD is devalued, many experts believe that it can still be effective to rank for a specific KW. 
  4. KW Proximity: The distance between Keywords in a long-tail phrase; The shorter the distance the more relevant the Phrase is to the search query. (For example: a website contains the keywords that make up the search term “dentist Montreal implant” in the heading “Your professional dentist in Montreal; dental practice for minimally invasive implants”. The search term proximity between “dentist” and “Montreal” is one word, between “Montreal” and “implant” it is five words. The smaller the distance between a search term’s individual keywords, the more relevant it will be from a search engine's point of view.)
  5. KW Density: the ratio (percentage) of keywords contained within the total number of indexable words within a web page. (A good ratio is between 2 - 8%) 
  6. KW Frequency: the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase appears within a web page.
  7. KW Prominence: A KW is prominent if placed in the Title tag (or H1 header)
  8. KW Stuffing: a Black-hat (not good) SEO technique where you add all the Keywords you want to rank for next to each other or allover the page just for the sake of SEO without giving a logical meaning to the reader.
  9. Cloaking: Another Black Hat technique where the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user (like hiding some KWs with a JavaScript code or CSS, or just using the same color of the page background) 
  10. 404: A Not Found error message could be caused by a broken link, a deleted page, or just a URL typo (It is important to have a 404 page to navigate users to other pages on the site instead of showing them an error)
  11. 301: Permanent Redirection: to redirect links and pages to other URLs and keep the link juice flowing
  12. LSA: Latent Semantic Analysis:  Analyzing relationships between a set of documents and the terms they contain by producing a set of concepts related to the documents and terms. LSA assumes that words that are close in meaning will occur in similar pieces of text.
  13. LSI: Latent Semantic Indexing: identifying patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts (Synonyms) contained in an unstructured collection of text. (So make sure when using a KW in the title of an article to write relevant content about such KW even if you are not mentioning the exact KW)
Q: What are the names of Google Algorithms:
A: The Panda Penalizes bad Content, The Penguin Penalizes bad backlinks, and the Hummingbird is an algorithm that understands the intention of the search query and does not penalize. 

Q:  Where do you get your SEO news and updates from?
A: Blogs (Google Webmasters Central, SEroundtable, Mattcutts, Kiss Metrics, Moz, Search Engine Land, and Have Results)

Q: What is the first thing you do to analyze a website?
A: I crawl it with Screaming Frog SEO Spider and check its backlinks

Q: What tools do you use?
A: There are thousands of SEO tools and most of them do the same thing since they just grab data from the top tools through APIs. Bit for me I feel comfortable with the following: Google Analytics, Webmaster tools, Tag Manager, Adwords KW Planner, Moz, My Seo Tool, Woorank, Rank Tracker, Raven, SEM Rush, SEO Profiler, PingdomSimilar Web, and some browser extensions for quick analysis. 

All My Best Wishes 

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