Interview with Allen MacCannell, VP Sales & Partnerships at WebCEO.
In this interview you can learn from Allen MacCannell, VP Sales & Partnerships WebCEO Limited (one of the leading SEO Software & White Label SEO Tools). WebCEO was founded in 1992 (Rebranded from Radiocom in 2000). It was the first Desktop SEO tool and today offers a set of 15 online SEO tools for both agencies and individuals.
HostAdvice: What does WebCEO do, where do you have offices and how many people work for the company?
WebCEO is one of the major SEO tool platforms for enterprises and agencies. The easy to navigate interface has also made us popular with small business owners. Web hosting companies use our white label program to offer SEO tools as a value add to their hosting services. We are a British company; we have 65 employees all in all, 45 of them are programming engineers.
HostAdvice: How did WebCEO come into place, what problem did it try to solve?
The Company was founded in 2000 when AltaVista was the big search engine. We were the first company to develop a desktop program that summarized results for all search engines. Over the years the platform became more complicated. You couldn’t just submit a form that would list your site in all search engines or stuff your META keywords with your targeted keywords and phrase to make your rankings skyrocket. Search engines started to determine more and more for themselves what the value of a website was.
HostAdvice: Why should users turn to WebCEO and not alternative tools?
The world of search engines is very unpredictable and he who acts faster wins here. In most cases, WebCEO is two steps ahead of competition, as we have one of the two most experienced SEO tool programming teams in the industry and this gives us a definite advantage. We can afford to consistently update the platform and include the most trendy and in-demand functionality. We excel at white labeling our tools so resellers can present them as their own. Our main competitor, Moz, has a formidable team but they don’t concentrate on white label tools.
HostAdvice: Marketers today find they are overwhelmed with data. What can they do to separate the needle from the haystack?
They need to be organized. Our 15 tools will help them stay focused and organized. We break things down into points of action. The first is researching keywords. Whether for PPC or Organic analysis, you need to pick the right keywords that people will search with. Just last night I typed “Shakespeare hoax” and immediately found the answer about whether he really wrote his own plays or not. The websites I went to had been smart enough to anticipate that I would use that keyword combination.
The key to any company’s marketing success is to get the right keywords shown in search engine results. But the site also has to be easy to navigate for users whom you want to become buyers of what you sell. There are many technical issues to keep in mind such as making sure you have no dead links. One of our customers found that a link was broken to the most important link on their website: the purchase button for their main product!
There can also be plenty of code errors that can irritate or confuse search engines and our site audit tools find them. Does the page have just one relevant H1 header, a non-duplicate Title tag of the proper length, Alt tags behind all the images? Is the logo file name Nike.jpg instead of logo.jpg?
Software displaying backlink quality checks for competition.
HostAdvice: What are the benefits for affiliates joining your program, who are the key segments that you turn to (webmasters, bloggers)?
The affiliate program is great. We pay $81 for a new paid customer even if he or she stays only for one month. Our paying clients start at $99 a month. Very talented bloggers are making a lot of money with us.
More profitable than the Affiliate Program would be the White Label Program where, for instance, Web hosting companies offer SEO tools branded as their own product. Hosting providers sign up users for commodity hosting, which would normally have to be at a low price like $12 per month, but then they provide SEO tools on top of the hosting and charge a premium of $30, $50, $100 or more depending on the frequency of scanning and how many keywords and backlinks these hosting customers will want to work with.
Whether a hosting company offers SEO tools to their clients as an affiliate of WebCEO or a White Label partner of WebCEO, there is a large upside in terms of increased revenue from this. As a hosting company, you can use your captive audience to increase your overall sales. Besides offering our SEO tools to their clients, a hosting company could increase revenue by also offering CMS and PPC tools.
HostAdvice: What non SEO tactics work best for marketing?
We allow ourselves to be interviewed for articles which are then promoted on social media. We know that this helps a lot with SEO. We write at least one blog post a week; we make sure our URLs are listed in social media posts. SEO is no longer a game of automatic content submission.
We do PPC (paid advertising) as part of our search strategy. We don’t have a tool for posting on social media. By the way, some of the social media tool companies out there (without naming names) don’t add any images to the posts they create - which is a serious mistake, because images are important to increase retweets and grab attention. It goes without saying that software for social media is a nice companion to our service.
HostAdvice: What changes have you seen to the SEO industry in the past few years?
Social media became an important part of SEO. This is why we analyze the amount of shares our customers’ websites receive on each social platform. Mobile marketing really changed the way SEO works. We see different results for mobile and desktop, so we put a lot of attention on mobile search results. We also focused on local search results. This is a key differentiator from other tools.
HostAdvice: What should webmasters that visit Hostadvice know about WebCEO that they may not be aware of?
You can white-label our service and sell your own tools branded with your name.
HostAdvice: I see you are hosted on Linode, how do you rate their service? What are the key advantages they supply (downtime etc.)?
They are based in the US which is important for IP reasons. They are on the main trunk, and they answer very quickly. We can stay on top of things, and if there is some downtime, like on Christmas Day, we get alerts right away from this web hosting company.
HostAdvice: What is your tip for “how to select a web hosting company” in regards to SEO?
The servers IP should be located in the country that you focus on. We do notice that the IP of the server is important for showing local results, for example a South African server for a South African company. Despite CDNs I prefer that our servers sit in the US.
HostAdvice: Anything else?
We have a cool “free SEO audit” button which is great for lead generation from agency websites that offer web design and SEO services. You can integrate this button on a hosting service website, because prospective hosting clients may already have some other websites and they will want to know what extra value your hosting service can bring to the table. There is a free limited service you can offer your clients in order to get them hooked on the benefits of SEO analysis. Then it takes two seconds to upgrade them to full SEO service.