Adapting Serpstat with CEO Katerina Kabakova

Interview with Katerina Kabakova of SerpStatLike many Ukraine-based businesses, Serpstat had to improvise quickly to respond to the war. InsiderApps recently spoke to CEO, Katerina Kabakova about how the company adapted, in addition to their history and growth in the last few years. Having worked in management spheres since 2005, Katerina has a wealth of experience in media and marketing, and joined Serpstat as CEO in 2018.

Serpstat markets itself as "a hacking tool for SEO" marketing and more. We asked her about that, and how Serpstat's expansion into new markets is driving its future, including international market expansion.

How did the idea of Serpstat first come about, including the name?

KK: The history of Serpstat began in 2013 and covered the internal tasks of the digital agency Netpeak. The service had ~2 million search queries and 1.5 million domains in its database. Serpstat searched for keywords and analyzed competitors and ad impressions. In addition, the functionality allowed for analyzing a particular site's semantics.

The service became an independent project in April 2015. And since then, a small internal problem-solving tool has grown into a major global platform.

Now Serpstat is the go-to platform to achieve search marketing goals and solve such tasks as: online competitors and backlinks research, keywords analysis and grouping for sites content optimization, organic and paid positions tracking, website issues analysis with recommendations on how to fix them. The platform also provides additional tools like white-label, team management, and API access for advanced users.

Talking about the name, its idea belongs to Serpstat's CPO and indicates that our platform provides the data for analysis and promotion in SERPs — the search engine listing pages.

"We refused as much bureaucracy and complicated approvals as possible to be able to act here and now."
Serpstat has branded itself as a "hacking tool for SEO, marketing and more." What makes it stand apart from your competitors?

KK: The main advantage of Serpstat is the number of keywords databases, namely 230, and that we cover absolutely all regions of the world. So no matter what language your project ‘speaks’, we will find the data that connects you to your target audience. We also have unique tools such as Keyword trends — tool for newsmakers or keyword clustering tool, which helps you to divide thousands of keywords into pages automatically and saves tens of years of manual work by a specialist.

Unlike most similar tools, each of our plans includes access to absolutely everything, even high-level specialist tools such as API access, and without extra cost.

What were some of the challenges of gaining your first clients? What were things that attracted customers early on to Serpstat?

KK: Our first clients were in Ukraine. We were the only service with a database of keywords searched specifically by Ukrainian users. So from the beginning, Serpstat slowly but steadily increased its revenues in the market.

Later we began to gradually supplement our databases with data from different regions, which allowed us to enter new markets. Probably one of our first promotions was on AppSumo. Serpstat became the best-selling SEO tool on AppSumo and entered the top of their 5 best-selling tools ever.

We also went out on the Product hunt with various platforms and became #1 Product of the day. This allowed us to increase the number of foreign clients, especially the US.

Now more than 700 000 users are trusting Serpstat worldwide, from SMBs and freelancers to enterprise in-house teams and agencies, including iProspect, Boosmart, Uber, Shopify, Deloitte, Philips, NewsCred, Samsung etc.

Tell us a little about your team structure. Was it personally difficult to start delegating responsibilities as the team has grown?

KK: Our team consists of over 90 people. They are divided into departments: Marketing and Support, Development, Sales and Customer Success.

Each department has its own structure. For example, the development department has teams for each platform module. This allows them to develop evenly and ensure that problems if they arise, are solved quickly.

Regardless of which department you work in, customer success or development, you need to know how and why to use the platform for different specialist tasks to be able to give a personal demonstration of the service to a potential Serpstat user. Therefore we have developed a complete training system where all the newcomers are trained. As a result, we have skilled team members who know absolutely everything about the platform.

So I trust my team and try not to interfere in their work. But of course, we have general meetings where we discuss all the tasks and can adjust the focus.

Where do you see Serpstat going from here?

KK: As Serpstat is a Ukrainian product, our plans were affected by the war, and we are currently adapting the business to the new realities.

For example, we quickly revised our plans to expand new markets. We have focused on Europe, the USA, Canada, and Australia. Most of our efforts are now concentrated there.

We also continue to expand the tools of the service. So we're on our way to ensuring that our tool covers all the needs of digital professionals. For example, a recently released tool allows you to generate titles based on a primary text without leaving Serpstat.

By the way, you can try out the Title Generation Tool and over 30 Serpstat tools absolutely for free.

What's your best advice to someone trying to grow/scale a business?

KK: There is probably no one-size-fits-all advice for business development. But I can share our experience.

This year we faced a crisis because of war. We didn’t know how to organize work in such conditions. Most of our employees had to leave their homes searching for a safe place. Everyone was very stressed.

But the business should be flexible. We refused as much bureaucracy and complicated approvals as possible to be able to act here and now. Also, we simplified communication as much as possible, making work more convenient.

What are some key apps and software tools that you find essential in your business?

Modern Customer Relationships Platform

All-in-One SEO Platform

Online Writing Assistant Tool

Alisa Cook
Alisa Cook is a former educator and researcher. She has written over forty books for entrepreneurial clients, and countless articles. In addiition, she has written four books on travel, business and health.

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