“SEO is not speed; it’s strategy” — Alexander Martynenko, SEO Expert at Innovecs
The objective of every business is to attract as many customers as possible. A business that moves online tries to capture customer’s attention through the site and get more traffic. SEO specialists can help with this task. In this interview, Alexander Martynenko, SEO Expert at Innovecs, tells what precisely the SEO specialist does and what it takes to become one.
What is SEO?
Most perceive SEO as positions, click-throughs, site traffic, and nothing more. But in reality, SEO just starts there. Today, in order to achieve results, the SEO specialist must be practically a marketer: your result is influenced by a lot of factors beyond the traditional understanding of SEO. You have to be a little bit of a developer to understand how the sites work and the best way to optimize them. You have to be a bit of a copywriter to understand the texts you have on the site. You have to be a little bit of a designer to understand the usability that allows you to increase conversions. You have to be an analyst to find bottlenecks and understand how you can influence them.
How long have you been in SEO, and what was your first task?
I’ve been working in SEO for almost 11 years. I came from sales and previously held the position of sales manager. At one point, I became interested in understanding how our site works and how it can be optimized for Google. So first, I was offered to engage in SEO partially, then I started devoting to it half of my work time. Then I realized that what I do is very interesting, and I really want to develop in this direction. The work went well, so I was offered a permanent position as an SEO specialist.
Where and how did you study SEO?
I can probably be considered self-taught. In my first job, I was helped by a colleague who knew a bit about marketing and SEO. We also had a separate department that dealt with site development, although it is challenging to call full-fledged training. So I had to read a lot of information on the internet and test everything myself.
In general, I think that the skill of finding answers has helped me a lot. This is not taught in SEO courses. In general, the main disadvantage of the courses is that they give people basic information (usually a ready checklist) and do not teach them to understand the essence, which is crucial in our profession. Of course, I use a checklist in my work, it helps a lot, but it is more likely a tactical decision than a strategic one. Therefore, courses are a good option just to understand whether SEO is your cup of tea.
What skills should an SEO specialist have?
A good SEO specialist should be curious and always question all theories. Unfortunately (or fortunately), in SEO, we have no law or code like lawyers do. Therefore, by making the same SEO steps, you very often get completely different results.
The second important factor is the ability to work with a lot of information. Frequently you have to collect, analyze and make decisions based on large volumes of conflicting data. Many people try to automate this work, which is logical. Still, here you should always look for limits because automation often does not consider many factors that can significantly affect the result.
Incidentally, it would be best if you googled properly. There’s a good selection of life hacks for Google search in a column on Medium.
How fast do you get the result?
SEO is not about speed at all. When I interviewed people for my team, I was interested in the games they play. If it’s a strategy, then most likely, this person will suit me. If it’s a shooter — the desire to get a quick result — this person is not made for SEO.
Putting aside “black SEO” (black hat SEO), a quick result is impossible for two reasons:
1. Search engine features. For example, it can take months or even years before a young website hits the top 10 search results (depending on the subject). If we talk about SEO in IT or e-commerce, then there are thousands of sites on the internet developed by their owners. Therefore, why does Google have to decide that your site is the only one that is unique one day?
2. SEO processes. Google takes into account a considerable number of factors an SEO specialist must consider. This is a tremendous amount of work that cannot be done in a week or a month. All processes in SEO are systematic and can last more than one month. Besides, all this is only for the first results.
Of course, there are exceptions. Prompt results can be found on reputable sites that Google trusts, but they have also gained credibility, not in a day or month.
What is the difference between SEO optimization in IT and e-commerce?
I think there are two significant distinctions:
1. Semantics. In the online store, the main pages for potential customers will be either categories or products. Accordingly, the semantics are straightforward and clear. At the same time, the volumes of such pages will be huge.
As for IT services, the primary attention is paid to the blog (of course, there will also be services pages, but they are rarely searched).
2. Content. Usually, the online store uses ready-made descriptions of goods, whereas the IT site works with unique expert content pointwise.
We can also include different sales schemes and levels of work with site automation.
What do you like about Innovecs?
At Innovecs, I began to develop not only in SEO but also in marketing. Before that, I was sure there was such a narrow niche of SEO where I have to become an expert. And here I was given the opportunity to develop, explore Project Management and Marketing — and it’s cool, it’s interesting to me. I have been doing SEO for 11 years, and for over a year, I’ve been working at Innovecs. I appreciate the fact that there are all opportunities to open up and develop as a PROFESSIONAL. All in all, Innovecs is just awesome!