Syphaïwong Bay was the SEMY award winner at SMX Paris last month. At just 30 years old, she has accomplished a lot in her 15 year career including running Web in Reims, setting up her own consultancy and sharing her knowledge, speaking at conferences.
1. You started working in online marketing 15 years ago, building your first website. How did you first get into online marketing?
I was 15 years old! I didn’t even know what online marketing was. In fact, when I was recruited for my first job as SEO consultant, I had no idea what I was doing!
I discovered online marketing when I entered a Parisian agency (RESONEO). I was recruited for my editorial and technical skills. I was always the “geek littéraire” (a literary nerd) of the team as my boss used to say. In a word, I always wanted to share content. Creating websites, writing on blogs, were the most natural things for me to do. But as they say “in space no one can hear you scream”. Doing SEO was just a way to gain traffic to share my hobbies. I have a passion for storytelling techniques, and for me Internet is a great way to express new forms of creativity.
So, I was recommended by a friend to RESONEO, and my boss sent me an email using the contact form on my personal blog !
2. How has search changed since you first started working in the industry in the early 2000s?
I have the feeling that we did not have to do that much work to perform in the early 2000s. We just had to follow what we considered the most efficient method. But maybe it’s mostly because I am now a professional. When I created my first website in 2004, I was a teenager who just wanted to share my points of view. I did not have strategies as I do today.
In a way, it was a very good time because I had the feeling that to have a strong passion was enough to rank. Today, the competition is very strong. It is difficult to be a newcomer in a market.
For a content strategy for example, there is so much “noise” because of poor content, that I am sometimes sad to see that what the most efficient strategy is, is not the best. Old content, no updates, old misconceptions…… As marketers, we know how to make content rank. I am sure that we can be proactive to make the web better. Yes, I am a dreamer. 🙂
3. You have just won SEMY award for Young Search Professional, congratulations. What do you have planned for 2020 ?
Thank you! As a content expert, I was really honored to win a SEMY award. I am going on 31, so this is a new decade for me too !
For 2020, I would like to communicate more about the technicality of copywriting and SEO copywriting in general. It’s easy to focus on people who work as copywriter in the industry. We just have to talk about them, what they really do, and how they are technical SEOs without even knowing it.
4. You are very busy, also the organiser of Web in Reims, will you be organising more events or will we see you speaking at other events in 2020?
Organizing an event like Web in Reims is indeed a lot of work! Especially when we really want to promote a region. Reims is well known in the Champagne region, and we would like to promote its potential to create new jobs in the digital industry. Reims is just 45 minutes from Paris by train, and 30 minutes from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport. Come visit us!
Yes, I plan to speak at other events in 2020, but… no spoilers !
5. What three things do you look for when working with SEO tools/platforms?
1 – Reliability
2 – Great customer service
3 – Trust
SEO tools and platforms usually have their own KPI. I need to know and to understand how they are specified. A KPI that I do not agree with, is not a good KPI for me. So, I think that it’s important for SEO tools to explain their methodology. When we have to convince clients, company boards, this can be crucial. As a consultant, I must be able to tell why I chose a tool or not.
6. What will be the biggest change in search in 2020? Can you predict what we may see over the next 10 years?
To be able to predict the future would be useful!
What I see is that SEO results are turning into a sort of encyclopedia. Google tells us everything, and maybe more. Today, features we can see in SEO results are very satisfying for the user. This is a challenge for us, as editors, to be better and to make users still want to visit our websites. We have to be creative.
Thank you Syphaïwong Bay for taking the time to be interviewed with us. This was our last interview as part of the “10 Years in Search” series. Wishing you a great Christmas and New Year and see you at a conference in 2020.