Interview with Aris Vrakas, Former Director of SEO at Orbitz Worldwide

Written by Nick Stamoulis

aris vrakas

Recently, I had the chance to interview SEO expert Aris Vrakas.  Mr. Vrakas is one of the industry’s top SEO professionals in the field of artificial intelligence e marketing.  As Director of SEO at Orbitz Worldwide, he led Orbitz in building from scratch one of the first end-to-end landing page platforms, which is capable of self-optimization to manage millions of pages, content sources, business wide data-sources as well as dozens of existing and new language domains.

Question: As the former Global SEO Director for Orbitz Worldwide, how do you manage multiple SEO programs across dozens of countries and languages?

Answer from Aris Vrakas: The basis for a successful global SEO effort is access to comprehensive but easy to understand reporting, a scalable and customizable platform capable of fast innovation, a highly trained and specialized team and a set of evolving processes that enable quick reaction to trends and new ideas making it into production fast.

World class reporting helps us measure and understand the performance of all sites and products easily and quickly in-depth to accelerate testing, proactive SEO targeting and reactive cause and effect analysis. The next step is to create a repeatable process that allows you to quickly leverage all your resources to focus on priorities.

Last but not least it is important to drive investment in your SEO product and enable rapid testing and scalability using new software technologies.

Question: What’s the best way for a website to monitor their organic presence globally?

Answer from Aris Vrakas: Every business from blog to enterprise should aim to understand the key factors affecting their SEO, overall marketing and most importantly the customer interactions on their website. Although most companies understand their overall site well it is more difficult to prioritize and build an effective in-house SEO Reporting framework, largely because SEO KPIs are different to what e-commerce businesses are used to, with Rankings, Links and other KPIs being unique to SEO and requiring bespoke solutions, not necessarily tying in back to the same bottom-level metrics BI departments historically work with.

SEO reporting goals however are very similar to SEM and other online marketing channels. Ultimately you need to understand what KPIs help drive insights and create a reporting framework that allows you to understand and communicate the high-level performance of your sites. Then you need to be able to deep-dive into the data by slicing and dicing it, either using pivot tables in excel, or SEO platforms like SEO Clarity or other platforms that can merge a variety of data in one place, or your own in-house reporting suite. Finally it helps if all the data is integrated with your analytics and other BI and front-end applications so you can look at all your data at once and take swift action to optimize your site.

Question: What should a website do if one of their top keywords doesn’t translate into other languages?

Answer from Aris Vrakas: Andy Atkins Kruger (CEO Webcertain), with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with on this subject, has advocated a mindset to address this question that I will paraphrase here: It’s not about keywords, it’s about products and matching user demand with the right product and right language. I advise anyone engaged in multi-national e-commerce to consider each language as a new audience and think about what that audience and culture are looking for, what keywords they’re using to find it, and what products they prefer, and re-think the products, pages and customer experience you provide to match it. In other words, don’t translate your keyword list; create the perfect keyword list in each language. It’s worth it.

Question: How does a global brand produce enough content to keep up with each market’s needs?

Answer from Aris Vrakas: Some SEOs, not the expert fellow reader naturally, but some SEO’s tend to think of content as a short term project or head and tail paragraph text content and have different strategies and tactics for each and invest budgets accordingly to a various degrees of ROI success – mostly positive in their majority if done right.

Customers think of content sometimes as the object of their research, and other times as low quality distractions that waste their time.

I see “content” as the on-page magic that adds value to the chain and helps consumers find and do stuff. To add value to millions of pages reflecting tens of millions of keyword terms in multiple languages you need to think big! Sweep your entire business for data, do competitive analysis, find out what data companies are offering across your industry. Spend time to analyze your content and data universe and connect the dots to add value to the customer journey. Invest in your long-term value-add and create unique useful content.

I like to consider the following questions when thinking about content at scale:
1. If Search Engines weren’t around, what content would I make for my customers?
2. What would I like to find on a page for what I searched for?
3. How do I help Google understand that content and rank it?
4. What is my competitive advantage and how can I leverage this?

Question: Do you think international brands should create social accounts for every major market (one in English, one in Spanish, once in French, etc)?

Answer from Aris Vrakas: International brands should be where their customers want to interact with them and only if they can manage communications effectively.

Question: Can you explain what artificial intelligence e-marketing is?

Answer from Aris Vrakas: Branches of A.I. have been used by on-line companies for years. It is useful for understanding large data sets and classifying information into knowledge, a function previously performed only by humans. This can be used to understand huge data sets and either predict the probability of an outcome, or classify objects into logical categories. In other words, A.I. can help us understand our data at scale and learn from it, and it also makes it possible to predict the outcome of a real or hypothetical scenario such as keyword bidding or the impact a page change could have on it’s rankings.

