Today on our interview session we have Joanna Vaiou. Joanna is an SEO Expert that participated to our SEO Experts Roundup and she offered some great tips.
1. Joanna, do you mind telling our readers a little bit about you and what you do?
Hello to all. My name is Joanna Vaiou and I am from Athens, Greece. I am a Search Engine Optimization consulting services business owner for International Brands in high tech and high end industries.
I am also into affiliate marketing, an extra business model where I promote high end “Price per Sale” Products/Services for my vendor – partners.
In the “make money online” and internet marketing niche there is a general rule. Keeping all your eggs in one basket is not a long term strategy to build financial independence and accelerate growth.Creating multiple income streams is a more viable and promising business handling strategy for ongoing growth and success.
2 When you started doing Search Engine Optimization and what motivated you to do if further for a living?
In 2009, I realized how unhappy and unfulfilled I felt, due to the reason that I was 28 years old and still hadn’t found something that I really loved doing. With a Bachelor Degree in Financial science, I worked as an employee in various relevant & irrelevant jobs that I couldn’t feel or “see” myself in the long run.
I always asked myself: “Is that the best you can do?”, “Does this lifestyle make you happy?”, “How does this endeavor add to your dreams?” etc.
I was always trying to find a greater meaning in everything I did. It was challenging to say the least, because I never found any meaning, joy or satisfaction in any of the jobs that I did.
I only did it out of the need to save some money so one day I could actually invest in myself, my personal and professional development (of unknown major till 2009). I realized that I had to change my mindset first of all and acquire the right resources that would help me become the right person so I can fulfill my future dreams.
So I bought a high end personal development course in 2009 from USA and I consumed it thoroughly. It was a great start. Since then, my personal development self-education has not stopped. It continues every single day.I invest at least one hour per day into my self-development, it has become a really important part of who I am and my every-day life. It’s a lifestyle, a mindset, a skill (in the end) that once we acquire it; will help us achieve our goals and dreams. It is a truly magnificent resource in our life! It is life changing.
The course was also a product of a direct sales business program which would provide me a commission, if I manage to introduce it to someone else who would buy it after my suggestion. In my way to improve myself so I can find meaning in my life and become a happier person there it was; my first experience with internet marketing.
I needed a website to promote the course, so I got one but was not exactly happy with it. I wanted more control over my stuff.
So after a Facebook acquaintance of mine in the affiliate marketing space who was already experienced suggested that I should devote some time to learn how to build my own websites through WordPress CMS. Until then, I thought I would have to go to a university for coding in order to learn how to do it. I was wrong! I learned how to build WordPress sites on my own from free online video courses and tutorials. This is the free resource I consumed to learn: .
Having a website though is much less than enough to do business. I had to find ways to attract targeted traffic that would be interested in personal development. And then I realized that I had to acquire some type of Online Marketing skill in order to be able to start my own business and stand a chance to succeed in the long run.
In my research, I ran into SEO as a marketing method that would make my website appear on top page of Google for my product or service important and popular search terms. I found it very weird but very interesting as well.
A web designer guy then told me that SEO is REALLY hard and that in order to rank a website in a competitive niche, you would have to be a GURU. His words were all that I needed to motivate myself and start looking into SEO more thoroughly.
Long story short, I bought domains and built websites on WordPress and then ranked them on top 3 spots on top page of Google.com.
It was not so unlikely after all! That was it, for me. I had found something that I loved, something that I felt I could become very good at and at the same time, could allow me to achieve my dream for more FREEDOM in my life.And to make it clear, freedom for me means the following:
- Work from no office but from anywhere there is an internet high speed connection
- Having the FREEDOM to CHOOSE my working hours (which are many more than a regular employee’s but I love working hard for my passion)
- And the people I work with (of course)
No employer, no government, no family members, no spouses or significant others, no friends could ever offer me this mix of freedom leverage, only I could. I was lucky to realize this with the help of my personal development education. Also, I discovered a passion that had the potential to fit the life I always dreamed for myself.
I started investing in SEO knowledge in 2009 and since than I have not stopped doing the same. It took me 4 years to become competent enough to start my own consulting business in 2013 and take on all the responsibilities that being an entrepreneur would bring on me. Today, I feel very happy, content and satisfied with how things turned out for me.
I count many mistakes, many risks, many wins and losses and even more lessons learned. I love all that and would not change any of it ever, all these add to my growing wisdom as a human being and a business person.
3. What resources you used to learn SEO and what will you recommend for anyone that wants to do SEO and Social Media Marketing?
There is a great deal of free knowledge for every marketing skill which can be found on YouTube.com by typing “How to….”, and completing the sentence with what you actually want to do. Seriously there is! Apart from that, there are great blogs out there and free seo tutorials for beginners.
I am sharing 2 of them with you next for SEO which is my expertise:
If you are more advanced SEOer, the blogs of AHREFS, Majestic and Semrush Tools are a great resource for deeper knowledge in SEO.
4. What tools you use and recommend to us?
I mostly use paid tools because they save me time but I would only recommend them if you are already profitable with what you do in the internet marketing industry.
Agency Analytics (affiliate link) for SEO keyword rank tracking, onsite SEO and semi-automated reporting for all traffic channels.
AHREFS, Majestic and Semrush for deep SEO analysis like traditional keyword research, competitive keyword research, my own and competitors backlinks and content marketing intelligence for new content creation.
Alternatively, there are plenty of free tools to use if you are just starting that have zero cost. Search Engine Watch recommends some of them in this article.
