Once a member of Parliament in Romania, currently a seasoned SEO consultant residing in Canada.
Today we asked Emanuel Petrescu about his journey to becoming an SEO specialist as an immigrant in Northern America, as well as his insights and predictions about the current and future state of the digital marketing industry.
Read on to find out, what he had to tell us.
At the beginning of your career, you were more interested in other areas, such as account management, and you’ve even been part of the Romanian Parliament.
What made you shift your path to SEO & digital marketing?
I came to Canada in late 2016; prior to coming here, my experience varied, having worked several jobs in (apparently) unrelated fields. I’ve decided to pursue my digital marketing career because, out of all my previous jobs, this I enjoyed the most, and I have always done it one way or the other, either by consulting other businesses or by operating my own websites.
I also discovered that out of all digital marketing categories, I’m most passionate about Search Engine Optimization – SEO so I’ve dedicated myself to helping small-to-medium sized businesses with their organic growth so they can become, one day, big businesses.
What made you move from Romania to Toronto 5 years ago?
That was a personal decision. I choose to be with my family.
What fascinates you the most about digital marketing and SEO and why did you choose this field?
As said, I enjoyed being in this field the most, and I’ve always been anchored in it in some way or another. I often call SEO growth healthy growth and I believe I choose it because it’s quite challenging but extremely rewarding. Social media is intense and it gives you the opportunity to interact almost instantly with your audience. Paid advertising clearly works but if you don’t have a generous budget (which can often be the case) it doesn’t make much of an impact – and also these companies make it really easy to get your money and to make you think you’re an expert at it.
With SEO, there’s a certain type of reward when you see your hard work paying off – or when Google decides to show your page as a result of a certain query because it offers the best possible answer.
What are the most important qualities a digital marketer should have to succeed nowadays?
If you ask 100 digital marketers this question, you will probably get 100 different answers.
In my opinion, being able to adapt – agile – is on top of the list. The landscape is changing at an accelerated pace – think of search but look how fast Tiktok for example took over.
Another quality is to be humble – enjoy your victories but always keep an eye out for what’s coming. For example in my field, Google can slap without giving you any reasons or details – even if you’ve done everything “by the book” (it has happened in the past, unlikely nowadays but “best practices” can be to of a broader term).
Last but not least, have a student mindset – always be eager to learn. Read, engage, comment, participate and share.
I saw that you contributed to Grow Together & Moving Forward. What are the key takeaways from these books?
In every immigrant’s life, there are certain key moments. I had mine and by joining an association that published these anthologies, I was able to share with others some of my experiences from this immigrant life.
It’s been an amazing, therapeutic experience and also a place where I learned a lot of valuable admin, operation and organizational skills that I have adopted and adapted in my career in North America.
In what ways does the American digital marketing landscape differ from the Romanian one?
I am not as familiar as I wish I would be with the Romanian digital marketing landscape. I’ve been focusing exclusively on serving clients in Canada for the past 2 years, and prior to that my market was divorce professionals from the U.S.
There’s a difference between the two North American states – U.S. will always have the numbers which can also be interpreted as a competitive market so in many aspects you face other challenges that you don’t have in other markets.
I’ve seen more and more Romanian names emerging in the digital marketing space – and their talent is recognized and appreciated worldwide.
Where do you see SEO & digital marketing 10 years from now?
The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing. I believe I’ve answered the same question 10 years ago and I was right about some aspects but totally off with others. Video was anticipated by many but I don’t think anyone envisioned the scale at which is used. I often wonder how did we let Tiktok happen.
We must remember that 10 years ago we were still transferring our images taken with the smartphone via a cable to post them to Facebook. So technology influences how the user behaves.
I anticipate the so-called Meta Verse being an extra layer that we need to consider addressing in our campaigns. And since the privacy policies are restricting and changing the landscape, digital marketers will learn to adapt and create new ways to address their audience, being real-life persons or digital avatars.
What are the positive and the negative sides of having your own business?
I am an organization guy and I always saw myself with such responsibilities, even if I had my own business or worked for other organizations. So I took on leadership and responsibilities, as an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur. You can be successful in both positions.
When you take responsibility you are…well… responsible. Everyone involved comes to you for wisdom and decision-making – and although it might sound simple, many times is not.
In your opinion, which criteria make your content high-performing?
Uniqueness can always be considered a factor in high-performing content. The platform/type of content can also determine its popularity – if you do a search on a subject and you discover that most results are videos, you should consider creating a (10x better) video on that subject.
High-performing content is also based on popularity and it’s your job (as a marketer and/or content creator) to let as many people know about your content as possible.
Go where your target audience sits (is it Facebook? is it Tiktok? is it Reddit?)
You discuss the topic of leadership. What is the connection between leadership and your professional activity?
I personally identify myself with my work. In many aspects, this can be interpreted as taking responsibility – which implies leading an activity. Many people refer to leadership at a higher level (president/prime minister, CEO of a public company, etc.).
Leadership in a not-for-profit organization or even at your workplace is as equally impactful as any other responsibility.
You can coordinate your team by leading a course that the people in your department may benefit from. You’re also the leader of your client’s marketing campaigns (that’s why they are your clients because they entrusted you with the work).
Of course, with the position comes great responsibility – this is how you will grow. Is not as easy as everyone could hope, but it’s rewarding.
About the author
Emanuel Petrescu is a Toronto SEO consultant with over ten years of experience working in digital marketing, helping small-to-mid-sized law firms enhance their online footprint. During this time, he has successfully helped with the marketing of multiple law firms. Based on that experience, he’s often sharing what he learned through articles so that others can apply and be successful. He’s most active on LinkedIn.