The SEO Queen in Greece.
Joanna Vaiou should be a role model for every Greek woman who wants to follow her own career, build her own path, and succeed in all this while living in Greece!
She is a graduate of the Department of Economics of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and currently works as a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, analyst, and project manager in her own business where she works with companies in local, national, and international audiences that want to be prominent in organic Google results, on Google’s first page.
Joanna has been a leader in the field of SEO in Greece and recently Idea Mensch proposed her as one of the 50 entrepreneurs who stand out in 2020! Through many of her interviews, she has taken a position on important contemporary issues in the field of internet marketing as well as career issues in general about how important personal development is.
Read below what she told us:
What is your role in your company?
I work from home in my own company where I support client or affiliate companies, providing SEO (website optimization and promotion) services which include the following sub-activities:
- Research and analysis of each market in the topics of interest of the cooperating company through various professional tools
- Record the initial SEO status (strengths and weaknesses) of the company in the Google search engine
- Research on the competing companies which are already on page 1 for the same SEO goals or “keywords”
- Targeting and setting up the necessary tools to monitor progress
- Design a comprehensive Search Engine Optimization strategy
- Group preparation, training, and counseling
- Assignment of activities to the leads of the departments of web development, copywriting, creative, marketing & PR
- SEO consulting services in any field that belongs to the umbrella of the SEO plan
Can you share a Google secret for better SEO use?
From the beginning of 2009 when I started my self-education in SEO, I bet on my personal brand name. I started to record my experiences and test what I was learning in my domain joannavaiou.com, which is essentially my Greek name but in English. At that time I did not know exactly what I was doing and where my decision to emphasize my name and bet on me from the beginning of my investment, would lead. Almost 12 years later, this decision has practically justified me. I will share with you 2 examples of how this has benefited me.
1. Google shows me with my personal name in the “Autocomplete” feature next to the search SEO Greece
According to Google: “Autocomplete is a feature within Google Search designed to make it faster to complete searches that you’re beginning to type.” Google has linked my personal brand to one of my SEO goals “SEO Greece“, ie one of the ways one is looking to find SEO information in Greece (which is one of my target markets).
It is very interesting that only my personal name comes out and not come to the name of another SEO Agency which is bigger, has more customers, reputation, awards, reviews and employees. In a recent interview with Authority Magazine, Kage Spatz, a Forbes contributor, asked me what makes me stand out from other professionals in my field.
The answer I gave was that I have emphasized my personal brand, something that offers a completely personalized experience to my audience, in terms of my activities. And as it turns out, I made the right choice.
There is space for everyone on the 1st page of Google worldwide, young from Greece and big from America, England, etc. Tested.
2. My personal brand stands next to the strongest names in the SEO industry worldwide.
I recently saw that the article I wrote on my blog about how you can get multiple rankings high on the 1st page of Google organic results, for the same keyword, comes out No.1 in Google. On the same page below are: Neil Patel, Search Engine Watch, Forbes, Hubspot, Search Engine Land and Entrepreneur. This is a maximum honor and pleasure for me and my career so far.
Copywriting and PR are not my strengths. I am an SEO Strategist and Consultant. I do research, analyze, plan strategies, guide and advise. I work with experts in copywriting and PR depending on the needs and human resources of each company, as they are essential components of an SEO plan.
Every integrated SEO strategy requires different expertise and is teamwork. I only write about what I know very well and what I love. I share my knowledge, my views and my results through my own personal experience.
So you do not need an SEO expert to be a perfect copywriter or to be known in Entrepreneur etc, to conquer the top of Google in the field of your specialization and to surpass even the biggest names in the market worldwide. What is needed is love for what you do, courage, exposure of yourself through personalized content, and sharing useful information in your own unique way that represents you and your personality.
What do you think will be the next step in the field of SEO?
SEO is constantly changing and becoming more difficult because it is increasingly based on quality factors that you can not fool. Google advises all entrepreneurs to build on their “EAT” for their business brand and personal brand. But what is this “EAT”?
According to AHREFS:
“E‑A-T- stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. It comes from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines — a 168-page document used by human quality raters to assess the quality of Google’s search results.
Google published this document online in 2013 to “help webmasters understand what Google looks for in a web page.”
So you see that we get back to the importance of building your credibility, your reputation as a marketer, through personalized actions that are connected to people who share their insights and personality through their personal Social Media accounts, through videos, podcasts, blog posts, online interviews, PR, guest posts, etc.
Whether you are a self-employed professional or the largest multinational company in the world, the trend you need to follow is to deal with the EAT of your brand. In addition, my advice is to use personal branding as the main strategy to promote your organization, through the right people who can worthily express your corporate values, character, policies, products and services in the best way possible.
How do you see the Greek market in the field of online marketing? Are there any problems we still need to overcome as a country to be more competitive?
Improvements are being made in the Greek market of online marketing and all these similar professions are in increasing demand. This is automatically a career opportunity for anyone who is interested and has such a penchant. As far as Greek companies are concerned, especially the small ones, they are far behind in understanding the basic elements of online marketing, something that sometimes makes the life of marketers difficult.
Entrepreneurs need to be trained in online marketing before they ask for it. First they have to have realistic expectations, to know what to ask for and what to expect from the respective expert, in order to be protected from scammers. See this link for the best free online SEO courses.
