SEO Foundations test

This test will assess candidates on their SEO skills. The 3 pillars of SEO will be assessed: technical/user experience, Off-Page SEO (netlinking, creation and management of backlinks) and On-Page SEO, as well as keyword research.

Job Specific
7 min.
Job Specific
7 min.
Covered skills
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This test is relevant for
SEO Consultant
SEO Manager
Marketing Manager
Web Consultant
SEO Foundations
Guillaume Guersan

Expert in SEO Foundations

Guillaume Guersan
Digital Marketing Advisor at Inbound Marketing

Guillaume is a marketing consultant specializing in traffic acquisition, and in SEO and SEA in particular.

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SEO Specialist Skills Test: Assess and Hire the Best Candidates!

An SEO Specialist can perform various roles in an organization. The first step is to determine the specific job functions of the specialist. For example, is this role focused on one particular area of SEO, such as on-page optimization or link building? Or is the position more general, encompassing all aspects of SEO?

Once you determine the job functions, the next step is to create an SEO Specialist skills test for hiring the candidate. This test should cover all of the essential skills required for the position. Designing a practical SEO Specialist skills test for hiring requires a deep understanding of the role and the specific skills necessary to perform it.

How To Use SEO Tests in the Hiring Process?

Some common skills that you should test include:

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization relates to optimizing a website for search engines, including the website's content, structure, and code. On-page refers to everything on the website itself, such as title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags.

Off-Page Optimization 

You can perform off-page optimization outside of the website to impact rankings. Backlinks, social media, and guest posts are some examples.

Link Building 

Link building is the process of acquiring links from other websites. You can do this through different methods, such as repairing broken links, venturing into guest posting opportunities, and brand mentions. Credible backlinks can increase a site's authority and improve search engine rankings.

Keyword Research

Keyword research can take a lot of time since the SEO Specialist will have to decide which keywords to target for a website. This research includes identifying relevant keywords, analyzing competition, and selecting the most effective ones. An experienced SEO specialist will understand which keywords are worth including and which ones might prove futile.

Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis is the process of analyzing the websites of your competitors. Identifying their strengths and weaknesses and determining how to beat them in search engine results is essential. A keyword gap analysis is finding the keywords your competitors rank for that you are not using.

Reporting and Analytics

Reporting and analytics are tracking the results of your SEO efforts. This process includes using various tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console, to track traffic and conversions.

Content Creation

Content creation is vital in SEO since it focuses on creating quality material for your website, including writing articles, blog posts, and press releases. Quality content that satisfies search intent has a significant impact on search engine rankings.

Mobile Optimization

SEO experts understand the importance of mobile optimization in today's mobile-reliant landscape. This aspect of SEO ensures that content gets optimized for responsive design and that pages are mobile-friendly.

Latent Seymanticec Indexing (LSI Keywords) 

LSI keywords help search engines understand words that have more than one meaning and include things like synonyms, related terms, and related concepts.

Structured Data

Structured data is when code gets added to your website to help search engines understand your content. This data includes elements like schema markup and structured data.

Image Optimization

Image optimization focuses on optimizing media on your website for file size, alt text, and image sitemaps, which will impact your site speed. Should your site not load fast enough due to media taking too long to load, your site's ranking might go down.

Local SEO

Local SEO refers to optimizing your site for local searches. This type of SEO includes optimizing your listings in directories, maps, and search engines and curating your content for local audiences where you want your content to appear.

Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (E-A-T)

E-A-T is a Google guideline that determines whether your website's reputation, content, and user experience warrant your content to rank well. Google introduced this concept in 2014 as part of its Search Quality Guidelines.

This guideline looks at the content creator's expertise, the authority of the content creator and of the content itself, and the trustworthiness of the content creator and the content. Although E-A-T is not a ranking factor, it can affect your content's rank if the algorithm finds that it doesn't meet these guidelines.

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are metrics that Google uses to measure a website's performance like page speed, interactivity, and stability.


AMP is a Google web-component framework that stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. In a nutshell, AMP allows you to optimize your content for a boosted user experience by ensuring that your content loads almost instantly. 

Although AMP is not always necessary, it can be helpful for some websites with a lot of media.

Featured Snippets

A featured snippet is a section of the search results page that displays a more significant part of content than just meta descriptions. Google might choose snippets based on content length, authority, and formatting, making it a vital part of SEO skills for businesses that want Google to feature these snippets.

Technical SEO

If you require website and server optimization to assist search engine spiders with crawling and indexing, you'll want to include questions that review knowledge of technical SEO 

User Experience (UX)

User experience is how easy or challenging it might be for visitors to your website to use your website. User experience is a vital part of SEO since navigation, design, and content determine whether visitors decide to stay on your site or opt to leave after a few seconds. 


The aim is to make your website accessible to as many people as possible. For instance, if you want someone with hearing difficulties to enjoy your video content, an SEO specialist might advise you to add transcripts.

How To Assess and Use SEO Specialist Skills Test for Hiring?

Once you finish creating the SEO Specialist skills test for hiring, the candidate may complete it in person or online. If the candidate takes the test online, there are a few different options for administering the test. One option is to use an online quiz tool to create and administer the quiz. Another option is to use a Google Form.

Once the test is over, you should evaluate the candidate's performance. The evaluation should center on the accuracy of the answers and the level of detail provided in the responses.