Online travel is probably one of the most competitive niches around and has so many sub-categories like hotels, airfare, car rental; vacation packages and so forth there are probably thousands of sites fighting for traffic. What did you do while at Orbitz to help the company stand out in so many verticals among so many competitors?

The most powerful change was to enable fast and scalable innovation by creating a custom SEO platform from scratch. We made the extraordinarily complex task of managing multiple products, languages and millions of pages easier than updating wordpress templates while maintaining control over every page, module and all content.

Obviously Orbitz has a ton of user-generated content with all the customer reviews the site pulls together—do you feel as if that content had any impact on Orbitz’s organic search presence?

Users love reading reviews before booking a hotel and search engines, I believe, acknowledge that in their algorithms.

Question: How does a site as large of Orbitz ensure that there is no thin content lurking around that could come back to haunt you?

Answer from Aris Vrakas: The short answer is simplification and pruning. For sites that create content for the benefit of their customers, like Orbitz, thin content is often about understanding and managing the limitations of your own product as well as the difficulty Search Engines face when it comes to understanding your content. For a travel company thin content could mean having 10k pages for cities without hotel inventory. I wouldn’t like to land on a page with generic content and no hotels as a customer, and neither does Google so I would try to focus my efforts in creating landing pages that the customers will find useful, all the way to the tail.

Question: I know it’s still early, but do you have any opinions about Google’s Hummingbird algorithm? Will it dramatically change the way sites have to go about their SEO programs?

Answer from Aris Vrakas: I think the biggest change companies should consider is their focus on customer experience and their companies’ value add, if that’s not already the way they think about SEO.

I ask my self often, if search engines didn’t exist and the only way to find my site would be to send it to my friends and family, and their friends, and millions of their friends’ friends, is this how I would structure and design it?

Hummingbird is not a radical departure conceptually from what we know already. It’s a new platform that allows Google to use data at scale they previously couldn’t, and learn faster from it. It is a milestone towards continuously improving rankings leveraging user-intent, natural language processing and contextual analysis as well as potentially more customer feedback to learn faster what sites people like for any search term. Hummingbird should signal a renewed focus on creating value for your customers long term as traffic could shift over time as Google builds up information about what it is exactly you do, and what queries are satisfied at your site vs. your competitors.

Connect with Aris Vrakas on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.


This non-paid interview is designed to give the Brick Marketing audience insights and different perspectives of SEO, link building, social media and web marketing. Past expert interviews include: Ann Handley, Eric Ward, Mike Moran, Andy Beal, and Jordan Kasteler to name a few.

If you would like to be interviewed by the Brick Marketing team please contact Brick Marketing here:

Categorized in:

Like what you've read? Please share this article

Read What Full Service SEO Clients Say About SEO Firm Brick Marketing

"cost effective “answer” to creating a viable web presence"

“From the beginning, our new company, AA Global Printing, has provided a superior global service, backed by a solid operations team. What we didn’t have were marketing resources to support the growth of our client base and to build a strong online presence. Fortunately, Brick Marketing has given us a structured website development process/solution and a cost effective “answer” to creating a viable web presence. Moreover, our account rep has been a professional and knowledgeable resource at every turn. Thanks to Nick Stamoulis and the Brick Marketing team, AA Global Printing is marketing with all the right tools ranging from SEO, strong content, a weekly blog, and easy site navigation for our visitors.”

– Adam Gould – Cofounder, AA Global Printing

"Brick Marketing is rock solid and essential in building a strong marketing foundation."

“Brick Marketing is extremely valuable for feedback and advice in many aspects of marketing, not just SEO and I look forward to continuing to work with them over the long term to continually improve our business and increase sales. That’s what it’s all about. Just like their name implies, Brick Marketing is rock solid and essential in building a strong marketing foundation.”

– Jeff Nicholson, President Freely Creative, Inc. /

"Brick Marketing is "solid" when it comes to support for SEO marketing advice"

“I had been impressed for a long time with the content that Brick Marketing was sharing in their informative blog posts and articles. I chatted with Nick Stamoulis a couple times and decided that he was the expert I wanted to work with. I have worked with Brick Marketing for about six months and they have helped us resolve several SEO related issues pertaining to our website. Our account rep is always just an email away with answers to any questions I have and suggestions for how we can improve what we’re doing. Brick Marketing is “solid” when it comes to support for SEO marketing advice. I definitely recommend them if you want to feel more secure about how your website is performing in searches and have the confidence that everything being done to improve your rank is white hat and legit.”

– Paul Rarick,

"focused on getting you results"

“Brick Marketing is a no nonsense SEO company focused on getting you results. I really appreciate their patience, insight and going the extra mile to help Gold Lasso better understand the intricacies of the SEO discpline and how we can be more successful with our SEO programs. I would recommend Brick Marketing to any of my clients.”

