Ken Wisnefski, Founder and CEO at WebiMax

In an exclusive interview, Ken Wisnefski, Founder and CEO of WebiMax, talks about some of the major shifts taking place right now in the digital world – such as so-called social-search, Panda and Penguin Algorithm updates that change the game for backlinks, the keys for running successful online marketing campaigns, and so on. He also shares some insights, marketing tips and much more. Enjoy!

Would you tell us a few words about yourself and your professional background? How long have you been involved in the search engine marketing space?

Ken Wisnefski: Absolutely, thanks for having me on Elena.  I am the founder and CEO of WebiMax, an online marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization.  I started my first business in 2001, which was a B2B lead generation company.  I later sold the firm in 2008 and used the proceeds to fund the launch of WebiMax.   WebiMax is entirely self-funded.  Around 2007, I was looking for a search engine marketing firm and realized there really was a need for an ethical, non-outsourcing, white-hat optimization type agency that would work with clients more as a strategic partner versus an outsourced vendor.  That led me to start WebiMax a year later.  I have been involved in search engine marketing for almost 6 years now.

WebiMax has been in the business for over 4 years now. Can you please share with our readers how WebiMax started and how it grew to what it is today.

Ken Wisnefski: WebiMax started as a self-funded small operation with just 4 employees.  When we signed our first client, we all celebrated like it was New Years Eve.  Since then, we have grown to 150 employees at our peak, and revenue approaching $10 million annually.  We grew the business simply by connecting and delivering quality results to our clients which helped us build long-term client relationships that continue to give us ROI even today.  Our first client from 2008 is still with us.

WebiMax has won quite a lot marketing awards over the years. What sets you apart from the competition in this highly competitive market? What are WebiMax main advantages, and why should customers choose your company instead of others?

Ken Wisnefski: Some of the reasons why we have become so successful is because we have the most talented and professional workers in our field, we put the customer first, and we take care of each-other.  Everyone says they put the customer first, but how many organizations employ people that will cancel dinner plans to accommodate a client in a different time-zone because they want to?  Our communications and transparency are setting the industry standard, and our clients know they have a partner in us, not just some company they hired to get some work done.

What do you consider progressive or unique about WebiMax’s offerings and services? Which of the services you offer are most popular among your customers?

Ken Wisnefski: Certainly, our social media marketing services are climbing in popularity and demand.  The search community is making a bit of a transition where social authority ad authorship is making big impacts.  We stress this importance to our clients and it works.  What is most unique, is our customized client solutions that fit their organizational objectives.  Most firms sell pre-determined packages.  We have experts that sit with our clients and individually build each campaign from the ground-up, addressing each objective of theirs.  This has worked great and is what helps our clients know we care about them.

In your opinion, what are the two most exciting things taking place right now in the digital world?

Ken Wisnefski: Google, the dominating leader in online search, is constantly changing their search algorithms which require firms like WebiMax to keep pace otherwise our clients will loose rankings.  Keeping our finger on their pulse is excited as the game is constantly changing.  Two of the more exciting changes taking place right now is the rise in social media’s impact on search rankings and the emphasis being placed on authorship.

What is the next trend on the horizon that marketers need to prepare for?

Ken Wisnefski: The next trend we are seeing is a heavy focus on the quality of backlinks going to your website versus the quantity.  We have always known the search algorithms value high-ranking websites linking to yours, but Google is making significant changes including the Panda and Penguin Algorithm updates.  These updates changes the game for backlinks.  Given this, we see public relations strategies playing a more dominant role as your website needs to have links from highly trafficked news outlets.

What's the formula for creating successful products/campaigns in the digital space?

Ken Wisnefski: None of the search engines reveal their search algorithm to the public (sort of a secret recipe), so it is impossible to state what the “formula” is per-se, however we can discuss “best practices”.  That is, the way your firm interprets their changes and their guidelines, and how you respond to that with your digital strategy. Certain characteristics are well-known, including page-load-speed, quality of content, quality of backlinks, proper indexing, and more.

What are some of the shifts in marketing driven by social media trends that companies need to address?

Ken Wisnefski: Social-search is becoming a known phrase in our industry.  Google, for example, is prioritizing search results with Google+, their social media platform.  With that, when a user is signed in to their Google+ account, search results are prioritized by their networks recommendations.  For example, if several members of your network +1 a website and you search for that type of website, it will appear higher, indicating your network approves.

What web based SEO or social media marketing tools would you recommend for newly launched web sites? Any tools users have probably never heard of?

Ken Wisnefski: SEO tools that are valuable are Google Analytics, Google Alerts, and not much else.  SEO tools can be tricky as any optimization is going to be software-based and not conducted by humans.  With that, we have seen a lot of firms get burned by trying to leverage SEO software and other tools to optimize their site.  For social media, TweetDeck is a good tool to utilize as it helps organize all of your Facebook screens in to one.  Also, HootSuite is very helpful and helps organize your multiple social media accounts to one simple interface.

What do you think companies should be paying attention to on an ongoing basis to achieve, maintain and improve their SEO performance?

Ken Wisnefski: Certainly pay close attention to Google and Microsoft.  Keep a look-out for what they are up to and what changes they are announcing.  The fast-pace of the online marketing industry keeps us all on our toes and if you neglect to pay attention or stay ahead, you can easily slip in to the cracks and loose to a competitor.  Google Webmaster Tools is a great source for information alsoi.

Could you share with PromotionWorld’s readers some tips on what they should take into consideration when planning an online marketing campaign?

Ken Wisnefski: Absolutely, some of the most important considerations include asking if the firm communicates well with clients, are they software or human capital, what is their link building strategies, how do they create content, and how often do that check in on industry resources.  SEO and online marketing takes time and needs to evolve.  It is not as simple as a one-hit-wonder project, rather it needs to be continuously maintained, evaluated, and adapted.  Firms that come in and perform a major site renovation and leave will put you back at step one in no-time.  Also, Google and Microsoft value the quality of your content, and links.  Don’t let a software or outsourcing company create random or irrelevant content for your website, make sure it is top-notch!