A Conversation with SE Raking's CMO Bogdan Babyak
In today’s conversation, we speak with Bogdan Babyak, the CMO at SE Ranking. He tells us about the constant challenges of competition and the need for exceptionally high-quality content.
SE Ranking is an all-in-one SEO software solution with tools for every task in search marketing. The platform provides entrepreneurs, SMBs, agencies, and enterprises with analytical data and monitoring features that help their websites rank on top and stay there.
The software started in 2013 as an in-house tool for Google rank tracking and has grown into a complete SaaS platform with approximately 35 tools that are now trusted by over 600,000 users worldwide. We currently have over 90 people on board, plus 20 to 30 people who contribute as contractors on a daily basis.
Our niche is getting more competitive every day. Besides the complex solutions with multiple tools (SEMRush, Ahrefs) there are individual tools for particular SEO tasks. Of course, these tools vary in quality of data and performance, but the density of competitors in the market keeps us focused on enhancing our own solutions with every passing day. This is truly inspiring.
Although the technical race is very important, we keep the question of customer experience under review. At the end of the day, no matter how great your tool is, if it's not friendly to your users, it's useless. So we are working on this friendliness in several dimensions at the same time. To cut it short, we created an SEO platform that is both professional (accurate data, great performance) and simple (easy to use, friendly, and responsive to the users).
My goal is to take care of everything, especially marketing. Our growth is product driven, so we constantly need to make sure that our internal communication is working. In general, my role is handling acquisition while simultaneously taking care of product metrics on the marketing side—and keeping the product side in mind.
The product was initially created as an in-house tool for Google rank tracking. Now it’s a platform with over 30 tools and a team of 100 people behind it. Within the structure of our marketing department, we have a small sales team that is working closely with acquisition and retention building teams. We are tightly connected in our work. It's not like there’s an isolated salesperson sitting and creating their own sales documents. There’s a process of constant research that involves double-checking our marketing efforts: what email sequences we have, what feedback we get from customers, common pain points, and so on.
As for marketing itself, we have the SEO team, the content team, and the outreach team. We have a PR manager as well as several people who adapt our marketing for different regions. Plus, we have several marketing managers who handle complex processes. There's also the design team, which is not a part of marketing but is key to our work. There's also the academy department that creates educational materials, video tutorials, organizes webinars with experts, and now is about to launch the first full SE Ranking course on SEO basics. So we have a big team and we're working in multiple directions simultaneously.
Our main goal is to create a platform that allows people with any level of initial expertise to benefit from SEO. Building an SEO software tool that is both professional and accessible is our primary focus. We're not trying to cover multiple software niches at the same time. Instead, we focus on providing our users with the best possible SEO experience. We are considering expanding to the European and American markets, and even to Asia. The top priority for us is to make our product even better. However, in order to have the resources to do so, the marketing department has to ensure steady growth of the business as such.
In terms of challenges, our biggest challenge is remote working. When everyone is in the same office, you can solve almost any issue with a quick chat. But because a lot of people are now booked up with meetings, you have to collect your questions into one bundle and solve all of your problems in your allotted time. We've been working on making things smoother by reducing the number of meetings and creating processes that keep everyone synced and on the same page. But it has been really hard for me as a manager of a team that has over 40 employees.
Another challenge is related to online events. People used to love events, but now, they are exhausted from having multiple webinars every single day. So, it has become a challenge to find new ways of making online events interesting. We need to find a new way to deliver our brand’s ideas and our expertise to our existing and potential customers.
Our niche is also very competitive. Our competitors are experienced; they have great resources. So, you have to be really smart—it's always a race to do something above average.
We're constantly focusing on building relationships with clients. I believe that it's really important to work with client feedback and to be genuinely grateful for their input. I mean, negative reviews are priceless in terms of the insights they give us on what clients really care about. We constantly collect feedback through interviews, market research, and review platforms. And, once a year before Christmas, we ask our clients to make a wish telling us what they would like us to add or alter in SE Ranking. Within this initiative, we gather suggestions that help us adopt our roadmap for the upcoming year so that it satisfies the actual needs of our clients.
What has been effective is content. But it has to be done properly. For instance, if you're creating a video campaign, you have to do high-quality videos, plus you have to understand the pain points of your audience. For example, we've never used TikTok as a marketing channel. But I've seen some SEO specialists trying to leverage it. Sometimes, it looks awkward, but it does have potential. We understand that we don't have enough experience or enough time to do it properly. The other thing about doing content properly is that you need to commit to each channel. You can't put out one blog post—you need to create a blog that delivers top-notch materials regularly. We are very proud of our content team, our professional in-house video production, and our academy team. They all create content that is both expert and fun. And yes, it’s very beneficial for the business.
I see a trend in how niche professionals tend to grow their interdisciplinary expertise. For example, a good SEO specialist is not just someone who knows everything about links and tech SEO. It’s someone with a marketing intuition and an understanding of the business value of each action.
Another trend is that technical perfection is not enough to win over the hearts of users anymore. It’s all about creating a great overall experience. How you communicate your values, how you prove your expertise, how you react to negative feedback, how you make your users and partners feel good about working with you—none of this can be neglected.
Another trend that I can point out is growing competitiveness within SEO software niches which makes any player in the market strive for a higher quality. There’s no time to rest or relax; you’ll be pushed out of the market faster than you think.
Our main focus with content is to get traffic from Google—searchers come to us because they have a demand to solve an issue or answer a question, and we offer the solution through our expertise. This can be challenging because we're trying to do something better than others, so our content can get rather complex as a result. Our copywriters dig really deep into every topic they cover. They consult with market experts and leaders for expertise. They aim to create really good but small masterpieces. Some articles can be really long and take like 30 minutes to read. But from our perspective, if you come to Google with a specific search query, that means that the intent is there. In turn, we want to give you the most complete explanation of what you need to do to solve your issue.
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