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Interviewing Joanna Vaiou

Welcome to a new Weekly Interviews edition where we interview brilliant women in our industry and share their stories with the world! Anyone is welcome to share their story by simply filling this form, we encourage women from all walks of life in our industry to do so.

Introducing Joanna Vaiou! Based in Greece, Joanna is an SEO Consultant at her own remote SEO services company since 2013 and supports professional services companies and several niches of eCommerce brands in Greek and global markets.

We asked her everything from how she first got into SEO to what empowers her to be the brilliant woman she is 💪🏽

How did you get into SEO?

I got the SEO “bug” in March 2009. It was when I had just started researching online about alternative professions that I could follow and work 100% online, from home or from wherever there was the internet. Somehow, I pumped into a job ad that wrote “SEO auditor wanted” and it drew my attention. My first thought was: “what the heck is an SEO auditor? It sounds weird…” At the same time, I had also invested in an online Personal Development course for my own personal growth as I wanted to improve my mindset and my overall life. This course also had a direct sales opportunity attached to it, as an option. That is if someone wanted to start their own online business by selling this course to others, for a commission.

While I failed in selling the course to others, I used the basic internet marketing training this company offered and started diving into the world of internet marketing online training. I learned how to build my own WordPress websites from online courses and from all the available marketing methods, SEO won my exclusivity and my full attention. I knew this would be my thing and that was a huge revelation to me as I was having so much difficulty committing to any other thing that was not my calling or my conscious choice. I am in the SEO industry since then, the first 2.5-3 years I studied by myself at home from online courses. I built some case studies and decided to get a job as an SEO Director at a web performance agency, the best in Greece. One year later, I started my own remote SEO career as a freelancer. Since 2013, I have my own company and serve my own clients 100% remotely. This is the best 12-year investment I have ever made.

What is your favourite SEO task?

My favourite SEO tasks are keyword research and analysis and SEO strategy design according to the results of my research. I like using free SEO tools like Google Trends and Search Console as well as paid SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush, and then go to Google universal search engine and also note the keyword ideas that Google gives me through its multiple features like 1) Autocomplete, 2) Related Searches, 3) What people ask, 4) ZERO position featured snippets, 5) Video snippets, 6) Image snippets, 7) GMB results (if applicable), and more. Then, I combine my findings and finalize my strategies because I can’t only depend on what the tools give me, especially when it comes to the search volume metrics on display. I also love implementing On-Page SEO on WordPress websites and creating strategic internal links.

What is your go-to tool or resource that you can't live without?

Ahrefs is the tool I use daily and can’t live without. I really enjoy the metric of “clicks per search” or “CPS” as it helps me prioritize the target keywords that I set for a specific page to main and secondary, etc. I use Ahrefs in combination with my own agency’s analytics all-in-one SEO tool, where I can see the daily ranking positions changes for all my client projects, run technical SEO analysis, create reports on the fly and get data from all the integrations I need for each project of mine when I need it. It really saves me a lot of time.

What is something you learned in SEO that made you have an 'AHA' moment?

At first, when I started, I did all SEO tasks by myself from building my own website, writing my own content, doing all the things on-page and off-page SEO. And it was acceptable at that time as I was still teaching myself how all the SEO different elements work together. Since I became a business owner, I struggled to do all things by myself because I had to deal with running a business and supporting my clients personally. This is essential as I am a personal brand, but it also is very time-consuming.

My “AHA” moment was when I realized that it is ok to not do everything by myself and devote myself to tasks where I am more productive and effective. So for every little or big thing I don’t want to or don’t feel like doing, I find and pay someone to do it for me. Yes, this was my “AHA” moment! To take risks and trust other people with my business. I have had bad moments that made me wiser and good moments that I am so grateful for.

What is your proudest industry achievement?

My proudest industry achievement is when I see clients of mine that I took on 2 and 3 years ago (local businesses with one physical brick and mortar shop) with a new e-shop that had zero traffic and authority, growing enough to start a second brick and mortar shop, hire new staff and even discuss to expand their products reach internationally, all from the organic growth that we have experienced together.

This is a success to me: to see my clients’ businesses grow side by side with mine and at the same time, create life-long friendships with them. Forming mutually respectful relationships with the people I work with is also a very crucial factor of success in my worldview.

What advice would you give women who are starting out in SEO?

Build your confidence, skills and own the room that you are in. Own your failures and your successes. Be strong enough to admit your mistakes and take on full responsibility for your choices.

It is not an easy industry to be in; it has its always evolving challenges. On top of that, being an SEO woman (especially in corporate environments) can be sometimes hard. So many aspects of SEO are so volatile that will eventually teach you how to be patient if you ever struggled with it. And patience is a great virtue. SEO will make you better and stronger as a person. This will also improve your personal life as well.

Give a shout out to a woman in the industry who inspires you and tell us why

I’ll start with all of you, the “Women in Tech SEO” who spoke on stage of the 1st full-day event in London, in March 2020. I attended in person. It was my first visit to London and one of the best investments I have made for my personal and professional development. You were all amazing and I felt proud to be a part of such a global community with SEO being our common passion.

Two other women in the industry that I haven’t met in person but I religiously follow online either through their social media profiles or their newsletters are Lily Ray and Marie Haynes. I particularly enjoy the “E-A-T” related information they share frequently, as I am also personally invested in this part of SEO with my own personal brand and I always suggest to my clients to invest themselves too towards this direction of building brand trust long-term. Oh! And of course Jessica Foster, for her sharp SEO copywriting skills, raw honesty and a great sense of humour :).

Finally, what empowers you to be the brilliant woman you are?

What empowers me is the inner work that I am constantly doing in all areas of my life and the actual results that I am experiencing because of it. I choose to respond to situations in much wiser and productive ways, even the negative ones. The only reason these days that I look in my past is to see how far ahead I have reached so far and how I got here. When you see that something that you do works and brings results, you just keep on doing it and keep improving yourself at it. The results are not only apparent in my business and the growth I am experiencing as a professional but also in my personal relationships.

I choose to invest myself in relationships that both parties are mutually supportive and value-adding to each other’s lives. I am empowered by my own life story and life choices. When I meet other people with whom we speak a similar language and we happen to inspire each other, this is truly empowering and a great add-on. I am always on the look for inspiring stories of other people. It is some type of spiritual fuel for me. I always welcome like-minded and empowering people in my life. I enjoy positive energy exchange more than anything else and I like leaving people in a better situation than when I found them through my energy.

And lastly, self-awareness and empathy as a character's traits. I find having a clear vision of who we are and what is good for us as well as trying to understand why other people behave as they do immensely empowering and absolutely remarkable.


Thanks Joanna for a truly insightful interview, you can check out Joanna's website and connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

To view more interviews with brilliant women, check out our Interviews page. If you've enjoyed reading this interview, then we'd love for YOU to share your story with the world! Simply fill this form here, we welcome brilliant SEOs from all walks of life! 🙌🏽