Karina Tama is a digital marketing strategist and founder of Senior Care Clicks. She won a BrightEdge Award on behalf of Caring People for an increasing 120% ROI in three months. Karina is a contributor for Forbes, Search Engine Watch, BrightEdge’s Blog, Semrush’s Blog. She also has posted an ebook on Amazon “Digital Marketing Proven Strategies & Tips” For more, check out her Twitter account.
1. How many years of experience in digital marketing do you have?
I have eight years of hands-on experience in digital marketing.
2. What type of digital marketing do you have the strongest skills?
I have worn many hats in my previous jobs. Therefore, I think I’m a well-rounded marketer. Furthermore, I believe my strongest skills are in SEO and SEM.
3. What projects have you launched recently that you are proud of?
I launched my own digital marketing agency in January 2019. Senior Care Clicks is my baby, I am so proud of what I have done in a short period of time. Building an agency from scratch is not an easy thing. Building a team is also hard. There are days that I want to quit but I can’t because I love what I do, I love doing digital marketing with a great purpose.
My purpose is to help families find the best senior care companies online so they can rest assured that their loved one will have the care they need. We offer digital marketing services to home care, assisted living, nursing homes, and every business that serves seniors.
4. What do you do to further your own SEO knowledge and skills?
Well, as an agency owner I oversee my team’s work. Many times I take projects into my hands and I do SEO for clients. I just love to explore their websites and see how we can improve them. I have a holistic approach that includes UX, on- and off-page, content. I love to do competitor analysis, check my team’s tech audits, and discuss content ideas with my team. I further my SEO knowledge by doing SEO.
5. What are the TOP-3 errors you made at the beginning of your SEO specialist career?
My first mistake was to think that SEO was simple. SEO is complex and you need to understand each industry in order to apply the SEO principles in a way that provides results.
My second mistake was to focus too much on one thing. For example, I focused on-page and I didn’t take care of the other factors such as off-page and link building. With time I learned that everything works together in SEO.
Last, there was a lack of scope organization. SEO demands a lot of work and I was not calculating everything when I was pricing a project for a client.
6. What SEO tactics do you think are underrated?
In my opinion, content amplification is definitely the tactic more underrated.
7. Do you believe that backlinks are Google’s past? Is link building important for increasing the website’s positions nowadays?
Not at all, we acquire backlinks for our clients every month. Backlinks are key to moving the needle in SEO and it definitely helps to increase a website’s position. If you don’t acquire leads, you can’t compete, period.
8. In your opinion, does the technical health of the website affect the ranking positions in search engines?
Technical SEO is the first thing that we do for our clients. It is not worth doing anything else before if the site’s health is in good condition. And the response is yes, it affects the website’s position in search rankings.
9. How do you stay up-to-date on the near-constant search algorithm changes?
I read reputable sources such as Google webmaster’s blog.
10. Are you going to surprise the SEO and Digital Marketing world with something new (tool/app, course, product)?
Uhh, there are many things that I want to do as a SEO/Digital Marketing professional but I have my hands full with my agency. In the future, I would like to write a book about SEO and SEM tactics for the senior care industry.
11. How do you make competitor analysis? Please provide a short 1-2-3 steps guide.
We have a questionnaire for our clients where we ask them the topics/keywords/terms that they want to be found for. I take this as a starting point. Then, I research more to find more relevant terms.
Second, I check manually in search engines ( by location) adding service + city to see who is ranking on the top of the search.
Last, when I have found 3 top competitors based on SERP, then I analyze each one using tools such as Sermush and Ahrefs. I check for keyword ranking, backlink profile, and content.
12. In your opinion, does a user’s behavior impact website ranking in SERP?
It may affect to some degree. Furthermore, there are many pieces that play important roles in SEO.
13. What is your approach to developing an SEO strategy?
First, there is technical SEO, second, on-page, third, content planning, and last off-page (backlinks, social media ads to amplify content and drive traffic to the site). I also use different types of content such as data-driven infographics, valuable whitepapers, and engaging videos (we do all in house)
14. How do you see the future of SEO (in 5 years)?
I have a dream board, and I see myself as a leader in my industry of senior care. As the person/agency to go to in order to have organic online visibility, local visibility, and to get the most of advertising, I am really passionate about what I do.
