Ep.7 – SEO for Small Business with Konstantinos Ntoukakis

We’re back with our 7th Episode of All About Digital Marketing, and today marks a big occasion, our first guest on the podcast. We’re talking with Konstantinos Ntoukakis from Studio For Digital Growth about why SEO is important for your business online and how you can make the most of it. 

Konstantinos has worked with the Social INK team over the last few months to help us create a complete strategy for our SEO internally. We enjoy working with him and we love the results we’ve seen already in just the first few months. 

Hope you enjoy the episode, and remember, subscribe to catch all the latest episodes as we continue bringing you real insights into digital marketing for small to mid-sized businesses. 

PS: Apologies if the sound is a little low on this, my bad (Chris), brand new microphone setup, and even though it all sounded good on the monitor levels, turns out the recording was a little quiet. Don’t worry though, we’ve fixed it for the next one.  

Connect with Konstantinos on LinkedIn.

Show Notes

  • What is SEO? [00:37]
  • A quick history of search engine optimisation [03:15]
  • Why SEO & content go hand-in-hand [05:54]
  • How to get backlinks [08:43]
  • How long it takes for SEO to get results [12:35]
  • The difference in SEO for local businesses vs international brands [15:31]
  • 3 top tips to businesses just starting out with SEO [17:27]
  • The perks of remote working [20:27]
  • Konstantinos’ biggest tip for businesses [21:33]
Here’s why #SEO does matter, and how you can make the most of it as a small business, feat. @kntoukakis & @justchrisbruno on the @AllAboutDigMar podcast. #SearchMarketing https://www.allaboutdigitalmarketing.co.uk/SEO-for-small-business

Read the transcript

Chris Bruno [00:00:09] Hey everyone. I’m Chris. I’m the CEO of Social INK, and welcome to another episode of All About Digital Marketing podcast. Today I’m joined by Konstantinos an SEO Consultant and Search Marketing Consultant who we’ve worked with, we’ve had the pleasure to work with and we still work with, somebody who’s very knowledgeable about everything to do with SEO and search marketing. He’s going to join me today for a quick chat about the importance of SEO when it comes to your digital marketing, when it comes to your content marketing.

Chris Bruno [00:00:38] Now for those of you who don’t know what SEO is. Search Engine Optimization is all about getting your content found. Getting your website found, on rankings through Google, search engines, to allow you to come across as the leading expert for people to find your content and then to be able to interact with your business and your brand online. So Konstantinos thank you very much for joining me today.

Konstantinos [00:01:01] Hello Chris. It’s a pleasure.

Chris Bruno [00:01:04] So you’re our first guest. So very exciting but don’t get nervous or anything but you are the trendsetter who’s joined us for the first time on this podcast.

Konstantinos [00:01:13] Thank you. Actually I’m I’m pretty excited and I think that the topic is really interesting and I think it will benefit a lot of people especially in small business.

Chris Bruno [00:01:24] Excellent. So tell us a little bit about you and how you got into the search engine optimization and search marketing?

Konstantinos [00:01:31] All right. So that’s a bit of a long story. So I guess I come from this generation born in the 80s. You know I had my first interaction with computers some building websites and back then you know a big part of it of course you need to build a website you wanted to be found online. Right? So I started, have a background in science and tech, and I started with some coding some web development and then I just went into the direction of digital marketing and SEO because I just realized that it’s very important. It’s increasingly important and for me I think I think the big shift was when I started a Start-Up was about six years ago, it was a software as a service platform we were a small team and this was when I really started diving into the topic of SEO, of web and how you can get more exposure, how you can do demand generation et cetera. And I think for many people you know the journey is very similar. Like most of them had to do with web sites and then they started trying to run its Web sites not to be found online by their target customers. .

Chris Bruno [00:02:54] I was gonna ask, sorry, so it’s quite a funny subject in terms of especially for SEO because it’s so all encompassing it’s such a big kind of fields as it were. And there’s so many things that people talk about from white hat practices, black hat practices. Can you explain a little bit about that when you first got into this and you started learning and stuff and how that’s evolved?

Konstantinos [00:03:15] Absolutely. So basically it’s it’s a very fluid space so white hat would do for us white hat SEO to these tactics that actually you know have little to no danger resulting in some kind of penalisation. So you play fair with the other websites on the web. I think there is this grey area that you do a few things that you know like if you get caught could get you penalised for example. Now today this is one of such things private blog networks so you operate for example, you know a bunch of Web sites where you distribute your content you build links etc. which is something that if you get caught you know you, it can get you penalised but you know like I think a few years ago it was and it was kind of a grey area on both let’s say you ethically and also in terms of you know professionally.

