David Freuden, the creator of Snowcomparison, reflects on how his search for an SEO specialist shaped his latest venture’s success.
Former ski pro and entrepreneur David Freuden is not one to shy away from new experiences. The son of a founding member of Thredbo Ski Patrol in Australia, he spent years competing around the world, then as a co-owner of a heli-skiing company
The Journey Begins
In late 2015, David made the leap from his native Australia to Prague, Czech Republic, spurred by his desire to explore the intrepid Eastern and Central European ski resorts.
A seasoned professional with experience in industries ranging from tourism and technology to education, marketing and entertainment, David set out to learn from the locals what resorts were well-worth the visit.
But one thing got in his way. “I am, like so many, a monolinguist. Even when I asked locals for ski resort recommendations I was unable to pronounce, remember or even spell the resort names.”
As an English speaker, his exchanges were limited by his language ability. Regular online search results would not cut it either. David was looking for specifics, inspired by the core requirements of actual skiers — general experience and accommodations, sure, but also peak height, terrain, the number of ski lifts, vertical drop height, kilometres of groomed trails, etc. He didn’t want to be advertised to; he just wanted a window into a resort’s offering and the ability to compare key factors.
“I realised what I wanted was the ability to search and find ski resorts based on specific criteria.” David was also wary of search engines. “No search engine lets me look for resorts based on a user’s skiing criteria where the results presented are not based on SEO or paid advertising…there are very few websites that collate and present all the ski resorts’ key statistical data and profiles on a like-for-like basis to [encourage] discovery and comparison. So, I had to build Snowcomparison.”
Finding The Right Team
Whilst it sounded easy enough, dreaming of the perfect solution was far easier than getting things done the way he envisioned. His main challenge was recruiting the right team. As for so many enthusiastic entrepreneurs, it’s not the concept phase of designing the UX and functionality that is often the biggest hurdle; it’s finding the right team and support system to carry out the vision.
“I hired a lot of the wrong people. Unfortunately, you never know they are wrong until you spend time and money on them. This is a universal problem with every business in the world. I was working from a coworking space in Prague and by then I was already up to my third ‘SEO specialist’. And disappointed, again.”
During David’s stint at the coworking space, he met an MBJ team member working out of Prague. “He recommended that I speak to an MBJ SEO specialist to get some advice to help me manage my expectations. After [a few] calls that took up a lot of his time it became a simple choice to hire MBJ to take over my SEO. I wish I did it from the beginning. I’d wasted 4 months with other work that was totally subpar and that I now needed to undo so we could move forward to get the results I was after. One step back for three steps forward is always painful and frustrating.”
Analysing The results
With MBJ’s help, Snowcomparison’s successful SEO strategy has resulted in an SEO architecture that is clean and simple. MBJ has helped to drive up organic traffic — visitors from search engines that have not been paid for — from 7 visitors per week before the overhaul to 223 visitors in the last week of 2016.
Snowcomparison’s ranked keywords also shot up from 392 to 1112 and their domain authority — a score that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines — increased by 11 points.
MBJ also managed to reduce Snowcomparison’s bounce rate from 90% to 65%. David’s marketing strategy also now involves numerous SEO techniques and best practices.
Communication and Trust Are Key
Finding the right team to drive the success of your vision is not only about inspiring you to incorporate the solutions you would have otherwise not considered, but often it’s just about trusting enough to ask the right questions. “My own SEO knowledge has improved significantly, I now ask better questions. It was almost a mentor-client relationship due to the amount of knowledge that was shared between us to build the best solution. It was not a plug-and-play service; it was bespoke.”
“The greatest challenge is the balance between trust and knowledge. After being burned by three agencies before MBJ, it was important for my knowledge to improve to help build trust. [They] were exceptionally patient and detailed with me. This made an incredible impact on building trust and moving forward to get the best solution for Snowcomparison.”
For David, the greatest value he sought was knowledge as well as the ability to understand the process without having to directly manage the results himself. They understand “that I am one of those annoying clients that evaluate an agency’s ability based on their commitment to educating the client along the way. This is non-negotiable for me with everyone in my team and they were really strong at this.”
Today, Snowcomparison is focused on educating travellers and ski aficionados on the merits of ski resorts around the world. David’s website now provides its users with the ability to search over 2870 ski resorts across 60 different countries, all based on a user’s personal ski criteria and preferences!