Ivan Paliy: about Boosta, marketing and SEO strategy for Sitechecker.pro
Ivan Paliy, a marketer at Boosta, answered several important questions about SEO and marketing for Sitechecker.pro
1. How many years of expertise in SEO and Internet marketing do you have already?
5 years. I started working in this field in 2015. I was introduced to the owner of a medical respiratory equipment business in Germany (a company called apomed24) who was looking for a freelancer to promote his products on eBay. It was required to understand the eBay admin panel, load items into the store, and figure out how to raise your product ranking in eBay query. At that time, I did not know anything about this, but it was really interesting to figure everything out.
The only problem was that the whole communication was in German. I translated all customer messages with the Google Translator and answered them likewise, and this has negatively influenced my sales conversions. That’s why the business owner decided to delegate me the development of the CIS market. I launched a store on the prom.ua platform for Ukraine and got ready for operating WordPress store for Russia under management.
Then I was engaged in filling the store with goods and communicating with customers, and in Ukraine, I also took the goods to the warehouse and sent them to customers. It was a very interesting experience, as we had to solve diverse problems, and sometimes we had very conflicting situations when dealing with clients.
I worked there for a year and a half, then a short period in a marketing agency, and in April 2017 I got to Boosta. Already here I saw how little I knew about SEO and generally about niches in which you can create and promote products.
2. What was the most interesting period of SEO development over the years you are in the industry?
When I read interviews with webmasters and SEOs with the 10+ experience, I understand how little I know. They have been in the SEO business since its origins and discerned every filter and update. These experts will probably give you a better answer.
My answer is rather based on my perception of what is interesting activity in general. Interest hs always been correlated with unpredictability. You can search for studies about psychological experiments with dopamine rewards in humans and other primates. An unexpected reward always brings one more pleasure than an expected reward for doing something correctly.
I suppose that SEO is based on the same principles. The times when it was enough to register keywords and purchase links were too simplistic and predictable. I find it interesting to read how old-school webmasters miss this period of the gold rush. But I am sure that they would be bored with working on such tasks, sooner or later. Although, search engines don’t let anyone be bored.
So the most interesting point is now and in the future. The “force war” between webmasters and search engines leads to interesting and creative solutions when competition is the toughest.
3. How do you perceive the latest changes in the operation of search engines: reducing the number of clicks to sites, solving user problems immediately in the search results? How does this affect your plans?
I take it positively. First of all, each SEO is a person who, after hours, acts as a user of a search engine. And when he is in this role, does he feel how much faster he gets answers to his questions?
I often read how they scold Google for doing everything in search to increase profits with Google Ads. I do not share this position of condemnation. When I look at what products Google releases for its money and how much it gives for free, I am glad that it is successful as a company.
The latest changes in search engines do not particularly affect my plans since for me SEO has always been only one of the possible sources of traffic. Multi-variance gives invulnerability.
4. What is the skill of Internet marketing and specifically in SEO you have pumped the most? Why did you decide to concentrate on it?
In internet marketing – web analytics, growth hacking. Web analytics – just like to dig in the data and look for ways to get the benefit out of it.
In SEO – designing a website structure and writing texts. As the site grows and new pages are added, there is often a burning desire to divide them into thematic clusters and beautifully link. When I look at the beautiful structure, navigation, and results in the form of traffic, I get aesthetic pleasure.
As for writing texts, I am not a professional copywriter, but somehow it went from school that I like to write. I used to try to use several American templates for writing selling texts, but they quickly became nasty to me. I believe that in any product or service, I can highlight the main thing, briefly convey the essence, predict the frequent questions of users and answer them.
5. What do you prefer: client SEO, own projects, consulting? Why?
I like everything except client SEO. Basically, clients do not know how the agency works either do not want to get familiar with what it can and cannot influence.
And they often try to transfer his risks to the contractor.
6. How do you determine success in SEO: by ROI, by market share, or by earned experience?
If considering SEO only as part of Internet marketing and business, then by the amount of traffic.
7. Which projects are you most proud of?
“Whoever indulges in sweet memories of past victories quickly dies. Victories cost nothing – they have already been in the plan”
I do not feel the pride, you know. I am rather pleased with the development of some projects. At the moment, these include Sitechecker, the main product of our team, and ivanpalii.com., my blog.
