Ben Ahlstrom and his wife Kim started as a wedding photography studio, with a nice standard website they set up from one of the popular managed website builders and hosts. It worked well over the years, “or so I thought, when I accepted how little to no traffic to our site was getting as the accepted norm. Only later did we realize how much opportunity we had wasted in all those years,” said Ben.
They joined the beta program of Instastartups in the middle of 2016 after they had outgrown their budding operation and was working on a new design behind the scenes from the same old hosting/website provider, when they realized how “we’ve been missing the potential clients and prospects we could have gotten from the Internet,” Ben added.
Instastartups showed them a whole new sales and revenue channel by enabling their (pro video and photography) service business to maximize the Internet. Ben said, “It took a few months but when we started to rank, visitors started coming in, and it started growing. Our client base started growing mostly from this single but broad channel, enabling us to rake in more visitors that translated to more clients. How much value would you put in that?,” he said, adding, “I’d gladly pay 20%-40% the increase in revenue from our new ‘online client making machine,’ yet it only cost us a fraction of what we now earn in addition, and doesn’t even hit 3% what we make now! It’s unbelievable value and my only regret is not finding this service earlier.”
Ben’s wife Kim chimes in, saying “What really impresses me with Instastartups is because although SEO is a core part of their strategy and basket of services, they don’t stop there, and in fact use many other methods, tools, sources and avenues to help promote our business and put us out there. They use social media, old media, PR, growth hacking, and other techniques to not only grow our business locally, but on general categorical (they refer to it as ‘niche’) terms as well.
“They even suggested several tricks, hacks, places and techniques of digital marketing (even Craigslist ‘hacks’ and techniques for other technology platforms) I never in my wildest dreams would have considered—all to great effect!”
The Ahlstroms share a common thread with Instastartups members—all of whom have been beta users because the company only started early in the second quarter of 2016—that the value they are getting from the results are such that it should cost much more and that they are willing to pay much more, and yet do not, the way other SEOs charge far more for their services, even though Instastartups goes well above and beyond the number of offerings and impact of other providers.
However, Instastartups insists on the current standardized pricing structure because keeping the rates simple and affordable gives clients the ability to proclaim the value they derive from it while allowing more small businesses and startups to join its ecosystem and platform, the company’s primary vision of not even focusing its benefits to the websites it builds or do SEO on, but rather on using its infrastructure to support and grow its members’ businesses.
As Ben happily proclaims, “I am mighty impressed and am happy with my current stable of clients that only continues to grow, as I expect new clients we acquired organically online will surpass our other (offline) channels this year. And this is only going to multiply as we expand into adjacent waters now that we are a full-service video photography company, and you can bet our digital marketing footprint will only grow with that as well.”
After the general optimizations and actions have been made, Instastartups applied two kinds of SEO classifications for the Ahlstroms, and while the fundamentals are similar, there are nuances and explicit methods to take advantage of each.
First is what is called in the industry as Local SEO, which is a bit different than a standard SEO campaign with its own techniques and tools, and where a business is put in proper context not just for the search engine per se (even though it ultimately ranks there), but all over the Internet where its presence can be established.
This includes contextual content about the company and its line of business, how they related to the community, local information and attractions of the place the company does business– from suburb to city level, and to a separate degree, the state it belongs.
Citations and other actions were made across local directories, the city’s Chamber of Commerce and other local sources. Then towards those at a national level (YellowPages, Yelp, etc.) and worldwide. Beyond locational elements, the company was also connected to resources, directories and other assets pertaining to its particular category and niche– it’s industry and line of business, along with adjacent categories that were germane to its main thrust.
After that, general and organic SEO was then made from which on-site, off-page, social media and even advice and actions offline were made. This part was in fact something that was the largest undertaking. For all the work that went into other elements, this phase took as much as the others combined. And although it is beyond the scope of this narrative, the simple and true fact of the matter is that every one of them made a big difference.
These and a whole lot more, including special techniques towards linkbuilding and other methods were utilized, to great effect. And the results speak for themselves.
At first, the company started coming ahead in local search results and long-tail keywords. Then they hit the first page of Google for their locality’s search engine results page (SERP), and continued to go up as their website started coming out (and ranking) onto more keywords and phrases. Then they hit the 3-Pack of Google as their site became no. 1 in the listing, enabling the company to have two entries in the first page of Google for their search keyword and 3-Pack, as well as for other long-tail keywords just as it keeps going up for other terms.
Publisher, SEO & digital marketing consultant, web developer, graphic designer, Wordpress coder, copywriter. Martian.