Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Basic SEO Question/ SEO Interview Questions

Basic SEO Question
Q1: What’s your SEO experience?
When you are asked this question, if you are a fresher, you must answer the theoretical knowledge you have. Say that you know about keyword research, on page and off page SEO, link building best practices and so on from a theoretical point of view.
If you are experienced, tell them the projects you have worked on, some of the rankings you have achieved and the time you took to accomplish this. It also helps to talk about technical aspects of SEO you have handled as well.
Q2: What do you think about the latest algorithm update from Google?
You must follow industry blogs and be updated about the SEO trends. So when you are asked about the latest algorithm update, you should talk about your views on what kind of sites/ search queries got affected, how it compares to the previous update which was rolled out and so on.
Here is a scenario. Assume the latest update rolled out was the Penguin update and the one before that was panda. You could say that Penguin update was mostly targeted at low quality content and not about links as the Panda update was. It hit heavily on content farms and thin content pages.
Q3: Are you technically savvy?
Not many SEO interviews focus on your technical skills. But those who really know what SEO is all about will really put your technical skills to test.
Most of the time, you’ll have to dig deep into a site code to find issues. If you are not at all technically inclined, doing SEO might be quite challenging. No matter how many tools you purchase, you still need some basic level of technical knowledge to succeed in SEO.
Q4: Do you take on freelance projects?
There are two things that an interviewer can find out from the answer you give.
If you take freelance projects, it means you are a go getter and that you are comfortable with interacting with clients and doing business development. This is a huge plus for any employee.
On the other hand, freelance consultants have a tendency to get clients for themselves instead of the company if it’s a service company.
If you are going to work in a company and their policy states that you should not take on other projects, you shouldn’t do it. It’s not only unethical; you could also lose your job and face prosecution for violating employment agreement.
Even if your company allows you to take freelance project on the side, it’s suggested that you don’t do it. Instead channel that lead to your employer. Not only are you showing commitment in your current role, but you are also contributing to the growth of the company that is paying your bills.
Q5: Do you use any SEO tools?
If you have been in the SEO industry for some time, you’d have come across many tools. If you have used tools like SEOmozbuzz stream, Wordtracker, Google keyword tool or any other tool, mention it.
The tools you used also gives the employer an overview of what kind of work and projects you have been associated with. If you say you are good at SEOmoz tools, then the employer will know that you are a professional because it’s a paid tool and not many amateurs can afford it.
Q6: Mention some SEO myths you know and what the actual facts are
This question helps the interviewer understand your knowledge of SEO. Instead of throwing some myths at you and trying to make you answer, this broad question will help them understand your depth of knowledge. Here are some myths and answers for reference
  • Meta description is used for ranking- Meta descriptions are not used for rankings by Google and only used as a short snippet of text which users see along with search results
  • Google will always use my meta-data- No. Google will not always use your meta title or meta description. Based on the query, Google may change your meta data to suit the searchers query
  • More links the better- False. Even one high quality relevant editorial links can trump 1 million spam links you might get via blog comments, forum posting, site wide links and so on (Not to mention your chance to get a penalty)
Q7: Which industry blogs and sites do you follow?
This question is asked so that the interviewer can judge how well you are updated with the current SEO trends. Some of the good ones to follow are
  1. Searchengineland.com
  2. SEOmoz.org
  3. SEObook.com
  4. Seo-theory.com
  5. Distilled.net
Q8: Do you do black hat SEO?
If you do black hat SEO, admit it. If you don’t, tell the interviewer why you do not follow such practices. If you are ready to stop blackhat and go completely white hat (which you should anyways), mention that as well.
Some of the reasons you do not want to use black hat are
  1. Risk of getting penalty
  2. Unethical
  3. Not a long term strategy
Q9: Can you tell me the difference between on page and off page SEO?
On page SEO refers to all SEO activities done on the website that needs to be ranked. They include
  1. Meta optimization
  2. Content creation
  3. Internal linking
  4. Fixing technical issues like page discovery, duplicate content, implementing canonical tags and so on
  5. Optimizing usage of keywords
Off page refers to any activity we do to get links to point to our site. These may include
  1. Guest posting
  2. Link outreach
  3. Viral link building
  4. Submission to niche sites
  5. PR outreach
Q10: What are your thoughts on buying links, article marketing, article spinning, and directory submissions?
Buying links: Don’t do it. Not only does it violate Google guidelines, it’s also a costly method which will backfire when caught.
Article marketing: Submitting high quality articles to article directories to get traffic and some link juice is fine. However, with the latest Google updates, most article directories have been rendered useless from a link acquisition point of view. Submitting articles to 1000’s of article directories is not a good idea.
Article spinning: It’s better to syndicate content rather than creating spun content. Article spinning rarely works and most of the spun content can be easily detected by advanced algorithms Google employs.
Directory submissions: It was valuable maybe 4-5 years back. But now it’s worthless. Links from directories other than maybe dmoz.org, botw.com etc is worthless.
Good luck!

