S1E26 – Interview with Nitin Manchanda, Former Global SEO Head at Trivago

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Nitin Manchanda is a developer who turned into SEO and is now responsible for the organic visibility of Berlin based travel startup, Omio (formerly GoEuro), across the globe. In the past, Nitin has helped some really popular brands like trivago and Flipkart grow organically.

Nitin also hosted the super famous webinar series, in association with SEMrush, “SEO Surgery in India”, and now hosting another series called “Indian Search Marketing Academy”. He’s the founder of SEOSurgeon.in, the brand he uses for his SEO consultancy services. When not busy reading SEO articles or setting up his own SEO experiments, you’ll find him spending time with his daughter, or planning his next trip.

How and when did you start in SEO?

  • Started my professional journey with Flipkart back in 2012, right after completing my masters from University of Pune
  • I started my career as a Software Engineer, not an SEO
  • Was assigned SEO tech team
  • Started my experiments there – some worked and motivated me to do more
  • I was always a believer of “you either succeed, or learn something new”
  • Started liking the part that nothing was clear and I’d to find my own path
  • Found it exciting and challenging at the same time
  • Decided to make my career in this field
  • Enjoying this since then

Tell us a bit about your current role?

  • Working as Global Head of SEO at Omio, a travel tech based in Berlin, Germany
  • Responsible from planning to execution of SEO strategies to increase the organic visibility of Omio domains across the markets
  • We’re in 22 markets at the moment, and growing
  • Really enjoy what I do here, primarily because of scale and crazy growth

Should small & mid-size businesses invest in SEO? If so, what would be your advice to them?

  • Absolutely!
  • If you love your customers and hence, working on better user experience, you’re already investing in some parts of SEO
    SEO, anyway is way of generating some FREE TRAFFIC – who doesn’t want that?
  • No company can/wants-to survive on paid channels to generate traffic in the long run, so SEO is the solution!
  • My advice would be
    To focus on user experience as the first thing. Also, consider search engines as one of your customers (that’s my SEO brain). Don’t just build things for the sake of building. Think through instead and invest time on core topics like information architecture, landing page structure, content strategy etc. which can keep the core solid for your product, and help you keep the basics right from SEO perspective
  • Long story short – do invest on SEO, it’s not just another marketing channel, it’s much more than that 🙂

Lets talk about International SEO. Could you talk about your experience with managing the global SEO for Trivago?

  • It was a wonderful experience. Learnt 3 topic majorly: SEO in cross functional teams, SEO at that big scale, and
    International SEO
  • Trivago is present in 55 markets with 65 domains live. I had a team of 8 super talented brains, a good mix of engineers, SEO analysts, a designer and a QA.
  • It’s a very interesting topic – different markets have different search patterns and preferences, it’s not one size fits all solution that works here “always”. For example – “pet friendly hotels” has a decent demand in some european countries, but I wouldn’t expect any local demand for this search term in Indian market at least (from my experience).
  • Working on any product feature demands translations of the text into so many languages, as trivago offers you localised experience and you can’t miss even a single word untranslated. It was annoying in the beginning, but when you understand the quantity of users you’re impacting, you feel great about it.
  • In short, I took my time to get used to the things which are only needed when you work for an international company, but at the end of the day it was an amazing journey, full of learning for me.

Is there a framework you follow for businesses who want to start with SEO

  • I like to keep things simple – it’s nothing different here. Ask yourself a few questions like:
  • What’s the problem you’re solving?
  • And for whom? Who would be the target group?
  • How are you different than others?
  • Why is your product different than others?
  • Basically, build something great, something different than others. So that, you don’t hesitate about the product quality and experience when thinking about where you’re ranking in Google, or other search engines.

Any advice for freshers who want to make a career in SEO

  • Yes, a few things that I recommend to any freshers, or even experienced professionals who want to pursue their careers in SEO:
  • Focus on quality, not quantity!
  • Learn from others. Learn a lot! SEO community is amazing, people are doing great stuff, learn from them.
  • Contribute. Don’t just learn from the community, share your findings as well. It’s a great community, be awesome eat if you want to keep it great.
  • Do things yourself. SEO is fun – enjoy it!

  

  

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Mandar Marathe
mandar@briefkase.in

Mandar Marathe brings 11 years of cross-functional, hands-on knowledge & expertise in digital marketing across Search Engine Optimization, Web Analytics, Pay per click Marketing, Social Media Advertising, Web Design & Development (WordPress) & Content Marketing.

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