10 Years in SEO – Interview with Lukasz Zelezny

Lukasz Zelezny is well known in the search industry. After working in SEO in different companies including Zoopla for six years, he now works as a SEO consultant, helping brands increase their visibility. I caught up with Lukasz and asked him to be part in our birthday celebrations by being interviewed for our “10 Years in Search” series.

1. How did you first start working in online marketing?

It was early 2000 and I wanted to play my music in the clubs, but as I lived in a small town, there were no clubs. So I decided to start building my own websites to try and attract people from outside my town. Back then, there was no information about tracking and internet was very new in Poland. We only had it for 5 years (at uni only). I started building websites, optimising content, calculating the rankings of my site. I had a very primitive stats, this was well before Google Analytics. Then others found my site, I started getting bookings and I was able to start playing my music in the clubs away from my small town. I thought music was fun but it was still hard to make enough to live well so I decided to move to UK in 2007. Online marketing was still new at that time. I looked for a job and started taking part in meetups and the rest they say, is history.

2. You have experience in SEO and Social Media and websites development. If you were to train a new SEO today, what were the top 3 things you would tell them?

I buy books so I can structure my training otherwise I have too many ideas and I am jumping around too much. This does not help those starting off in any industry.

Lukasz when he arrived in the UK in 2007
  1. Now I show how SEO can work within any business, any day. For example how WordPress works with SEMrush. Over 30% of websites are built with WordPress. SEMRush is one of the most affordable tools in the market. Therefore I show how these two platforms work together and the results it achieves. I have a background in teaching as my parents were teachers so I know how to talk to younger people or those new to the industry. I have just joined as a non exec director of Smarter Media. Part of my role there is that every second Friday I have mini course or mini workshops with the new joiners and I pass as much knowledge as possible, for example how to do a GAP analysis, how to perform snapshop analysis, what is the difference between Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
  2. The second thing I recommend is to show SEOs how to prepare a report for customers who are not tech savvy. The report clearly shows the work completed, the results so that this customer can easily see what he or she is paying for.
  3. The final area I train is with excel. I see a lot of young people who struggle with numbers. I always help with maths and excel, how to show the data more visually, for example in graphs.

3. What are the top 3 features you look for in an SEO platform or tool?

  1. The most important feature I look for is cloud working. I work with a lot of data in the cloud. This is important so I do not need to download data onto my computer and see my CPU dying.
  2. The second thing is I do not have a limit on exporting or pulling data, eg there is not a set number of rows.
  3. I can automate processes. I do not need to think if there has been a google update. Instead, I will get an email from the tool to tell me. Then I can go in and investigate.

4. Can you share what has been the biggest change in SEO and Social over the past decade?

Social barely existed 10 years ago and there was a massive hype in social media.

Kevin Ellen, Lukasz and SEO Jo in 2012

10 years ago 2009, when I had adverts on gumtree, I had lots of calls from people who want to be the next Zuckerberg. They said I would get a massive stake in the business but I would not be paid. People were working for free just to be part of a social media company. Now 10 years later, people are really fed up of social media platforms. However, there are exceptions, Linkedin was voted the most trusted social platform. This will be the future (source:Business Insider – 9/09/which-social-media-platform-do-you-trust-the-most.html )

The biggest change in SEO is that it has become a real job, not just something that techies do in the basement. Also, SEO is no longer about ranking exactly for position one. It is about quality organic traffic. People are aware of algorithm changes and they know seo is not free but it is the most efficient traffic source. Content is an extremely important factor. Customers and clients also understand about being proactive about links. In 2009, SEO was the experimental phase in many companies, now we are way past this.

5. When you analyse a new clients’ site first time, do you have a formal process you follow for formulating your SEO strategy and action plan?

There are two stages. The first stage is a 360 degree audit. I am always looking at the customer/client site in relation to what competitors are doing. I review and propose keywords and content. I analyse the backlinks for example the toxicity of backlinks. I analyse server logs.I perform crawls. I analyse page speed.

The second stage involves me working as a consultant to help implement the changes. I work with a team in house or I am hands on doing it by myself as the SEO consultant.

6. How is SEO different in Poland and UK?

Poland does not have a concept of consultancy like in the UK. Often I am approached by the software company and asked if I want to consult for them, helping them with their websites. I normally send a proposal and then the replies tend to be around questions such as “How many links will I get from you” or “how many titles can you change”. That is the frustrating part. They want to have a freelancer just to optimise title tags.

Polish language exists only in Poland, so if you want to do business in Poland, then need to speak Polish. There are a number of tools that have been written for the Polish market. One is SENUTO, this is similar to Sistrix or SEMrush.  Poland is a rather isolated market so I like to share my UK oriented view on SEO with people living in Poland.

7. What 3 big changes do you think will happen in SEO and Social Media over the next 10 years?

How we were searching in 2009 and how we are searching now in 2019, has not changed much. We are still searching in the same way. The concept of searching is the same.

Knowing that and going forwards, typing will still be dominant. BUT visual search instead of voice search will be a popular way of buying a product. For example if you see a chair you like at your friend’s house, you take a photo using the app and Google will tell you where to buy the chair.

Social media – there will be a limitation. Pinterest will not survive but Twitter because of the journalists and news. Linkedin will be big and will cover all those who are professionally active across industries and across the world.”

Thank you Lukasz for sharing your insights. I understand you will be speaking at Kongres Online Conference on the 10th of October and then the Innowave Summit in Varna, Bulgaria. We look forward to seeing you at another conference soon.

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