SALT Agency: The SEO start-up in search of talent

With a new office and further recruitment on the horizon, Leeds-based SALT.Agency is continuing to grow in the SEO industry. Technical SEO consultant and director, Martin Woods, tells BQ of his story so far.

SALT.agency is a hybrid technical marketing SEO agency, and application firm. The company was started by a team of SEO consultants, together with a software application engineer, and focus solely on organic search marketing.

The firm which is currently based at 9 Queen Square, Leeds, is already looking for new premises to cater for an increase in demand and to increase its headcount.

Describing the firm, Martin said, “our technical consultancy services help people understand how their websites work, improve the quality of traffic from organic search, and ensure excellent user experience.

“In addition to our consultancy services we also make software applications using the latest technology to solve problems; the most recent being a free tool and knowledge hub to help people who have received Google penalties resulting from spam.”

BQ have continued to cover the progression of digital marketing throughout our magazines and online, as the industry continues to change. This ever changing industry, led Martin and his team to identify a gap in the market.

He said: “Over the past few years there has been a significant change in how search engines deal with SEO activities – importantly, the manipulative and ‘fake’ side of it.

“After working with many companies affected by poor SEO advice, we aim to help solve the problems businesses face with search engines through the use of technology, knowledge, and experience.

“Technical marketing – specifically, understanding modern SEO - is in our opinion more important than ever before.

“In light of the stance search engines have taken against people/companies who choose to manipulate search engine results, we believe that we can help protect businesses by staying on the right side of Google.

“In short, we are motivated by wanting to improve the SEO industry which unfortunately (albeit deservedly) has a bad reputation from unethical practices by some, and this was one motivation to start SALT.agency.”

The firm aim to subsidise their projects by their consultancy services, as they continue to work with a number of businesses across the country.

Martin added: “SALT.agency is a hybrid agency, and as such we are self-sufficient, and this was is a key part of our business model.

“The ethos being that our own projects are subsidised by our consultancy services. This ensures that we are financially stable, whilst having the time to work on our own projects as a team.

“We decided at the very beginning stages of setting up the company that this business model was ideal for our situation as a start-up.

“During the first months of operating we relied upon our savings, before generating enough cash flow to live on.”

Like any start-up business, Martin and his team needed support along the way to keep them on the right path.

He told BQ: “We are lucky enough to have Leeds Becket University’s Enterprise and Innovation Academy behind us, supporting us through every step of our business. They have not only provided business mentoring at key stages in our growth, but have also helped with our logistics.”

And also like most entrepreneurs, it is a huge risk quitting the day job to take the risk and start-up.  As Martin told us: “We would say the biggest challenge for any start-up begins well before actually starting up; the biggest challenge is deciding to quit well paid, comfortable jobs for a dream that has no guarantees of success.

“Later on, after starting, we found general business activities such as keeping accounts up to date are all challenges to be overcome.”

The firm continues to grow following increased demand for its services and as previously stated, is already eyeing up larger premises and more recruits to cater for the demand.

“As word has spread about us so has the demand for our consultancy, so we will need to increase the number of our carefully selected SEO experts. With this brings its own series of issues as we have now nearly outgrown our current office, and we will be looking to move in to bigger premises.”

Martin continued: “The best thing about being a start-up has to be the sense of freedom, and time to work how we want. It has also allowed us to cut through all the red tape previously experienced, and be extremely agile in how we tackle projects.

“Not knowing the answers to things before you need them is probably the most frustrating thing about being a start-up. We’ve been marketing consultants for years, but when it comes to knowing about business tasks such as book keeping it’s been a learning curve, to say the least.”

Identifying how to make an impact and differentiate yourself from your rivals is another must when marketing a business that is trying to break into any market.

“The way we approach organic search engine consultancy is, in our opinion, very different to others in the market.

“We don’t pretend to be able to solve everyone’s problems when it comes to organic search. Instead, we created a set of core values when we started, and we stick to them every day.

“We’ll help where we can, and we’ll be the first to let clients know when they need to speak to other specialists such as designers, developers etc.

Finally, when asked who the firms dream customer would be, Martin stated: “We already work with some great people, but if we could work with anyone it would have to be Amazon. Their sheer dominance in ecommerce would be extremely interesting to be involved in as a consultancy project.”

BQ look forward to following SALT.Agency’s start-up journey and will continue to report any further successes the company encounters.