Entrepreneurs’ expectations must be proportional to the resources they have available and a very basic resource is the budget. You can not go to the No. 1 SEO Consultant with 12 years of experience and ask him “what can we do with 50 euros per month”. It’s funny and insulting. Before you go to market, read how the prices of a professional SEO Expert range around the world and do not waste their time. AHREFS nicely explains in this article the costs per country, continent and globally, as well as other cost-determining factors.
Ed. We got notified on July 2021 about another guide you may potentially find useful
In Greece, I think it would be a great benefit for us to love knowledge more and to have a growing disposition for development at all levels, personal and professional. Tested. The change takes place first on an individual level and then on a collective level. We are energy and everything around us is also energy. We influence each other whether we seek it or not.
What skills did you need in your career that were not in your formal curriculum while you were studying?
The following skills come to mind: Patience, self-love, acceptance, love of development, empathy, emotional intelligence, sales, creating offers and presentations, comfort in video recording, writing, and even public relations.
Are there any steps to a successful start-up that young entrepreneurs often overlook?
I do not think there is a recipe for success for a start-up. Success is multifactorial. As a Solopreneur, what has helped me a lot in my career is the speed and purity of spirit with which I make decisions. I love independence in general and of course financially. The fact that I am very strong in managing my finances helps me.
I could not imagine myself having Angel Investors over my head or having to convince them of my idea to give me money. I imagine that this is a big stress for a start-up, that is, how it will meet the expectations of investors.
I think many start-ups fail, either because the finances are not properly managed, or because the team memers are not working well with each other. In order for a start-up to succeed, there must be proper and strict financial resources management, but also the characters of its members must match. The human element and communication is a very important factor.
I choose and work ONLY with people I appreciate and like (and vice versa). This is a luxury and this way I intend to continue, as for me there is nothing more personal than sharing my knowledge, my time and my personality / energy with other professionals.
Work should give us pleasure and allow us having a good time.
Why is it important to invest in ourselves?
We are the No.1 person we must rely on. We must know why we have come here in the world and what is best for us. It is not wise to depend on other people either emotionally (for our happiness) or financially (for our living). The best we can expect from other people is to share parts of ourselves and the life we have chosen to live, harmoniously and beautifully, adding substance and value to each other’s lives, reciprocally.
No one belongs to anyone and no one is obliged to come and invest on us, to save us, to love us, to help us in our lives. This is our only obligation to ourselves.
We often encounter stereotypes that trap us in a false reality. What myth you had to debunk early in your career or even today?
That I am not capable (as a woman) of being my own boss. To stand on my own two feet, to drive the wheel of my life. I no longer disprove myths, I am one myself. From time to time I help others with my example to dispel perhaps their own myths and their own installed “programs”. Most people believe in something only when they see it so those who see me believe that change and progress is possible for them too. Why not? I myself believed in change long before I saw it happening in me. That changed when I started my travels abroad and met other people whose lives were what I wanted for myself. I focused on freedom of decision and independent, distance working. So abroad I first time felt that I am not the only one with such a “strange mind”.
How useful is the right branding for a new business?
Proper branding is extremely beneficial and important not only at the beginning but at every stage of a business. You may have the best product or the best service but if you do not find the right way to present your brand so that it enters the heart and mind of your ideal customer, you will not achieve much.
After many adverse changes there is a climate of pessimism in our country. What would you advice a young woman entrepreneur who does not know where to start?
My advice is to find herself first and look in many areas for it. Also, try many things to see where she feels best and what suits her, what makes her happy. When the moment comes and she understands what she was born to do, the next step is to find ways to commercialize what she decided to do.
Then she should start a continuous training to become better and better at what she chose to do. Whether she is looking for an entry-level job or she is ready to become a Solopreneur, she must learn how to promote herself. To create her own Personal Brand and share her insights, love and passion with her audience through her Social Media, YouTube videos, podcasts, online networking, offline networking to build her own “EAT ”. With a lot of patience, love and confidence.
What gives you strength?
I draw strength primarily from myself and from a select few people in my life who know and love me. It also helps a lot to socialize with people with whom we have a common vision. It is very important to have goals and vision in our lives. I like people with whom we can look to the future and not go back to the past.
How important was professional networking in your journey to success?
Professional networking is very important and can help you a lot. You can do many things on your own if you have the skills and talent as well as the courage and mood to be constantly exposed in public. But if you can be in circles that can provide opportunities because they just can and believe in your potential, then you need to take it very seriously and be available.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the power of the soul. Free spirits. People who are their own man. Confidence and honesty. Those who dare and take risks to change what they do not like. The calm forces. Those who love their personal growth and development at all levels. People who do not compromise and are not “too comfortable”.
You can fall 7 times but you have succeeded if you get up 8. Have you encountered obstacles so far? What was worse, the people or the systems?
Systems are always difficult for those who want to do different things than usual. I have encountered obstacles from both people and systems. But I have not met that challenge that I could not face successfully yet! There are clearly disappointments from people I trusted but did not deserve this trust. The responsibility was ultimately mine because of my own high expectations. All of these are lessons and make you stronger. If you have yourself as your biggest fan and friend you will be fine. If you find trustworthy people along the way to share yourself and your vision, consider it a bonus but really do not place the weight of your own value, happiness or success on the back of someone else, whoever he is (human or organization). The lower your expectations of others, the happier you will be.
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