FAQs in Online Advertising

What are companion ads?
Companion ads are the ones which are shown around the video ad. It can be rich media, image, text or skin too. These ads come in number of sizes. It is called companion because it runs as a companion to the video ad,
e.g. video ad of Levis apparel is running, the ad running alongside or surrounding the video ad will be a companion ad showing the sale or any new apparel of Levis brand.
What are the two ad impression measurement approaches?
Two methods are currently used to deliver ad content to the user are SERVER-INITIATED and CLIENT-INITIATED.
Server initiated ad counting uses the site's web content server for making requests, formatting and re-directing content while client (users’ browser) initiated ad counting relies on the user's browser to perform these activities.
Client side measurement involves a recognition on the client side of the successful delivery of an Ad impressions, and this information is communicated to a counting server for reporting while Server side measurement involves the recognition on the ad server side that an Ad Impression has been delivered, but with no assurance that the ad was actually rendered on the user’s browser.
Client side approach is responsible for accurate reporting of ad impressions as it is counted only when the user is served with the Ad
What do you mean by In-Unit clicks?
In unit clicks are those clicks which do require user initiation or action on advertisements but does not result in a transfer from the publisher site which generally happens in normal click or click-through which takes an advertiser site from a publisher site.
What does (Aborted) mean in HttpWatch?
Aborted is one of three status codes that are used in HttpWatch to display information about HTTP requests that did not receive a status code from the server: To be more precise, the browser started to process the request for a URL like downloading of an image (or 1×1), but then decides to cancel the operation, then the status code in Http watch is shown Aborted!!
What is $RND$ or any random number macro which is used in third party tag?
Normally Third party tags will contain placeholder [RANDOM NUMBER] which needs to be replaced by a random number or cache buster .The Ad server automatically converts the macro to a 8 digit random number when a Ad is served.
The main use of this random number is to differentiate the user, basically to count the unique users, if that random number is already and matched it is not counted.
What is CAPP?
CAPP is client alternative pricing plan, it allows companies or clients to choose that how they would like to pay for advertising, like if the campaign is CPM based it means the client will be paying as per impression, if the campaign is CPC, the client will be paying as per the number of clicks, similarly for CPA, CPL etc.
What is CDN?
CDN is content delivery network i.e. a global network of cloud servers that actually house the raw creative graphics to fetch the actual ad. It is where the creative are stored.
What is Date and Time Stamp?
The third party tags will contain a placeholder such as [TimeStamp] that you need to replace with a timestamp. Simply replace their placeholder with%%TIMESTAMP%% and the ad server will convert it to a timestamp in YYYYMMDDHHMMSS format when serving the Ad.
What is GateFile.html and for what purpose it is used?
In order to enable Safecount Link/Layer invites to work from within an of an ad tag or a publisher’s advertising placement, a file, “GateFile.html,” has to be placed in the root directory of each domain of the site where Safecount tags will be issuing survey invitations for research purposes.
This is a one-time request. Once the GateFile is there, all Safecount tags will be able to use Link/Layer invites through the inclusion of simple JavaScript tags on the desired HTML pages or ad served banners.
In short, this gatefile is to be placed in the root of every publisher, which is a quite tedious job, but it’s just one time work!
Example: The publisher is dictionary.com, we need to place a gatefile.html on its root directory,
The idea location will be like :
Re spawning is a process by which the tracker which is deleted can be repopulated. If one storage location is cleared, the tracker can repopulate it with the same value from the other storage location. This can be achieved by storing the same identifier at different storage locations (HTML5, Flash storage, Etags etc.)
Reverse re spawning is also quite possible i.e. repopulating of local storage from cookies.
What is the basic difference between first party cookie and third party cookie?
