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An interview with Begum Kaya

Begum Kaya
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We had a sit down with Begum Kaya, SEO Consultant and Founder of BK Solutions.

I was never truly set on what I wanted to do for a job. My childhood dreams started with being a dancer, in college evolved to being an acapella singer, then because I studied international trade, I did internships in HR, production management, accounting and I wasn’t fulfilled by any of those. I wanted something that involved analytical thinking and communicating what I created, and in my senior year in college, I met SEO. 

Though I didn’t pursue it at the time, a year later I started at an agency in Istanbul as a Jr. SEO Consultant. Now I’m the founder of BK Solutions, partnering with agencies, brands & organizations all around the world!

I came from a very good agency team, I was surrounded by kind and generous people who are very good at their jobs. When I decided to fly solo, it was a bit difficult to give that up. Thanks to Women in Tech SEO though, I met amazing people who kept supporting me and teaching me a lot. I love the community of SEOs, both because there are wonderful peeps around and they do amazing work, too.

I am inspired by so many names in our industry, to name a few Tory Gray, Sam Torres, Areej AbuAli, Yagmur Simsek, Christina LeVasseur, Lazarina Stoy, Jasmita D’Souza, Tom Critchlow. I am more of a nature-inspired person, observing everything in nature and seeing all the calm, rush, perseverance, support and flow of it all makes me so happy! 

I mostly love our community as tech SEOs, and thanks to support groups like Women in Tech SEO it’s prone to be a more inclusive and welcoming place. Twitter SEO can be quite competitive and even hostile sometimes, but that is the nature of the field in a lot of ways – it can’t all be good!

Breaking into SEO

There is a lot of advice I could provide for women looking to break into the industry as a beginner, but it depends on personal circumstances and skillset. Many organizations are willing to accept someone and train them on the job so in this situation – I’d say don’t hold back sharing what you’re passionate about. 

On the other hand, there is still an expectation of people requiring X amount of knowledge in HTML, CSS, maybe some data science, keyword strategy, you name it. So in this situation, I can see why it’d be difficult to keep your chin up! I guess as a general rule of thumb, I’d recommend open communication about your traits, goals and respecting the expectations from the other side.

One of the misconceptions about SEO, on a professional level, I’d say is the view that ‘everything is a priority’. I see so many SEOs freaking out over very trivial stuff and being unable to prioritize. Another is that those who don’t know digital very well either confuse us with performance marketers or developers. 

Challenges of SEO

Keeping my focus is one of the biggest challenges in my field. SEO is immense and each day, applying different skill sets, it’s getting broader. So I have struggled a lot, and am still struggling about prioritizing what matters – will I build strategies that I haven’t applied before? Learn more about analytics? Or will I learn python and play with larger data sets? There are so many different options.

When it comes to the biggest SEO challenge though, I helped a local business with more than 4000 locations get verified in Google Maps and since I loved working in local SEO, I decided to become a Google My Business Product Expert.

A switch to remote working

The pandemic, whilst turning the world upside down, provided some positive changes in my working life. Since we started working remotely from the beginning of the pandemic, I was rather in a comfortable state. Thankfully my family and friends haven’t been negatively affected, so that’s as good as it gets I think. Since I preferred to mostly stay home and safe, I was able to focus on myself and my career more than ever. I started BK Solutions in January 2021 and discovered the power of remote working. I’ll be presenting what I learned throughout this journey at Brighton SEO in April.

I recently moved to a coastal Mediterranean town and left Istanbul to spend more time in nature and prioritize myself, so that’s something I really enjoy. In addition to being in nature, I’d say playing with my cats, daydreaming, singing to myself while baking and yoga.

Mental Health and Burnout in SEO

It’s not talked about enough! It’s not only swept under the carpet but it’s sometimes underestimated and the person sharing their experience is even humiliated by others. I have been so unfortunate to have witnessed a few examples throughout my career and discouraged to prioritize “the person” over deliverables. 

I am aware that there are many who bring it to attention especially on Twitter and I’m so glad there are more advocates today than yesterday.

2022

There will be more algorithm updates for sure! 2021 was an intense year in terms of the changes in our industry and I expect nothing less for 2022. I am very excited about structured data and the advancements in local SEO, in particular.

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