Today I’m talking with Christian Rudolph – a Swedish SEO consultant and a long-time blogger here in the Swedish startup space. Christian has helped run Disruptive.nu (one of Sweden’s best web-focused blogs) since 2007 and has years (10,000 hours he tells me) of experience within SEO and content. Christian recently opened a new SEO consultancy firm – TopDog, so we talked about that, what it takes to succeed with SEO and what he thinks of the startup community in general.
Tell a little about your background and how you got into SEO
In 2004-2005, I started doing consultancy work for a small startup in Stockholm, called Webguidepartner. Their basic business model was lead generation. It does not sound sexy, but they did lead generation for gambling companies and this of course was the time of the big poker boom.
Webguidepartner is one of the unknown startups in Stockholm. For some time, they where probably the best company at SEO in the world. They dominated several gambling verticals in the US and Europe. They went from nothing to 300 people fast.
This is how I first encountered SEO and started learning about it. I stuck with SEO after I left Webguideparter and today I am considered one of the most experienced SEO’s in Scandinavia.
I kept on working with SEO since there are two aspects of SEO which have a profound effect on me. Links is the most important one. Google is a link algorithm so links are of course good SEO. When I spark discussions or do something that gets attention, my brain actually releases “feel good chemicals”. I do not know why. The simple explanation is that I am just an attention seeker, the more complex explanation is that maybe, the internet is just an unknown gadget and I like to pick it to pieces and try to understand it.
Ranking is the other aspect I love about SEO. Ranking #1 is unbiased feedback. You are good at what you do. Its a fact, not someone’s opinion.
Tell us about Topdog and your ambitions
The big brands are awakening to the SEO opportunity. However, several of the existing firms are not equipped to harvest this opportunity. When you work for big brands you need a lot of organizational skills and management skills to be able to produce lasting change. Most SEO companies, know a lot about SEO, not change.
I would like to bring the processes, we created at Betsson, where we succeeded in the Casino segment in Google, to the marketplace. A lot of big, international companies in Sweden, need to get a lot better at SEO. This is TopDog expertise, the intersection between SEO and change.
However starting a company is not just about your offer and your segmentation. Its something egotistical too. I do not do this for the brands, I do it for myself, to create something that I want. I would like a company where nerds love to work. When you put 10 nerds in the same room, interesting shit happens.Things I can not predict. Working with nerds is of course also a lot more fun, than working with corporates.
It’s easy to find a lot of “how to’s” on SEO – what is really needed to succeed?
The recipe for Google success is easy to write down
- Knowing what moves the needle for your business in Google
Still so many companies fumble. They are used to having things their own way by just using money. SEO is a gamechanger in that perspective. Its not just about the company any more. You actually have to listen to how Google wants things and how Google users want things. Adapting to Google, in an environment where most employees know very little about internet and communication online, makes SEO a difficult process for most companies.
Finally – you’ve been blogging abut the startup scene for a long time – what do you think about the current wave of new entrepreneurs?
The last 15 years, a lot of “trains stopped at the station”. Very few people decided to take the train to the future. This is different today, more trains then ever are entering the stations and a lot of people decide to jump the onto the train. People are attracting more people. The startup scene is getting more and more “mainstream”
I understand that a lot of people do not find the word “mainstream” a positive word, but it is. As the “startup world” starts to collide with more “mainstream people’s” daily lives, it’s going to have a much bigger impact on people. It will attract more people, talent and money. More failure also but we all know failure is just feedback and there is too stigma attached to it here in Sweden.
Yesterday, it was the freaks jumping on the train, today its lot more ordinary people, deciding they want to experience the future and jump onto a train.