SEO in Germany – Rocío Martín Travesí

Rocío Martin ended up working as SEO in Germany by chance. It all started with a three-month scholarship in Berlin that she was about to reject and, currently, she has been living in the capital for more than seven years.

After several years dedicating herself to SEO she decided to found his own company, Intothe Marketing Media Group, together with his work colleague Jesús Alfaro. Subsequently, both developed LEOlytics, the first platform dedicated to putting companies in contact with media to publish linkbuilding articles.

Rocio talks about how SEO is done in Germany, the peculiarities of doing SEO in several languages ​​and the past, present and future of linkbuilding

 

How and when did you first get interested in SEO?

I studied marketing at ESIC in 2005 in Seville and, despite this, I had never heard of SEO until I arrived in Berlin in 2010 and started working for the company MT Performance GmbH (Latin American Media Group a posterior). It was at that moment when I began to be interested in web positioning and digital marketing.

 

How did you ended up working as a SEO in Germany? Would you do that again?

In 2008 I finished my degree and, due to the lack of work options in Seville, added to the crisis and my lack of work experience; I decided to apply for a Leonardo scholarship to work abroad.

It was a European scholarship granted by the women’s institute that gave me the oportunity to work for three months as a trainee for a German company. At first, my application was for an English-speaking country, but the free places were for technology companies in Germany.

I thought about rejecting the scholarship, but finally I accepted as they assured us a position in a company whose work was done in English or Spanish and was related to marketing.

At the end those three months of scholarship became 7 years living in the German capital. Because, as the mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit said: “Berlin is poor but sexy”.

 

“We did SEO in Spanish but using the most advanced techniques that are now arriving at Spain but that were used in Germany 8 years ago. To put it in some way, when links were still used here in forums as the most, there were already posts in newspapers to enhance the positioning.”Rocío Martín Travesí

Your first job in this country was as responsible for the SEO team for LATAM, how is it to do SEO for a Spanish-speaking media in a country where Spanish is not spoken?

In Germany, I was very lucky and very well received. The company for which I started working with the scholarship had just started, the bosses were young and very good SEO professionals, in fact they had come from having previously worked in companies of the giant Rocket Internet GmbH. In addition Philip Huffmann, one of the founders and my main mentor, had studied in Spain and spoke Spanish perfectly.

At first I entered as a fellow, we were only 3 employees (all Spanish scholars) and the heads. The company grew in just three months in an impressive way. We started to have an office, 100 employees and to work at other markets. Thanks to that I was able to stay and lead the linkbuilding team.

Regarding to the SEO techniques that we implemented, they were made according to the country in which we wanted to position ourselves. We studied the competition on Google.es so it was practically like doing SEO from here, only in a more international environment, with colleagues from other cultures, meetings in English and, above all, a Startup environment that in 2010 was not so developed in Spain.

Berlin at the time was called “SilliconAlle” because of its resemblance to Silicon Valley. We did SEO in Spanish but using the most advanced techniques that are now arriving at Spain but that were used in Germany 8 years ago. To put it in some way, when links were still used here in forums as the most, there were already posts in newspapers to enhance the positioning.

 

When and for what purpose is Intothe Marketing Media Group founded? Why did you choose Berlin?

The company started in 2012. At that time I was still working for MT Performance GmbH in Berlin, a company in which I met Jesús Alfaro Aguado, co-founder of Intothe Marketing Media Group, as well as a great friend.

We both agreed on the idea that the time had come to implement what we had learned and start a business of our own. MT Performance had grown too much, the organization was not as horizontal as before and the level of learning we were acquiring had reached the limit, so we wanted more.

We chose Berlin since we both lived there, we had our life there and, above all, because the environment and the city provide many possibilities at a technological level due to the large number of events as well as the possibility of creating contacts in Startups.

 

What process do we need to follow to create a SEO team?

In the business world each one is building his organization in its own way, without a standard process but based on their knowledge, possibilities and needs.

In our case, we had the knowledge to manage projects, what we needed were clients, so we started there.

We designed the web and we got to work, above all, to offer services for people in our environment, Startups in which we had worked or acquaintances that had companies. As we were having clients, we were shaping the service that we offered and determining the needs in terms of employees.

It can be said that at the beginning one lacks of economic resources but has plenty of time. Therefore, it encompasses tasks of all kinds, from SEO, commercial and even graphic designer. Latter, when the volume of clients increases, the company tends to specialize and each person focuss on what is best given to them. It is a natural process in which the organization is structured, taking shape and creating an organizational chart by necessity, which was not previously defined.

 

You achieve companies positioning using three types of strategy: SEO, SEM and Social Media, what do you think is more effective in the short and long term?

There are strategies with different objectives, the ideal is to complement them. In case of having a reduced budget, I always suggest to opt for SEO since it gives you both: visits and conversions. In addition, the investment mades over time.

