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10 Years in Our Industry – Interview with Pinar Ünsal

Pinar Ünsal previously worked at Google HQ in Dublin before setting up Kubix Digital. Pinar has been working in Digital marketing since 2005 when she began her career at Google. In the interview with us, Pinar talks about how she set up her own business and her plans for the future. You will also read how she is supporting women working in digital marketing

Your agency, Kubix has won numerous awards, most recently “Europe’s Best Small Integrated Search Agency” at the EU Search awards this year.  What prompted you to set up Kubix Digital?

Yes, thank you. There are a couple Award Competitions that we follow closely. The European Search Awards organized by Don’t Panic is definitely one of them and that’s why it’s always highlighted BOLD in our calendars. We are especially proud of the fact that we have won the “Best Small Integrated Search Agency” award twice at this competition; once in 2017 and now in 2019. 

That’s not to say awards are everything to us and our mission is to drive our business and the search industry forward – but a little award on our shelf won’t hurt, we thought. In fact, our agency already exists since 2007, but 2017 we actually started actively with our own marketing and part of this was entering Award competitions.

We, the Co-Founders of Kubix Digital, have all met for the first time at Google’s European HQ back in 2005 where we worked in Google Adwords (now Ads) teams. As we slowly saw agencies getting stronger in the European markets like the UK, Germany and France, but not really that many in Turkey, especially none solely focused on Search Engine Marketing, our idea was born. We launched our first office in April 2007 in Istanbul. Last year we opened a second office in Berlin. That’s still in it’s early crawling days, but will grow faster in 2020, hopefully. 

When we first started Kubix Digital we did not have any clients, one or two on a consultancy level maybe, but we literally started from scratch – and trust me, the early years were not easy at all as most Advertisers in Turkey were still not used to a PPC model and were living in a Banner buying CPM world. 

Winners of Eu Search Awards
Kubix Digital Team Winning at the EU Search Awards

2. When is the next Women Digital event? Do you run virtual meetups?

Women Digital is a project that we are especially proud of and that we kicked off at the beginning of last year. We already hosted 6 successful meetups; two of them with ​Microsoft ​& ​Google​. With Women.Digital we are aiming to provide female digital marketers a space to share resources and insights, and to build a collaborative community. 

At the moment we are still planning 2020 and have spent the last months building our website. Yes, Women.Digital events will come. Most probably the next one will be in Berlin. Stay tuned. But hey, I really like the virtual meetups idea, why not?

3. What 3 steps do you follow when you first win a client?

  1. We are German-minded, so we first clear the contract part 🙂
  2. After that, and of course before, we have several hangouts, calls or meetings with the clients to really understand their business and to set KPIs and goals together. You have to have a strategy first, before your start with the execution. No One-Size-Fits-All approach!
  3. We make sure that before we start, all our work will be trackable, measurable and transparent. We make sure that Google Analytics is set up correctly, that we have access to Search Console and so on. 
Kubix Digital
Kubix Digital

4. Do you think links are important in SEO and in rankings?

Yes, links are of course still important, even though this topic is being discussed a lot lately. If it wouldn’t matter matter, than Google wouldn’t still penalizes sites for questionable link-building practices, right. There is actually a great recent study on this on Moz.com. Here is the link if you’d like to dig deeper.

5. What do you say to clients who want to have rankings guaranteed as a KPI?

We explain to them that we don’t guarantee them this and that if someone else guarantees certain rankings, we tell them to stay away from these type of SEO agencies/Freelancers/Wanna-Be-Consulters. If they like our explanation we continue the talks – if not, than there is nothing more we can do here.

6. What has been the biggest change in search you have seen over these past 10 years? 

This answer is simple for me to answer. Of course there have been so many major changes and it’s difficult to decide on one maybe for some, but for me it would definitely be the birth of the iPhone + smartphones, the growth of mobile, and the changes that came with this. Mobile first indexing, local search, voice search to name a few.

Pinar Speaking
Pinar Speaking

7. What do you think will be the biggest update in our industry over the next decade?

I wish I could see into the future 🙂 

Actually, I think that changes will happen quicker and we have to adapt to these changes and updates faster than before. Of course, the big G will continue to play a major role and Search marketers (SEOs & PPCs) will have to adapt to changes in core updates or so. One final note: I think that there shouldn’t be any silos where you separate SEO and PPC work as to me; Search marketing means much more than just SEO or PPC. It means developing long-term strategies that are tailored to every client’s individual needs and a holistic approach will be more important in the next decade.

Thank you Pinar for taking the time to be interviewed on our blog. We look forward to seeing you at a search conference soon.

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