Good day, all you SEO heroes out there! Today, Search Engine Academy is doing something a little different. I interviewed Aleh Barysevich, the Marketing Director for Link-Assistant.

Link-Assistant offers SEO Powersuite for search engine optimization professionals. SEO Powersuite is four tools that help SEO specialists do ranking analysis, SEO website audits, find link opportunities and more. Without further ado, take it away Aleh!

Link-Assistant Marketing Director Aleh Barysevich for SEO Powersuite

What is your background?

I come from development background. My friend Viktar, who’s currently Link-Assistant.Com’s CEO, and I started a development outsourcing business in 2004. For about a year, we were doing IT projects for customers worldwide. However, it didn’t take us long to realize there’s market for SEO software, so we focused on developing that.

How long have you been doing SEO and/or online marketing?

The launch of our first site was the turning point in my interest to SEO and online marketing. Back in 2004, Viktar and I started a website to market our development services. You bet we wanted it rank high for crazy competitive keywords, so we started looking into SEO: rules, principles and strategies. It turned out to be a fascinatingly vibrant industry, which keeps me captivated to date. A lot has changed over the eight years, but my passion for the niche is the same.

Was there any one event, incident or epiphany that happened to you that led you to visualize and create SEO PowerSuite?

When we started mastering SEO to optimize our development service site, we wrote a script to check our rankings (a prototype of Rank Tracker) and a program to reach out to link partners (the prototype of LinkAssistant).

We saw it working good and saving us time with our routine tasks, so we shared it for free, assuming it could be helpful for someone else as well. Surprisingly, very few people downloaded this software until we put a $30-price label on it! It was then that we saw a real interest in the software from the community, and it was the very moment we decided to develop and market SEO software.

Currently, SEO PowerSuite is made up of four tools: Rank Tracker, WebSite Auditor, SEO SpyGlass and LinkAssistant. It wasn’t SEO PowerSuite as it is from the very start. First, we launched LinkAssistant, which was originally meant for link exchange and market research. We no way recommend link exchange in 2013, and we occasionally have thoughts about excluding LinkAssistant from SEO PowerSuite altogether.

But our long-term customers are against it as they keep using it. These people do not use the software for any unpopular practices: they have revealed its hidden powers as a link management tool.

What are your biggest challenges in creating new functionality and doing updates for all SEO PowerSuite applications?

Surprising as it may seem, we always have multiple functionality updates on our list, thanks to both the industry itself and our users. Our users are amazing: they would often send crazy thorough feedback on the software and valuable suggestions for improvements, which ultimately makes a ready-made update calendar.

The industry is amazing as well: there are so many new features rolled out by search engines and social networks that all we have to do is follow them and make sure the software is compliant with the latest industry trends.

Let me give you an example. When Google included universal search results into web results, we assumed our users would love to know where their sites rank for their keywords in News, Images, Videos and other vertical search types. So we introduced universal search results into Rank Tracker, and now when users see Places 4 (2) mark in their ranking table, it means that their site ranks second in Places block, which occupies the forth place in Google search results.

Thus, perhaps the biggest challenge is keeping the pace with the industry updates and customers’ feedback rather than inventing new functionality.

What top two things do you think is going to be important for SEOers to concentrate on in 2013?

Great question! We’ve just released the Must-read SEO guidelines for 2013 on our website. It’s the first part of a 5-part SEO training series which we’ll be rolling out regularly, so if you’re interested in reading the rest, download SEO PowerSuite for free and get on our user mailing list.

In short, I believe that in 2013 SEOers should concentrate on three major aspects:

1)    Get the big picture and see the opportunities (ranking, link building) they might have missed out on. The first part of the guide I referred to is about all aspects of the big ranking picture: true-to-life rankings vs personalized search results, competition and negative SEO, AuthorRank usage, universal search results, traffic and ranking stats correlation.

2)    Focus on creating “big” content and promoting it. Content has always been the king, but this axiom is more than true in 2013. Along with focusing on deeper content, i.e. the one that gives more value to your audience, diversify content forms: videos, infographics, ebooks, etc.

3)    Embrace social media. The two niches, I mean SEO and social media, will be blended together even further in 2013.

Do you think doing social media processes will ever trump doing SEO? If so, why? If not, why?

That’s a tricky question really! SEO and social media go hand in hand, complementing and enriching one another. However, I’m positive it is impossible for social media to replace SEO, and here’s why.

When people say SEO is to be replaced by social media, they narrow SEO to link building, forgetting SEO is also about keyword research, flawless site structure and reasonably optimized content.  In this sense, social media will hardly ever trump SEO.

That said, there are different types of sites promoted. There are topics that are willingly endorsed by people and “share-sensitive” niches. Lots of us will like a new review of The Hobbit on Facebook, but very few will publicly recommend their dermatologist. I mean there will always be niches, where “impersonal” link building will hardly be ever replaced by SM-driven link building and promotion. These are types of sites that can rely on high organic positions solely.

But it’s a kind of an extreme example. If there’s an opportunity to create a vibrant community around your site, do it, take the best of both SEO and social media and find your unique way to dedicated customers or readers who can easily find you online.

Can you tell Search Engine Academy what’s on the horizon for new software products and services from Link Assistant in 2013?

Just two months ago, in November 2012, we launched new software. It is called BuzzBundle and it’s a social media management tool.

Surely, the just-out BuzzBundle tool will be growing its functionality in 2013 on and on, giving users Facebook Pages support, more social sources (LinkedIn, YouTube and more) and professional reports on social media campaigns. In 2013, SEO PowerSuite is to provide users with more ranking data and more specific ways to analyze it, giving more prominence to mobile SEO and adding a number of crucial features to assist you in it.

Most likely, we’ll also modify link software to assist in alternative link building methods.

SEO PowerSuite will continue developing its in-house data sources: the backlink crawler in SEO SpyGlass, that lets you find up to 200K backlinks per site, plus the planned-to-be ranking crawler and keyword analysis tool.

What is Link Assistant’s company philosophy? How did it get formed?

Link-Assistant.Com’s mission is to be the software house for best internet marketing tools, to provide the industry with the most data-rich yet the most affordable solutions in their class.

What excites you the most about updating and offering SEO Powersuite to SEOers, webmasters and marketers?

The most exciting thing is the feedback, i.e. seeing that our tools, both SEO PowerSuite and BuzzBundle, turn out to be helpful for online promoters and marketers. See people write long reviews about the software, showing how exactly our tools helped them increase their online earning.

Do you ever get frustrated with all the changes that Google and other large search engines roll out constantly? If so, what do you do to handle the frustration? If not, what’s your secret?

True, last year was a challenging one for many SEOs, with Pandas and Penguins pouring on our heads. I wouldn’t say that working in online marketing industry is a walk in the park, on the contrary, you never know what to wait for tomorrow. But that’s what makes it so exciting: you always have to be in good shape to meet the challenges all-armed and moreover help your community survive the search engine changes.

I think there’s more panic than real threat around search engine updates, so the best way to handle them is stay cool and always stick to the ground SEO rules Google suggests in their Search Quality Guidelines.

Is there anything else you’d like Search Engine Academy’s readers to know about you and Link Assistant?

We’d be honored if our tools will help you improve online visibility of your brands. We also like talking a lot, so we’ll be glad if you stop by and say hi to us on Facebook, Twitter @LinkAssistant or Google Plus

To give our software a try, download SEO PowerSuite and BuzzBundle for free – this might be a turning point in your internet marketing career.

Many thanks to Aleh for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer some SEO questions from Search Engine Academy.

Until next time, keep it between the ditches, umkay?