Search engine optimization (SEO) Interview Preparation Guide
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Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of visitors to your web site from search engines via search results. Typically, the earlier a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. This Search Engine Optimization Interview Questions and Answers will build your SEO knowledge an prepare for better career in field of Search Engine Optimization.

51 Search engine optimization (SEO) Questions and Answers:

1 :: If you only had an hour (in one shot) to spend on WSO [web site optimization] for a given site each year, what would you do for that hour, and why?

I'd pick the low-hanging fruit. Eliminate excess (graphics, multimedia), cut your prose in half, and optimize the rest. (you could install mod_gzip etc. in less than an hour also). The main thing is to make sure that your home page loads quickly.
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2 :: Have new web technologies like XHTML, CSS, Flash, and XML changed the SEO game or the ways search engines work?

Yes, CSS has made it possible to transform table-based layouts into CSS-based layouts. Typically this reduces page size by 25 to 50%. The ratio of content to markup improves dramatically.

3 :: What is the ROI [return on investment] for SEO activities? Can you give any examples? Another related question might be "How do you build a business case for doing SEO?"

This is akin to asking what is the ROI for usability. Speed is a key component of usability. Small improvements in speed can take critical pages below typical attention thresholds, and dramatically lower bail-out rates and abandoned shopping carts. I talk about this in the book, but compression alone can save 30-50% in size and bandwidth costs. Webmasters who have employed compression and optimization typically save 30 to 50% off their bandwidth costs, and retain more customers, and have improved conversion rates.

4 :: Have you seen UIEs research on users perceptions of download speed? Does not that really debunk the notion that code/graphic optimization improves usability? Is not it really all about scent of information and users "feeling" like they are consistently making progress?

Yes, I have read that. That is poorly supported elsewhere, I spend the first chapter showing why response times are important, summarizing key research into HCI and response times. However, there are factors that can affect how we perceive delays, like feedback and task complexity. Attainability is another interesting area of research, with users adjusting "subjective time bases" based on the pace of particular systems. If Domino's usually delivers in under 30 minutes, and then one day took an hour, you'd certainly notice it.
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5 :: Can a page load too quickly?

As far as I'm concerned, no. But according to the response time research that I read, and mention briefly in the book, you can have response times that are too fast, and this increases errors. But on the web, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
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6 :: How can the weblog be optimized to load better but also show first-timers that work is being done?

Many of the weblogs I view source have lots of embedded formatting, like font tags and complex CSS classes. Many weblogs are also by their very nature verbose :) I'd advocate using higher-level type selectors in CSS, contextual selectors, and to be brief in decks and point to longer stories for those who want to read more. Writing succinct headlines is also important.

In general, cut your prose as much as possible, especially on high-traffic pages. Users don't read as fast on the screen. On the web, users are information foraging, trying to maximize the value of their time. They flit about like hummingbirds, looking for nuggets that interest them. One study I read showed that on average, users spend about 1 second per page, and rarely stay more than 10 seconds. Once they find an article they want, they'll stay longer.
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7 :: Does precompilation of loop limits in Web programming languages like ColdFusion, Java, and JavaScript help?

Yes, this is also called coding motion out of loops, and is one of Bentley's 27 rules for code tuning. Also, using local variables is much faster. Many of these refactorings are covered in Chapter 10, "Optimizing JavaScript for Execution Speed."

8 :: What are the downsides of stripping out every non-printable space, tab, and line break from an HTML document, so the entire code essentially resides on a single line? I thought Netscape 4 had trouble with very long HTML lines?

I don't advocate making your entire HTML page into one single line. Some editors can choke on long lines, older versions of the Oracle info server can choke on long lines, and if you email your pages (as we do at webref), some email programs can flag a virus in longer lines. So I advocate a max of 255 character lines to be safe, or a max of 2000 character lines to avoid problems with Oracle. Also, removing whitespace can break some JavaScript code, and make your code hard to read. You can avoid these problems by keeping unoptimized versions for any edits, and punctuating your JavaScript statements with semicolons.
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9 :: What is the most common problem to be solved when optimizing web sites?

Too many HTTP requests. This is due to the overuse of images and external files. We're also seeing a trend of too many external JavaScript and CSS files in the HEAD. This delays the display of your content as they must load first.

