What makes working in SEO exciting?
For many, it’s about weighing in on Google’s crucial ranking factors or cracking open the mysteries of search algorithms.
For some, it may be about helping businesses grow and prosper in the digital age.
But for Shay Harel, CEO and founder of Rank Ranger, it’s being able to work with talented teams in a constantly evolving space.
Last May, Rank Ranger and Similarweb, a leading digital intelligence company, combined forces to provide search marketers with enterprise-grade SEO capabilities for better insights into keyword performance.
“We believe our approach to search ranking and monitoring makes for a really complementary fit with Similarweb’s keyword analysis capabilities and best-in-class traffic data,” Harel said in a blog post announcing the acquisition.
In this Q&A-style interview, he shares more about Rank Ranger teaming up with Similarweb, plus his thoughts on keeping up with search engine results page (SERP) features and nurturing SEO talent.
A New Beginning For Rank Ranger
RankRanger is now part of the Similarweb family. What excites you most about this merger?
Shay Harel: “The synergy between the companies and our people. Having the opportunity to work with such a talented team – that’s unearthing digital marketing insights way beyond what we had to offer – is amazing.
By coupling Similarweb’s best-in-class data together with our own offering, we’ve opened an endless road of innovation and new solutions for SEO and digital marketers.”
The Dynamic Nature Of SEO
What’s your favorite thing about working in SEO?
SH: “This one is pretty simple: that it’s never boring. In a constantly evolving industry, there’s always something new to learn about and master. It’s a really exciting space.”
How do you see the RankRanger brand and products evolving to keep up with changes in the industry and search algorithms over the next three years?
SH: “Every week, Google challenges the industry with updates and changes to SERP features and the way it structures organic results. It’s more dynamic than ever these days.
A few years ago, we set ourselves the goal of making Rank Ranger the best-in-class tool that keeps track of – and stays on top of – these changes to adjust and integrate those changes into our reporting suite.
Today, our unique SERP Features tool is the most comprehensive source for reporters and marketers to learn about any changes or trends that Google is working on behind the scenes.
It provides a truly bird’s-eye view into SERP features data.”
Speaking of changes, what are the lesser-utilized SERP features you think marketers should use better?
SH: “I strongly recommend looking at the FAQ/How-To space and sub-intents of keywords because Google is introducing a nested level of questions and topical follow-up responses.
It’s important to keep tracking these changes, and what we’re seeing is that Google is testing these new features on mobile before rolling them out to desktop search.
The Things to Know SERP feature is a perfect example of this evolution, from Featured Snippet to nested sub-intent answers that can show different pages (domains) in it.
Now, it’s basically a variant of a Featured Snippet that collects answers from several different sources.
Changes like these open up so much more room for SEOs, to optimize for a more specific intent and get ahead in a newly created space where they haven’t been investing.”
Thoughts On Leadership
How can leaders in our industry grow strong candidates to lead the organization in the future?
SH: “First, it’s important to set challenging but achievable goals. They should push the candidate beyond their comfort zone and encourage them to reach their full potential.
And when those goals are achieved, leadership should recognize that performance.
Applauding a high-achiever in-house is great; doing it on socials is even better!
And I’d love to see more leaders providing guidance and one-on-one coaching to pass on their expertise.
Finally, I’d say leaders should have faith in their candidates. Create a culture in which they can do the job you hired them for, without being second-guessed at every turn.”
Any tips on finding and retaining top SEO and related talent in a competitive climate?
SH: “Marketing managers and executives should view their SEO program as a mid-to-long-term strategy.
Starting to focus on it today will provide a great source of traffic for your brand. And they need to recognize that SEO managers empower the entire team, providing insights about different opportunities to connect with consumers in an authentic way.
Companies should look to provide SEO managers with the right podiums within their teams and, wherever possible, promote SEO managers to leadership positions – because they have the ability to connect all aspects of your marketing and bring your company closer to your customers.
After all, successful marketing campaigns will direct content creation and highlight areas for improvement across design and web development.
All of this to deliver the best experience for customers. And arguably, it all stems from SEO.”
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Featured Image: Courtesy of Shay Harel; modified by author, August 2022