In its fifth year and with about 85 employees, SEO.com has outgrown its space in Bluffdale, Utah. The search engine optimization firm may move into a new building by fall.
“We’ve started searching for an ideal location for our current and future employees,” SEO.com President Ash Buckles said.
Buckles said he hopes to keep the company as close to its current location as possible. Most SEO.com employees live in Salt Lake and Utah counties.
“We’re really happy with our current location so we want to stay close,” Buckles said.
SEO.com started in about 1,100 square feet in Lehi. The company has been in its current 12,000-square-foot office since 2009. The new building should be more than 20,000 square feet, Buckles explained.
“It’s difficult to plan space requirements three to five years out for such a fast-growing company,” he said. “We’re hoping this space will accommodate us for 200 people.”
The space will include conference rooms and collaborative offices. SEO.com had only 45 employees two years ago.
According to Rod Lee, vice president of finance for SEO.com, the company is working with Coldwell Banker to find a new location. “We just did a space analysis, which takes a look at our current need,” Lee said.
SEO.com’s current location is located along the Wasatch Front, which allows the company to recruit employees in Salt Lake and Utah counties.
“Which I think is the best talent in the state,” Lee said.
Healthy employees are happier, perform better
With soccer season in full swing, SEO.com employees on the company team are already banding together to form a softball squad for the summer league.
“Before soccer, we had two teams playing basketball,” said Rod Lee, vice president of finance for SEO.com. “They’re still licking their wounds from that.”
SEO.com works hard to provide opportunities for employees to stay healthy.
“It’s well worth the effort. I’ve seen the results,” Lee said. “The flipside is a tired employee. A sick employee missing a lot of work is not as productive … Healthy employees are more productive. They’re happier. If you feel good you are able to focus and it’s a stress reliever.”
The company even organized a “biggest-loser contest” for employees to tone up, he said.
“The winner won an iPad,” Lee added. “We do different incentives like that.”
With SEO.com planning to move into a new office, Lee said he hopes the next location has showers for employees.
“That means I could ride my bike to work,” he said. “I could go on a run from there.”
Lee said he is always looking to enact other measures to keep employees healthy. Fitness memberships are offered to SEO.com employees at no charge.
“We like to keep a healthy environment,” SEO.com President Ash Buckles said.
SEO.com hires new director
People seldom guess right when picking Claye Stokes’ age. Most do not expect the 26-year-old to already have a resume that rivals some of the search-marketing industry’s heaviest
hitters. SEO.com has tapped Stokes as its newest director of search engine optimization.
“I’ve always been into websites. Just growing up I had a natural passion for figuring out how websites work,” Stokes said.
He built his first website when he was just 13 years old.
“It kind of stuck,” Stokes said.
Now Stokes helps oversee search engine optimization for a firm focused on driving traffic to its clients’ websites through aggressive Internet marketing.
Without effectively promoting their websites online, businesses will get lost on the Internet as the web becomes more cluttered, Stokes said.
“SEO is a part of a strong presence on the web,” he explained. “Even when I picked up on web design over a decade ago, people were saying that if you want to build a website right, you have to build it with te search engines in mind.”
Through search engine optimization, business owners find their websites ranked higher online, which allows them to reach consumers who are in the mood to buy.
“Search-engine marketing is so much more dialed in than any billboard you could place or any television as you could put in front of consumers,” Stokes said. “A very, very small percentage of those viewers are in that buying mindset at that moment in time. With search-engine marketing, 100 percent of the people who see it are actively searching for your product or service.”
Using a search engine like Google or Yahoo is the most common way consumers shop for products online, and businesses not engaged in search engine optimization will get left behind, he added.
“If someone is looking to buy something, they research it online. If you’re not at the top of the search engines, they’re not seeing you,” Stokes said. “They’re seeing competitors.”
Stokes came to SEO.com having worked as an account executive at an advertising agency.
“SEO is very new,” Stokes said. “Executives didn’t learn about it in business school.”
Stokes is married with two children. He lives in Lehi, Utah
Meanwhile, among the SEO.com employees who were recently promoted to management were Ty Kilgore, Nate Blair, Dustin Williams, Brian Jensen and Tyson Hymas. Albert Mitchell, a former SEO manager, was promoted to director.