– Elie Ashery, CEO Gold Lasso

"our goal for better presence on the internet has been achieved!"

“I had worked with at least three other SEO companies before I was introduced to Brick Marketing. But when I met Nick Stamoulis at Brick Marketing, I knew that I was working with an honest and reputable company that would guide me through the world of SEO. In the six months since working with Brick Marketing, our goal for better presence on the internet has been achieved!”

– Peter Feinmann, Feinmann, Inc.

"traffic has increased over 80% year-over-year"

“When we started working with Brick Marketing, we had just been subjected to a Google algorithm update and our websites both took substantial hits to traffic. Within a few months, Brick has taken both of our websites to pre-algorithm traffic and conversion levels, and for the CallFinder site, the traffic has increased over 80% year-over-year. Their expertise in SEO, responsive design, and content marketing helped us turn the situation around, and we could not be happier with the results we’ve seen in just our first four months of working with them. The team we work with at Brick Marketing is always available for off-the-cuff consultations and are at the ready to provide recommendations and suggestions to improve our site’s appearance and performance. They are truly a hands-on partner, which is immensely valuable to our business.​”

– Jeanne Landau, Director of Marketing |

"Our keyword rankings have improved and traffic has increased"

“The Brick Marketing team, was critical to ensuring that our new Web site is optimized to drive maximum traffic. Our keyword rankings have improved and traffic has increased thanks to her assistance and advice. In addition, they executed a strategic link building program that helped further increase Web traffic.”

– Lauren LaFronz, Director of Marketing, enChoice, Inc.

"Brick Marketing is levels above all integral part of my team"

“I have formed an invaluable marketing partnership with Brick Marketing. Nick Stamoulis and the rest of the Brick Marketing team are professional, timely, thorough and take time to, not only succeed at the tasks, but also educate myself and my team on the strategies in the process. Since my first encounter working with Brick, I’ve changed organizations and have taken them along with me…they are that good! In my experience in working with many outside agencies who over-promise and under-communicate, I can truly state that Brick Marketing is levels above all others and vested in our relationship. They are not just an SEO consultant, but an integral part of my team. I highly recommend Brick Marketing for any company looking to significantly increase search engine competitiveness and internet presence.​”

– Jodi Murphy, Marketing Director EUXmedia

"helped propel us forward organically"

“We implemented all the valuable suggestions and together we definitely saw amazing results over time. Other SEO companies may leave you in the dark but Brick Marketing kept us in the loop during the entire time, educating us about ALL the strategies being used that helped propel us forward organically.”

– Maura Statman, Everyone Loves Buttons Inc. ®

"Brick Marketing helped us meet our goals"

“We turned to Brick Marketing to assist in driving traffic to our website and we weren’t disappointed. The flexible approach of the SEO firm Brick Marketing helped us meet our goals, drive traffic to our website, and increase the number of calls we received regarding our services. Thank you!”

– Ken Burt, Marketing Manager Affiliated Physicians

"Brick Marketing has gotten me results"

“I have been working with Brick Marketing for over 4 years now. Brick Marketing sends me the reports every month, but I don’t need to read them. I already know what he does is extremely effective because of all the web requests I get, phone calls from customers when they see their page come up on the first page of Google! I have worked with many other companies that made promises they could not keep. Brick Marketing has gotten me results and that is why I continue to work with them. I don’t have to micro-manage anything they do. I know that they always do what they say they are going to do. If you are looking for an SEO company, I would say, look no further as you have found the one that will do the job right! In addition to doing an excellent job, Nick Stamoulis is a pleasure to work with.”

– Alan Cline, 1-800-PLUMBING

"I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation; they are simply great!"

“When we came to Brick Marketing initially, we had a small subset of challenges we didn’t have the bandwidth to tackle in house. Our idea was simply to send out the work and be done with it. A one-shot deal. What we found mid way into the first project, was that Nick Stamoulis and Brick Marketing had a depth of understanding and approach to solving our Search Engine Marketing problems that we had not considered; solutions that dramatically improved our search engine ranking position on terms and improved the overall size of our index listing (by more than 25% in the first two months). In short order we expanded our horizons and enlisted his talents to take on refining and improving ROI on our rather expensive Pay Per Click campaigns, as well as having him consult on microsite projects and blogs. Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing helped us understand what works and why, and helping us maintain our dominant position in the SERPs, despite the markets constant resetting and ever-changing drama. I could not have gotten through this year without Brick Marketing’s assistance and advice. I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation; they are simply great!”

