Success with eCommerce SEO with Kristina Azarenko

Welcome to today’s podcast! I’m excited to have Kristina Azarenko with us. I’ve been following her work for quite a while, and I’m eager to have her on the show. Known for her deep SEO knowledge, Kristina has spent over a decade in the industry.

Kristina originally hails from Belarus but now calls Toronto, Canada, her home. She has managed to carve a niche in the e-commerce SEO space, helping small and medium-sized businesses navigate the complex world of online visibility. I’m thrilled to dive into her journey and insights.

Key Takeaways

  • Kristina has over a decade of experience in the SEO industry.
  • She has transitioned from working with agencies to consulting and teaching.
  • Kristina moved from Belarus to Canada, starting her business from scratch there.

Guest Introduction

Getting to Know Kristina

I’ve been eyeing Kristina for a while now and keeping up with her work from afar. After several attempts to get her on the podcast, I’m thrilled she’s finally here. Kristina, it’s lovely to have you.

Kristina has spent an impressive ten years in the SEO industry. In the last two years, she’s focused primarily on consulting. Earlier in her career, she worked in-house and for agencies. Now, she runs her consultancy and teaches SEO. She started a course called “No BS SEO” to counteract misinformation in the industry.

Kristina mainly works with small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses. She helps them implement SEO practices, handle website migrations, and navigate technical SEO challenges. You might have seen her at events like Google Central Live or read her articles on Search Engine Land. She is also involved with Women in Tech SEO.

One thing that stands out is her flexibility with language and accents. Kristina, originally from Belarus, moved to Canada three years ago. Her accent blends various influences, making it hard to pinpoint. She moved to Canada through an immigration programme with her spouse, and they had to start fresh.

Initially, Kristina took up jobs to settle in but eventually set up her consultancy. Most of her clients are based in the USA and Canada. Despite the move, her business continues to thrive. She shared that the transition was challenging but rewarding.

Christina specialises in e-commerce SEO, with unique challenges like faceted navigation and managing dynamic stock. She also works with aggregator websites like those in real estate or car dealerships. Unlike static service websites, e-commerce platforms are more dynamic and require constant attention.

Kristina’s journey from Belarus to Canada and her rise in the SEO world are remarkable. It’s great to have her insights on the show today.

Work Experience

Tackling False Information

I’ve spent a decade in the SEO industry, where I’ve primarily engaged in consulting over the last two years. Initially, I worked for various agencies and in-house roles but shifted to consultancy and teaching to counter the widespread misinformation in the field. My course, “No Nonsense SEO,” addresses these issues.

I mainly collaborate with small to medium e-commerce businesses, helping them implement effective SEO strategies, handle website migrations, and deal with technical SEO challenges. Over the years, I’ve spoken at notable events like Google Central Live and contributed to platforms like Search Engine Land. I’ve also been actively involved with groups like Women in Tech SEO.

Originally from Belarus, I moved to Canada three years ago. Although I started fresh in Toronto, it’s been a rewarding journey. My consultancy serves primarily US-based clients, with a significant portion also in Canada. Working with dynamic e-commerce sites, I address unique challenges like faceted navigation, stock fluctuations, and handling product options, which are quite different from static content often seen in B2B or service sectors.

Being adaptable and willing to start from scratch has been critical to my career and life.

Contributions to the Industry

Participating in Industry Gatherings

In my decade-long career in SEO, I have actively participated in many industry events. For instance, I have spoken at Google Central Live and several other prominent conferences. These events have allowed me to share my insights on technical SEO and e-commerce strategies, connect with peers, and learn from other experts in the field.

Articles and Presentations

I regularly write and speak about SEO topics. My articles have been featured on platforms like Search Engine Land, where I discuss various aspects of SEO. Besides writing, I also deliver talks on best practices and innovations in the industry. Through these talks and publications, I aim to educate and inform about effective SEO strategies and debunk common myths.

