When I first started in SEO, I read every post I could on Search Engine Land, Google Webmaster Central, Moz, you name it. But I still didn’t know half of what I know today. If you are new to SEO, it is very important to keep in mind that you don’t know it all yet. It is okay to ask questions to superiors or tell a client, “I will need to fully research that and get back to you.” In most cases, the client will respect you for that.

Think you know it all? Try your hand at some of these basic SEO questions.
Here are some of the questions I ask in the interview process. Feel free to use these the next time you interview an SEO consultant.

What is a robots.txt file?
What is the X-Robots tag?
What is the nositelinksearchbox meta tag?
What is the notranslate tag?
What is Unicode/UTF-8 and why does that matter to Google?
Is case important for meta tags?
What is the refresh meta tag and why is it not recommended?
What is an .htaccess file and how do you use it?
How can you use user agent and IP location detection to improve UX?
What is a rel canonical?
What is noindex, nofollow?
When do you use robotx.txt, a rel canonical and a noindex nofollow?
How do you optimize a web page?
URL
Title
Description
H1
H2
Images
Schema
Internal linking
Have you ever optimized in a different language?
What is a hreflang tag?
What are good links for SEO?
How does blogging play a role in SEO?
What is the difference between absolute and relative URLs?
What are all the different ways you can optimize for mobile and the technical requirements.
Subdomain
Different domains
Vary http header
Responsive
How does social media play a role in SEO?
What are 404 errors?
What is 200 ok?
What is 301 and 302 redirect? When should you use each?
What is a server header checker?
Have you used Screaming Frog?
How do you check rankings for SEO?
Are you Google Analytics certified?
How do you find broken external links pointing at your website?
What would you do to optimize a website purely in Ajax or JavaScript?
Have you ever optimized an application?
Deep links on website to app
Set up app in Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Optimize app in app store
What would you do if you saw a client got a spike in 404 errors in the Google search console?
How would you test to see how Google can see content on a page?
What would you do to get a page indexed quickly?
What are directory structures and subdomains and how are they important for SEO?
What is https, how do you switch to https and why is it important for SEO?
What is different about getting a Google Local page ranked opposed to a normal HTML page?
What are your favorite SEO tools?
What are some of your most successful SEO projects?
What are all the manual penalties you can get in Google?
Tell me about a penalty you have cleaned up?
How do you configure a disavow file?
How do you send out a link takedown request?
How do you write a reinclusion request?
How would you handle a hacked website?
How would you handle 1,000 new links pointing at your website with commercial anchor text?
What are all the algorithmic issues you have in Google?
How do you optimize for Google video search?
What do you specify in video markup?
What do you show in a video sitemap?
How do you stop a video from appearing in a specific country?
What is a Google product feed?
What are the attributes of a product feed?
How do you optimize for Google news?
What is Google news publisher center?
Can Google news crawl PDF files?
Can Google news include audio or multimedia content?
Does Google require a Google news sitemap?
What are the Google news standout tags and keywords tags? How are they different than other meta tags?
What are all the types of sitemaps?
What are mobile usability errors and how do you fix them?
What are the most common page speed issues?
What are the five types of website models?
How do you build client relationships?
What is the difference between SEM Rush, SpyFu, Majestic and Moz?

Download this list as a PDF.