Bend SEO revolution evolves

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BY ERIC FLOWERS | BEND CORRESPONDENT

08.22.13 Blog DanHobinDan Hobin spent the first chapter of his professional life riding the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley where he sharpened his management skills as an executive at startups like Beyond.com and the popular self-publishing platform SmashCast. His career path took a turn, however, when he and his wife came to Bend for a wedding more than a decade ago and fell in love with the town. Hobin saw not only mountains and rivers but a small city on the verge of emerging as a tech hub. Rather than wait for the boom, Hobin jumped in at the leading edge of the curve, founding the search marketing firm G5.

With just a handful of employees, the start-up focused on a few niche industries including self storage and multi-unit housing. G5 had a simple goal: push their clients’ websites to the top of the search results on popular browsers. Since that time, the company has grown from a dozen or so employees to more than 100 associates. It has been named one of the country’s best small employers by Inc. Magazine and continues to grow rapidly while maintaining a culture of creativity and experimentation. In addition to his day job, Hobin is a founder of the Bend Venture Conference, a community-based source of seed capital for local start-ups, and a member of the OSU-Cascades board.

Oregon Business spoke with Hobin about the evolution of search engine optimization, digital marketing and the intersection of work and play in Bend.

What’s behind the name G5?

Originally G5 related to getting our clients listed in the top five results of Google.  At the time, 80% of consumers clicked on the top five search engine results. Since that time we have expanded our services to other areas of digital marketing, or what we now call Digital Experience Management.

You built a business around SEO before most people had heard of the term.  What lead you to focus on that area?

SEO was actually a popular term to people in the industry — just not the average business owner. We were early at taking what was happening at the large enterprise level and bringing it down to smaller businesses. We are always trying to keep our clients on the cutting edge, which is why we have launched next generation mobile products, responsive design websites and Reputation Management tools.

What is the secret to staying ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing technology sector?

The secret is constantly testing with data and not chasing rainbows. There is always "the next new thing" that promises to get you more customers at a lower cost. The reality is that many of them do not work. We test new technologies and roll out the ones where we see promising results.

You’ve been in Bend for a decade — long enough to see the boom and the bust. What’s your read on Bend’s current economy? Do we have a future in tech?

When I moved to Bend I thought it was on the verge of taking off as a small tech hub. I was a little early. Ten years later it is actually happening. There are several new cool tech start-ups gaining traction. I am very bullish on the Bend tech scene. With bandwidth and the right people you can build a great company anywhere. Bend seems to attract amazing people who have the right priorities.

G5 has been focusing a lot on social and mobile marketing. Can you put the smart phone revolution into perspective with other historic technological innovations?

The smart phone is changing the world and will change every business. We have entered the age of the customer where the customer has more power than ever before. With smart phone in hand, the customer has access to more information about your products and services than ever before. He or she also has the power to rate and review your business to the whole world in seconds. Take very good care of your customers. The age of smoke and mirrors is over.

G5 has earned a reputation as one of the best companies to work for in Oregon and beyond. What’s the secret to keeping your employees happy and motivated?

We try to push the importance of maintaining balance in your life. That is not easy. Our primary core value is to work hard, play hard, and live life.  Living life is the most important. I believe people appreciate our values.

You recently invested in a restaurant venture. Is that a hobby, side project, diversification or something else?

My brother-in-law opened Drake in downtown Bend with an amazing chef. I am just a small investor. 

What’s your ideal three-day weekend?

We close our office at 1 p.m. on Fridays in the summer to take advantage of where we live. So my ideal two and a half day weekend is golf Friday afternoon followed by dinner with family and friends. Then I chase my three boys around this outdoor playground we live in — whether that is camping, fishing, biking or just hanging at some lake. 

 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 Spook SEOGuest 2014-02-09 15:46:44
"Hi Eric!

What an excellent post you got here. It is so nice to know that Oregon Business had spoken with Dan Hobin about the evolution of search engine optimization, digital marketing as well as interchange of work and play in Bend."
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Loose Talk

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

When gossip crosses the line.


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy Overload

June 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.


Read more...

Apartment Mania

Guest Blog
Thursday, June 18, 2015
4805983977 11466ce1d6 zBY BRAD HOULE | CFA

While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Portland’s long-distance bike commuters

The Latest
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Matt KellyresizethumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Pushing the extreme.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS