Turmoil has engulfed the rankings of small businesses. Google released a ruthless update that prioritized big brands.
Sensing a disturbance in the marketplace, Jared Turner declares his intention to deploy a solution. Recession and doubts threaten to thwart efforts. But the Boostability mission is worth fighting for. SMBs need SEO, and no one but the BOOSTERS can save these fallen rankings.
With a mission, some pizza, and a dream, our founders build the legendary LaunchPad platform that will change the face of SMB SEO. As more digital marketing rebels Join the cause, this small band seeks out to disrupt SEO forever….
It’s January of 2009—Barack Obama just took the oath of office in his first term as president of the United States, and Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” would win Song of the Year at the Grammy’s. Consumers are getting social on their iPhone 3Gs, posting on Facebook and sending Tweets, while Myspace dies a slow death.
At the same time, Google released Vince – not Vince from Entourage or Vince Vaughn; but an algorithm update that crashed much more than wedding websites. The world was changing, and the way people interacted with it changed too. And that includes SEO.
The Google Vince update dramatically changed the SERP landscape. With Vince, big brands suddenly outranked smaller, less-established brands, pushing small businesses further down the SERPs. Vince marked the dawn of Enterprise SEO dominance, and the decline of SMB rankings.
Google launched Vince to clean up affiliate webspam who gamed the system, and to give prominence to sites considered to have more authority, trust and relevance. In other words, the big brands. What happened to SMBs because of Vince, led to the founding of Boostability.
In 2009, SEO was expensive. Not only could most SMBs not afford it, but ranking on Google just got a whole lot more difficult because of Google’s Vince update. Large brands could afford SEO experts and agencies who dedicated their time and expertise to figuring out Google’s latest algorithm changes. SMBs could not. An overwhelming majority of small business owners need to stay focused on their business.
The market crash at the end of 2008 meant hard times for a lot of people, small businesses more than most. But with so much commerce starting to move from brick and mortar locations and onto the internet, organizations had to make sure customers could find them in order to stay successful.
Our founders identified a major injustice in the industry. SMBs needed strong representation online, but they didn’t have the budgets or SEO know-how to achieve high rankings.
They came up with a plan – a new SEO technology platform that would enable an SMB to do SEO for themselves – affordably. It was an industry-shaking, outrageous idea, that not many people believed in.
With a mission (and hungry stomachs), our founders met at Pier 49 Pizza in American Fork, Utah to discuss the concept and begin forming a start-up.
Day 1 commenced in a tiny basement about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City. The team of founders had bootstrapped six months of runway funding from their own pockets. They began white-board sessions, database modeling and schemas, sitting shoulder to shoulder.
By the end of the day, they had modeled out a revolutionary blueprint that would disrupt the SEO industry forever with a single piece of technology called LaunchPad; a step-by-step SEO SaaS platform where small business owners could do SEO themselves. It was radical.
For months, the team went without pay, as the scrappy start-up founders did everything they could to build the platform and incorporate the company – now named Boostability.
In September 2009, Boostability debuted LaunchPad – a DIY SaaS SEO platform for SMBs built from scratch. The platform handled work-flow management by enabling an SMB to do SEO with step-by-step guides (hence the feet in the Boostability logo). It also provided tracking and reporting.
In order to grow at a faster rate, they considered raising a round of funding, but times were tough. In the middle of an economic recession, investors loved the concept and market adoption, but they were wary of writing a check. The founders decided to not take institutional investment and battened down the hatches. They went without pay, maxed out credit cards, and did everything they could to build the business.
In the first two years, the team tested market adoption. They found that the SMBs needed and wanted the platform solution, but didn’t have the time to deal with the minutiae of the work involved in an SEO campaign.
After two years, the company was out of runway. But, the dream of helping SEOs succeed online was worth fighting for. Those involved decided to make further sacrifices by selling property and mortgaging their homes.
This funding bump enabled the founders of Boostability to scale the business offerings and create new products specifically for SMBs. They introduced a website analysis tool and added a service layer on top of the SEO SaaS platform. They hired a direct sales team, and built an in-house fulfillment and customer service teams. The scrappy start-up started to gain serious momentum, and moved into a small office they outfitted with Ikea desks.
In 2011, Boostability began a huge growth trajectory. Their proprietary technology platform LaunchPad enabled Boostability’s in-house SEO team to fulfill campaigns for SMBs at scale, and continue to be affordable for small business customers.
LaunchPad provided workflow management, keyword tracking, and transparent reporting to customers. Gone were the days of paying an agency and hoping your rankings improved. With LaunchPad, customers could see the work done on their website – and track the results every step along the way through a transparent dashboard.
Not only did LaunchPad disrupt the SMB SEO model, but it also transformed Boostability’s ability to scale the business quicker than any other company in the space.
Later that year, a new business model emerged. Company leadership had a huge goal in mind – launch a Partner channel and take the business to new heights. Within a short amount of time, they brought on two of the largest yellow page companies in Canada and America.
Expanding into Canada meant Boostability needed to service SEO accounts in English and French. Boost quickly built French speaking fulfillment, campaign support and customer service teams to support the region.
From 2011 – 2013 the company experienced exponential growth. Boostability now had over 250 employees, two offices in Utah, and was hiring close to 40 people per month! In just four years since its founding, Boostability became the fastest growing Partner and small business SEO company in America.
In 2014, H.I.G. Growth Partners (a leading global private equity investment firm with over $35 billion of equity capital under management) took a majority investment in Boostability. The investment from H.I.G. Growth Partners enabled Boostability to become more operationally efficient, diversify their revenue streams, and expand internationally.
The company grew to new heights and expanded to five continents, with fulfillment in nine languages, and over 400 employees.
By 2016, Boostability had opened its European headquarters in Berlin, Germany and began working with huge partners all throughout Europe. The investment also enabled Boostability to expand it’s Partner channel into the mid-market, serving digital marketing agencies and anyone who wanted to sell SEO to their customers.
Over the next several years, Boostability continued to grow to become the world-wide leader in white-label SMB SEO, servicing Partners and SMBs all around the globe.
Boostability specializes in technology-enabled, people powered SEO solutions. LaunchPad tracks over 2.3 Million keywords per month, empowering Boostability to make decisions based on millions of bits of data. Boostability’s data-driven campaigns get 86% of our customers on the 1st page of Google in 6 months.
And, when we’re not solving the world’s SMB SEO problems, you’ll find us snowboarding on Utah’s award winning snow, paddle boarding in one of our many idyllic lakes, or checking out art in Berlin’s famous Museum Island. You can also find us spending time together watching the latest Star Wars movie or playing video games.