When I was in Berlin, I met Alessio Madeyski, SEO Manager of Zalando. He is an Italian with a Polish ancestory living in Berlin (since Jan 2011)– a true International SEO professional. Alessio has also spent some time in Paris, Barcelona and Denmark.
I have been in an SEO role for more than one year. But previously to this, I had been creating websites, mobile versions of sites and some social media stuff. I actually started work as a molecular biologist but I did not like it as much as SEO and therefore I changed career.
It is an ecommerce site which is now becoming the first portal for fashion and lifestyle in Europe. We have launched it in Germany in 2008, currently making it in 10 countries in EU.
The two countries are very different. I was also in different roles in both countries. I was working as a biologist in Italy when I decided to come to Berlin for an experience. I worked for few months as freelancer for an UK startup, and then I saw that Zalando was looking for an SEO manager for taking care of the Italian market. I applied and all went well. Now I am in charge even of the Scandinavian market, and this is a real challenge for me. You know, different mentality, different language. This is the real difference between Italy and Germany: here every day is a challenge, in Italy all the things are more calm and quiet, and I don’t like that lifestyle.
Moreover, in Italy there are less opportunities for young people. If you are young, you cannot get senior positions or have the ability to climb the corporate ladder as quickly as you can do so here. I have not been in SEO for a long time but I have a passion for it, and Zalando is very good to recognise it in people and builds on it. That’s the beauty of working here: they invest in you because they believe in you.
Neither the German nor Italian market (which I work on) has been affected by the Panda and Penguin update. We have not seen a drop in traffic or rankings and we are still beating our competitors.
The reason we have not been affected may be due to the fact that we practice all white hat SEO work. To me, it’s not matter of what color is the hat you wear, but to do something for the user. I strongly believe that the brand belongs to the user, not to the company. So we, as Zalando, are trying to do all we can to listen to what the user wants.
I do not like the term “link building”. I prefer to build relationships with blogs and portals, true relations that can lead to a link because of them. I also believe that great content depending on the type of the site you are working on can bring link in a natural way. Spam tactis, or black hat SEO has worked for some sites, but I don’t like it for the simple reason that there is nothing authentic in it. That’s why I prefer talking about “idea building” , because when you have a really good idea and you use your creativity, good links will follow.
I attend search events, but many of the ones in Germany are in German obviously and I do not speak fluent German yet. I’ve been to “Be Wizard” in Rimini and I will attend “WebReevolution” in Rome in june, for being more involved in the Italian SEO scene. I hope to go to SearchLove in London in October. I like conferences to so that I can build relationships and meet my SEO heroes.
It is really important, and you feel this because we are evolving every day and this is amazing. We evolve with the user, in order to be able to answer their queries in the best way possible.
Sweden is more advanced compared to Italy. In Italy, people search for “Nike”, but in Sweden they search for “Nike clothes”, “Nike shoes”, they know more specifically what they want. Moreover, Sweden, like all Scandinavian countries I suppose, is more accustomed to buying goods used online.
We use two main tools – Searchmetrics and Sistrix. Then of course we use all “classic” tools for keyword research, trends, insights, what’s hot and so on.
We adjust a report for each country. We tend to talk about difficulties in our reports to our head of SEO Norman Nielsen, because of our goal is not to be static, but to evolve and solve any problems we may have.
It will keep on developing. The key is to evolve. In my opinion, SEOs have to be more open-minded, like collaborating with social media guys, PRs, developers, graphic designers… SEO to me is how to answer to what people wants. And you cannot do it as only SEO.
I have actually started interviewing SEOs in my post “Meet your SEO” , so I was really pleased to be interviewed for “State of Search”. Thank you for interviewing me and hope to see you when I come to London for Search Love.