Involvement in Women in Tech SEO

I am deeply involved with the Women in Tech SEO community, which is dedicated to supporting and empowering women in the SEO industry. I hope to inspire and mentor other women through my participation, helping them navigate and succeed in the tech world. This role is essential to me, as fostering diversity and inclusion in technology is a cause I strongly support.

Personal Thoughts

Beginnings and Where I Live Now

I have been in the SEO field for about a decade. Most recently, I have focused on consulting over the past two years. Originally, I was from Belarus, but I moved to Canada three years ago. It was easier to immigrate to Canada than to my dream destination, the UK. My husband and I started everything from scratch upon arrival.

Language Skills

I speak Belarusian and Russian natively. Over time, I have also learned English, my second native language, as I have been saying it since childhood. My accent is unique, blending elements from various dialects, making it somewhat indistinguishable. This skill allows me to communicate effectively across different regions.

Moving to Canada

Reasons and Difficulties

I always knew I’d move abroad from a young age. My initial dream was to settle in the UK. London captivated me, and I visited it about 80 times. But moving there proved challenging without a specific job offer. Canada, on the other hand, presented a more accessible immigration process. My partner and I went through an immigration programme, which allowed us to relocate together. When we arrived, we had to start everything from scratch. We found a place to live and looked for jobs since having permanent residency didn’t guarantee employment. It wasn’t easy settling into a new country with different rules, but it was a rewarding experience.

Starting Fresh in a New Place

Adjusting to life in Canada required me to rebuild my career. Initially, I took on various jobs to get started. My first job didn’t work out, so I moved to another one at an agency. After spending about a year and a half there, I felt the need for more control over my work and clients. This led me to start my consulting business a year and a half ago. Interestingly, most clients are based in the USA rather than Canada. Despite living in Canada, most of my work comes from the other side of the border.

Launching a Consulting Firm

Starting my consultancy gave me the freedom to choose who I work with. I primarily collaborate with small and medium-sized businesses, especially in the e-commerce sector, providing services like SEO, migrations, and technical support. Most of my clients are in the USA, even though I reside in Canada. Running my business on my terms has been incredibly fulfilling, and I’ve built a solid client base across the continent.

Differences in E-Commerce SEO

Unique Challenges in E-Commerce

E-commerce SEO isn’t the same as SEO for other types of websites. One significant difference is the complexity of the structure. E-commerce sites often have many pages, and each page needs optimisation. Furthermore, e-commerce sites deal with frequently changing content, like product availability, adding another difficulty layer.

Managing Ever-Changing Stocks and Faceted Navigation

E-commerce sites often have dynamic stocks, where products come in and out of availability quickly. Handling this dynamic nature can significantly affect SEO. Another challenge is faceted navigation, which includes multiple filters and sorting options. If not managed correctly, it can lead to duplicate content and poor crawl efficiency.

Product Page Factors

In e-commerce, every product page needs special attention. These pages must be optimised with detailed descriptions, high-quality images, and customer reviews. The uniqueness and quality of these elements are crucial for ranking well. Product options, like colours or sizes, also play a part in optimisation and must be handled effectively.

Final Remarks

Thank you for joining today’s podcast. It’s an honour to have Christina on the show, sharing her insights and experiences in the SEO industry. Christina has spent over a decade in the field, transitioning from agency work to consulting and teaching. Her dedication to debunking myths in SEO is genuinely commendable.

Kristina is currently based in Toronto, Canada, though she originally hails from Belarus. She moved to Canada three years ago with her husband, starting anew by finding a place to live and securing jobs. This journey, although challenging, has been rewarding.

In our discussion, Christina highlighted the unique aspects of e-commerce SEO. Unlike static websites such as those for plumbers or B2B services, e-commerce sites face specific challenges like faceted navigation and stock management. These issues require tailored strategies to ensure optimal performance on search engines.

Kristina also shared how she’s built her consultancy over the past year and a half, mainly working with clients in the USA. Her work includes helping companies navigate the complex world of SEO in the e-commerce sector, ensuring their websites remain efficient and visible in search results.

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