Meet Jeffrey Smith, SEO Design Solutions
By Natalie Brader
Fairfield CoLab Business Administration Intern
Jeffrey Smith founded his company, SEO Design Solutions, in Chicago in 2006. Jeffrey first learned about SEO (search engine optimization) while founding and working on his first company, Aeron Lifestyle Technology, in the 1990s. The company had invested all its money into manufacturing its first product, the Drive-Time Car Diffuser, and had little left over to market it.
Jeffrey and his colleagues focused on building Aeron’s website and web presence. In addition to tradeshows and traditional advertising, they used targeted phrases to boost Aeron’s rankings on Yahoo, Lycos, Hotbot and Go.com. Aeron didn’t have many competitors at the time, so it earned high ranking results and was able to expand its online presence and distribute to more than 17 countries as a result.
After working to help launch Aeron, Jeffrey was able to take some time off. In 2006, he came out of retirement and started the SEO Design Solutions company. Jeffrey used his SEO knowledge to help clients earn high Google rankings using competitive keywords related to their businesses.
“Search engine optimization is important for any business,” Jeffrey says. SEO strategies help customers find companies online based on keywords and phrases that are relevant to the products and services they offer. When Jeffrey launched SEO Design Solutions, he and his team wrote long-form blog posts of 2,000-3,000 words per day and soon had 100,000 hits on their site. Brands such as Michaels, Comodo, American Express, Food and Wine Magazine, and others hired them for consulting and SEO services.
Along the way, Jeffrey and his team created custom SEO software that worked in tandem with WordPress (a popular software platform for content creation) that allowed them to optimize their clients’ sites. They ended up sharing it with the WordPress community, and as a result their plug-in now has more than two million downloads. SEO Design Solutions mostly focuses on software sales to the masses. Though it had 17 people on staff when it was based out of Chicago, Jeffrey’s team is now mainly virtual. He works with contractors who hail from all around the world, including Serbia, India and Korea, and he communicates with them daily through Skype.
Jeffrey embraced SEO because it was a necessary skill for the times. He recalls that when he first got into this field, companies utilized things like the Yellow Pages, newspapers, and magazines to reach their customers. The Internet brought a whole new era. Websites were something entirely new and “We just had to jump into it,” Jeffrey says.
Search engines became the preferred search method versus bulletin boards, which were the first communities online. Jeffrey says he has witnessed the evolution of the Internet. He began using computers when he was eight years old and was programming his own games even then. As he got older, it was “really quite natural to utilize computers” to promote his business, he says. Eventually, they reached their biggest success, getting the key phrase SEO on the first page of Google for his company.
Jeffrey works late, and he’s always one of the last CoLabbers to leave at night. He always makes sure that his client work is done, marketing and administration tasks are handled, and that his teams are coordinated. He’s in his office a lot, but he puts in 12-hour days by choice. He really loves what he does.
Jeffrey says he loves the Fairfield CoLab space and the grit of the entrepreneurs around him. It brings him back to a more artistic time in his life where you had the support of others and people to bounce ideas off of. You can see in his office the creativity he possesses. It’s full of bright colors and designs that create a wonderful atmosphere you notice when you walk in.
He welcomes the new challenges his business presents each day, like navigating Google’s increasingly tough algorithms, which is why this kind of business is good for him. And he thrives on using effective time management and creativity to make his clients’ visions–and his own–realities. Because as he puts it, referring to a quote from Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank, “A goal without a timeline is just a dream.”
Natalie Brader is the Fairfield CoLab’s first intern. She started her internship in late March of 2016 and will continue through August 2016. Natalie has an interest in business administration, marketing, event planning and community development. She is currently a sophomore at Fairfield High School and actively participates in high school cheerleading, dance and drill, majorette, choir and is also taking college credit courses along with her core curriculum . Natalie has an eagerness to learn and grow as an up and coming young professional