Interview with ZEO Agency Founder Yiğit Konur

Interview with ZEO Agency Founder Yiğit Konur

As the Voxmedya team, we started our interview series with the leading names in the digital marketing industry with the founder of Zeo Agency “Yiğit Konur”. Not only in Turkey, Konur which subjects in the leading names in the world of industry, made special statements to Voxmedya team.

Zeo Agency announced that it opened its third office in London after Ankara and Istanbul in March 2018. Zeo’s London attack, which has signed many events around the world by bringing together names such as Rand Fishkin, Wil Reynolds, and Gary Illyes, who have been called “rockstars” of search engine optimization and marketing world in digital marketing conferences held in Istanbul every year since 2013. It was a development that made everyone proud of the sector.

Voxmedya: First of all, thank you very much for accepting our interview offer. Bhartrihari’s “knowledge is a treasure that increases as you share.” As an individual and corporate SEO consultant who does not hesitate to share your information and thus strengthens his strength, as if he confirmed his word, we will ask you a few questions that we think are important for our enlightenment.

Yiğit Konur: Thank you very much for your nice words. How beautiful it is to get compliments by sharing, I wish we would go much further to be sharing individuals in every point of the world, in every sense. I still think that I am not sufficiently sharing, but it is really gratifying that even the outside is praised.

Voxmedya: How did you step into the sector? Can you talk briefly?

Yiğit Konur: One-click before the social media era, there was a time when the forums remembered and the forums were famous. We have joined a few high school friends and opened a forum to have one of these sites, which makes a serious contribution as reference traffic in terms of getting people to the content. However, while researching in 2005-2006 when I realized that we could not provide enough traffic to this forum, I came across some articles by Rand Fishkin, one of the most master names in the industry. These were the first information I learned about the SEO world that deepened as I read and attracted my attention.

Soon after, I started to apply the information I gained on my own sites and saw that I started to get really good results. However, after I realized that it was a basic problem that there was no Turkish site on this subject, I created a site named SEO Technics com, which is the first Turkish content site on the web, and started to share my information here. Also, I met valuable friends in the sector, such as Serbay Arda Ayzit, İlyas Teker, and Erhan Yakut. In this sense, I left the site, which is a very important turning point for me, before I started university years and we started Zeo.

When we were a student at Bilkent University, the initiative we started in 2012 grew rapidly. The initiative that we previously started under the name of has entered a different pivot process as we did not want to stay in the focus of the SEO agency. And with our current definition, we continued to broadcast on address by changing our name to realize our dream of Zeo Agency that creates solutions not only for SEO but also for data-oriented marketing problems.

Voxmedya: Did you start your initiative alone or did you have an idea partner? Why did SEOzone become Digitalzone?

Yiğit Konur: I think no one has any ideas or thoughts directly. Most of us actually have certain ideas influenced by many events around us. For example, in the story of Zeo, formerly SEOmoz – the new name Moz made a great contribution. Rand Fishkin, one of the Digitalzone speakers last year, has contributed greatly to the vision of the whole Zeo. As a result, many valuable names and friends that we read and do not hesitate to share their thoughts are already Zeo’s intellectual partners.

In fact, I think the example I gave in the transformation of SEOzeo to Zeo in the next question also answers the Digitalzone question. We see our talents more valuable in terms of “interpreting data correctly” and “optimization-oriented evaluation” from different perspectives. Of course, SEO consultancy still constitutes the majority of Zeo Agency’s turnover, but we also have large budget customers who work with our data consultants for purposes other than marketing.

Voxmedya: Which pathways have you set as your goal in your personal development? Which resources did you use?

Yiğit Konur: My dear friend, Serbay Arda Ayzit, from the industry, had a very good saying in the past Digitalzones. “We always evaluate our own knowledge by comparing it with the constructions around you. Therefore, it is very important to attend conferences abroad and meet better people than you in different fields in the sector. ” I strongly agree with this approach, if you are with people close to your level in your environment or in people you follow closely, you are likely to have an illusion of success. I always know that there are better people in different fields than I am. I try to learn from them by reading their writings as much as possible. This can be valid not only in technical works but in many ways and subjects. With the simplest approach, you can read incredibly valuable new approaches on sites like Quora and Reddit (valid for some subreddits). I think all of these contribute greatly to the personal development of people.

Voxmedya: What was the breaking point in the growth of your enterprise? When were you able to say “OK, we became”?

Yiğit Konur: I think that a company / person who says that we are ok or we are in the best position in the X business, Y market is not very promising in terms of the future. You may have reached a great point with your existing turnover / technical skills or your environment. However, as a human being, we are always very prone to comfort. Regardless of the level of the point we have reached, we can become more lazy to develop our abilities that carry us to that point when arrogantly more than it should be. Therefore, I think that we have never come to a point where we can say “okay me / us”. In a world where 7 billion people live, be sure there are people who do your job much better than you do now. These people also have positive and negative sides, of course, I think we should know these good people as much as possible and strengthen from the points where they are strong. On my own behalf, I think I could not keep up with the fast enough data-driven and technical transformation of SEO. Many of my friends, who are shown at number one in the name of SEO around me, are in the same situation. Moreover, the new generation comes at a fast pace in agencies with strong technical leaders. The fact that we feel this complacency and not renew itself can cause us to decrease our speed of developing ourselves and even fall back due to the fact that those around us are faster than us. Every person who is said to be / is good at work should experience this concern. Because there are many lessons to be learned from the stories that lived in the world. With the great power of IBM in the late 80’s, the fact that it didn’t take new players like Microsoft / Apple very seriously is a great lesson for all of us to turn it into a technology company stuck in the B2B marketplace.

Voxmedya: Zeo proved to be an international agency with its office in London. What are Zeo’s next goals?