The skills test is just one tool used when hiring an SEO Specialist. Other factors, such as the candidate's experience and portfolio, should also be considered. However, the SEO Specialist skills test for hiring can be a helpful way to assess a candidate's knowledge of SEO and to determine if they are a good fit for the position.

Another option is to give the candidate a series of tasks to complete, such as optimizing a web page for a given keyword or researching and analyzing a set of keywords. The important thing is to ensure that the skills tested are relevant to the role of an SEO specialist.

Plan what skills you want to evaluate in applicants. List the core foundations of SEO knowledge:

  • Creating quality content
  • Promoting your content
  • Link building
  • Technical SEO
  • Measuring and analyzing results

Then, decide how you want to evaluate these skills. Some ideas include:

  • A written test that covers all of the topics listed above.
  • A series of tasks to complete, such as optimizing a web page for a given keyword or researching and analyzing a set of keywords.
  • An oral examination in which the applicant presents a case study of an SEO campaign they have worked on in the past.
  • A practical test in which the applicant is given a live website and asked to improve its ranking for specific keywords.

Once you have decided how you want to evaluate the SEO skills of applicants, create a test or set of tasks that cover all the topics you wish to assess. Ensure the instructions are clear and concise and give applicants enough time to complete the test.

Be prepared to answer any questions about the test. Finally, score the test results and use them to help you make your final decision about who to hire.

How Should the Assessment Be Designed?

The SEO Specialist skills test for hiring can be a valuable tool in your hiring process. By testing applicants' knowledge of SEO concepts and their ability to apply them, you can better identify which candidates will work best with your company.

When creating the assessment, make sure the instructions are clear and concise. Applicants must understand their expectations and have enough time to complete the test. A common mistake is to make the assessment too long or too short.

You will need to decide on question types. Here are some examples:

  • Multiple choice
  • True or false
  • Matching
  • Fill in the blank
  • Short answer
  • Essay

A common question is a hypothetical work scenario involving SEO. For example, "Look at this website. What would you change to increase organic traffic to this page?" This question tests the applicant's ability to analyze an issue and identify ways to solve problems.

If you use optimization tools at your company that the applicant will need for their job, like Surfer SEO or Ahrefs, it is a good idea to include temporary access to that software during the assessment. Many software companies have ways for business clients to grant this temporary access.

If the candidate states that they are familiar with the software, this will give them a chance to show you their skills. It will show how they handle learning new things if they haven't used the software.

Should you pay the candidate for the time taken to complete this assessment? It is up to you and your company, but it's generally a good idea to compensate the applicant for their time, especially if the evaluation takes more than an hour to complete.

What Questions Should You Ask?

You want to ask various questions covering different SEO aspects to get a well-rounded view of the applicant's skills.

Some questions you can ask are:

  • How do search engines work?
  • What is the difference between on-page and off-page SEO?
  • Why is keyword research necessary?
  • How do you measure SEO results?
  • What would you do if your site did appear in the SERP?
  • What is schema?
  • What would you write for this site's meta description?
  • What is the Google Sandbox?
  • What would you do if a Google algorithm update negatively impacted your site's ranking?
  • What strategies would you employ to get more backlinks for this site?
  • How do you use Google Analytics to assess organic traffic growth?
  • Based on your experience, which ranking factors receive too much emphasis?
  • Can you describe a situation when you had to use creative thinking to solve an SEO issue?
  • How would you perform a keyword gap analysis?

Recruiting for SEO

When recruiting for SEO, it is important to test applicants' basic, broad knowledge before moving on to more complex topics. 

Some of the Things To Focus on When Recruiting for SEO

Consider creating multiple assessments to target different areas of SEO specialists' expertise. For example, one evaluation might focus on technical SEO skills while another focuses on content marketing skills.

  • Knowledge of search engine optimization techniques
  • An understanding of how to improve website ranking
  • Ability to identify SEO mistakes
  • Familiarity with popular SEO tools
  • Creativity in developing new SEO strategies
  • Persistence in implementing and monitoring SEO campaigns
  • Analytical skills for tracking and assessing SEO results

You could also create different assessments based on applicant experience levels. For example, an evaluation for an entry-level SEO specialist might focus on more on-page SEO concepts. In contrast, an SEO Specialist skills test for a more experienced individual might focus on project management issues.

SEO Specialist Skills Test: Considerations for Recruiters

There are various aspects to consider when hiring an SEO Specialist with the help of a skills test. Here are some of the top things to keep in mind.

Practical Considerations of SEO Specialist Skills Test for Hiring

You will need to decide how much time to give the applicant to complete the assessment. Forty-eight hours is a typical time frame given for a complex evaluation.

Be sure to give clear instructions on answering the questions and where to submit their answers. You can administer the test online using a tool like SurveyMonkey or simply attach a PDF of the questions to an email.

The last step is to score the applicant's responses. You can assign a point value to each answer and then total the points. Once you have scored all the responses, use the results to help you decide who to hire.

How Difficult Should You Make the Assessment?

When creating the test, it is crucial to keep in mind the level of experience of the candidate.

An SEO analyst can be someone just starting in the field or someone with years of experience. The level of difficulty of the test should match the level of expertise of the candidate. 

For entry-level positions, a basic knowledge of SEO concepts may be sufficient. However, a more comprehensive understanding of the latest trends and techniques is necessary for more senior roles.

You should tailor the test to the specific needs of the organization. For example, if the organization focuses on e-commerce, the test should include questions related to SEO for e-commerce websites.

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