Sitechecker. I’m happy with the amount of work performed by our team during the last few years, with the new knowledge we acquired, and with the overall potential of our product.
Presently, the number of our site’s unique visitors from all corners of the world has reached 220 thousand per month; every day we have 2-3 thousand sites requested for verification. We have already received some applications for monitoring the technical site condition from foreign governments, plus the requests from European universities to register accounts for their students in our service.
We realize the high competition of the market we entered, but we also realize that we can provide some new SEO tools yet even the market leaders miss.
In brief, I find these results inspiring. Add the diversity of tasks (which is very important for me) on different stages of product growth in both Internet marketing and product management. There are not so many businesses allowing you to gain so much valuable experience in such short terms – so we’re probably the lucky ones.
My blog. Up to the day, there are only 11 articles; most of them are messed up with my thoughts and they still need to be edited. But working on this product will be interesting for me even after the decades.
8. What strategy do you prefer: to launch many small projects and then select the best of them or to create and grow several large sites at one time?
To develop large sites. When I hear about these 2 strategies, I immediately recollect the r/K selection theory. Here are some key extracts from Wikipedia.
[…] “In an unstable or unpredictable environment, r-strategy prevails, since in this case the ability to quickly reproduce plays a key role, and adaptation mechanisms that allow you to compete with other organisms are not so important due to rapidly changing conditions. Specific features of the r-strategy are high fecundity, small size, relatively short lifetime and the ability to quickly spread over wide distances” […]
[…] “If the environment is more or less constant, then organisms with a K-strategy prevail in it since, in this case, the ability to successfully compete with other organisms in the conditions of limited resources comes first. The population of K-strategists, as a rule, is constant and close to the maximum possible in the given conditions. Specific features of the K-strategy are large sizes, a relatively long period of life and limited offspring, the education of which is allocated a significant part of the time.” […]
In terms of Google-related business, it can be said that the greater the value of randomness, the more profitable it is to operate using r-strategy. The more clear and stable is the ranking process, the more profitable it is to avoid initial SEO and start working on the small number of projects.
Based on these strategies, I see 3 types of SEO-specialists:
- those who launch many small projects, select better ones with the artificial intelligence, and only then start working seriously on the best of them;
- those who launch between 1-5 projects at once and develop them without any preliminary selection;
- those who are looking for how to hack search engines, ride a wave and do not plan to make any brands out of sites;
I consider myself to be in the second category; but I find the first as well interesting for its sophistication of technology. To demonstrate, Andrei Mukhachev says that the search has now become a completely random task, and the only right strategy in the first stage is to manage many small sites. It is interesting to read about the experiments with such products, but I would not be pleased to choose a domain to develop only by how much Google liked it. The name should be appealing, even if its promotion takes a little longer.
9. What strategy do you prefer: monopolize a niche with several of your sites or run one project in different niches?
One project – different niches. If you manage projects yourself, then you will not be able to make 2 equally cool projects in one niche. For example, we have Sitechecker and Copywritely are at the top of the same request queries, but they are still different. If you look through two of their pages (https://copywritely.com/plagiarism-checker/ and https://sitechecker.pro/duplicate- content/) you will see that we have arranged them with a duplicate content checker, but we designed them with different content to cover two intents. Copywritely is all about finding duplicates all over the network, while the Sitechecker will check for duplicate content inside your site.
These two sites are comparable, but still related to different subjects, we can put them in TOP together for some requests, presenting different options for intents, page types, etc.
But in case when sites are generally about the same thing, it is difficult to divide one’s creative decisions into two projects. It can be done if separate teams are allocated to different sites within the same niche. This “arms race” is expected to lead every site to differenciation at the same time demonstrating maximum of creative skills of SEO.
Besides, the monopolization of the search query sounds attractive from the increasing revenues point of view, but not when you consider it from the self-development perspective.
10. How do you choose the niches for a launch: by potential ROI, level of competition, income ceiling, stability, or by your interest?
By interest, competition, and its duration.
11. Do you use black and grey SEO techniques now? What do you think of them?
If you read what is considered grey SEO, then yes, I use it. But not the black one.
