Search engine optimization (SEO) software is a tough business segment. Not only must developers compete against dozens of other all-in-one suites and special-purpose SEO tools, but also continually adapt to the changing nature of search, whether that’s the increasing importance of voice search or the thousands of changes Google makes to its algorithms each year.
Yet innovative providers continue to thrive, by simultaneously increasing functionality, simplifying use, and keeping prices reasonable. Rising demand also helps; as the volume of online content has exploded, making search exponentially more competitive, SEO professionals have had to expand their use of SEO technology to remain effective.
One such SEO tool provider, Netpeak Software, has established itself in the market by starting with simple yet highly capable tools then expanding their functionality. Though relatively new to the market, the company has already built a base of thousands of users around the globe, including some well-known brand-name clients.
Here is the story of Netpeak Software and founder Alex Wise.
Netpeak current offers two products: Netpeak Spider (an SEO crawler) and Netpeak Checker (a bulk URL checker and SERP scraper). Both tools are helpful for search engine optimizers, webmasters, bloggers, and anyone wanting to optimize their website for search engines.
Search engine optimization has two sides. The first one is a thrilling game where you have to experiment, analyze, plan, risk, and enjoy the result. The other one is a chore full of monotonous tasks like data collection. Alex says Netpeak aims to make the SEO routine brighter by automating the repetitive daily grind.
Unlike most of its competitors, Netpeak doesn’t just deliver raw data. The company’s goal is to provide users with the deepest insight into their websites and show what issues need to be addressed first, and how. The development team also pays lots of attention to user experience, to make working with their tools as hassle-free as possible.
Year founded: Netpeak Software was founded in 2016 as a part of Netpeak Group, which also includes seven other companies.
Funding rounds: bootstrapped.
Current size: 100,000 users from 170 countries, 28 employees. Clients include Thomson Reuters, Shopify, Ignite Visibility, Template Monster, iProspect, and others.
Webbiquity: What inspired you to work on a solution to this particular problem?
Alex Wise: I’ve been working in an SEO niche for 13 years. I don’t want to say that SEO in 2006 was radically different from today, but truth be told it was much more basic. Getting a bunch of backlinks from blog comments, forums, and directories would move the needle pretty fast. Optimizers who automated these tasks back then were ahead of the game.
When I came to Netpeak, which is a digital marketing agency, in 2010, there was a need to automate some of the processes. None of the available SEO tools were able to satisfy our needs to the fullest extent. That’s why we decided to create our own software. And we did.
So the direct answer would be that on every stage of my career, I needed to automate routine SEO tasks to offer a better service. My primary intent was to create tools that will boost efficiency.
Webbiquity: What were the most effective channels or methods for you to get the word out to prospective customers when you first launched your services?
Alex Wise: Our marketing story is quite interesting. As I noted, before going public, our tools were used only inside the Netpeak agency. When we decided to make them publicly available, they were still pretty basic. I thought there was no point in trying to sell them straight away.
That’s why before becoming the property of Netpeak Software, both Netpeak Spider and Netpeak Checker were free-to-use for about two years. In 2016, we significantly upgraded our tools and launched Netpeak Software as an independent company. We gave all our users a 60-day free period to make a decision and become our paid users. That’s how we generated our first clients.
Back then, we didn’t even have a marketing team. I spoke at a bunch of niche conferences, demonstrating how specialists could boost their efficiency by using our tools. Networking with SEOs and webmasters, who are our target audience, helped a lot. I got loads of essential feedback and managed to win some strategically important customers.
Webbiquity: Finish this sentence: “Knowing what I know now, if I were starting over today, what I would do differently is…”
Alex Wise: >I would start selling our tools at the very beginning. Had we made them public in 2010 even for a giveaway price, we could have reinvested the income in the development six years earlier. So yeah, I’d definitely focus on software development much earlier.
Sometimes it’s crucial to stop dilly-dallying and just start.
Webbiquity: What’s the most important advice you could offer to an entrepreneur starting out today?
Alex Wise: Many first-time entrepreneurs (including myself back in the day) focus too much on building business processes. They read various books telling how to build them correctly. In some cases, they try to replicate the workflow of other successful companies following the instructions.
But you know what the problem is with this approach? There’s no perfect set of instructions or template for your business. Something that worked for Amazon, in most cases, will not work for you.
You become obsessed with the process and forget about the result. But at the end of the day, the result is what matters. Measuring the outcome of every process in your company allows understanding what really pays off.
So my advice would be:
- Be result-oriented instead of process-oriented.
- Learn to measure the result.
- Don’t beat a dead horse and give up on all processes that don’t pay off.
You can connect with Alex Wise on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Previous Posts in This Series
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #1: Mark Galloway, OppSource
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #2: Scott Burns, Structural
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #3: Atif Siddiqi, Branch
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #4: Daren Klum, Secured2
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #5: Josh Fedie, SalesReach
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #6: Loring Kaveney, WorkOutLoud
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #7: Lief Larson, Salesfolks
The Founders Interview Series #8: John Sundberg, Kinetic Data
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #9: Amanda LaGrange, Tech Dump/Tech Discounts
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #10: Aba El Haddi, EnduraData
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #11: Michael McCarthy, Inkit
The Founders Interview Series #12: Mark Granovsky, G2Planet
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #13: Aric Bandy, Agosto
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #14: Amanuel Medhanie, Parsimony
The Entrepreneur Interview Series #15: Adam Hempenstall, Better Proposals
The Founders Interview Series #16: Tracy Fuller, InnovativEvents
The Founders Interview Series #17: Peter M. Vessenes, ProfitSee