Today we have Mikhail Tuknov is the founder of the Internet Marketing company called Infatex.com. Mikhail is known for helping businesses increase online sales, grow brand awareness, boost web traffic. He is an expert in online marketing concepts, SEO, viral marketing, PPC, and Social Media.
Personally, I have known Mikhail for well over 6 years, and he is true SEO and marketing Guru! He not only knows the information, but continues to follow and stay up to date with all the SEO rules and policies making sure that he knows the latest SEO news. He is definitely a go to guy for any SEO, branding, and traffic needs or questions.
When and how did you get started in the world of SEO and what significant challenges did you encounter early on in your SEO career?
First of all, I want to thank you Eric, for taking the time to interview me. I am very glad to be a part of your informative blog.
My first introduction to the SEO world was in 1999. I worked at Einstein Industries, Inc., an Internet marketing company based in California. Back then, we were the leaders of Internet marketing for health industry, with clients comprised of doctors, dentists, and cosmetic surgeons.
I remember the old days of designing ad creative: banners for search engines such as Infoseek, WebCrawler, Excite, etc. One day, one of my colleagues, Chris Olsen, bought an interesting book about Web Position Gold, an SEO software. Since that day when I began reading it, I was interested about SEO. I started reading information about how search engine’s algorithms worked, and practiced my knowledge on our client’s sites.
In 2002, the company decided to invite an SEO guru named Danny Sullivan. We had spent several hours together and immediately after the meeting I was able to launch myself to a new level. The main point was not on-page SEO as I used to think, but links. He literally opened my mind about SEO. Thanks Danny! I will always remember you!
One important lesson I’ve learned from all these years is to stay calm and be patient. SEO is a nonstop process of marketing a website. It’s all about basics. If you want to be a rock star in SEO, you must think of the user first!
In simplest terms, what is SEO and why is it so important?
SEO is a very effective way of marketing a website on the Internet. The reason I like it, is because it is the opposite of old school “push” marketing.
When you watch a TV commercial, listen to a radio advertisement, or read a print magazine, you are constantly subjected to intrusive messages, such as “Call Us Now!”, “Buy This!”, and “Sign Up Today!”. Most of the time, these advertisement messages are really unrelated to your interests or intents, so they are pretty much ineffective. Don’t you hate when you are watching a movie, suddenly you get this annoying commercial about car insurance?
On the opposite end, there is a new way of marketing called “pull” marketing. SEO is a great example of this. It is not pushy at all. The user is the one who is actually interested in whatever product or service you are trying to promote. You are not using any “push” techniques; you are simply giving the user or prospect access to information that he is looking for or interested in. Search engines are great tools for doing that! We are very lucky to be able to experience a true revolution in the advertising world.
Do you have any new projects, promotions, or partnerships coming up in the near future?
As you know, I have an Internet Marketing company called Infatex.com. We recently opened an office in Saint Petersburg, Russia because of the vast expansion of the Internet industry over there. Russia is a great example of the Internet industry 5 years ago. Over there, about 70% of the population has Internet in their homes and the number is still growing.
There are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs who are interested in investing or building Internet startups in Russia. One of our recent clients is RusBase.com, which provides the latest and most accurate information about the Russian Internet startup market, as well as investment opportunities for angel and venture capital in Russia’s IT market.
How do you respond to the people that say SEO is dying, irrelevant, or unnecessary?
I have two thoughts about these types of people: 1) either, they have lost faith in SEO because they had a bad experience with it, and 2) they are simply other SEO professionals who are artificially creating a propaganda buzz in order to scare other competitors away from a golden opportunity.
The cool thing about the Internet is, it doesn’t have any limits. Yes, there is plenty of competition in pretty much every market, but look around and see how many McDonalds, car washes, and coffee shops there are on your block. When you think about it, you will realize that Internet is a child that has plenty time to grow.
SEO is not dying–it is simply evolving. Compare it to Wild Wild West, when gangsters used to kill and scam each other and later evolved into well-mannered, educated gentlemen. Do you see a correlation? We are seeing the same thing now in the shift from black hat to white hat techniques.
In the last couple of months, the SEO world has faced a lot of changes. What is your strategy now to achieve your client goals and what should the SEO industry focus on more?
To be honest with you, not much has changed for me and my clients. None of our clients experienced any ranking or traffic drops due to our very well-planned marketing strategy. We don’t consider SEO as simply Meta tags and links. We think of the user first. We are not trying to push anything to the user, but simply leading him to the information that he was already looking for.
In order to be successful on the Internet, you have to be proactive, and create great content that is interesting and sharable. Social media is simply a tool to share your content with others. Use these tools to your advantage.
Suggest the most important tips for anyone who is just learning about SEO.
Reading is good, but nothing beats good old-fashioned practice, which I consider the mother of all knowledge. Thomas Edison created his first working lamp after 1,000 unsuccessful attempts. He didn’t spend all his time reading blogs or books–he actually got up and did it. So my recommendation to all of your readers is to start moving, otherwise it’s going to be too late.
SEO is a very deep and complex industry. How do you convey the benefits of SEO to your clients?
Great question Eric! You are right, it is very important for the client to know what is going on. Many of them are still focused on old-school advertising, or SEO as a one-time thing that they could simply tweak, pay, and forget about. It’s totally different. We explain to the client that they have to consider SEO as a never ending project. First they have to realize that SEO starts from their own websites. Before we start on a project, we carefully analyze the client’s site. We only promote it if we think the site has a chance to compete or deserves to be seen. Otherwise, we suggest that the client completely rethinks his online strategy. What we do first is to find out
more about our client’s business, its goals and its intended audience. Based on that knowledge, we create an informative and user-friendly site. Usability plays a huge part in SEO, and in fact the two should go hand-in-hand.
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself, SEO, or your business?
I want people to realize that effective SEO = usability + design + content + promotion. If you don’t follow these steps, than you will become one of the people who say SEO is dead! If you or anyone of your readers has any technical or marketing questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to help anyone who is interested in what we do best!