This post was sponsored by SE Ranking. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.
With over half of our employees hailing from Ukraine, SE Ranking confirms that through teamwork, you can weather the greatest of storms.
Despite the crisis, loss of customers, withdrawal from the Russian market, massive staff relocation, and war zone work environment (for those who stayed in Ukraine), we not only managed to survive but to evolve beyond our pre-war stage as a business.
Through this article, the SE Ranking team would like to share how we not only survived but thrived, despite the unspeakable circumstances.
1. Put People First. They Are Your Lifeline.
Each one of our team members ran the extra mile in the midst of this crisis.
Their hard work and dedication are what kept this company afloat.
No business-related tips and tricks could ever make a difference without them, which is why SE Ranking focused on providing as much security to the team as possible.
SE Ranking Moved The Office From Kyiv To Wroclaw, Which Helped The Team Relocate To Safer Places.
In the first days of the war, the entire Ukrainian team received a relocation allowance.
Then, the part of our team that arrived in Poland first helped others with transportation, accommodation, legal aspects, etc.
Not A Single Person Was Laid Off. No Cuts Were Made To Salaries.
Keeping the team financially safe became the company’s first priority.
After only several weeks into the war, all bonus programs and personal development coverages were restored.
We Began Group Therapy Sessions To Help Us Process What Was Happening.
Although our SE Ranking family was territorially divided and morally broken, just like thousands of other Ukrainian families, we supported each other.
We organized special online meetings so that the team could synchronize emotionally. We also invited a professional psychologist who helped us work through the traumas of the war.
We Began Showcasing Our Team Members On Social Media & Sharing Their Stories.
After learning how to adjust to the new existing reality, we felt that the voices of our team should be heard all around. We launched a series of posts where our teammates talked about themselves and their experiences.
This motivated our staff and revealed SE Ranking’s human side.
Respecting and appreciating your employees is the key to their loyalty and, consequently, the key to any business’s success.
This approach to people has always kept SE Ranking strong, regardless of external circumstances.
People were, are, and will be the greatest value to us because they are the ones behind our product – a product that hundreds of thousands of people worldwide love.
Lesson learned: Value the people behind the product, and they’ll respond to you in kind.
2. Stick To Your Plans To The Best Of Your Ability.
The war turned our lives upside down.
Many of our plans were ruined, and complete uncertainty became our “best” friend. Every member of our team felt this.
We all needed some stability, and our job became something like an “island” of certainty for us. We decided not to switch to energy preservation mode, but to follow our roadmap as much as we could.
And it worked!
Our hard work resulted in four brand new AI and NLP-based tools:
- On-Page SEO Checker analyzes any web page by checking it for 94 parameters that affect search rankings.
- Content Marketing Module helps you build briefs and create SEO-friendly content faster with less effort.
- SERP Analyzer shows top SERP players and measures their pages by checking them for 110+ on-page and off-page parameters.
- Backlink Gap Analyzer shows domains and URLs linking out to your competitors but not to you.
We’ve gotten as close to our original plan as possible and even managed to join the brightonSEO conference for the first time in October.
Image by SE Ranking, October 2022
We don’t just feel like we are moving forward. We are moving forward.
Lesson learned: Even when you feel broken and lost, do your job. It may become your source of reliability in a changing and scary world.
3. Stay True To Your Values – Regardless Of Short-Term Business Risks.
Integrity is one of SE Ranking’s top values.
No matter how much we want to say what people want to hear, we stick to the truth.
The truth is that the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine, and we couldn’t keep supporting clients from Russia because it meant supporting businesses that were paying taxes and sponsoring their army.
Although Russia accounted for 15% of the total number of SE Ranking clients, we ceased providing services to them at the end of February.
Since then, new Russian users could not and can not register with SE Ranking, and we don’t accept payments from existing Russian clients.
To overcome the difficulties caused by the withdrawal from such a large market, we had to:
- Redirect our resources to attract new clients from other countries.