A cookie set under the domain of the website embedding a tracker is site-owned cookie i.e. first party cookie e.g. Facebook‘s cookie is a first party cookie when the user visits facebook.com but it becomes third party cookie when someone use “Like” button of Facebook on a different website.
Similarly the third party cookies are the one when any other website tracker is placed on another website code.
What is the need of parameter “jump” in the code or Tag?
A command, passed to the ad servers that is used for counting clicks. This command is substituted dynamically with the click-through URL of the creative.
What is the purpose of “ord” parameter in the code or Tag?
The ord value is used for cache-busting; to ensure that a fresh call is made to the ad server every time a page loads. Without the ord value properly implemented, you may experience impression counting discrepancies.
There needs to be a piece of code in the top of tag that generates a random number to populate the ord value on every tag.
Reference: var ord = Math.random();
What is “ncu” in Eye Blaster (Media Mind) tag?
It is a parameter defined by Media Mind which is normally used by the Ad server to track clicks and also can be used for custom logging URL’s that is we can pass the required Custom URL’s using this parameter.
For your reference :
<script src=”https://bs.serving-sys.com/BurstingPipe/adServer.bs?cn=rsb&amp;c=XX&pli=XXXXXXX&PluID=X&w=XXX&h=XXX&
Why Click macro shouldn’t be embedded before src (source) line but after href line?
If you put the click macro before the “script src” the tags will count with every impression as the tag appears when the script fires so when you have inserted the click macro it will fire together which will result in counting of clicks, and when you put the macro after “href”, the clicks are counted only when the landing page opens which will open only when someone clicks on the creative.
Why is “ abr=!ie “ used in DART tags under Jscript part of the whole tag code ?
abr = !ie helps in giving the command to the Ad server for not serving the Jscript tag when the browser used by the user is Internet explorer . The !ie denotes “NO INTERNET EXPLORER” , now why is it used is because all the browsers are supposed to read iframe tags first if it supports and if not Jscript is served so at times on IE both becomes possible to be served due to some obsolete versions of Internet Explorer which reads both iframe and jscript and which will lead to serve two tags for one dart tag , one iframe and the other jscript which is wrong anyway so just to avoid this kind of scenario abr = !ie is used.
Do the banner size changes as per the screen resolution of the mobile phone? If yes then How?
Yes the banner size automatically changes with the help of view port settings. The banner size automatically scales to fit the screen using the view-port settings built into the apps, generally app web view objects use view port settings for density independent pixels by which say a 320×50 banner will scale depending upon the resolution of the phone screen. The scaling problem can be removed by only changing the settings in the app where you are showing the ad so test it properly on the same app to see is it scaling properly or not.
How to serve rich media ads ob Blackberry 10?
Every one is concerned about showing banner on iOS or android but what about the users using blackberry? The main RM providers like celtra, goldfish also don't support for BB which is strange but yes it is so. One way by which this problem can be sound is serving the ad directly from server and not by using any SDK. UnicornMedia is the one who is capable for doing it easily.
Reference link: www.unicornmedia.com
Some Best Mobile Networks for In-App Ads?
Advertising.com (more successful is serving mobile brand campaigns with quite high ecpms)
Buzz City
Mocean Mobile
How to make the ad load only in “In view” area?
Disable BTF though reducing inventroy but this will always help in serving the ad on in view area
Enable ATF
Pre-load the ads so that it doesn't delay in serving on the page
Avoid serving ads on sites having high bounce rate, mainly photo gallery sites
Prefer JavaScript tag than Iframe tags when the objective is to serve view able impressions as solving view ability with Iframe is too tough and is still in experiment to solve the issue about it, basically challenge with iframes is that iframes that come from a different domain delivering ads, is that the view able impression code within the iframe is not able to access the publisher page due to the “Same Origin Policy.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Basic Terms in online Advertising

1. Impressions

This used to be a term more appreciated, which means how many times a user saw your ad or banner or any online advertisement. Each time your ad has been viewed counts as an impression.