Konstantinos [00:04:20] And the black hat is all these tactics like buying links et cetera that we don’t recommend. And it’s the things that actually have a very negative impact to your search, organic search presence. Yeah, so for me personally you know there’s no degree in SEO. It’s not something that’s you can go and study at the university. So it involves a lot of experimentation. So building Web sites, trying to rank them, working with client sites. So it’s a lot of learning it’s a lot of starting and being true to what other people are doing, a lot of testing. But also I was very fortunate because I took a course from the University of Michigan. It was on SEO. I think I think it’s one of the very few of its kind. It was on Coursera back then and I consider it to be a really good start for people that want to get started. I’m not sure if it’s still you know open or online. It was some years ago. For me, you know I already knew a little things because SEO is let’s say all encompassing discipline, you need to have technical skills, you need to understand how websites work, how servers work, how search engines work, so it’s definitely an interdisciplinary field. And for me I was fortunate enough to have a technical background. So from that point on it was all about learning about certain things the best practices and testing and a lot of testing.

Chris Bruno [00:05:48] So can you tell us a little bit about how content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand together?

Konstantinos [00:05:54] Absolutely. So I think we have a natural fit because on the Internet you’re not primarily a business you’re a Web site and you need to compete as a publisher. So, you know, high quality content is very important, if you want to be found for searches answering people’s problems, you want it to be informative. So you’ve got to have this type of mentality that you know your website is meant to be found, and it’s going to help people find information online. So from from the SEO side it’s all about helping do that, maximize its purpose as a website.

Chris Bruno [00:06:37] Okay. So basically people are creating blogs they’re writing this content that they really want people to read and obviously to engage with so the process of SEO  from my understanding from what we’ve done and how we’ve worked together is basically helping that to be found on search engines for that piece of content to become a priority for people when they’re doing a search for a particular topic.

Konstantinos [00:07:01] Exactly. You put it really nicely. I think there are three different aspects of it. The first aspect when it comes to SEO and websites is of course optimizing their website in a way that search engines and crawlers can understand the information structure in their, right?

Konstantinos [00:07:19] The second part is actually the content itself. It’s maximizing the potential of the things that you’re writing about by having in mind search data. So you know you want to be found, you want to help people. So it’s really important to know what kind of things people are looking for how they phrases these questions. So there is an entire let’s say field of SEO or it’s all about content and keyword planning let’s say.

Konstantinos [00:07:48] Now the third party is digital PR, it’s all about distribution and link building. So you want other websites to know about your website and to refer their audience to your website. I mean this is like a way of establishing authority. And although this has content marketing at its core.

Chris Bruno [00:08:11] I think back links is probably an interesting concept then. So you mentioned earlier when we’re talking about grey half or black cap practices of people buying links. When it comes to a real SEO plan, a real SEO strategy, that’s something obviously that we know that we don’t want to be doing. No one should be buying links or even looking at other people that are offering them links for money. But  what are the best ways to create those backlinks, the best ways to get that content, to get that content linked and other people in other people’s blog posts?

Konstantinos [00:08:43] Right. So so. Well the best way is to have great content. I really want to believe that you know if actually you have very informative content, people will naturally find it, especially if you share it yourself on social media and other channels they will find it useful. And then you will link to your website and I think  that’s fundamentally true because of what we see right now in the industry is the average length of content is increasing which means that people try to provide as much value as possible by creating some, you know, mega tutorials, mega posts, really big guide, right? So they try to be as informative as possible as detailed as possible. So that’s the first part to try to be to create really good quality content. I think you know right now the landscape is so competitive that just like writing something and putting it on the Internet it’s very very difficult to actually be found and be discovered online. So the first part is really high quality content and long content that actually addresses a lot of questions, a lot of issues.

Konstantinos [00:10:00] Now the second part of course is link building or let’s call it digital PR right. So you want to build relationships with other website owners, other businesses and you want basically to distribute your content to them and you know if it serves its purpose, naturally, they want to link to it. Now there are a lot of different tactics of course that you can use right. So for example a lot of people are creating content that involves co-authors, or they analyze, for example the business of other people. We saw a lot of these in the last year like people creating content likely I don’t know like ten best marketing agencies in Germany. So if your company is listed there obviously you want to share this, it’s good publicity for you and that’s a way for people also to get back links that there are many tactics to do that. But fundamentally I would definitely advocate for high quality content and sharing so letting people know that you created it. If it’s good you’re going to get you know you’re going to get the links.