- Review planned activities and add new platform promotion channels.
- Slightly change the pricing policy.
We communicated our position to customers in an honest way, as we always do, and it resonated with them.
We may have lost 15% of our customers, but SE Ranking attracted 20% more since then; our company remains profitable, and our revenues continue to grow.
This year, we hit 1,000 reviews on G2! We also have the highest-ranking SEO software solution on the market. We couldn’t be more thankful to our users for supporting and encouraging us along the way.
Lesson learned: When you stay true to your beliefs, it will pay off despite the initial losses.
4. Never Skimp On Security. Issues Can Cost You Dearly.
Crises are downright unpredictable.
Worse yet, not being able to guess what will happen next is one of the biggest reasons why crises are so destructive.
There are a million and one possible problems that can catch you by surprise and knock you out if you don’t take preventative measures early on.
Your biggest insurance policy is sorting through all the possible risks and then finding ways to overcome them.
SE Ranking did just that. We diversified all possible risks from the start so that our services could remain in effect, even through a crisis.
How To Increase Business Security
SE Ranking implemented several tactics to ensure that processes and information stay safe, under any circumstance.
- Our servers originated in several secure locations: Germany, Finland, and the USA.
- We’ve built a reliable product infrastructure, and the system continues to work even when some crashes occur.
- Teams, not just one person, coordinate processes. Each team member can tackle problems when they arise. That’s why when some of us couldn’t work (because they had to move to a safer place or hide in a bomb shelter), other team players could cover for them.
- All communication happens in one place. In our case, it’s Slack. We have separate channels for each project, department, and even for promo campaigns. This way, everyone is on the same page and has access to changes and updates in seconds.
- We keep our communication as transparent as possible, from C-level management to individual team members. All urgent decisions are carried out without delay and with limited bureaucracy. Remaining transparent braced us for the tough times ahead. Our services continued working, even through the beginning of the war when lots of changes had to be applied immediately.
- We have operational guides for all departments in Confluence. We describe processes in detail so that each team member knows what to do when getting ready for some task or activity.
Lesson learned: Be diligent and prepared for the worst-case scenario because you never know when a crisis will strike.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Say What Must Be Said.
From an operational point of view, we needed to make sure our customers didn’t feel the impact of the crisis on the company’s work and the product.
But on a moral level, we had to address the elephant in the room – the war.
Despite the ocean of content out there about the invasion, we found our voice among the digital marketing community and flew with it. We still couldn’t be more thankful for the support that still comes from this community to this day.
We also released a series of posts and articles discussing different ways you can support: Ukraine, Ukrainian women during the war, Ukrainian SEO specialists who became volunteers, and our incredible team.
Later this year, SE Ranking was shortlisted for the Global Content Awards as the best Crisis Response Content Campaign for this series of publications.
We are especially thankful to Miranda Miller who was among the first to support us as we voiced what needed and still needs to be said.
SE Ranking also organized a Charity SEO Webinar with Aleyda Solis, Barry Schwartz, Barry Adams, And Kristina Azarenko, which was attended by more than 1,100 people.
The event raised $4,000 for the Save the Children foundation, which provides protection to every child affected by the war in Ukraine.
With all this support, we have been convinced once again that the SEO community is a real family that’s always there to stand by and with you during the most challenging of times.
Lesson learned: Make your voice heard and your community will support you.
Be Secure. Be Sincere. Be Honest. Be Supportive. Be Strong.
These tips only work when paired with transparency and honesty.
We believe that these virtues are foundational to every business’s success. You must be crystal clear about what your technologies and processes offer, and be fully open to the needs, opinions, and well-being of your staff and clients.
- Safe data has to be consistently safe.
- Transparent communications must always be – transparent.
- If you offer full support, be fully supportive.
This approach proved and still proves effective for us and is unlikely ever to change.
And remember: crises raise unique challenges that require unique approaches. One-size-fits-all strategies have no place here. So, use our tips as benchmarks and adapt them to your business strategy as you find your own way to success.