Remote Jobs – Interview with Head of SEO

by | Aug 24, 2020

7 min read

More than a month ago, we eagerly announced our new Head of SEO, joining the IMWT family.

With over 10 years of SEO experience, both in-house and in agencies, Eugene Korotkevich joined the team mid-June and, since then, he’s gotten the wheels rolling on a multitude of exciting SEO projects.

Part of the Leadership team, Eugene is currently stuck based in Bali and we reached out to him to get a better understanding of what it’s like to get accustomed to a new fully-remote role during the pandemic, as well as to get some tips and best practices around SEO. 

Remote Jobs - Head of SEO

It’s commonly known that the beginning is the hardest. What was the hardest thing for you to overcome when starting at IMWT?

Due to supportive and facilitating efforts from the entire IMWT Team,  there is not that much to mention. I would say the most challenging thing was to shift myself to a “full-time remote role” mindset from a “part-time/project-based” one. And I’m still building up the right set of habits and skills.

What was your first remote job? How was it?

My first remote job was back in 2010. It was at the same time when my wife and I moved to South East Asia (Thailand, Koh Samui), just for a year. That was a simple SEO-freelance service and I was just learning the basics of remote work. It was a “sketchy” experience! But since then, I set myself a goal to move to a full-time remote role and to the ‘digital nomad lifestyle’, no matter what it would be – my own business or personal/corporate consultancy. Took me a few years but, apparently, I’ve managed to achieve all of them. And after a few years in a corporate world (Lazada, Alibaba), I’m lucky to join the great IMWT team, keep building my businesses, and all while being able to travel around the globe.

What motivated you to pursue a remote job?

I’m truly a wanderer and it was always too “cramped” in an office space. Most of all in life I value geographical and time freedom. I need to change scenery, places, people, and new experiences. And I’m a lucky man to have my wife on the same side.

What are your best tips on working remotely?

Working remotely is a skill-set which requires some time, experimenting, and effort to make, like everything else. For me, it’s all about 3 key-pillars:

  1. Self-discipline
  2. Time-management
  3. Agile planning & prioritization skills.

When all 3 are set – “the flow” comes naturally.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

I would say – it’s finding a proper balance between quality & delivery speed. It’s a true art, maneuvering between keeping the highest service standards for clients and limited team resources. In a ‘standard’ agency it’s usually a case of having a predefined scope, here at IMWT we use a custom approach for each of our clients and that means the balance can sometimes be quite tricky. But that’s what drives me a lot and makes this business so exciting!

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

The most rewarding part is always to see happy and smiling Teams’ and Clients’ faces when we provide real value with our day to day job. Lots of smart and talented people work on both sides. It’s also rewarding to be able to work and win a hand to hand every day.

How do you manage to lead a remote team effectively?

I don’t think I’m at the stage where I can say to myself – yes, that’s the most efficient setup we have. But I do always prefer building it around: communication, situation awareness, collaboration mindset, personal communication. I wouldn’t deep dive, but underestimation of one will put at risk a team’s efficiency and what’s more important for their happiness.  

What do you think are still the biggest myths in SEO?

I think the biggest myth and misunderstanding of SEO is “I don’t need to invest in SEO from the early stages, SEO is too complex, Paid Ads will cover all, I can start doing SEO anytime”. I’ve seen that way too many times (even/especially big corporations making the same mistake). Underestimation or misunderstanding of timely investing in SEO leads to a situation when setting up SEO is becoming a super budget and time-costly effort which can put at risk the entire initiative. 

Any SEO best practices in 2020?

  • Keep making sure your technical vitals are in place
  • Indexing MORE is not always better – do index quality and value instead
  • Keep focussing on users’ intent & “happiness”- UX-Driven SEO is NOW and getting bigger
  • External link equity is still a factor but make sure you truly need to put there any efforts and the main one:
  • Think in Scale – automation, algorithmic-SEO, scalability are essentials (for big projects mostly) and you don’t want to jump into the last car of a train there
Maria Ursente

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