The SEM, however, can report instant leads but in the long term, if you do not keep investing, you will not be there.

In any case, depends on what is required, if it is for example an online master who needs to cover their places as soon as possible, the SEM and Social Media would be more successful because of the immediacy of results.

 

You work in three languages: Spanish, English and German. Does language have a large influence when planning a marketing strategy?

The language influences mainly by its price. For example, a native web editor in Germany charges a lot more than one in Spain, so the sale price of the package will also be increased.

The same happens with the acquisition of media, prices vary depending on the market. The webs metric is another differential point, when a media proposal is presented in Spain, customers tend more to review the DA, however in Germany they are very demanding with the visibility of Sistrix.

Regarding the strategies that we implement, they do not vary depending on the market, since we only implement whitehat techniques. By not crossing the dark side, we do not play with what is allowed or not allowed in a certain market, since we try to look more towards the future.

Google may be delayed but not stupid. That is to say, it always arrives, although sometimes it is late. In certain markets the updates are faster and more exhaustive than in others because of the lexical wealth, but in the rest they will arrive in the same way although a little later and perhaps on a smaller scale

 

In which language does each type of strategy work best?

We do not believe in standardized or language strategies because Google is increasingly efficient. We analyze each client based on their subject, their competence and their current situation, we define current needs without forgetting future ones and we draw a personalized and related strategy.

 

Could you tell me about the peculiarities of each of these markets? Which do you think is working better?

From my experience, Germany is more advanced and makes more careful techniques, I do not know if it is global or with the companies that we work daily, but it is the impression that gives me.

 

In what language do you find it most comfortable to work with? Why?

Spanish, since it is my mother tongue. In English and German I can supervise strategies, carry out keyword research or contact media and clients, but my fluency level is not bilingual, so I am more comfortable working in my language.

 

What is the future of linkbuilding?

Linkbuilding expects the same future as all online marketing areas, users evolve quickly, it is a market that does not give up and Google will try to constantly improve its algorithm.

The linkbuilding is never going to end, for the mere fact that it is nothing more than digital advertising through recommendations with links, be it follow or not follow ones.

I think it will continue to exist, to say that the links do not count is like saying that one day that the recommendations and opinions of customers about a product will not exist, that the government will veto them. That would be quite unlikely.

What is going to end for sure, is the bad linkbuilding done or the websites that only use fast techniques and offer nothing to the users.

The linkbuilding is, should be and will be more and more, a complement of a well-made strategy that will work for those who make a good use of it, because Google is delayed but No idiot.

 

Have you seen a change in the price in recent years? What do you think is happening?

The linkbuilding market has undergone many changes since we started in the sector. To be exact, in 2011 I began to collaborate with digital media. When I worked for the German company, we were challenged to get very high quality links and at that time the best metrics were from the newspapers. We contacted several Spanish media. My grandfather Andrés Travesí (now deceased), was director of ABC, so it was not very difficult for me to get some interviews in media with a link to the fashion pages we were managing and wanted to position better.

Later, we set up Intothe Marketing, and thanks to the relationships that Jesús Alfaro and I had established with the media, we began to publish articles for our SEO clients in newspapers with high metrics. These were completely free.

We ourselves were the ones who offered the media a remuneration for these publications, since we started offering this service to agencies and it did not seem ethical to charge for something that was free without the media knowing it. So we called and explained our new business model and we offered them a significant amount for it. The price, obviously, was reduced and symbolic.

Some time later, we decided to develop the LEOlytics platform in order to reach a wider audience and provide digital marketing agencies a reliable supplier for their campaigns. We were the first platform in Spain specialized in publications in high quality newspapers, a detail that is unknown to most since we have always taken our business with great caution and without massive advertising, except in interviews like this and industry events.

When we started with LEOlytics, it was not long before numerous platforms appeared that copied the business model, and the media began to raise prices due to the high demand.

Afterwards, more or less at the beginning of 2017, the situation was reversed, exclusive media that previously wanted to maintain their status and limit the volume of content, begin to sell by volume and lower their quality standards at any price, offering to publish in platforms of shared articles and daily deals that sell by volume, putting the market and the security of customers and suppliers at risk, even getting to advertise in Google Adwords as “sale of links to € 10”. It seems surreal truth?

The current result? Newspapers have a value much lower than specialized magazines or blogs that do maintain a quality and a maximum number of monthly articles. There are few exclusive media and quality linkbuilding is currently based on being able to publish on sites that can not be accessed by everyone. This is our objective, being different and achieving the impossible.

 

Where do you want to be in ten years?

It is difficult to know where we want to be in ten years, perhaps because we belong to a generation that lives day to day, but plans that are more than 1 year ahead are complex to establish.

What we do know is that we will be in the digital marketing sector offering products and services that add value to the consumer and that we will always maintain the quality standards and professional ethics that currently govern our business.