12. Have you ever run campaigns in Google Ads? How do you combine Google Ads campaigns and SEO work?
Yes, I’ve launched them, currently doing this, and will do it in the future 🙂 I like Google Ads and their latest updates.
This is an excellent tool for quickly checking whether it is worth going into a niche and collecting semantics. As for me, Google Ads has two important nuances:
You can see which keywords are converting (the Google Search Console and Google Analytics do not allow this now), and you can predict the profit from a particular land if the search traffic goes to it.
You can collect a lot of valuable keywords that are not in the database of other SEO tools.
So, Google Ads can generally be put on stream. You make a page, launch campaigns, collect a statue and semantics, optimize a page based on the data received, plus immediately start building links on a ready-made list of anchors.
I can’t follow the cannibalization of traffic from organics and paid issuance. Volumes are not large.
13. Do you have a university degree? Does it help you in your work?
There is a legal one. I think that helps in three indirect ways:
Correctly set logical thinking. Jurisprudence is considered humanities, and so it is. But the legal system of any state is essentially the same code as the code of a computer program. This code has a specific task, and when making any changes to this code, it is important to look for any contradictions in it. Every word and punctuation mark has meaning. It teaches you how to properly structure your speech and text, as well as easily find contradictions in the words of other people.
The ability to separate facts from opinions about facts.
Assess the legality, profitability, and consequences of a legal document.
In addition, jurisprudence can be considered not only as a science but also as a social technology, that is, a set of recipes, instructions for managing society and the individual. In this sense, marketing is also part of social technology.
14. Can you share your professional and business plans for 2-3 years?
I do not share my plans.
15. Can you describe in a few words your strategy for working with any project from zero to the finish? Do you think that on average such a strategy is the same for all SEOs?
Competitor analysis, collection of semantics, clustering, content writing, internal linking, link building, analytics tuning, conversion optimization.
At the first stage, the main thing is to get feedback from search engines and check the most risky hypotheses.
I think that on average such a strategy is the same for all SEOs.
16. How do you pump your knowledge and skills? Practice, reading blogs, taking courses, conferences, networking?
Personal experiments, communication with specialists in Boosta, reading blogs and telegram channels.
Now there is a lot of information and courses, so it is important to carefully select the sources. I select them according to two principles: does a person pour water and does this information expand my picture of the world.
17. Are there any marketing and SEO blogs you like the most? Which and why?
There is. In RuNet, mainly telegrams channels and blogs: Mikhail Shakin, Igor Badalov, Andrei Mukhachev, Maxim Kovalev, Dmitrii Sokhach, Andrei Giatsintov, Ruslan Bely, Galina Bakusheva, Viktor Karpenko, Sergei Koksharov and others.
I like channels where webmasters regularly conduct experiments and publish their results plus those who perform a qualitative analysis of any changes in the search algorithms, those who destroy myths and are not afraid to admit their mistakes.
As for the international traffi, I get most info via email newsletters: Brian Dean, Matt Diggity, Nathan Gotch.
My subscriptions on web analytics topics include Andrey Osipov, Oleg Yakubenkov, Pavel Levchuk, Ivan Ivanov.
18. What are the main mistakes you made at the beginning of your career as an SEO specialist?
Underestimated the impact of links.
Received traffic, and only then thought how to monetize it.
I did not collect the full core from the very beginning.
19. What are the main mistakes you made at the start of your leader’s career?
I don’t act as a formal leader for anyone.
20. In your opinion, what tactics in SEO are underestimated?
The importance of reaching semantics across the entire niche, the amount of branded traffic, convenient site navigation.
21. What services, companies, tools have inspired you over the past year?
In addition to the services developed by our team, we also interact with the following.
Telegram. Perfect product and branding.
Google Marketing Platform. This includes such products: Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, Google Optimize, Google Tag Manager, Google Ads.
Amplitude. We use it for product analytics’ generation.
HelpScout. I discovered this one recently. A perfect service for building comprehensive user support: chat + ticket system + knowledge base. Zendesk seemed complicated to me, and at the Intercom, I did not like the pricing policy.
Evan Miller. Provides great tools for experiments, data visualization, and generally useful blog.
AppSumo. All the processes are smoothly operated, plus a great and quickly developing business model.
