Welcome! Today on TechWyse interviews, we have a very special guest. He is a serial entrepreneur and an SEO expert. Valery Kurilov is the CEO of SE Ranking, an all-in-one SEO tool. He also co-founded Intellectsoft, HelpCrunch and is the advisor of PlayHal.io, a crypto-based gaming company.
Q: I would like to know what goes into your hustle for building a company like SE Ranking from the bottom up. Can you tell us the problems that you faced during the early stages and what your strategy was for solving them?
A: At the very beginning, we developed rank tracker for our internal use because the third-party tools were not very accurate. But as we started adding new features to it, we realized that the system outgrew its initial means and became a comprehensive marketing platform. So we’ve offered it to the market and immediately faced a few problems with scalability among the biggest of them. The number of users was growing faster than we could accommodate in making sure that everything was working properly which put our technical team on an around-the-clock schedule. Hiring seasoned professionals for core development and outsourcing for some other projects helped to resolve the issues while giving us a solid foundation to grow. Today we are a completely in-house team of developers, customer support, sales, and marketing professionals.
Q: It’s said that every mistake is an opportunity to learn. Can you share any misconceptions about SEO that need to stay in 2018?
A: There are a lot of misconceptions about SEO that many specialists don’t take seriously which is a big mistake. For example, many believe that nofollow links or backlinks manipulations don’t impact the rankings but in reality, they do. Which means that things like guest blogging – even with the nofollow link, is still a good technique that must continue.
Its also been said in the media that Google doesn’t consider behavioral factors but in fact, it does.
I would also recommend paying attention to AdWords which should not be influencing the rankings but for some reason, even the pages closed from indexing are getting indexed and rank at the top of SERP. Why does it happen? Because AdWords impacts behavioral metrics, which in turn, affects rankings.
My advice would be to remember that just like with any rule – even if it comes from Google’s – the exclusions and special overruling always apply.
Q: After the implementation of RankBrain the search results are personalized for different users and continuously tracks user data to provide the most relevant results. As an expert on search algorithms, what’s the best way to get long-term stability in SERPs?
A: Search engines are developing faster than most realize. They are more sophisticated, complicated and difficult to predict with every passing year. Chasing the ultimate goal of providing users with the most relevant content for a search query, search engines are using more and more factors and metrics. Which means that in order to succeed in making search engine work in your favour, you need to adopt a fundamental concept of creating super high-quality content developed for humans by humans and with value added.
On top of that, I highly recommend learning how to implement a so-called reverse-engineering. This means that with every new search engine update, new opportunities arise. Your job is to constantly monitor SERP changes and depending on this knowledge, help search engines understand that your content is the best for the query.
Q: As the CEO of a large company, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your clients are happy with what they are paying. But in some cases, it’s hard to put every piece together exactly as you had imagined. What’s your take on the best steps to avoid roadblocks as a CEO?
A: In the beginning, it was fairly easy because I was closely involved in all our processes and operations. There were times when I was in charge and the assignee of various tasks related to the product as well as the business. Once the team grew, I made a goal to promote communication between all of our departments so we are all on the same page. That proved to be a recipe for success.
Now, of course, I participate less in routine operations but a deep understanding of all our processes keeps me up-to-date on everything happening in the company and ensure the highest possible quality of our product.
What also helps is the fact that I’m the most frequent and demanding user of our platform. If something goes wrong, I’m usually the first to notice so we can fix the issue way before it becomes a problem for our customers.
Q: Google has changed the way they analyze page speed and now the page speed and optimization are two different criteria for assessing the UX of websites. Does SE Ranking help its users to analyze a website for page speed optimization?
A: Yes, absolutely. Besides 80 other important parameters, our website audit also measures and monitors page load speed on your website. By the way, we are in the process of a major makeover of this feature as we want it to be more informative and powerful. The page speed will surely be among the top features of this tool.
Q: Due to increased competition in content marketing, it is very hard to rank for competitive keywords. Now Google is giving priority to the click-through and bounce rate on a page. What is your take on a new type of content marketing to get a higher ranking?
A: It’s a source of concern for many players in the market. However, any statement that Google gives priority to over another does not always ring true. There are many second-tier metrics that could influence the rankings thus could be seen as very important. In my opinion, content marketing is really influential within the top-10 or top-20 results. When you are fighting for the first positions where the competition is the highest, it comes down to the “intent” of a search query and matches it precisely. Meaning that if it’s a basic information search query, the content has to provide maximum information related to the question. If it’s a commercial type of request where conversion is likely, then you need to provide the user what he/she is looking for. Google is very keen on creating this kind of user experiences and will prefer your site if you are constantly satisfying user requirements.
Q: As an internet marketing company we offer link building services for our clients. How can we make use of SE Ranking for a detailed analysis of backlinks?
SE Ranking has a special tool aimed at helping users build and sustain a successful backlink profile. For example, you can regularly check your backlinks profile to make sure that all the links that you need are there. This tool has been developed to systemize and automate the link building process to the maximum. Moreover, our system checks all major parameters of every backlink in your profile and instantly notifies you if the link has been removed or added.
Q: With changing demands in the search industry, everyone is looking for tools that can scale their workload and time effectively, so can we expect any new tools from SE Ranking for work automation?
Last year was very successful for us in many ways including releasing new tools and updates to the existing portfolio.
A recent release was the keyword grouper. It’s a useful and efficient tool that saves tonnes of time and effort when working with large semantics.
Another useful tool from the recent release is page changes monitoring. It might not be your regular SEO tool and not all understand the benefit of using it. But if you want to keep up with any changes on the particular page that you are monitoring – this tool is for you. It does not matter whether the changes are taking place on your page or one on a competitor’s site – the tool will track any changes on a page you are setting it to and notify you in a timely manner so you can react right away.
In terms of future releases, there are two major directions that we are working on right now:
- Adding new country databases for competitor SEO/PPC analysis
- Beefing up the functionality of the existing solutions. We already have a huge arsenal of tools meant to complete any SEO tasks so we are working on making them more powerful and useful. Our goal is to create modules that will become an integral part of the big marketing platform that will serve as a go-to tool for a marketing team.
Q: The success of a company is primarily in the hands of the marketing and sales teams. What are content marketing strategies that you use to attract new leads to your sales funnel?
A: Content marketing plays a very important role in our lead generation process. We’ve tried many techniques – from gated content to native advertising. Since we have a pretty short sales cycle — especially when targeting small to medium size businesses — influencer marketing and native advertising work the best for us as far as lead generation goes. There are two things that build trust among the users – content by a thought leader in the niche and feedback from existing customers.
As the content for our blog and third-party publication goes, our goal is to provide the most informative and practical content possible. This includes tips, case studies, and actionable insights developed with a single purpose in mind – to provide value. I believe that the trust gained through quality content is even more effective for lead generation in the long run than sponsored publication when it comes to establishing authority.
A: Finally, I would like to know your thoughts on the future of SEO. How will the industry change in the next few years?
The tendency is such that top SERP will be dominated by the biggest players in the niche. The only way to beat those giants is to develop the highest quality content that is the most relevant. In order to match the requirements of the search engines, you need to provide value in every sentence regardless of whether it’s an informational piece of content or one that is pushing for conversion.
Thank you Valery for taking the time to answer my questions and sharing your insights!
If you like reading interviews with top leaders in the digital space, be sure to check out past interviews we’ve done. If there is someone you’d like to see interviewed on the TechWyse blog, be sure to leave a comment below!