Me in Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the incredible individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. This week we chatted to Antoniya Darova, senior manager, SEO, at Merkle based in the London office.
1. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
Originally from sunny Varna, Bulgaria, I moved to the UK when I was 18 to continue my education and study Marketing, Advertising and PR in Birmingham. I then moved to London a few years later to pursue more diverse career opportunities. I always wanted to work for a big brand!
2. What drew you to your current career?
I stumbled upon SEO at my first job after university – it wasn’t something I was familiar with at time, but the problem solving aspect sparked my curiosity to learn more.
3. Why Merkle?
I was one of the first of 5 people that started the SEO department at Merkle and knowing that we are more than 40 people now makes me #MerkleProud. Merkle is an agency where people feel a sense of community and support each other’s growth. Together, we crush our goals.
4. Tell us a bit more about your day-to-day.
One of the things I love about my job is that you never know what’s waiting around the corner. It is challenging, yet inspiring to be part of the strategy for these brands. My day-to-day can involve anything from presenting an integrated strategy, fixing an operational process, analysing behavioural trends, mentoring, consultancy calls with my clients etc.
5. What do you enjoy most about SEO? And what do you think future developments will be?
I definitely enjoy the problem-solving element the most, there is never a dull day. One of my global clients operates in 5 regions so learning how to design scalable solutions was key for my growth. You have to be creative with presentations, yet analytical with the data insights to present the right story and get stakeholders’ buy-in. Google constantly releases new updates to keep us on our toes. For me, the focus is definitely on improving user experience.
6. What would your advice be to somebody considering a career in SEO?
Be naturally curious, always back up insights with data, and learn to tell great stories.
7. What is your greatest accomplishment?
Leading a mobile partnership with Google that led to Merkle UK becoming the first certified Google mobile specialist in EMEA. Most recently, taking on our biggest client in SEO and being their Global lead with a support team of 20+ people across 10 Dentsu agencies.
8. Tell us a bit about your experience so far with Merkle.
I met some great people, some of them have become friends for life. Agency life could be very fast paced and challenging at times, but the growth opportunities are immense and people are encouraged to do what they enjoy.
9. What inspires you about Merkle’s workplace culture?
The inclusivity! Merkle encourages diversity, promotes transparency, and facilitates innovation. During the pandemic, Merkle has launched a hybrid working model to improve employees’ work-life balance and mental health.
10. What was your dream job growing up?
Becoming a horse doctor. I tried to convince my mum to let me have a horse living on our balcony when I was 4.
11. Are you involved in any of our DEI Pillars? If so, which one and can you tell us a bit about it?
12. How do you like your eggs?
Scrambled, but Mediterranean style – adding red peppers, feta cheese and spices into the mix.
13. What are you currently watching on Netflix/Prime?
Re-watching the “Big Bang Theory”.
14. What’s your guilty pleasure?
90% Dark chocolate.
15. What is your dream holiday destination?
16. Best advice or mantra you live by?
“Always give your best”