10 :: What major web sites do the best job of optimization? has the most highly optimized home page I have seen. They use URL abbreviation to save nearly 30% off their home page HTML. View source to see what I mean. But even Yahoo has bloated up, they have nearly 300 links on their front page. of course :) I like most anything from Zeldman and company, very clean and CSS-based. Though there's always room for improvement.
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11 :: There is software that assists and, in some cases, automates the accessibility process. Is there any software that does the same for web site optimization?

Yes, there are a number of products, mainly for optimizing HTML and JavaScript. SpaceAgent from Insider Software, VSE Web Site Turbo from VSE Online, and of course automated graphical tools. I test and demonstrate many of these products in the book. To convert to CSS-based layouts, and to do it right, you've got to do it manually.

12 :: I could create a stunningly beautiful entirely graphical page, or a simple page with no graphics, or something in between. How do I determine the safe point; the point where a page is acceptably attractive, authoritative and/or creates the right impression, and yet loads fast enough to serve my customers?

It depends on the type of site. For informational sites like or news-related sites, the graphics should be kept to a minimum. With the advent of widespread support of CSS, you can now create many pleasing effects without graphics. I cite a study in the book on this ratio. For shorter delays users prefer documents that include graphics, for longer delays users prefer text-only documents.
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13 :: Do you feel that information architecture (in this case I mean the categorization of web pages for find ability) can have an effect on site optimization? I suppose I'm asking if things like intuitive URLs and labels can reduce the need for extra context on a page. How would you separate site optimization and usability/IA?

Yes, there is a tradeoff for some techniques between IA and WSO, and with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Good IA has a logical hierarchy and clear, unambiguous labels. Some WSO techniques uses short abbreviated names and URLs to achieve savings, which can preclude descriptive terms. SEO also can conflict with IA and WSO, with some sites sacrificing logical hierarchy to create keyword-filled directory and file names. Balancing these three disciplines is an art in itself. For high traffic pages like home pages, I favor speed over IA and SEO. In the book, I discuss mapping techniques that you can use to have the best of both worlds. The book gives you the tools you can use to optimize your content. How far you go is up to you.

14 :: I have some long prose pages, and I wonder at what point should they be broken into separate pages. I hate the scroll....but I hate the little chunks per page. These will not be shortened; they are the length they are. So, what is the optimal number of words per separate html document?

I have not seen any studies specific to this, although I have some observations. I assume you mean for readability and usability, and not for SEO. For a multipage article, we found at that page views dropped off dramatically after 4 or 5 pages. When we made an article longer, fewer people read pages 6 or higher. Also, page length is related to page size, and without feedback you need to make sure your pages load in at most 8 to 10 seconds. That is about 30 to 34K total. With a 10K banner and a logo say, that is a maximum of 20K.

15 :: If a websites search engine saturation with respect to a particular search engine is 20%, what does it mean?

► A. 20% of the WebPages of the website have been indexed by the search engine
► B. Only 20% of the pages of the website will be indexed by the search engine
► C. 20% of the websites pages will never be indexed
► D. The website ranks in the first 20% of all websites indexed by the search engine for its most important search terms

B. Only 20% of the pages of the website will be indexed by the search engine

17 :: Which of the following factors have an impact on the Google Page Rank?

► a. The total number of inbound links to a page of a web site
► b. The subject matter of the site providing the inbound link to a page of a web site
► c. The text used to describe the inbound link to a page of a web site
► d. The number of outbound links on the page that contains the inbound link to a page of a web site

d. The number of outbound links on the page that contains the inbound link to a page of a web site

18 :: What does the 301-server response code signify?

► A. Not Modified
► B. Moved Permanently
► C. syntax error in the request
► D. Payment is required
► E. The request must be authorized before it can take place

B. Moved Permanently

19 :: If you enter Help site: in the Google search box, what will Google search for?

► a. It will open up the Google help pages applicable to
► b. It will find pages about help within
► c. It will only find page titles about help within
► d. It will direct you to the request page for re-indexing of

a. It will open up the Google help pages applicable to

20 :: What is Anchor Text?

► a. It is the main body of text on a particular web page
► b. It is the text within the left or top panel of a web page
► c. It is the visible text that is hyperactive linked to another page
► d. It is the most prominent text on the page that the search engines use to assign a title to the page

c. It is the visible text that is hyperactive linked to another page