2. CTR (Click Through Rate)

How many users that saw your ad have clicked on it too and visited your website or landing page.
The Click Through Rate is calculated as Clicks / Impressions.
Example : Let’s say your ad reached 100 impressions, and 10 users also clicked on the ad, it means your CTR is 10%.

3. Conversion

Once a user saw your ad, clicked on it and visited your website or any landing page and does any action like buying of any product or registers or downloads depending upon the which action has been considered as conversion for that campaign , a conversion is calculated.

4. Call for Action

It's the most important for the user to take any action.Call for Action is what drives the users to interact with your campaign. Depending on the goals that the advertiser set for the campaign, the Call for Action may be: Request a quote, download a brochure, sign up for a newsletter, and of course- buy a product or book a room online.

5. CPL ( Cost per Lead) / CPA (Cost per Acquisition)

It's the cost spending on clicks / conversion .
Example :  Let’s say your ad drew 100 clicks at 100$, and you achieved 10 Conversions, then you CPL / CPA is 10$.

The lower the CPL/CPA value , means good is the conversion rate.

6. ROI (Return on Investment)

The best example to understand ROI is :
Let’s say you are promoting your restaurant and the Call for Action is booking online reservation for dinner. You already know that your profit from every guest is 10$. In that case, if the CPA is 8$, which means you spent 8$ advertising money to get a reservation, than your ROI is positive, because you have 2$ profit on every reservation.

7. CPM (Cost per mille)

Commonly used measurement in advertising !!
CPM is also called as CPT i.e cost per thousand , which means we need to pay cost on every 1000 impressions.
Example : If CPM is $5 , it means cost of 1000 impression is $5 .

8. CPC (Cost per click)

Just like CPM , CPC is also a measurement used in online advertising , the only difference is this cost is based on clicks and not impressions . If any user is shown the Ad but he doesn't clicks on it their won't be any cost effect as the cost is based on clicks only.
Example : If CPC is $5 , it means every click costs $5 so 20 clicks than it will cost us $100.

*Also , consider a campaign where payment is based on impressions, not clicks. Impressions are sold for $10 CPM with a click-through rate (CTR) of 2%.

1000 impressions x 2% CTR = 20 click-throughs
$10 CPM / 20 click-throughs = $.50 per click.

9. CPA (Cost per acquisition)

It's another word for cost per action and is used interchangeably with this term. CPA measures the advertiser’s per conversion cost from start to finish, from the inclusion to the search engine results to creating interesting landing pages that grab the attention of the visitor. This means cost per acquisition measures how much it costs in advertising to convert one person from a visitor to a client for the company.

Action can be different for different campaigns , like for some registration is set as a conversion and for some the buying of any product i.e when a user reaches the 'Thank you page' or may be downloading anything from the client's page.

10. CPE (Cost per Engagement)

A new measure of performance in online advertising. After CPM, CPC and CPA we have this CPE which has no relation with impression but only with the engagement i.e when any user engages with the brand content.
This measure actually differentiates between quantity and quality.
Engagement can be defined as a user interacting with an ad in any number of ways, including viewing, sharing, voting, commenting, reviewing, playing a game , etc.

CPE campaigns are mainly video campaigns as it initiates used to engage with the creative.

11. CPL (Cost per Lead)

A lead is the initiative in an action .
It is usually a free registration or filling of the form on the creative like mobile number , email Id or name , etc.
Once the user fills the detail , a lead is counted !

12. Ad Dimension

The size of a creative measured in pixels. e.g. 728×90 ; 300×250 ; 160×600 etc.

13. Ad Space

The space on a Web page reserved to display advertising.

14. Banner

An online advertisement in the form of a graphic image that typically runs across the top or bottom of a Web page, in the margin, or other space reserved for ads. i.e the Ad Space on the respective web pages.