Chris Bruno [00:11:04] OK. We often sort of talk to people especially when they’re starting out for a blog for their website or anything else. And we kind of suggest you know between 400 to 800 Words is a good kind of length for a post. But what you’re talking about here is getting far bigger than that? It’s longer long the content would be the best the best option?

Konstantinos [00:11:25] You know, so usually what I recommend my clients is to test that. Right. So to create both forms and see what comes naturally and to see what it’s easier to create links to. So I think, yeah, right now I would recommend something between two to four thousand words, but this doesn’t mean that shorter posts don’t have value. On the contrary.

Chris Bruno [00:11:50] Okay. One two thousand four thousand word posts is a big commitment for a lot of people. Well I’m gonna take the advice that you’re giving us on this podcast as well for us. My next blog is going to take me a few days to write. So OK so all these different practices everything that goes into SEO to help you rank your content, what kind of timeframe should people be looking at when they’re working with an SEO person? I know that we have this argument with clients at the beginning you know that they want to work on their social media and they want to see results tomorrow. But when we’re talking about SEO this is something that you can’t game the system and you can’t get those results from one day to the next. So what sort of timeframe should people be looking at when they’re considering trying to work on their SEO?

Konstantinos [00:12:35] You know. So I think that it varies. It depends on the state of your website. It depends on the state of your blog, for example, you know as we discussed SEO  goes together with content right. So together we with having an SEO process it’s important also to establish a content process. So I believe that for someone that has both of these things. So he has it like he has an optimised website. He has a good SEO plan in terms of which topics he writes about and he has good intelligence. So I think we’re looking for something like between four to six months until you start seeing, you know, measurable results from the SEO effort. You’re going to see results much earlier because you know when you publish a lot of content and if they see something that you thought you weren’t being doing before. Right. So for example if you have a non optimized Web sites and you optimize the website you’re going to see that you know you’re rapidly moving up to some Ranking, you’re in the rankings and you’re gonna see that you content is getting indexed pretty quickly but you’ve got to wait until these things stabilizes and what you’re going to see is gradual growth. And I think four to six months is a good time frame to aim to achieve organic search and exposure.

Chris Bruno [00:14:04] Okay. So when we talk about we now know roughly what sort of content is in terms of what sort of length and everything else we know and we understand the SEO side of things, we understand that it’s going to take four to six months to start seeing those kind of results. Would you say that there’s any differences for certain industries or is there any particular niches that you’ve worked with and that maybe have different rules slightly or does every niche have a different a different set of rules?

Konstantinos [00:14:31] [00:14:31]I would say that it definitely [2.1s] depends on the niche. In a sense the differences have let’s say different needs in terms of SEO, right. So for example if if you’re business as a single page application. We see a little let’s say a javascript problems in terms of indexing, that actually affect negatively rankings. For example in that sense it means that you need to do to do a lot of platform optimization which might take more time. You know when it comes to the engineering side of things and maybe for example in some other case your target customer and your target market it’s one where you’re very competitive. So I think it depends on the market. Depends on the business it depends from the previous setup but that’s why as a general rule I would say four to six months. It’s a good timeframe to see some results and start your evaluation process.

Chris [00:15:31] What would you say is the biggest difference between localised SEO and more general more sort of Web sites or Web based companies for SEO.

Konstantinos [00:15:45] Well actually it’s kind of two different things right. So and also there are different tools. For example if you if you want to do look at SEO you’ve got to do a lot of work with lots of Google My Business directory listings and generally look at the businesses who want to be found for things like either their business name or their function right. So if you’re for example a doctor in London you want to be found for physicians in London and you know the related searches. Now,  if you are an international brand then it’s a very different thing because you want to be found for for different things. For example of course you know your branded query or business name etc. but also informational queries like you wanted to serve people who are actually looking for information around things that you’re doing and then guide them through through your content to actually become customers. So this I don’t see so often when it comes to local business. For example if you’re a local doctor you’re not going to have that much benefit by creating content that explains for example you know. Let’s say that you’re a cardiologist a great way to get some exposure of your brand would be able to create content around how to prevent heart conditions or how to keep a healthy lifestyle let’s say. So this kind of content it’s it’s not going to help you this informational type of content at the local level. And it’s definitely more more suited to international brands. So it’s different in terms of how you get ranked and it’s different in terms of how you actually need to create content.

