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SEO Expert Secrets (Ina Ciobanu): From Page 10 to Page 1 In No Time

SEO Expert Secrets
SEO Interview

Hi! I’m Ina Ciobanu or simply Ina. I’m a copywriter with 13 years of experience and over 500 happy customers. I’ve been on Upwork since 2013, most of the time a Top Rated freelance content writer with 100% Job Success Score and 25% long-term clients).

Active on Fiver Pro since 2018 with my Amazon-related gigs (25% of my Fiverr clients leave a tip, although my service is quite pricey). The overall client satisfaction is 99,99% and 75% are long-term clients. SEOzon Prime is the Amazon optimization service I launched in 2018.

It has recently been awarded the “Best Specialist eCommerce SEO Service 2020” at the prestigious 2020 UK Enterprise Awards proudly hosted by SME-News.

PART 1

IDENTITY

What is your backstory?

I worked in a bank for 4 years but as soon as I realized that I was wasting my creativity I started to learn more and seek a way out.

This meant: 5 academic degrees in

  • Economics

  • Advertising

  • European Law

  • Management

  • Art History

Certified knowledge of 5 foreign languages. International scholarships in

  • Vienna (Austria)

  • Faro(Portugal)

  • 2 Erasmus stages in London (Uk)

Where I’ve also been living since 2016 (i think it’s the best city in the universe, btw!)

STRUGGLE

What did you struggle with when you first started learning your current skills?

I struggled with the excessive technicality of product features in general.

DISCOVERY

How did you overcome this and become an expert?

Before diving into the Amazon product descriptions and Amazon keyword optimization, I was lucky to work for a few years for a global brand known for designing rugged phones. I used to write brochures, website content, press releases, everything.

I knew those phones inside out. This helped me format the current product-specs-oriented mindset. Now when I see a product

I know exactly what to do and how to start the “optimized copywriting” process:

  • 1.

    Competition analysis

  • 2.

    Reading client reviews.

  • 3.

    Keyword research.

RESULT

What is your current situation?

Although I still take on website content projects or article writing, particularly if they’re interesting or challenging enough – mostly medical, legal, fintech-, SEOzon Prime is my main « hat » these days.

PART 2

Why do you think it is so crucial to know SEO today?

I think SEO is the backbone of the Internet. You might have the most stunning content or the best products, but if your website or your Amazon listings don’t have the right keywords in there, nobody will find what you’re offering. SEO is often the missing link between you and your customers.

If people don’t know your business or online shop exists, they don’t know what they’re missing out. It’s every business owner’s duty to reach out to future clients, to constantly optimize everything from offline services, customer assistance to online presence, and digital content. Or as Steve Jobs said, “Never settle”, right?

What are the current best White Hat SEO techniques you are using?

For Amazon SEO, I always stick to the truth by writing informative and engaging content for humans. Keywords must be next to invisible to the regular visitor. Never too obvious.

Only a trained eye should spot them. Every text must be unique, captivating, catchy, and irresistible. Plus, Amazon is known to make sudden changes in its algorithm or product pages structure, that’s why every listing must be future-proofed to some extent.

For instance, 3 years ago, you had to have the main keywords in the title but then some users were asked to cut down the title from 200 characters to 80. Amazon encourages to avoid keyword duplication, so imagine if sellers only had their main keywords in the title. That’s why you always need a plan b.

What are the best tools to search for keywords?

Google Keyword Planner and strictly for Amazon:

  • Merchant Words (this is my absolute favorite, by far),

  • Sonar by Sellics

  • Scientific Seller

  • Helium 10

What are the best advice you’ve ever received that got you from moderately good to
expert level?

  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

  • If your customers are happy, you are happy.

  • Treat every customer as if they’re the only customer you’ll ever have.

  • Always give your 200%.

  • Play hard, work harder.

  • Falling down is an accident. Staying down is a choice.

  • If you’re walking through hell, keep walking.

For instance, 2018 was a difficult year for me, as it was the beginning of 2020 (and the entire 2020 for all of us). But I thought: challenge accepted! I used this time to improve my service, fine-tune my writing and research skills, worked harder than ever and the results started to show.

Clients kept returning and even leaving tips – a sign they must have received more than they expected.

What would you say to someone who thinks that they don’t need SEO?

Not needing SEO is just like investing thousands of dollars in decorating your home for a party. You spend days, weeks, months, or years until everything is perfect. Then you just set it on fire. Ignoring SEO nowadays is as absurd as this picture.

What tools do you use for your work?

(website host, email responder, SEO software, tools and WHY these specifically- features, pros cons)

  • MerchantWords.com:

    I absolutely love and recommend anything by these guys. They’ve been in the Amazon keyword business since 2012.

