About Michigan SEO Group
Our Story – From the Dawn of the Internet to Page One of Google ... and Beyond!
Are you old enough to remember the AOL dial up sound, and its iconic slogan “You’ve Got Mail!”? Today, that seems like ancient history, but Michigan SEO Group actually has its roots in the genesis of the “people’s internet.”
More about that in a moment, but did you know that today, Michigan SEO Group is a full service online marketing company that designs and builds business websites, executes search engine optimization strategies, writes content for digital platforms, and manages social media and pay-per-click campaigns? Our clients range from small family businesses to international industries. We’ve evolved as the internet has evolved, building ethical and abundant online strategies that withstand the fast-changing technological landscape.
The co-founder of Michigan SEO Group, Don Prior, began his online career at Internet Services Group of Michigan (ISMI). Led by our good friend Charly Caldwell II, ISMI opened its doors in 1995 to help people get connected to the internet using dial up modems and floppy discs. The core ideal of ISMI was to make it easy for people and businesses to interact with the digital world, even if they weren’t computer savvy. Because ISMI was focused on providing a simple set of tools for users to get connected, it was wildly successful. Eventually ISMI was sold, and the business internet services was spun off. Don took over that part of the business, which became Network Services Group, LLC, in business since 2001.
Don spent years helping businesses design and build websites. He was struck by the fact that, for many people, getting their sites to show up in search was often an afterthought. Don explains, “people would come in and ask me to build them a great website. Only after the process was nearly over would they timidly ask, ‘oh, this site will show up in Google, right?’”
SEO Really Works!
To make sure their sites did show up in Google, Don spent years researching what it took to get a website to appear high on search engine results pages (SERPs). After a decade of research, he developed a checklist of tasks. The process set forth in that checklist is today called “search engine optimization.” (S.E.O.).
In 2006, co-founder Nick Suino asked Don to build his martial arts website, japanesemartialartscenter.com. When the site was complete, Nick asked (like most people), “okay, so now how do I get people to see it?” Don handed Nick his SEO checklist. Since at that time Nick had a lot of time and not many students (JMAC has since grown to a successful, prestigious martial arts school with 125 students), he spent about 3 months executing the tasks on the checklist. At the end of three months, a search for “Japanese martial arts” on Google returned JMAC in the top two or three positions, where it has remained ever since.
When Nick showed Don the results, Don said, “holy crap, nobody has ever followed through like that!”
SEO Ann Arbor – The Early Days of Internet Marketing
Over time, business associates of Nick and Don began to ask how they achieved such success for JMAC and the other businesses they owned. As they casually advised their friends and networking acquaintances, it occurred to them that they could truly help businesses that wanted to succeed online. They began to offer basic SEO services, which in those days consisted mostly of content creation and link building.
By 2010, the SEO process had gotten a lot more complicated. Not only had everybody and their brother jumped into the game (many of whom resorted to “black hat” tactics like spamming and invisible links or keywords), but Google had gotten much better at determining which sites actually delivered useful content for searchers. At the same time, there had been an explosion of do-it-yourself website builders, and Facebook had begun to establish itself as the other dominant online player.
Getting good online presence, which started out as a fairly simple process, evolved into a competitive, sometimes complex balancing act that requires a lot of work and relentless determination. Not only is great content still needed, but it must serve visitors well, be properly organized, and be optimized in a variety of ways. Building a robust online presence for a business means coding a website for optimum search engine utility, creating compelling, client-centered content, structuring the content properly, posting on a variety of platforms not just including the website, but also on business blogs, on social media, in press releases, and wherever else content can reach potential customers while it drives search engine traffic back to the right places on the website.
The Birth of Michigan SEO Group
In 2016, it became clear that SEO Ann Arbor had outgrown its name. The company was serving clients not just in Ann Arbor, but elsewhere in Michigan, the US, and the world. Moreover, not only were the clients located in a variety of places, but the customers who found those clients were coming from all over the globe. It was time to take the next step!
The Michigan SEO Group logo is meant to reflect both the history and the future of our company. The State of Michigan silhouette evokes our roots and where the majority of our clients still do business. The two colors pay homage to the University of Michigan, where both our founders attended college (as do many of the talented professionals we employ). The globe points the way forward ... where some of our present and future clients will come from as well as where their customers will come from.
The internet breaks down barriers, and recognizing that there’s potential in getting your message out not only to those in your back yard but also around the world is key to thriving online.
We absolutely love being part of a diverse, challenging business community and helping people succeed. If you have a business – new or long established – we’d love to have a chat about your goals and what you’re doing to succeed online and offline. We’ll do what we can to suggest strategies and tactics that can help you and, just for taking the time to have that conversation, we’ll give you a copy of our book, SEO and Beyond – How to Rocket Your Website to Page One of Google! written by Don and Nick and published by Master & Fool Press. If our advice helps you, that’s good for you and good for us!
Our work is not for everybody. We require a high level of engagement from our clients and a deep commitment to succeed. But if it turns out that you’d like to understand how online success looks, let us know. We offer a detailed analysis of your online presence and a report with top level recommendations. If you’d like a consultation or one time SEO, we can do that. And if you truly want to get serious about thriving online, about dominating your niche and taking your business to the next level – or the one beyond that - ask about how we can become your online marketing team, usually for a fraction of what it would cost you to hire someone to sit in your office and try to do what we do day in and day out.
Success is such a fantastic bonding experience. We love hearing the stories from our clients when they land a new customer because of our work. The joy in their voices along with the satisfaction of knowing that we’re helping their businesses grow is a great reward. Imagine what it would mean for you to be able to say what some of our other customers have said:
“Michigan SEO Group is an important part of my business!”
“Michigan SEO Group has assisted our Global Sales Team by increasing our number of customer inquiries, leads, and sales.”
“Great people and the results are clear!”
“This is truly one of the best business decisions I have ever made to have them update our SEO.”