Chris [00:17:27] Okay. I think so from from my understanding the way that the SEO side of things works in terms of on page optimization, in terms of creating content specific to what people might be searching for and what people might actually really want to be to be reading. What would you say if you could give three tips to small businesses that are starting out. What would you say would be the three most important things that they could do to help themselves in terms of SEO.

Konstantinos [00:17:56] Well the first thing is definitely that it’s never too early to start creating content. Second the second one would be. Be patient. Good things take time. It’s important to understand that on the internet you compete as a publisher of content not not as a business even if you have a business advantage that’s a distinctive business advantage. Still you compete as a publisher and I think that that’s the most important thing to remember after the podcast, that you can be business minded. But on the Internet the rules are different. And the third would be if you can get someone to look on your web site to look into the technical aspects of it you should definitely do it. Because we see a lot of web sites that actually would be doing much much better. It’s a low hanging fruit to optimize one’s website for for search. So the crawlers will be able to understand better the information structure of the core of your web site and to show it to people that do relevant searches.

Chris [00:19:11] Awesome. Are there any tools that you’d recommend for people to use.

Konstantinos [00:19:17] I think you know that most of the tools right now in the market are for professional SEOs and there is a you know kind of like hefty price. When it comes to web site optimization. I’m not so sure I would recommend something like that to a business. Or I would recommend them definitely to go find a good agency and you know maybe be very aware of what they want to achieve and what they want to ask for example doing a web site audit and having your webmaster to fix on page issues. This is a low hanging fruit especially for most small businesses that don’t have huge websites. This shouldn’t be something very expensive and it shouldn’t be some. It would definitely be something that was very low effort will really help you and without making it a content creation commitment.

Chris [00:20:08] Okay fantastic. Let’s talk a little bit about you because I know that you’re also very similar to us as an organization. You guys work completely distributed you’re a remote working team. Digital nomads. So that’s for lack of a better word which isn’t something I’m a massive fan about. Tell us a little bit about that.

Konstantinos [00:20:27] Absolutely. So we are fully distributed. We have a core team of two people and we have also a network of freelancers with which we collaborate for a long period of time now. So. So they’re part of the team and we’re based in Krakow Poland. This is where me and my co-founder are based and our company but the team is in different countries in Switzerland even in Germany et cetera. And it’s it was a great experience. We started doing this actually about half a year ago. And I would say that our the quality of our work life has been improved quite a lot actually. I wrote an article on the Thrive global about this.

Chris [00:21:16] OK. So if you could give people one piece of advice and this is the penultimate question. So if you give people one piece of advice and what would it be? Doesn’t have to be SEO related doesn’t have to be digital marketing related, but what would that one piece of advice be.

Konstantinos [00:21:33] All right. So I would say trying new things that would be the piece of advice for example could be trying new things in terms of how you work and in terms of how you stay productive. Remote work could be a thing to explore and also trying new things when it comes to your website. When it comes to your business strategy when it comes to your SEO and you know when it comes to marketing. Let me give you a second advice. The most important thing to look when you’re looking for an SEO agency is not portfolios or websites. Everybody can can give you a number. The most important thing is who works with whom. This is how you can figure out quality quality people and develop quality relationships.

Chris [00:22:16] Awesome. I think the trialling thing is brilliant. All our webinars everything that we do. Always talks about testing always talks about you know, it’s a never ending process. It’s not about you know you do something once it works and then you’ve made it. It’s about trying something seeing what the results are like and then iterating, evolving that. So whether you can make it better whether it didn’t work the first time what you can try new for your social media, for yourself your search engine optimization, content whatever it might be. So I massively agree with that. Konstantinos where can people find you online.

Konstantinos [00:22:51] Well I would love to connect on LinkedIn. So. You can you can perhaps include a link to the podcast when it’s published. Or you can visit our website which seems right now. studiofordigitalgrowth.com . We’re having a rebranding soon but probably you’re going to be redirected to a new location. So.

Chris [00:23:15] Excellent. Konstantinos thank you very much for taking part today and for allowing me to interview you as our first guest for the All About Digital Marketing podcast.

Konstantinos [00:23:26] Thanks. You’re very welcome.

Chris [00:23:29] Thanks for all the hard work you’ve been doing for us as well. And we look forward to continuing this adventure and hopefully we’ll get you back on the podcast at some point to talk about a specific SEO subject.

Konstantinos [00:23:39] Absolutely sounds great.

Chris [00:23:41] Fantastic. Thank you.

Konstantinos [00:23:42] Thank you, Chris.