5. In what niches do you prefer to work?
I work with high tech niches in high end industries and partner with international corporations and organizations. I prefer to invest my time, resources and focus in promoting products and services that have high Price per Sale scores instead of promoting low end products and services.
Reason is my SEO knowledge, in which I constantly invest and also constantly renew 8 years now, is super expensive as well.
6. You hired staff or do you run the show on your own?
At first I did the nitty gritty all on my own. Now, I have few VAs (online virtual assistants) that perform specific seo related tasks that (either) I don’t want or don’t have time to do myself.
7. I see you are doing SEO for international market but as well for the Greek and French ones. Are there any notable differences in the methods you use?
Exactly, I mostly do English websites SEO but there is a large pool of opportunities in other countries where English is not the main language. As a general rule, non-English website SEO is easier than i.e USA SEO.
The challenge for me in the non-English seo market business (Greek excluded as I am a native speaker) is that I have to hire either a “Greek to French” or “English to French” translator so I can do my work in the according language as I am bilingual (Greek and English). I found someone for French projects so I am ok. I have no restrictions when it comes to do multilingual SEO.
8. How many hours do you work daily? What are daily tasks for your business?
I have no specific hours of working. Usually it is more than 8 daily, but are split within the day according to what I have to do every day (outside consulting meetings, new client appointments, leisure time etc).
During the weekend I relax more but that does not mean I am not doing things work related online.
I read every day SEO articles on how my industry changes, I communicate with my service providers, I monitor stuff, keyword rankings, reply to my clients if they need a random report or an answer to their questions about what has changed with Google algorithm and how we can fix it and so forth.
My clients know they can count on me anytime.
9. What was your biggest mistake and what have you learned from it?When you really love what you do and you have built a solid business, it is very important to find reliable people like yourself and trust them enough to invest your time, your knowledge and resources, that is if you want team mates. As we all grow professionally, we need to build a team so we don’t deal with micromanagement tasks.
Few times, I made wrong choices to invest the aforementioned resources of mine in individuals who were either not reliable or were not “ready” to receive all that. I have lost time, peace of mind, and money. But, I own all my wrong choices. Otherwise I wouldn’t learn how to avoid similar situations in the future.I learned that I shouldn’t believe in a person’s potential (how I want to see them becoming in the near future through my own eyes). I shall only see who they are, what their values are and how they behave now, at the present moment only. Not everybody deserves our patient waiting for them to decide to “change” their life. This is totally their decision.
10. If you could send now a message, an advice to you when just started this journey, what will it be?
Actually, I was telling all that to myself as soon as I hopped on this internet marketing lifestyle journey because I was constantly motivated of my personal development resources.
Though, what I would offer as an advice to other individuals who are now starting or thinking to, is the following pieces:
- Forget all your past beliefs and restricting views
- If you want your life to change, you have to change first. This is the only way you will attract change
- Work with yourself a lot, your past issues, your insecurities, your inner doubts, believe in yourself and be very careful with any expectations you have from others. Set high standards for yourself.
- Set healthy boundaries for yourself and your environment. The majority of individuals who live their life in their comfort zones, do not (and potentially never will) understand this path of online entrepreneurship. You will need to eliminate all the negative influences that come from your close environment.
- Remember, the fact they never tried or failed to do something different in their life, does not mean you can’t… Show these “Naysayers” how it’s done.
- Open your mind to receive unlimited NEW knowledge (Power) that will change your life.
- Don’t be afraid of walking alone in paths that are unknown to many.
- Don’t be afraid to risk, to lose and be disappointed. This is how you will become successful one day.
- Learn how to deal with your failures in a helpful way. Then simply LEAVE them BEHIND and MOVE on, wiser than ever.
- You are allowed to make different mistakes, but not the same mistake twice.
- Learn how to enjoy your solitude; this road is not for all individuals to walk on.
- Keep going. You are on the right path.
11. Who have you looked to as inspiration throughout your career? Any books you recommend?
At first I was inspired by Tony Robbins for motivational reasons and then it was Dr. Wayne Dyer for me who is a more delicate figure when it comes to self-development, inner peace, happiness (the meaning of life as I see it).I recommend the book “School for Gods” as the best resource of personal development I have ever consumed. It is simply SUPREME and a biggie, it is worth every millisecond of your time, if you are looking for answers inside you and you want to find a way to improve your current state of life.
12. What would you say you like most about living the Internet lifestyle? What do you least like about it?
The internet lifestyle has been a dream of me for many years. Once it seemed too crazy to achieve. Then I built myself up enough so I became worthy enough to receive it and enjoy it. There is nothing I don’t like.
I enjoy all the ups and downs of my lifestyle and all the responsibilities. The best way to predict your future is to create it.
The thought that my future would be in someone else’s hands was enough motivation for me to go for my crazy dreams. And now, things are exactly how I imagined them to be. I am full of gratitude.
13. What you enjoy to do in your free time? What is your passion and how would you monetize it?
My free time can involve regular things like going to the movies, trying new cuisines and cocktails in restaurants, a walk on a sunny day, a trip abroad by myself, somewhere where no one knows me and vice versa and spending quality times with my favorite people.
I am keeping it simple. No extreme sports fan here!
14. Do you have any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us?
Lots of them! It’s still early to reveal though. Next time, I may have more to share with you!
Thank you and I hope you enjoyed my insights.
Connect with Joanna Vaiou
Google+: Joanna Vaiou on Google+
Joanna Vaiou website: http://joannavaiou.com