Many regard search engine optimization as a secret art, with few gurus privy to its benefits. SEO, as it’s often abbreviated, refers to a brand or website’s likelihood to turn up in search engine results. A confusing combination of tags, trusted referrers, hyperlinks and more can be the difference between a potential client finding your site or a competitor’s.
For seoplus+, keeping your site at the top of a Google search is the ticket to revenue.
Founded in 2012, seoplus+ is a digital marketing services firm that helps clients stand out in the murky waters of SEO and generating online traffic. The startup features clients as large as Fortune 500 companies and the federal government and as small as local landscaping firms.
“That’s the beauty of digital marketing. Every company needs (it) at some level,” says co-founder Eddy Abou-Nehme.
Seoplus+ isn’t the only company Mr. Abou-Nehme leads. In fact, it was while he was trying to figure out digital marketing solutions for Revolution Networks, his Ottawa-based IT firm, that he stumbled upon the idea of providing services for others.
While reading a book that was literally titled SEO for Dummies, he says he knew there must be other companies in the same situation in which he found himself. He reached out to Brock Murray, with whom he had worked previously, and the two hashed out the beginnings of seoplus+.
Local headcount: 16
Three-year revenue growth: 417.1%
Today, the company is 16 employees strong, with revenue growth of more than 400 per cent over the past three years. Mr. Abou-Nehme says the key to this impressive growth is the firm’s solid relationships with clients, which seoplus+ achieves by demystifying digital marketing.
“A lot of people describe SEO to us as a black hole,” he says.
In order to illuminate the topic, the firm built an app that would track and report what tasks and time are being spent on a customer’s project, giving the team data that it can correlate to increased traffic or sales.
“We really wanted to simplify it, break things down, be transparent, communicate it to clients,” says Mr. Murray.
“And that really impresses them; they know that you’re actually working for them,” Mr. Abou-Nehme adds.
Despite serving clients across North America, seoplus+ has a large contingent of clients here in Ottawa, including Tiny Hoppers, Laurier Optical and Sleepwell Management. The two founders say the local connection helps their team connect with their clients. The other way to achieve that, Mr. Murray says, is by hiring locally instead of outsourcing SEO, as many marketing firms do.
Having an Ottawa-based workforce more readily available makes the entire process feel less transactional. Mr. Murray adds that having access to a strong talent pool of graduates from local schools such as Algonquin College is a huge incentive to keep the workforce in Ottawa.
(Three-year revenue growth in parenthesis)
Bellefleur Physiotherapy (349.9%)
Prosperity Group (281.5%)
Mishkumi Technologies (223.8%)
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