15. Pop-Under

A window that launches automatically behind the current browser window. It is a type of advertisement like expandable , video Ads are also type of advertisement .

16. Pop-Up

A window that launches automatically in front of the current browser window.

17. Affiliates

A type of advertising system based on the CPA payment method whereby web sites run advertiser’s banners for free but get paid on any sales or registrations that result from visitors that click on the banner.

18. Agency

An organization that provides a variety of ad services for advertisers, including helping them design creative and locate the best place to run their advertising campaign.Today there are number of agencies in market , e.g Exponential , Zedo , Eye Blaster etc..

19. Cookies

Cookies are small files that  are sent from a web server to the local user’s computer to store information unique to that user.Often used by advertisers to keep track of the number  and frequency of advertisements that have been shown to a visitor or by sites to help them determine the number of unique visitors.Cookies can also be used to target  advertising, such as targeting advertising based on an individual’s user profile on a site.

20. Frequency Capping

A term used to describe the number of times the same advertisement is shown to the same visitor during a particular session or time frame.Frequency Capping is a popular method for ensuring that a single user does not see the same ad too often.

21. Geo targeting

Geo targeting is the practice of  targeting ads to web users based on their physical location , e.g. If i want to show to Ad only to US citizen i can target the Geo only to US so no other user at different location can see the Ad .

22. Interstitial

An particular type of advertisement that loads between web pages, requiring a user to look at it before getting to the page they meant to go to.It is one of the closest things on the Internet to television commercials.

23. Post Click Tracking – PCT

This is used to track if a user performs an action after clicking on a banner, such as completing a registration page or purchasing an item. It is done with the use of a cookie placed in the browser that is read by a tracking pixel on a page (such as an order confirmation page or a “thank you for signing up” page).

24. RON

Run of network (RON) means a banner will run on all the network i.e it has the potential  to appear on any page of any site that is part of an ad network.This type of buy is not targeted to any specific choice, it tends to be the least expensive type of advertisement that can be purchased.Custom targeting is quite costly than RON.

25. Leaderboard

Leaderboard is a standard size of an online banner ( advertisement ) of size (w) 729 x (h) 90 (in pixels).

26. MPU ( Mid page Unit )

MPU (Mid Page Unit) or medium rectangle is a banner (advertisement) size of (w) 300 x (h) 250 (in pixels).

27. Skyscraper

Ad Dimension 120×600. Commonly used on the side of pages.

28. ATF – “Above the fold” of a web page.

29. BTF – “Below the fold” of a web page.

30. Insertion Order

It's a formal contract binding between both the buyer and seller of inventory.

31. Ad Tags

HTML code produced by your ad server that displays the corresponding creatives.

32. Pacing

Pacing is how fast the purchased impressions are delivered , like if the pacing is AGGRESSIVE , it means the impressions are to be delivered in a fast pace while if the pacing is GOVERNED , it means the impressions are to be delivered in some pattern and also in slow mode.

33. Out-clause

Out-clause is the amount of time you have to cancel an insertion order.

Basic Formulas in online Advertising : eCPA CALCULATION


eCPA is effective cost per Action which is calculated same as eCPC and eCPM , It is the total spend by the total number of actions(i.e conversions) acquired .

Example : The total spent on the campaign is $2000 and the total number of conversions made is 200 , what will be the eCPA ?

Formula of eCPA ,

eCPA = Total spent / number of conversions or actions

Using the above metrics ,

eCPA = 2000 / 200 = $ 10

Basic Formulas in Online Advertising : eCPC CALCULATION

eCPC, is a metric used by Internet marketers to calculate the effectiveness of their online campaigns when the rate model used is CPC . eCPC can also be termed as ” profitable per click” so if the actual CPC is $2 and the eCPC is coming as $1 per click , than $1 is the profit on each clicks .

Net profit = CPC – eCPC

eCPC = (Total spent or revenue / clicks)

Example : If eCPC needs to be calculated for a single Ad size say 300×250 , we just need to figure out how much the Ad size has spent and how much clicks it has generated , so if it is like $200 has been spent and the clicks generated are 100 with actual CPC set to $3 .

using the formula ,

eCPC = ( 200 / 100 ) = $ 2

So , net profit = ( 3 – 2 ) = $1.

