Looking back on 15 years at Ontario SEO
I was surprised when LinkedIn informed me I have been working at Ontario SEO for 15 years. This lead me to reflect on my time with our ever evolving company.
In 2005 I co-founded Ontario SEO with my partner Wayne, and have been working as a Director there ever since. What started as a two-person, at-home operation has grown, moved, evolved, and responded to various changes in local and global digital landscape. Several new offices and employees later, we have become a full-service digital marketing team that works with businesses of every size, across every industry, around the world.
Our journey has included a ton of hard work and innovation. Throughout it all, we have kept our client success as the focus of all we do. In the spirit of celebrating our longevity and evolution, I want to share a few of the best parts of Ontario SEO. These have empowered us to succeed in a complex and competitive landscape.
The power of the perception
One of the greatest challenges we’ve faced, over the years, is people’s perceptions about Search Engine Optimization. When we first started, there was a lot of skepticism surrounding SEO’s usefulness and return on investment.
To be honest, people knew so little about this digital marketing technique, no one could even guess how to pronounce our company name. I have even been called a scammer to my face! It was an uphill battle convincing businesses to direct their hard-earned money our way in the early days. As people’s understanding of this mysterious industry has grown, so has their realization that maintaining online visibility takes financial investment, strategy, and a whole lot of technical skills.
We take serious pride in our ownership of Ontario SEO
Anyone who has owned a company knows it comes with the good, the bad, and the ugly. Over the past decade and a half, Wayne and I have had to learn how to balance life and work – without always bringing the latter to the dinner table. We’ve also adapted to new working environments, employee changeover, and the weird, unpredictable events that can take your company by storm (even before a global pandemic).
We have navigated a rapidly increasing book of clients. Always remaining focused on investing in ourselves and our company with amazing staff, marketing materials, and a people-first motto of management.
Our approach to our work is to make sure that we can be proud of everything we do. We treat each of our client’s businesses as our own; their gains are always our focus. By doing this we continue to build a company where we all take pride in the work we do. In fact we believe so strongly in what we do that we don’t require contracts. We want our clients to stay with us because they are happy with the results and see us as a partner not because of an obligation.
When it comes to SEO, there has been an increase in quantity & quality
Just because more people are doing something doesn’t necessarily mean they’re doing it well. With the increased uptake in website management, online marketing, and search engine strategy, agencies have responded with more effective tactics that have enhanced people’s view of the optimization nation.
We are glad to see this because, for a while there, our industry was deemed to be about as trustworthy as your run-of-the-mill snake oil salesman.
The growth in our industry has allowed us to increase our expertise by adding staff who have their own specialties. Giving us both more capacity and the ability to offer customized digital marketing solutions across a wide range of verticals. By having a great team, we ensure that our marketing strategy and execution is always the best it can be on every project we take on.
The SEO toolkit is ever-growing, but the basics remain essential
It is hard to believe that we have been doing this for so long. In fact we had to discuss whether or not the Facebook thing was worth it, we even debated if we needed a business account (and yes I was right! ) When we began Ontario SEO, we had to custom build everything. This meant even simple tasks would take up a serious amount of time and effort. Now, thanks to technological and digital innovation, we can focus more energy on strategic thinking.
In 2011 there were approximately 150 marketing technology tools now in 2020 there are over 8000 but this doesn’t mean that the work gets easier. Just because something is quick and easy does not necessarily mean it’s effective. If you jump from shiny new thing to fancy new strategy you will end up with a mismatched, ineffective jumble of tactics that may cancel each other out.
Our team stays up to date on the new tools and trends, but we only cautiously jump on the bandwagon once in a while. When we do, we use data to decide what is and is not working. This helps us stay current, but not overwhelmed with toys and tools.
Search Engine Optimization is a competitive sport
Not only are more companies churning out SEO solutions, but the more saturated the online market becomes, the harder it is to stand out. Our team constantly comes up with new paid and organic tactics to help our clients shine. We then layer in new ideas and tactics to help our clients be seen amidst the millions of websites, products, and services out there. The team gets excited about these new challenges. We make sure our clients (or fans) know exactly what they are up against, so we can manage expectations and, hopefully, exceed them. We don’t always win, but we usually do.
More than a decade gone and a lifetime to go
Well, hopefully not a lifetime because I would like to retire and place my toes permanently in the sand – but you get the idea. I love what I do, and that’s made the years fly by. I look forward to seeing what the digital and non-digital worlds have to throw our way and how we can continue to deliver real value for our clients, as they deliver great products and services to the people who need them most.