    I cannot imagine my life without their keyword tool. They keep adding new exciting search features all the time – like Reverse ASIN lookup, Keyword Multiplier, The Digital Shelf.

    Their blog is also an absolute must for anyone interested in Amazon listing optimization, PPC Advertising, Product Research, Search Ranking, or Search Trends.

  • Textoptimizer.com’s Chrome Extension

    is fantastic. So easy to use by anyone. It just signals the keywords you need to add to any content to improve its organic ranking.

    They claim that “70% of the webpages optimized by TextOptimizer ranked higher within 5 weeks.”

Other favorite tools are:

  • Grammarly (writing assistant and grammar checker)

  • Html-Cleaner.com (converts texts to HTML code)

  • TraceMyIP.org (handy for removing duplicate words and repeated keywords).

What’s your favorite part about what you do when you are helping a client?

My favorite part is when they contact me after a while to share the news that their product has the “Amazon’s Choice” badge and thanking me for my contribution. That’s the best feeling an Amazon copywriter and Optimizer can possibly get.

What are the biggest tips you can give to beginners?

Always trust your gut feeling. Nobody knows better than you what you can and cannot do. Go for it!

Learning never ends. Find a person that inspires you. See what they did to get there and try to replicate. Adjust, be creative. Be brave!

Make a plan, stick to it and in time, results will come, I PROMISE! Whatever you do, just don’t give up easily. Keep trying until you get it right.

What expert secrets have you discovered along the way that you can share with us?

Created with Sketch. Client reviews are the most underrated resource of knowledge ever. Companies pay big bucks on focus groups and interviews.

Why? Just read Amazon reviews and you’ll pick your clients’ brains for free, from the comfort of your home. Seriously. You learn what they like, how they speak, where your competition fails, and where YOU can turn them into YOUR clients.

What is your secret weapon/specialty that you do better than all your competitors?

I think my constant thirst for learning and my creativity are deal-breakers. My powerful, multi-disciplinary academic background (24 years of school basically) gives me a unique mind-opening perspective into almost any matter.

Many copywriters these days think that having a keyboard automatically turns you into a copywriter. I’m afraid it takes a lot more than that. I also put all my time and effort into every text because I love to offer premium copy writing and keyword-researching services.

Others might write 7-8 product listings every day. Good for them! But that’s so not me. There’s enough content milling and I don’t want to be just another brick in that wall.

I think quality takes time. I spend days polishing the same content, investigating, analyzing my clients’ competition, downloading thousands of keywords, and never send my work until I’m 100% it is PERFECT.

What are the biggest false beliefs people have about SEO and why are they false?

Some Amazon sellers believe that SEO is a magic wand that makes up for anything from having 1-star reviewed products to offering poor customer experience. Amazon’s ranking factors are more than 20, and SEO is just one. It helps, but it can’t do all the heavy lifting.

If people want to DIY SEO, Where should they start?

For Amazon DIY SEO, they could start with title-builder.com by optimizing their product page’s title in a few seconds. They’ll get a title to begin with and some basic keywords.

It’s a great start. Then they could do some reverse ASIN lookups to see what their main competitors are up to and also use Helium 10’s Magnet for more frequently-used keyword suggestions.

What would you say to people who expect overnight success and to rank page 1 quickly?

I never understood overnight success. It costs so much to achieve it and usually disappears overnight as well.

“Easy come easy go”. The best results are built in time, little by little, with patience, perseverance, and knowledge.

Is there a mentor (or colleague that you admire), a book, or a course that you would recommend to our readers?

I thoroughly recommend reading the searchenginejournal.com and taking Stanford University’s “Crash Course on Creativity” or engaging with any type of online learning platform like Coursera. It’s amazing how you can learn anything you put your mind to these days.

Everything is online. The knowledge is out there, folks. Go and get it!

What questions should someone ask an SEO expert to know if they actually are experts?

For Amazon SEO, I think they should ask: “Can “Velcro” be one of the back-end search terms?”

What is the biggest mistake you made when you first started SEO?

Focusing on SEO alone without thinking about user experience or content quality. To this day, some people think that if a text doesn’t sound “keywordy” enough, it’ll never rank higher. At the end of the day, SEO is the synergy between art and science.

If you were to give people a checklist on how to get started, what would it be?

Start small and always think big. Whatever you want to do, create a “creative” routine about it. Start working on it 30 min every day.

Think about it, write things down (use your phone’s memo app). Start with short to-do lists. Then advance. Oh, and always tell other people about your plans.

You never know when someone could help. Plus, they’ll encourage you and trust me, you need this so much in some critical moments. Let your dream out into the world. The universe will reply. Just do your part and again (I cannot stress this enough): WORK HARD.

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