ZEO Agency – London

Yiğit Konur: Thank you for your good words. Our success in this office will prove whether we are truly an international agency. In fact, every agency can open an office here with some capital and sight determination, but the important thing is to gain a “market share” in a market with strong players such as London as an agency from Istanbul.

We never have 5-year growth plans. In such a rapidly changing market and in the world, I think these plans are only dreams sold to senior executives. Our main focus is to keep the difference between us with culture, know-how, and more ambitious management systems, far beyond what our competitors do, regardless of the market, and culture and knowledge. Turnover will, of course, come as a result of this. After you have done your best if you are not able to earn enough turnover, either you are not able to develop/sell your business well enough or “just knowing” is not enough in that market. We are not interested in being successful in the markets that are already in the second definition I have mentioned. In short, the first target for Zeo is to catch a good market share in London. According to what we have learned from the mistakes we make here, we are of course welcome to open up to new markets in Europe and the Middle East.

Voxmedya: What were your criteria while determining your team? How did you bring together such a high-quality team? What should young people want to work or do an internship at Zeo Agency?

Yiğit Konur: Maybe it will be a bit cliché, but unfortunately the SEO sector does not have a clear school and education area. Naturally, everyone who comes to our team grows from the core and develops. Except for Osman and Yazgülü, everyone who has come to Zeo so far came up from scratch. Our friends who joined us later say that being in Zeo adds a different approach to them. I think it would not be right to praise ourselves, but what everyone around me says often is “Zeo is a teaching place”. The fact that we have caught this as a culture really excites me in this sense.

In a culture where learning and creating innovations are at the forefront, the most important thing is to bring together enough “curious and interested” people in a place where they also have sufficient “diligence” features. If these people do not have to say “Mr. / Mrs.” to the people around them in this place where they come together, if they can establish a sincere affinity and feel peaceful there, the culture is already forcing that team to come to a point. However, our culture at Zeo is not our only source of talented people. The experienced names of the team, Ezgi Gülsen Yaylı, Osman Mutlu, Ozan Ketenci and Erdal Çay, helped us create a system that enables Zeo to be self-managed. We are preparing an article for Ahrefs Blog about our management approach. Those interested in the near future can follow and get detailed information.

A candidate who really wants to work with us should be able to reveal in every sense how strong his research ability and curiosity are in order to make him feel “what he really wants”. Also, when diligence is added to this, it is possible to create a team of people who can easily work in all European agencies.

This year, we became the agency that made it to the finals in most categories in the European Search Awards. This was very valuable for us to show our success throughout Europe, but one of the most important categories was the “Best Search Professional – Under 25” category. This year, Zeynep Begüm Aykut (20) and Tevfik Mert Azizoğlu (24) made it to the finals in this category. Both the area and the very talented friends to come to Turkey to achieve this level of success really proud on behalf of Zeo.

Voxmedya: As Zeo, you work with very big brands. So what do your customers find? How are you so well known in the industry and made you love yourself?

Yiğit Konur: I think how much we love ourselves in the sector is open to debate. I directly know that there are people who don’t like as much as those who love. Maybe, people, we are upset about unknowingly, maybe they are seeing some things that we do not see. I wish they could reach us and tell us our shortcomings, but according to him, if we could optimize ourselves to be “better.”

Zeo has given consultancy services to over 200 different brands, from big internet companies such as Hepsiburada – Owner – Yemeksepeti to global brands such as Pepsi – Redbull – Turkish Airlines. I think our biggest competitive advantage is that we are technically strong. We get along really well with marketing managers who analyze it correctly. If they allocate enough human resources to us in projects, the “Word of mouth” effect that accompanies them successfully can help us reach new customers.

Voxmedya: As predicted, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and the internet of things, etc. in the future. What do you think about the future of SEO with the widespread use of these technologies?

Yiğit Konur: This issue has caused many changes that have affected SEO’s future for a long time. We need Google’s algorithm updates so that we can break the perception of cliché, “buy backlink and organize title/description arrangements according to the most sought-after words”. In the near future, we will see times when quality content and experience are more rewarded. If you say “what kind of content should be working well in the future”, it is useful to take a look at the examples abroad and especially the 10X Content List of Rand Fishkin.

Voxmedya: Finally, as someone who has been selected as a jury in important competitions like “USA Search Awards” abroad, now we will not ask you a question like “how to get our website to the top” 😊 We are already following them at every opportunity and we are following them with interest. In general, what would you recommend to enthusiastic people and new brands that have just entered this sector?

Yiğit Konur: If you are a new startup, you have to achieve the most results in today’s competitive world with minimum cost. Because as a startup, your financial resources are limited. So, you have to think directly about “content marketing” and “SEO” as “co-founders” and read a lot about it. Otherwise, while working with the people/agencies that the majority shows, you may not be able to run projects properly because you are not at a level to control/understand their work. I think the Youtube Channel of Moz has quite descriptive videos about it. If you say I can only consume Turkish content, as Zeo, our blog containing information about digital marketing and SEO or Zeo’s official Youtube channel may attract your attention.

If you are new to the industry, you need to read and research a lot. “Quality information literacy” is very important to reach a good place on the internet. Please consult resources well, especially when consuming Turkish SEO and digital marketing content. Even if you don’t speak English at all, you can put what you read on a meaningful basis, even with the help of translation tools. That’s why it’s always worth trying to consume resources like / / or Search Engine Land / Journal / Roundtable. Again, even a short experience in a good agency in this field can provide you with the time and knowledge that many years of working in many brands cannot save you.

Voxmedya: Thank you very much for these enlightening and sincere answers. It was a full interview, where everyone would come up with answers in line with their own needs. We wish you continued success in your professional life!

The original of this interview was published in Turkish in March 2018 in

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