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Top Interview Questions for SEO Manager Positions

5 min read | Nov 23, 2022
 Stephen Pedder- Ad Culture By Stephen Pedder

Before hiring someone, you want to make sure they can do the job right. So, you have to ask the right questions. But what questions should you ask an applicant vying for an SEO manager role?

Although SEO requires a combination of technical and soft skills, the technical aspect is what makes interviewing applicants very challenging. You might also need to learn a few things about SEO before the interview.

If you’re searching for an SEO Manager, you’ll need to assess their SEO expertise. These interview questions can help reveal the applicants’ skill level and allow them to explain their reasoning, so you can get a better sense of their abilities and decide if their skill set matches your business needs.

Technical Interview Questions For Seo Manager - Ad Culture

Technical Interview Questions for SEO Manager Positions

While there may not be just one correct answer for each of them, these job-related questions should give you an idea about a candidate’s knowledge level, experience and SEO approach. They should also help you assess if an applicant deserves either junior or senior rank.

  • Can you tell me what SEO is about? 
  • Is SEO the same as SEM? Have you ever done SEM before? How does SEM affect SEO?
  • What’s the difference between on-page SEO and off–page SEO? How do you measure off-page SEO?
  • What SEO tools do you prefer using and why? 
  • Are you familiar with link penalties? Have you ever received one? 
  • What is the difference between white hat and black hat SEO?
  • How do you treat toxic links? 
  • How do you create an SEO strategy? Have you ever managed an ad campaign budget? What metrics do you use to measure your strategy’s success?
  • What if your SEO strategy did not work? What would you do to rank higher in search engine results? 
  • If you are our SEO Manager, how would you improve our content and ranking? Feel free to point out specific issues.
  • Do you have any programming experience? Are you interested in learning how to code?

Non-Technical Interview Questions for SEO Manager Positions

An SEO manager will need certain soft skills to be able to work with a diverse team. Although the following questions still revolve around SEO, they should allow you to assess their communication skills, work ethics, and project management techniques.

  • How did you get into SEO? Do you enjoy it?
  • How do you explain SEO reports to non-technical staff and managers? How do you convince non-SEO managers and colleagues to implement your suggestions?
  • What can you say about Grey Hat SEO? Have you ever done it? How does one end up crossing the line from grey hat to black hat?
  • What do you think about location pages being used as doorway pages? Are they ethical? Do they improve or hurt a website? Have you ever been penalized for such?
  • How do you manage your workload? What tools do you use? How do you know which tasks to prioritize?
  • What SEO project are you most proud of? Why? What was the business impact of that SEO project?
Non-technical Interview Questions - Ad Culture

What Makes a Great SEO Manager?

Search engine optimization is essential in creating a successful marketing strategy. That’s why anyone applying for an SEO role must have a solid understanding of SEO and industry best practices.

But the ideal SEO manager should also have a good grasp of marketing in general. They are able to identify marketing opportunities that they can apply to their SEO strategy. A clear understanding of marketing helps them effectively reach and engage their target market online.

When interviewing your candidate or evaluating their portfolio, it’s important to note some key marketing skills. Here’s a checklist to help you assess an applicant during the evaluation or interview. 

Analytical and strategic

  • How do they identify trends/opportunities and use them for SEO?
  • How do they assess the competition? How well do they perform against the competition?
  • How do they react to and solve undesirable results?
  • Are they able to create both short-term and long-term solutions?
  • Are they using resources efficiently? Did they allot/use a reasonable SEO budget?

Content marketing

  • Do they know how to do keyword research?
  • How do they distribute their content?
  • What is the quality of their content?


  • Are they able to understand the needs and wants of their target audience?
  • Are their SEO strategies in line with the corporate branding?
  • Do their strategies help improve brand awareness, recognition and engagement?

People management

    • How well do they work with colleagues?
    • Are they open to feedback? Do they give good feedback?
    • Do they have experience hiring and developing employees?
    • Do they set realistic expectations? 
    • How do they divide tasks among the team?
    • Do they work well with other departments?

Find Top-Notch SEO Managers and Specialists Through Ad Culture

Coming up with the right interview questions for an SEO manager or specialist skills assessments can be very daunting, not to mention, it can be quite uncomfortable assessing skills that are out of your scope.

It’s a good thing Ad Culture specializes in digital advertising recruitment. We know exactly what to ask and how to spot great SEO managers!

Give us a call or leave a message and we’ll let you know how we can help you find an SEO unicorn for your business.


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