The head of Seo Pult Nikolay Evdokimov on how search engine optimization from dancing with tambourines has turned into a simple tool, how to actually sell SEO services and what it will become in the coming years.
At all profile Internet conferences the last six months or a year, when it came to search engine optimization, one way or another, the conclusion about its fate was made disappointing due to the active personification of the search by the main search engines, due to the introduction of a lot of regional and other settings that affect the issue. SEO in its pure form dies and becomes part of internet marketing. Or, as it has recently become fashionable to call, digital marketing. We are talking today with the head of the Seopult project, the founder of the Unmedia internet holding, Nikolai Evdokimov, whether this is the case, as well as many other related topics.
It is difficult to say for sure. At many conferences, the position of “Yandex” was heard regarding the work of referential rankings. This position is understandable. No matter how much she proclaimed, nothing has changed in the market. The introduction of behavioral factors in some way affects the promotion of sites, but the market is not in stagnation. It develops, its momentum grows. Now SEO firms and freelancers focus their services to a lesser extent on the promotion of highly competitive inquiries and focus on promoting simple queries that you can recruit a lot. It’s too early to say that SEO has died and will become part of Internet marketing, because all Internet marketing, besides SEO, has no tools. The market, in fact, has not yet created it. SEO and contextual advertising are the strongest parts of internet marketing, everything else is in the embryonic stage. You can divide marketing into two parts – attracting traffic by different methods and working with the audience on the site, that is, working with conversion. In any case, we are talking only about the first component, that is, about attracting traffic. Where does traffic come from, if not from search engines? As long as the Yandex search engine is top, there will be SEO.maksis.by
Initially, I had a content lab company, and we wrote custom texts for offline (newspapers, magazines) and online. Later we realized that the needs of our users go far beyond the texts. Then we started making websites, we had a web studio that collected websites on templates and on its own engine, then we realized that we need to expand towards the advertising component, and we started SEO, opened Unmedia holding, which provided SEO services. We had built a logical path that did not include the creation of social networks.
Will you leave in the integrated marketing?
We are going to go out with automated products. If in the plans of this year we have an expansion of the module of contextual advertising, then in the short term we see the goal of connecting the advertisement of VKontakte, Facebook. If there is a point at which we can automate the provision of SMM services, then we will deal with this.
How did you manage to create new companies and projects with such intensity?
And now we are engaged in the discovery of new directions. Not everyone shoots, but the percentage of shots is quite high. The team is growing, there are people who are able to oversee new directions. I can’t keep everything in my head. The main thing is courage and speed, otherwise the help will come.
They are born one after another logical, because of the need?
Projects to each other are very subservient. If you take Seopult, which worked on link exchanges Sape, LinkFeed, then opening your own reference exchanges is a logical way. First, we accumulate turnover, then we learn how to monetize it. All our projects are built on such principles. One project spawns another. We don’t have any very distant projects. We have Seopult.tv, a CyberMarketing training center, but they are more supportive of loyalty to the system, attract the audience and are a marketing channel for working with their own audience. These projects are not holistic in their own right; they have no income model.
Is it about 2009, when did Seopult start?
We often talked with colleagues and always met, who has more. We understood very well what the market really needs. We had no fear of giving everything away and see what would happen. Naturally, we shook our client-oriented business by launching this product, but we also moved the rest of the market.
How many customers does Seopult have today?
How will it develop? Does he need all the actions on advertising, which are now actively carried out at conferences for which iTV is made? First, tell us about the directions of development.
If we talk about development in 2011, then at the moment we have launched two serious functional. The first is the “Personal Manager” service (it brings our system closer to the service provided by the SEO firm). Now we can order a personal manager who will deal with a specific site, give all the recommendations, communicate with customers, etc.
The client can observe the whole procedure of “dance”?
It is hard to say. Between ourselves, we always planned our earnings, said what we could achieve. When we started and realized that people started using the product, that they were investing money in promoting their own website, we made predictions that it was possible to reach a monthly turnover of $ 1 million in six months, but this is difficult. In the first six months we reached $ 1 million per month, in the future all the forecasts were implemented, and everything turned out very well.
Who built such an accurate forecast? Maybe he should say that you should reach a billion dollars in turnover?
No, unfortunately, it will not work. We then thought together that theoretically this is possible. In 2010 there was a huge growth, now it is not so big, because saturation is coming, but at the same time we are growing.
How much is it in dollars?
Approximately $ 400 million
It turns out that already significantly more than 10%.
Tell me, why did you need such non-standard promotion methods as Seopult.tv, his successor iTV? Is it too expensive?
Seopult.tv was not so expensive, it brought some benefit. We work with the audience in a specific set of ways. We have primary information, increasing loyalty, that is, standard procedures. They are reached by mailing, which is now distributed in the amount of 250,000. Once a week we carry it out. Channel Seopult.tv had a certain popularity, now we are engaged in its revival. This week we started the programs, now it will be redesigned. He will start again, and everything will be great.
You also intend to bear the burden of two TV channels, creating programs in high quality and not receiving at the same time a return on investment? Is there nothing really coming back?
In general, nothing comes back. Seopult.tv, iTV and our training center are gifts to the market. It seems to me that you need to perform some kind of social function.
How long do you think this function will be preserved? It turns out that iTV is a gift to the market. Do you invest money in something that is not a direct promotion of Seopult?
How did you manage to so quickly and thoroughly knock off a holding, given that there were different companies? It is clear that they grew out of each other, but any growth requires certain management efforts, skills, and experience in transforming startups into something organized, meaningful, and effectively working as a fixed structure.
At the Unmedia holding, the core was in the Media company. It was a large SEO-firm, which was among the five largest. The rest of the companies that were developing around it — a copywriting studio, a website development studio — were applications that gave our clients a complex. She generated the main profit. Contracts for promotion of sites and our customers brought a profit. When we got the Seopult, the pivot moved in his direction. The whole Unmedia holding, as a structure promoting websites, has become a testing ground for the Seopult system, it has become one of the most loyal, correct customers with good feedback. Such things as reference exchanges and channels of influence (Seopult.tv and CyberMarketing) grew around Seopult.
How many people work in the holding now?
Slightly more than 100.
Including Seopult.tv and iTV?
Delegation within the framework of expanding structures – a problem for you? Or is it a skill?
Definitely a skill. I now understand very well how to start any project within our structure. He sits down at the ready-made organizational structure in terms of providing marketing. I have a department that I manage, an analytics department (expert). In it are guys who, together with me, draw something, investigate algorithms. From this department we have grown the maximum number of managers of small projects. We have a forge of personnel and general principles that allow any project to shoot.
What techniques do you use in education? Do you put them in the lecture hall or help with your own example, comment on the course?
This process is pretty funny. All people who come to us start withdrawing the interface. When an interface is drawn, a complete understanding of the product they make arises in their head. When an understanding of the product has been formed, they can begin to manage something neatly. All go into battle pretty quickly, but initially they go through a school of deep understanding of what they do.