I had the opportunity to interview Oleg Shchegolev, CEO of SEMrush.
I could not let pass this opportunity to get to know him better and ask him some personal questions. I am always curious to learn about successful people and the challenges they overcome to become who they are.
Talking with Oleg I learned that he and his partner Dimity created SEO quick and after many tests, they realized that people needed more software that is complex. That was the beginning of SEMrush.
Now SEMrush is one of the most popular digital marketing tools around the world.
Oleg told me that in order to succeed people should embrace afraid and experiment often. This is his key to success.
He also shared with me that in Russia the major Search Engine is Yandex. Search behavior in Russia is the same as in the USA; people browse for products and services online.
Oleg told me that in the next 5 years SEMrush is planning to add more features that will help with content marketing, local SEO traffic, analytics, etc. SEMrush is currently working in updating the Chinese database so that it is able to cover Baidu searchers.
He also revealed to me that the headquarters is now in Chicago and not in Philadelphia.
I didn’t know that SEMrush organized a lot of meetups and worked with the USA and European universities in order to give opportunities to students who wish to explore and learn how to use SEMrush. I am fascinated by this amazing initiative because it is a great support for the new tech generation.
Oleg thinks that formal education is important but it is also important to be able to learn on your own. Technology moves fast and people that want to be part of the industry should be able to be self-taught.
Among the most important qualities of a leader, Oleg considers that intuition, perfect communication skills, and the ability to inspire others are the most important qualities. He said that “leadership is not about personal success, it is about the success of your team”.
Oleg’s day starts early. He usually wakes up at 5 am and gets a fresh cup of coffee, checks his twitter, listens to podcasts, checks his company reports (SEMrush). He multitasks all day. He also reads psychology and science books.
I was talking with Oleg about diversity and I asked him, what he thinks about gender bias in the industry? This is an important question for me because I am a woman and Hispanic. I am a minority and this topic really turns on my engines.
Oleg added that he is aware of the issue but that SEMrush is a company that welcomes people from any race and gender, a company that believes and practices equality. In addition, he told me that 50% of C –level employees in leadership positions are women. He also added that these women are excellent professionals, and they have helped SEMrush to be a leader in the industry.
I know many people want to know if websites should implement Amp pages or not. Oleg’s feedback was that Amp should definitely be implemented because it improves website speed and today users are very sensitive to that.
I also asked him if he thinks that Artifical Intelligence plays an important role in SEO, and how SEMrush is planning to help marketers. Oleg said that AI will affect SEO but we do not have to worry much about it because AI is as good as the data that it shows. Marketers need to be prepared and be able to adapt to changes. Anyway, AI will not replace marketers for now because as he said before it is all about the data that the AI possess.
We also talked about e-commerce and voice search. Oleg shared with me that website content must be optimized for questions and not for keywords or phrases.
It is very important to optimize content with questions, such as: where, when, what, etc. Furthermore, talking about Local SEO; it is a priority to claim Google my business and optimize it. Also, to make sure that all the listings and citations are accurate.
I also learned from Oleg that as voice search is growing, it is important to use a more conversational language when we create content. A study from Backlinko shows that 40.7% of answers come from rich snippets. Then we should use question keywords in order to earn the rich snippets and be present in voice search results.
He also told me that to create content for voice search we must use long tail keywords and user intent keywords. SEMrush Magic toll can help marketers find these recommended keywords.
Oleg’s guess about Rankbrain’s next evolution is that Rankbrain will get more sophisticated and it will use AI mechanism. Being able to succeed in the new machine, AI’s challenges will be for the best marketers and professionals. These individuals will be able to provide users the right information.
Oleg told me that the most used SEMrush features are the keyword research tool. He invites us to explore more because SEMrush has much more to offer.
I really enjoyed my interview with Oleg and the collaboration of SEMrush PR team. This interview was very extensive that’s why I have written several articles about it. All of them with different information. You can find other articles about this interview in my Forbes, LinkedIn and Search Engine Watch