Basic Formulas in online Advertising : eCPM CALCULATION : (Effective cost per mile)

eCPM CALCULATION : (Effective cost per mile)

Effective CPM is the actual CPM that is being applied , If the CPM set is $2 and the eCPM is $1.5 , the net profit is $0.5 . eCPM helps you measure how well your ads are performing.It is calculated by dividing total earnings/total spend by total number of impressions in thousands.

eCPM = ( Total spent / Impressions delivered ) x 1000

Example : An ad size of 728 has delivered 213456 impressions and has also spent some $300 with CPM set as $1.5, what will be the eCPM ?

Using the formula ,

eCPM = ( 300 / 213456 ) x 1000 = $1.40

We can also calculate eCPM using eCPC , but for that we need to know the conversion rate. and than using the formaula as below :

eCPM = eCPC x conversion rate x 1000

Basic Formulas in online Advertising : CPA CALCULATION


Another metric that we have and is generally used is cost per acquisition which is irrespective of impressions and clicks both .This metric deals with any action or basically when something is acquired like user sign up or when any sale is made.

Cost to an advertiser = CPA x ( Impression x CTR X CR  )

Suppose CPA is $5 , number of impressions is 10,000 , CTR is 3% and CR is 2%.

using the above metrics ,

Cost to an advertiser = 5 x ( 10000 x 0.03 x 0.02 ) = $30

Similarly , if you know the actual cost , we can easily calculate the CPA for the Ad using the below formula :

CPA = cost to an advertiser / ( Impressions x CTR x CR )

Also , Average Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) = Average Cost per Click / Conversion Rate

Some more formulas that are used :

CPL / CR = CPA or
Cost Per Lead divided by Conversion Rate = Cost Per Acquisition


VPA – CPA = NP or
Value Per Acquisition minus Cost Per Acquisition equals Net Profit.

Basic Formulas in online Advertising : CTR CALCULATION and CR CALCULATION


CTR is click through rate , it measures the effectiveness of any advertisement . It is calculated by using a simple formula as below :

Example  : A campaign having 728×90 Ad has served 10,000 impressions and has generated  100 clicks so what will be CTR of that Ad ?

CTR = (number of clicks / number of impressions) x 100

using above metrics ,

CTR = (100/10000) x 100 = 1 %

1% CTR means on every 100 impression there is one click.


CR is conversion rate , to calculate the conversion rate a simple formula is used :

CR = (number of conversions/Impressions) x 100 ,

so if number of conversion made are 20 in 1000 impressions , the conversion rate will be (20/1000) = 0.02 %

Basic Formulas in online Advertising : CPC CALCUALATION


As we know we have different rate models in online advertising , CPC – cost per click is one of the popular and well known used metric . Here the advertiser has to pay as per clicks and not on impressions . The page views can be any number , as the advertiser is concerned about clicks here .

Example : Suppose a campaign having 300×250 size banner running at CPC of $2 and the number of clicks the Ad has got is 1000 , what is the amount that the advertiser has to pay actually ?

The formula for CPC goes as below :

Cost to an Advertiser : CPC x number of clicks

using the above metrics ,

Cost to an Advertiser = 2 x 1000 = 2000

So , $ 2000 is what the advertiser has to pay !

CPC = Cost to an advertiser / number of clicks
Also , Cost = Impressions * CTR * CPC.

Basic Formulas in Online Advertising : CPM CALCULATION


cost per mille (1000) – This is one of the most used metrics on the web. It is the cost that has to be paid by an advertiser  for serving 1000 impressions .

Example :In a campaign , say an Ad of 728×90 is running and the CPM set is $5 and the impressions to be served is 2,00,000 , what will be the actual cost to  the advertiser ?

The formula for CPM goes this way :

Cost to an Advertiser = CPM x (Impressions / 1000)

using the above metrics :

Cost to an Advertiser= 5 x (2,00,000/1000) = 1000

So , $ 1000 is what the advertiser has to pay !

When CPM needs to be calculated : use the final cost.