Featured on International House Hunters, Dan Anton is the creator of SEO (search engine optimization) software which automates and scales repetitive tasks, traditionally performed by humans. With over 2.3 million searches per second, winning internet traffic originating from Google and search engines such as Bing, is a lucrative industry, projected to be $80 billion by 2020.
A Robot Birthed From Insanity
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”
– Ben Franklin
Before Dan Anton became a retired military, Infantry Army Ranger, he had a background in computer science and entrepreneurship, where he would launch a social network for gamers in 2006, CharacterPlanet, when Reddit was just becoming popular and Myspace still ruled the roost. The project was underfunded and failed, but Dan learned the skills and principles necessary to promote a website in the search engines.
On popular internet marketing forums, such as WarriorForum, webmasters began complaining about the boring, monotonous tasks of getting pages indexed in Google, Yahoo and Bing, which often required similar steps of creating content and syndicating it out through the interwebs.
A pattern was emerging, which gave Dan the idea to code a system that would replace the need for humans to notify search engines a webpage was worth indexing. Internal sitemaps are useful, but Google’s algorithm is based on 3rd party votes to determine relevancy and value in the index.
Leveraging the web’s authority syndication mediums, and a complex network of “If, then, statements” including link placements, blogging, social engagements, and content generation, BacklinksIndexer was launched.
SEO years are similar to dog years, where change is accelerated and unforgiving to those who fall behind. As a testament to Dan’s military career and attention to detail, Zont SEO recognized BacklinksIndexer as the leader in its field, 7 years after its initial launch, and the most talked about and reviewed organic SEO product up until 2015.
Machine Learning, Data Sets and User Experience
Search engines traditionally relied heavily on metadata, explicitly told to the search engines by webmasters. Today, the algorithm Crowd sources information to determine true relevancy and popularity based on 3rd party metrics such as website mentions (backlinks), socially relevant and engaging (social media), and user experience (are people clicking on your results, and is their experience positive or negative?).
As a result, the SEO industry became saturated with link building services and schemes; Google and other search engines quickly, and unapologetically began to penalize low-quality, non-editorial links with algorithm updates favoring real brands over thin affiliate websites.
Thousands of Private Blog Networks and black hat SEO services were useless overnight. At the same time, industry leader Rand Fishkin showcased a case study which proved user engagement affects search results, not only personally but on a global scale.
Dan Anton saw an opportunity to organize and leverage real organic traffic to help build a brand’s awareness while increasing rankings in Google, Yahoo and Bing. The project would remain in private beta for years while he grew the search army, getting help from work at home moms, freelancers and people looking to make money online through craigslist.
At the same time, cheap bot traffic began to flood the market in an attempt to ride the wave of user based SEO traffic, which left footprints with a finite IP pool, or small exchange networks not large enough to scale hundreds or thousands of campaigns. Worse, Google would devalue this traffic and hurt the rankings of websites with high bounce rates, which is a strong signal the user had a negative experience on a webpage.
Robot traffic could generate thousands of hits, but would not have the ability to view webpages, sky-rocketing bounce rates, and small networks could mimic user activity on site, but lacked the power to scale efficiently. Traffic hits and browsing traffic were both necessary, yet both remained separate until CrowdSearch launched, which revolutionized organic search engine traffic.
Now, instead of blasting hundreds or thousands of visits within a few days, traffic could be micro-managed, requesting a set amount of traffic each day, and instructing the users on what parts of the website to visit. Membership would then see another exponential increase with the creation of the CrowdSearch mobile app, transforming everyone with a cell phone and internet connection into part of the search community.
By systemizing cheap labor through automated prompts and a growing user base, Dan now had a scalable solution to user based SEO traffic.
The product was well-received by the SEO community and promoted as one of the top 10 products in JVzoo, winning product of the day, and leading to Dan’s feature story in the book, The RockStars of JVzoo.
Proof of Concept: Hyper Engagement & Relevancy
Dan’s software products and services were helping other webmasters dominate their competition, both locally and nationally, and the helpdesk support was soon flooded with members seeking a more complete, full, digital marketing service. This was the birth of the direct client facing marketing agency in Atlanta, Atlanta SEO, competing in a major US city.
Agencies in the Georgia area were already managing Fortune 500 clients and entrenched for SEO related phrases, but the principles Dan Anton applied from years of SEO SaaS software helped propel the young agency passed the competition for all major keywords in Google and Bing.
Understanding user experience and engagement heavily influenced SERPs, personal one on one consultations were offered, along with an application process to ensure quality leads, while increasing time spent on website with an exit intent video.
The combination of Onpage SEO practices, case studies, and hyper personalized videos created high click through rates, and astonishingly high time spent on site, and low bounce rates. By obtaining more website mentions, both manually and automatically, as well as having better user metrics, the agency dominates the competition and applies the same strategies for its clients.
The SEO industry is in constant flux, with principles such as long term projections and efficient scaling has given Dan a unique advantage, allowing him to stay relevant and influential over the past decade in search.