– Connie Childrey, DataDirect Technologies

"Brick Marketing has been a tremendous resource for our business"

“Brick Marketing has been a tremendous resource for our business. Through their expertise with the ever changing world of SEO, our web presence is as strong as ever. Our working relationship with Nick Stamoulis and Danielle Bachini has been outstanding. In collaboration with web designer Chris Roberts, we were also able to develop the perfect responsive website that truly reflects our business. Thank you Brick Marketing!​”

– Ellen Parlee, Parlee Farms

"highly recommend Brick Marketing to all of my clients"

“After working with many other SEO firms and not being satisfied I finally was introduced to the Brick Marketing President and Founder, Nick Stamoulis. Nick Stamoulis has educated me about SEO and has provided me with a well rounded SEO package, not only does he offer top quality services he also educates his clients and spends the time to explain everything and their SEO pricing is competitive. I will highly recommend Brick Marketing to all of my clients. Brick Marketing is an A+ for SEO services.”

– Mike Cardella, Integrated Computer Services

"I would recommend Brick Marketing to anyone looking to enhance their online business"

“I have been very pleased with the responsiveness, diligent work efforts and creative ideas Brick Marketing has shown me since we started our organic SEO optimization campaign. My account executive has provided great support and has written relevant and timely articles for our website blog. Her willingness to go above and beyond to achieve the best possible results is very evident. I would recommend Brick Marketing to anyone looking to enhance their online business profile.”

– John V. Donovan, Director of Leasing & Marketing, Devionshire

"dependable, professional SEO company"

“Brick Marketing has been a dependable, professional SEO company that has helped us get results. In the last 6 months of using their services, visits to our website have increased by almost 30%. Our dedicated SEO Specialist was pleasant to deal with. Her suggestions for articles and press releases were industry specific. Brick Marketing always answered our phone calls and emails within an hour which made us feel valued as a client. I would recommend Brick Marketing to all businesses to handle their SEO needs.”

– JoAnne Loftus, Archival Designs, Inc.

"superior knowledge of marketing on the internet"

“I have had the good fortune to work with SEO expert Nick Stamoulis and his team at Brick Marketing and it was clear form the get go that Nick had superior knowledge of marketing on the internet. The SEO campaign and technical writing that Brick Marketing provides has been impressive, where in the past we struggled to find the high levels of competence in these two skill sets. Were only just beginning with Brick Marketing and look forward to growing with their expert guidance. Thank you Nick Stamoulis and the Brick Marketing team!”

– Craig Raubenheimer, President, Roan Solutions, Inc.

"We’ve seen unbelievable success & owe much of our online lead generation to Brick Marketing’s efforts"

“I didn’t realize how much we were missing from not having an online presence until I started working with the SEO firm Brick Marketing. The Brick Marketing team took the time to guide us through the SEO process and helped bring our company into the online world. We’ve seen unbelievable success with our new website & owe much of our online lead generation to Brick Marketing’s efforts.”

– George Athanasiadis, CEO, Somerset Industries

"Love working with the team at Brick Marketing!"

“Love working with the team at Brick Marketing! They are always available to answer my questions and assist with any concerns. I am very impressed with their thoroughness and ability to stay organized. Their passion and energy is always shown during conversations on our account.”

– Corey Savage, CEO, Suncoast Identification Solutions, LLC

"When I think of Brick Marketing I think Thank You!!!"

“When I think of Brick Marketing I think Thank You!!! We had previously used another SEO firm and although I think they were doing their job, it never felt right. But we didn’t quite know why. I did a lot of research and was drawn to Brick Marketing because of their customer feedback, white hat philosophy and TRANSPARENCY. Once we started working with Nick I realized that what didn’t feel right about our previous SEO company was that everything was veiled in mystery. We never knew what they were doing, why or when.

Nick walked us through the process in detail, answered all of our questions and educated us on what SEO really is and how it works. Not only that, but he and Katherine provided us with a schedule of actionable items that we could follow along with. At no point were we in the dark.

After our excellent success with SEO (regular on first page for important search terms) we enlisted Brick’s help in creating and running some Adwords campaigns for us as well. The results have been tremendous! Tim helped us launch a new service and we quickly went from perhaps 1-2 organic search leads a week to 5-8 PER DAY.

Brick has become the trusted and efficient digital marketing department our company needed to get to the next plateau. From SEO, to article writing, to social media and Adwords campaigns they literally do it all for us. And honestly, Brick marketing keeps us on track for our marketing goals, not the other way around. We could not be more pleased with the job Brick is doing for us.”

– Adam Reed, Foundation Support Specialists

"went above and beyond to help us with any SEO issues"

“We hired Brick Marketing to manage our SEO, but they ended up also managing our company blog, social media marketing, helped us launch a pay per click advertising campaign, migrated our website to a new domain and so much more! Our SEO Specialist is always quick to respond whenever we had a question and went above and beyond to help us with any SEO issues.”

– Mory Creighton, CEO, Pinpoint Laser Systems

Contact Us about brick marketing Industries We Serve Case Studies

Need Assistance? Please Contact Us Below: