Interview: Iryna Shokalo, Senior SEO Specialist

We continue our tradition of interviewing ADINDEX employees. For this article, we talked to Iryna Shokalo, the lead SEO specialist in the agency, about changes in agency, principles that help her in her work, and the important things that businesses should know about SEO promotion in 2020.

How did you get into the agency? How many years do you work here already? How did everything start?

The usual way. I sent a CV, received a call, answered a couple of questions, met with HR personally, and got a job offer. Before that, I worked in offline marketing and with banner ads, and I wanted to explore the analytics and internet marketing in general more. The ADINDEX agency offered me that exact opportunity to explore and use my skills. I came to give it a try and stayed for 4,5 years.

How did the agency change since you got here?

It grew significantly both in the number of employees and professionally.

Tell us, what do you like the most about your work?

The opportunity to work with different projects: it never gets boring. I like to help clients, to see the results of my work, and to receive positive feedback from clients.

I also like the freedom in decision-making and the ability to explain with arguments why certain things have to be done ‘this way, not the other’ to my colleagues and management.

Women of ADINDEX, 2016. Iryna is the first on the right

What are your principles of work with colleagues and clients?

To respect the time of the others. It’s essential to pay attention to the details of a task, document, or Terms of Reference both in live chat and in correspondence. Or, for instance, not to bother colleagues with questions that can be answered with the help of Google or ADINDEX Knowledge Base.

It’s important to be polite and correct both in communication and in correspondence: it’s all about respect towards yourself and the people around you. Being honest and fair didn’t hurt anyone, after all. It’s quite simple.

I stick to those principles myself and expect the same from others.

Did work in the ADINDEX agency change you?

Yes, of course. Work in ADINDEX allowed me to build my skills, especially professional, expert, communicational, and strategic ones. For that, I want to thank not only to my colleagues and chief but to our clients as well.

In the ADINDEX agency, I stopped being afraid of public speaking: fighting your fears with the help of practice turned out to work well for me. It turned out that my experience and knowledge could be interesting to total strangers.

Iryna spoke on the SendPulse workshop in August 2019

Do you have a credo/a rule you follow while you work on a project?

I think if I have to pick one, it would be taking full responsibility for a task or a project. However, to me, this isn’t about taking on the other people’s responsibilities — it’s about checking the final result, about forecasting the possible problems and the risks related to them. It’s also about predicting the questions the users could possibly have and knowing the answers to these questions.

Which skills and personal traits should a specialist that applies to Senior SEO position have?

They should have enough knowledge and experience to successfully promote a project of any complexity, to know what to do for that and how to do that. It’s all about strategical thinking, about knowing how to develop and implement the promotional strategy for any project and how to forecast the possible risks. Such specialist should know how to consult their colleagues and to participate in the internal training of junior specialists. They also should know how to make a hypothesis and to initiate the conduction of tests and analysis.

In your opinion, what shouldn’t a business miss when launching an SEO promotion in 2020?

2019 was filled with Google search algorithms updates. By analyzing these changes, we could make prognoses about what should be in the heart of the SEO promotional strategy for 2020 projects.

  1. To work on improving and building the brand’s trust and recognition among the users.

For the YMYL* (Your Money — Your Life) category websites, the trust, the authority, and the reliability play one of the major roles in the ranking. Therefore, we should focus on forming the users’ loyalty and trust towards a brand and a website.

YMYL websites are the ones that could potentially influence a person’s happiness, health, safety, and financial stability. Ecommerce websites also fit into this category.

2. To generate the expert content.

The relevance of the content quality issue only increases: text factors would affect the rankings even more with time.

  • Google generates high requirements for the expertise, authority, and reliability of the content. It generates the same requirements towards the expertise level of the content creators, especially in professional niches and niches related to the YMYL websites mentioned above.
  • The requirements for the content in terms of completeness increase as well. Those URL pages that meet the users’ requests as fully as possible rank better. Google updated algorithms (BERT) to understand the search intents and the users’ needs better.

Therefore, if you work only with uniqueness and keyword density, you won’t be able to get to the Top of search results.

3. To maximize your presence in the search results.

Google search results have changed a lot recently: if your website makes it to the new blocks, it could profit in terms of traffic numbers.

  • The website’s presence in map search results. It’s good for local SEO promotion of businesses with offline spots.
  • The creation and optimization of videos to establish your presence in video content search results.
  • The optimization for Featured Snippets. If you get to the 0 position of search results, you can generate 8,6% of clicks in Google. However, to achieve that, you have to raise the users’ interest to not only find the answer to their question and close the browser but to click on the website as well.
  • To use all the options for structuring the micro-layout data to increase snippet’s CTR.
  • To develop and optimize the Ukrainian version of a website. If you are a Ukraine-based website that doesn’t have a Ukrainian version, you should get one immediately as it will allow you to generate Ukrainian traffic.
Iryna, with her colleague Yekateryna Kyiasova at the Sempro conference in 2018.

Finally, could you please share your most pleasant experience of 4,5 years work in ADINDEX with us?

Probably, this is the first public speaking experience at Business Talks. It has been emotionally difficult and inspirational at the same time: when you go out there and hear all the questions and gratitudes at the end when you understand that other people find it valuable.

Of course, positive feedback from the clients is pleasant as well. I enjoy watching how even the most skeptical clients start trusting us and asking for our advice after a certain time of cooperation.

Iryna taught the Junior SEO course in 2018.

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