22. What are the most common SEO errors you see in other companies?
AS far as I have heard, mistakes in SEO are just the result of mistakes in business.
Lack of a business strategy.
Inadequate market estimation.
Hesitation to study competitors’ products and learn from them.
23. How do you see the future of SEO and Internet marketing in 5 years?
SEO is turning into a separate branch of the marketing strategy. Site owners are already trying to respond to the user’s search request trends, even if the user does not visit the site. They bet on the chance that they will remember the domain and will recognize the brand in the next search.
Internet Marketing. Improving web analytics tools and business processes in companies make testing channels, messages, products, and contractors easier and faster. So-called “banner blindness” is becoming more and more apparent among users because of information pressure as opposed to their desire to find relevant information within the shortest time.
I believe that this course will lead to CPC and CPM models’ decreasing popularity and the growing popularity of affiliate programs, and other models aimed to attract leads, conversion, and increase the volume of transactions.
When the owner of a blog or forum offers to place a banner on his website, he/she wants to expand the value of his resource and shift the risk of campaign inefficiency on the customer. Affiliate programs and the payment for a lead, conversion, or transaction quantity makes the one who leads the traffic campaign completely responsible for its results. I think that such a model is advanced compared to the others.
24. What new directions would you like to study: data science, programming, product management, design, or you’ve got your own version?
Product management and data science. Product management has already become an in-depth subject; as for data science, I plan to enter it when I will have an urgent need for these skills to develop our products.
25. How do you think: what tools should be present in the arsenal of every SEO specialist?
During my work at Boosta, I was surprised by the extent to which tools of one SEO can be different from other co-workers’ professional toolkit. But each of them can bring a good result.
This way, tools are important, but they do not play a crucial role in the final result. Other contributors affecting the result are a level of skills, niche competition, amount of resources, tools, and luck.
My personal must-have list of tools is as follows:
Ahrefs – for competitor analysis.
Google Search Console – to receive feedback from search engines and prioritize subsequent work on landings, anchors for links.
Sitechecker – to check and monitor the technical health of the site.
26. What advice can you give to those who have just started their career in SEO?
Launch your project. Bet everything you’ve got on success. In addition to pumping yourself up as an SEO specialist, you will also boost yourself as an entrepreneur and as a person. Due to the increasing division of labor, there are fewer and fewer people left in the world who produce a special product either can create it with a team.
27. Do you think it still makes sense for SEO developers to operate CIS projects? Maybe it’s better to start and bring your expertise to projects from abroad?
Yes, it does make sense to work with CIS projects. The market is less competitive, while the Russian language is the sixth in the world according to a number of its speakers.
But creating products that are in demand around the world is even a better option.
28. In your opinion, do the updates from Yandex and Google differ a lot? And the consequences of which search engine are more principal?
For Yandex, because for Google we can recognize that the update is close with several patterns of changing positions and traffic before. If we discover something interesting and evidence-based, we will definitely publish it.
29. If you were offered to promote the site, what niche would you give up immediately? And why?
From a niche that:
- I’m not interested in;
- Is legally unprotected;
- Operates on the small market.
30. What ranking factors do you consider the highest priority? Can you list them?
Last click. It is clear that it is included only for those who have already reached the top, but I think it is the most important. And the increase in the number of requests with zero-click only proves this.
31. In your opinion, does technical website optimization affect SEO? How can this issue be addressed? Have you had any interesting cases related to the correction of technical errors of the site?
I think that affects. There are no interesting cases now. To publish such cases, you need to devote a lot of time to the correct methodology for conducting experiments. But in Boosta, there is a requirement for SEOs to lick websites from the technical side. The techie is the foundation.
32. How do you do SEO site audit? What do you pay attention to first of all?
Now I do not conduct audits. But a good audit should begin with a specific request from customers or with specific requests to yourself if you audit your site. Speaking about SEO audit, I mean not only technical audit but also audit of featured snippets, link, user behavior on pages, etc.
A universal audit request may sound like this: what technical errors impede my growth, what errors can undermine the project in the near future, and what zones of proximal development are visible in the project?
33. What metrics do you usually pay attention to when analyzing competitors?
Traffic by Similarweb, DR by Ahrefs, what are the top traffic pages, what was the link building strategy, what are the product/website reviews, what is the monetization model.