Test Your Web Team: The SEO Quiz

Ian Lurie

Update: The quiz tool I was using didn’t work quite as advertised, so I’ve just put the quiz right on the page. Correct answers are bracketed.

Too often, web developers and designers say they’re SEO experts, when they’re not. As a client, you have to believe them – they’re the experts.
So it can be very, very frustrating when, six months later, I give you a 15-page report detailing SEO problems.
How can you tell whether your web team knows SEO? Give them this quiz. If they get more than 2 wrong, they aren’t qualified, and you should hire someone else:

  1. Of these 3 items, which is the most important for SEO?
    [Standards compliant, clean code]
    A well-written keywords META tag
    An RSS feed
  2. True or false: Inline CSS and inline javascript hurt SEO.
  3. The best way to reroute traffic from an old web site to a new one is:
    [A 301 redirect]
    A 302 redirect
  4. Which of these is better for SEO?
    [<h1>The page title here</h1>]
    <span class=”headingforseo”>The page title here</span>
  5. True or false: Buying Adwords PPC ads will improve your organic ranking.
  6. True or false: We can always wait and do SEO after the development is done. It won’t cost more.
    [False, and then some]
  7. Which of these tactics will draw a penalty from search engines?
    [Putting text on the page, and making that text the same color as the background.]
    Using a 302 redirect instead of a 301 redirect.
    Buying lots of links.
Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. All of those sounded on point to me.
    I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know about the last one! Have the engines always penalized for that? My web marketing pals back in the day used to tell me that it was a viable trick to flood keywords into your page. How long has that been a no-no?

  2. I agree, nice set of questions, though some of them are definitely open to interpretation.
    Buying lots of links can definitely draw penalties (not being able to pass pagerank is a penalty), though the hidden text penalty is more severe.
    And I’d be interested to see the logic behind the blanket statement of inline JS and CSS hurting SEO efforts. Sure, creating your body text with document.write() or using style=”font-weight:bold” instead of (strong) will screw things up. But a couple of style=”width:200px” calls or your Google analytics script at the bottom aren’t going to hurt are they?

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