Pick Her Brain!
I’d like to introduce one of our members, Olga Andrienko, for our next ‘Pick His/Her Brain’ session and I want to thank her for the participation.
Olga is the Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush. She has expanded the brand globally, entering the markets of over 50 countries.
Olga speaker at leading marketing conferences like SMX and Pubcon. She is also a judge of content and social media awards in USA and Europe.
If you have any questions on anything SEMrush related, content marketing, influencer marketing, social media, PR.
Leadership, operations, personal story, etc., please feel free to pick her brain.
For those who haven’t tried SEMrush, you can test-drive the platform for 2 weeks.
Here are the rules.
1) I’ll let the thread go on until she asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the FaceBook stock value goes to zero.
2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s successes and strategies.
3) Please do not PM her and bother her. If you have a private question, ask for her permission on this thread when appropriate.
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How is the virus affecting overall operations and sales projection?
We’re not affected as much as other companies because SEMrush subscription would be one of the last companies will remove.
It doesn’t cost much and it covers many aspects – SEO, PPC, content and social media.
But we do feel the ripple effect. Companies in industries like travel are stopping all operations, and cancel all services too.
We’re working with these clients to find the best solution and not lose them forever.
What’s the SEMrush’s new feature addition process look like?
It depends – best SEO answer!many features and tools emerge from client wishes. We work with thought leaders closely. Once Glenn Gabe sent a thought about the tool he’d wish he’d had.
And our product picked it up, within a quarter we had a prototype, Glenn was the Alpha tester along with few other influencers.
After we’ve tested the tool with a small group, we’ve released the tool to beta. That’s how a SERP Features widget in Organic Search was built
Each year we gather thought leaders from around the world and organize workshops with our Product Owners. They validate ideas and brainstorm on features together with influencers who use our product the most.
What’s the biggest challenge for SEMrush?
There are a few that we’re working on. Expanding to new areas and growing our presence there.
When we added content tools and social media tools and now traffic analytics, the audience was still primarily search-focused.
It took us (and still takes) a lot of effort to expand the audience to these new niches.
Another challenge is to ensure our current clients know about the latest updates and additional tools they can use for the same subscription cost.
With many additions it’s not easy. At some point we were adding new tools so quickly, users couldn’t keep up.
The biggest problem with SEO tools, is in the stack of services that is needed, the fees are also stacking higher and higher. Combined with the rest of the funnel is becomes unmanageable.
The data is there. The accuracy is the question, it’s not only data, it’s algorithms. There is a huge trust issue and not many tools pass this test.
What founders also don’t realise is that the cost of storing the data is high.
If you want to provide historical data, have a large keyword database and also help users with tracking, then it’s not easy at all. But I wish you the best of luck.
What single growth strategy has accounted for the most growth (move the needle the most) for you and your team in the last 12 months?
If I have to sum it up in one strategy, then it’ll be online education.
Our Academy courses and webinars are free, we’ve done a huge online conference called Global Marketing Day to expand to new audiences.
So we’re trying to attract people by solving their challenges and providing free marketing advice.
They stay and trust us and by nurturing those leads we’re eventually growing the number of clients too.
What would be your personal advice to SEO professionals other than don’t cancel SEMrush?
Collaborate with other departments. PR can help you generate links. PPC can help bring traffic to the same pages and let you see the imperfections faster.
Now SERPs is the collaborative effort of the whole team, especially SERP for your branded keyword.
PPC team takes care of the ads (even for a branded keyword), SEO takes care of the SERP elements on top and own snippet, social media team takes care of Quora results that come up and PR team is accountable for your brand mentions on other websites.
Don’t neglect that. Work together.
Do you have any example that you got impressed by brilliant SEMrush using strategy of someone?
I love how Arkadium are using SEMrush. They’ve had a 850% organic traffic increase and during the covid-19 crisis they continue growing, the gaming industry hasn’t suffered https://www.semrush.com/company/stories/arkadium/
How does SEMRush get its data? Who is the source and is it reliable?
I asked this before from AHREFS and they just say “clickstream” or some vague answer without elaborating on it…
Data comes from third party providers – hundreds of them. Then we apply our own proprietary algorithms and process it. As for clickstream, we do use it for refining search volumes.
We have multiple data providers for clickstream and some work exclusively with us.
What course do you recommened for me and advices?
We have a lot of free courses in SEMrush Academy and you can also get certified to prove you’ve learned SEO. https://www.semrush.com/academy/
Moz beginner guide is a good place to start if you like reading. Definitely check out Backlinko (Brian Dean) blog.
What’s your marketing philosophy?
Experience is a burden. I always try to approach the new task as a learner not as an expert. Gives a lot more opportunities. My mind is not clouded by the old ways.
And marketing is based on psychology. So if I understand people, I understand marketing.
What mistakes most companies make when attempting to scale?
Common mistake – if you grow in size, your processes have to change. You can’t have twice as many people but the same process you used in the past.
So many companies can’t keep up with their own growth. Habits die hard.
What is a feature SEM Rush has which you feel has a lot of value but isn’t widely used?
I love SEO Writing Assistant. Over 30k people use it as a WordPress plugin, but I still think there is more potential ?? it’s the tool that checks the score of the content by SEO, Readability, Tone of Voice and Originality (plagiarism).
And Topic Research that is our advanced version of Answerthepublic.
Would you try to get in touch with decision makers via email or phone first? What would be your tips for growing a B2B globally in a very crowded space?
In 99,9% of cases it will be email, not phone. Unless it’s emergency.
If that’s a first touch point, I’ll check for mutual connections and ask to be introduced.
If that’s a cold outreach:
– my email will be as short as possible
– I’ll highlight not only what I am looking for, but how I can be of help
– I’ll always approach from the position of the equal and not show the person is superior to me in any way (regardless of the title, position and company).
I always believe that in any cooperation two sides should find mutual benefits.
P.S. any email that has an offer to have a call goes to spam immediately. It shows that they don’t value my time. So no, no calls I am respectful of their time.
Do you think SEMrush should provide some deeper insight as to how to recover or adjust to Google updates?
We’re constantly releasing this info, and the research on manual penalties is coming up next.
A lot of Google penalties were connected to the quality of the content, and we’ve invested a lot of time to analyze what content actually works. https://www.semrush.com/…/semrush-research-15-content…/
We usually focus more on how to ensure your content ranks than what to do when you got penalized, but this content is also on the way.
The SEO Tools market has become very crowded. Do you foresee some consolidation & thinning happening? Secondly, what are your plans for Local SEO & GMB?
Many tools that existed 5-6 years ago are non existent today, like Market Samurai. Market leaders have also changed. So SEO space is always evolving.
Mainly because Google is evolving and growing. Smaller tools appear, mono-tools that serve only one purpose are becoming more popular.
Organic traffic now constitutes for over 50% of all traffic, so of course tools are built for what brings more revenue I love competition and it makes us stay alert and agile.
What is really risky though for all new and small SEO tools is their full dependency on Google. One change in Google’s algorithms and they can go out of business.
We have spent years to diversify the risks and build content tools, social media and traffic analytics that would lower down this dependency.
How would you determine what the best influencer platform is for a certain niche?
We use Nimble to keep contacts there. It’s a CRM we use for relationship management.
In terms of searching for influencers, Phlanx is great for Instagram (and it’s crazy cheap). Klear is an enterprise tool with strong influencer marketing search for Twitter.
Upfluence is veeeery expensive, but looked like a killer tool for bigger brands. We didn’t go for it though. The ROI of spending 2k a month was unclear.