15. What advice can you give for those who are just starting their career in digital marketing?
I will tell them that things are not easy and that it takes continuous education, persistence and determination in order to be good at digital marketing.
16. How to make a website search engine friendly? Could you please name the main steps?
I strongly believe that SEO comes before or it goes hand to hand with web development. Why? Because you need to know if a topic has been searched before you create a page for it. The main steps are: understand the product and/or services. Second, do extensive keyword research and competitor analysis to determine the website structure.
Finally, work hand to hand with the web dev team to assure that URLs are friendly, parent/child pages are in place, a sitemap has been created, etc. Having a well-developed SEO-friendly website will facilitate ongoing SEO project results.
17. SEO is such a controversial thing. Every SEO specialist rates its success differently. What is your way to rate SEO success? What metrics do you look at?
Increase in traffic. I look at organic traffic, bounce rate, and other organic indicators. Sometimes clients also have their KPI’s so I work together with them to reach goals.
18. In your opinion, a good SEO specialist should be a good analyst? What extra knowledge should an SEO specialist have to succeed?
Uhh numbers! A good SEO analyst must be familiar and well-rounded with Google analytics and analyzing data. A huge skill that an SEO specialist can have is being knowledgeable in web development. This will allow you to be excellent at technical SEO.
19. You are noticed at many digital conferences. How important live communication is for business? How does it work for you?
Before Covid, I used to attend conferences, but now it is hard. Currently, I attend virtual events and I am part of several networking groups via zoom. When things come back to normal, I’ll go back to live events. Networking is very important.
20. Should a business have a corporate blog?
Sure, a blog is where SEO builds content in order to engage with users and drive relevant organic traffic.
21. How can start-ups and early-stage businesses use SEO effectively to drive traffic to their sites?
Every business needs SEO. The first thing is to have a friendly website. Then you have a great on-page and off-page strategy to increase traffic. Branding is also important and it works hand to hand with content marketing which is part of SEO.
22. What do you prefer the most: client SEO, own projects, consulting, something else?
I like them all and each one represents a different challenge. I work in only one industry and this has allowed me to identify the pain points, personas, keywords, etc. I know how to do SEO successfully for the senior care industry.
23. What strategy do you prefer: launch and grow many small projects or work on a few solid projects?
It is always better to work on a few solid projects as I can focus more and my team can dedicate more resources to these projects. In my case, as I have an agency, we manage multiple different size SEO projects. But as we work in only one industry, it is easy to escalate.
24. Have you ever used black hat and grey hat SEO tactics? What do you think about them?
No, I prefer to do things right even if it takes a little more time. I don’t have anything bad to say about SEOs that use black hat strategies, I think each person has their way to do things and I respect that.
25. Have you ever run Google Ads campaigns? How do you combine Google Ads campaigns and SEO?
Oh yes, most of the time. I love to combine both channels because Google ads allow me to buy keywords that will take a long time to rank in organic. This also speeds up the process of acquiring leads for my clients while I build an organic presence for them.
26. Does your university degree help to succeed in SEO and digital marketing?
This is a great question for me. I studied international business with a major in marketing and since I was in the university I heard about SEO. I didn’t understand very well what SEO was but I used to say it to everybody. I will do SEO. lol. Furthermore, I took an internship for an SEO position. It was a non-paying internship. It was very far from my house. I remember driving 3 hours a day back and forth. It was a good experience and since then I have been in love with SEO.
27. Can you share your professional and business plans for the next 2-3 years?
Well, we are working hard now in tuning up our SEO strategies to deliver more value. For example, our SEO service includes local SEO and recently we added reputation management to it. As I said before, branding is key for SWO and a good reputation is part of branding. About our strategy 2-3 years from now, I don’t know since we are constantly evolving.
28. What can you tell about mobile SEO? Is it true for you that mobile SEO will absolutely force out desktop soon?
I think both will be used for a while. Obviously, it is very important to have a mobile-friendly website and to optimize your mobile properly.
29. Structured data is becoming more and more important these days. What do you think about it? Why did Google start to pay so much attention to structured data sites?
We implement structured data in all our projects. Google pays attention to structured data because it facilitates robots to understand the information on each page.