Dearringer helps lead fast-growing SEO company
Slingshot SEO, an Indianapolis-based company co-founded by alumnus Jeremy Dearringer, received the TechPoint Mira Award for Information Technology Company this spring.
“It’s one of the biggest awards they give,” said Dearringer, a 2003 graduate in organizational leadership and supervision (OLS). “It is an immense achievement. It made us realize that Slingshot SEO is at a point where we are taken seriously.”
The five-year-old company has been growing rapidly in revenue, in client base, and in employees. In fact, Slingshot SEO was named No. 58 on Inc. Magazine’s annual list of 500 Fastest Growing Companies (released Aug. 23). In May of this year, they announced plans for an expansion that could create 114 jobs by 2013. Slingshot SEO currently employs 75.
“Out of the three co-founders, I guess I’m the geek of the bunch,” Dearringer said. “I’m the one going to conferences, I am well-read and I’ve practiced search engine optimization for a long time. It was natural for me to move into the role of manager of the research and development department. I need to understand everything we need to know in a fast-moving space so that we are able to reverse engineer Google.”
By reverse engineer, Dearringer means keeping up with the search engine’s search algorithms so that his clients are able to optimize their online presence to show up higher in keyword searches.
When search engines first started, webmasters were able to affect searches by including meta tags and specific key words within a page’s source code. When Google came on the scene, links to a specific page became relevant. Now, the search algorithms can include social signals, brand mentions and other internet chatter.
“Google makes about 600 algorithmic changes per year,” Dearringer said. “Our advantage is having a really strong network. We listen really carefully, we pay attention to thought-leadership blogs and we run our own studies.”
A study Slingshot SEO released July 25, 2011, shows the importance of having a web page appear on the first page of search results. The top two search results have 18 percent and 10 percent clickthrough rates (CTR). Lower links on the results page had about a 4 percent CTR.
To impact these results, Slingshot SEO works with its clients to address a variety of topics, including web site architecture, load times, and social media.
Dearringer is thankful for the education he received at Purdue. Because OLS is within the College of Technology, he was able to “dabble in technology” while he pursued his degree, he said. Now, as an executive of a fast-growing company, he uses lessons learned in his OLS classes every day.
“It’s about how you leverage people to do amazing things,” he said. “Purdue helped me define my leadership philosophies and understand personality types. If it weren’t for that, there’s no way we would be the size we are today.”
With that educational foundation, he was able to focus on creating a strong culture of success within the company. In the spring of 2011, he was invited to a Purdue entrepreneurship class to share lessons from Purdue and beyond.
“I tell students, ‘when you graduate, it’s only the beginning of your education. You need to be extremely hungry. You need to be self-motivated and explore information at your fingertips. There’s opportunity everywhere,’” he said.
(Photo: Slingshot SEO Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer Jeremy Dearringer, left, meets with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels in May prior to the announcement that the interactive marketing company will expand its operations in Indianapolis, creating up to 114 new jobs by 2013. (Courtesy photo))