“We attract smart, educated people and we prefer to promote from within,” said Ash Buckles, president of SEO.com. “We’re constantly looking for strong talent in marketing analysis and project management.”
SEO.com signs big clients
The list of newest SEO.com clients includes recognizable names like Hitachi, Hotels.com and the Amazon Web Store.
“We're thrilled to work with so many clients that provide top quality products and services,” SEO.com President Ash Buckles said.
Other new clients include Web Concepts, BrightFuture.com and AccountingMatters.com.
Rod Lee, vice president of finance for SEO.com, is also president of BrightFuture.com and AccountingMatters.com.
“It’s the same thing I’ve been doing at SEO.com. I’ve been running the [human resources] and accounting since I have been here … The idea is that as SEO.com has grown and the needs have grown, those same services that we have provided to SEO.com for some time is now something we can apply to other companies,” Lee said. “There is a sister company relationship.”
Top salespeople recognized
SEO.com has recognized its top salesman for January, February and March 2011.
Matson Tolman was the top sales representative in March. Dale Nguyen was on top in February and the highest-performing SEO.com sales representative in January was Chris Merrill.
SEO.com now an American Marketing Association sponsor
SEO.com has signed on as a sponsor for the American Marketing Association in Utah.
“It’s a new chapter in Utah and we're excited to be part of the brightest minds,” SEO.com president Ash Buckles explained. “We’re here to learn and grow together. We look forward to engaging with Utah businesses and supporting the community.”
The AMA is the largest marketing association in North America. It is a professional association for people involved in the practice, teaching and study of marketing worldwide.
Two key conferences this spring were attended by SEO.com employees.
In April, Jon Reese, SEO.com’s director of business development attended the 2011 Mirren New Business Conference, which brought the biggest names in advertising together in New York City for a three-day powwow.
Reese explained that many of these agencies have clients who are demanding SEO work.
Meanwhile, Boyd Norwood, a director of SEO at SEO.com attended Distilled’s link-building conference in New Orleans in March. In June, SEO.com plans to attend the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle.
“We strive to send a couple people to several notable conferences each year,” SEO.com President Ash Buckles said.
That way employees stay aware of the latest trends in an industry that is constantly changing, he explained.
Reese said his main goal in New York City was developing partnerships between SEO.com and other marketing firms.
“We partner with advertising agencies to bring the breadth of marketing capacity to our clients,” Reese said. “It’s all collaboration and networking. Every lunch, every break I was talking to people.”
Many clients today “want to integrate their traditional and Internet marketing into one,” he added.
“There was not one discussion that I had that they weren’t interested in what SEO had to offer their firm,” Reese said.
Companies are realizing the importance of their websites ranking highly in search engine results.
“There were massive agencies there,” Reese said.
At the conference in New Orleans, Norwood said a presentation by SEOmoz chief Rand Fishkin was one of the highlights.
Fishkin emphasized the importance of keeping your website packed with quality content.
“He’s a big name in the industry,” Norwood said. “One question he stressed was: Does your content deserve to rank first?”
Norwood said companies must “focus on the visitors to our site rather than just the search engines.”
“It’s just a good reminder,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to rank a site that deserves to rank … We’re going to get links easier because it is quality content.”
SEO director smiles as he finishes grueling bike ride
Despite the rain and snow, SEO.com was well represented at Utah’s FRONT RUNNER Metric Century Bicycle Ride on April 9.
“The weather was hellacious,” said SEO.com employee Matt Storms, the organizer of the event.
Albert Mitchell, an SEO.com search engine optimization director, rode in the metric century ride.
“I got up in the morning, looked out the window, saw the snowy weather and I thought, man, that looks cold and miserable,” Mitchell said.
The ride was 62 miles through Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties.
“Our guy finished early with a smile on his face,” SEO.com President Ash Buckles said about Mitchell’s performance. “We love to see our employees accomplishing things outside of work and we try to encourage that.”
After promising to participate, Mitchell said he wanted to finish the ride.
“Snow was not going to stop me,” he said.
Several SEO.com employees were volunteers at the event.
Mitchell praised a group of his coworkers who cheered him on.
Teamwork is paramount at SEO.com, Mitchell explained.
“When we commit to something, we do our best to try to fulfill that,” he added.