Interview with Viktar Khamianok (Link-Assistant.Com)
Link-Assistant.Com produces SEO software and tools.
I interviewed Viktar Khamianok, Link-Assistant.Com founder to find out more. This interview is the ninety ninth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Viktar!
How would you describe Link-Assistant.Com in under 50 words?
Link-Assistant.Com is a team with collective talent so great it is virtually impossible to replicate. Together, we are fueled by a bold vision – making jaw-dropping software for internet marketers.
What made you decide to found Link-Assistant.Com?
It all started back in 2004 when my friend Aleh and I decided to launch a custom software development business. So we built a website and picked search engine optimization (SEO) as a way of attracting clients and improving our online presence.
We knew very little about SEO at the time but it didn’t take us long to realize that there was no comprehensive product on the market to take newbies like us by hand through the entire SEO process. I mean we did find a bunch of small tools, each focused on one SEO task. We found a great keyword research tool, a Google PageRank checker, another tool to spot broken links, but no one great product to do it all.
That’s when it hit us: WE should develop the world’s greatest SEO software! So that was how the idea of Link-Assistant.Com was born.
A couple of days, nights and gallons of coffee later, we came up with a prototype of the first tool in SEO PowerSuite series, LinkAssistant link building tool (hence the website and company name, Link-Assistant.Com)
We tried promoting our own site with LinkAssistant, and it worked great. We tried promoting our client sites with it, and it worked great. We took it public and after a short beta stage attached a price tag to it. And you know what? It started selling like hotcakes! It was an incredible feeling I can hardly describe: joy, excitement and firm inner voice screaming we’re on the right path!
Then followed 8 amazing years of steep learning, getting the hang of SEO industry’s best practices, keeping up with innovation and constant changes in SEO and applying this all to our tools.
Looking back, all I can say is that it’s been an amazing journey. Still is! We have grown from nothing into a professional software house with 4 great products on board SEO PowerSuite. We have upwards of 50 fantastic team members and over 380,000 customers in 173 countries around the globe. All of this with zero venture funding. Just an idea, our love for code, our perfectionism in product creation, and a vision for making something great for all SEO’s out there.
Tell us about the SEO products you have developed that can be sold separately and as an SEO PowerSuite software bundle. Which product is your best seller?
So far, there are four tools in SEO PowerSuite toolkit:
- Rank Tracker (keyword research and rank checking tool)
- WebSite Auditor (on page optimization tool)
- SEO SpyGlass (backlink checker)
- and the good old LinkAssistant (for link building)
We have a free version for each tool separately and for the whole suite for people to play around with. The nice thing is that the free version never expires and we don’t ask for any credit card info during signup. There’s no need for it unless the customer is ready to pay. On the one hand, this lets us attract more people to our products. On the other hand, it helps people who can’t pay for software use good tools for their SEO absolutely free of charge.
And for those paying folks we’ve got Professional and Enterprise versions of each tool and the whole suite. We also have bulk license deals available for SEO companies. This way each customer gets to choose a perfect mix of tools and versions to match their business needs.
The majority of our clients tend to use the whole bundle, for a good reason: you get lots of SEO tasks done, on and offpage, with one set of feature-rich tools.
Speaking of separate tools, only 8% of our customers buy one or several tools instead of the whole bundle.
The number one bestseller is Rank Tracker, which takes care of two fundamental SEO tasks: keyword research and rank checking. We take special pride in Rank Tracker’s keyword research module which incorporates 19 proven keyword research strategies and tools of the SEO industry helping website promoters select keywords most lucrative for their niches: relevant, bringing in lots of targeted traffic and easy to compete for. Rank Tracker is a known favorite of SEO Book’s Eric Covino and Shaun Anderson of Hobo-Web.
How did you raise the money for developing your flagship product in 2005?
As I said, we started the company completely from scratch. All we had were our development skills and a passion to create the best SEO software ever.
We didn’t raise any venture capital, funding our startup with our development services over the first year. We reinvested every penny into Link-Assistant.Com to keep it growing. Above all, we have been able to attract the most talented employees who are still with us and continue to make us successful.
Your website says users who’ve been among the first wave to start using this SEO software are now making serious profits. Can you give us any specific cases?
We have several really amazing clients who have been with us from the very start. It was they who helped us take the tools to the present high level – no doubt about it. They would contact us to say: guys how about adding this and that – it worked pretty well for us.
And of course we’ve been happy like kids when they were getting back to share their online success with us. We have some of the case studies of our first wave users featured on our website.
Who do you see as your target audience? What is your main market?
SEO PowerSuite users are a mixed bag really.
Many say you can’t make a product for everyone but the SEO sphere seems very promising.
We tend to look at our target audience for this software as anyone who needs to attract more visitors to a website. This can be a small business owner, an SEO agency, a web designer, a blogger, a whoever-needs-online-presence.
Our challenge was to create software that would allow SEOs with different level of expertise run their SEO campaigns professionally and efficiently. A wealth of professional data the software provides is something SEO experts love because this enables them to make informed decisions about their clients’ online presence. SEO PowerSuite reports can be easily white labeled so client reporting is another great benefit for SEO agencies. DIY-SEOs are provided with fast training which of course doesn’t make them experts but lets them achieve remarkable results with this software within shortest time.
Another segment is made up of big companies with a lot of pages to optimize and in-house SEO departments where a few dozen people with different level of expertise work. We’re glad to have big brands like General Electric, Microsoft, Disney, MasterCard and others on the user list – and these are great examples of this segment.
We also help lots of marketing managers in the companies that outsource their SEO but need solutions to objectively assess and track their SEO agencies’ work.
You recently undertook a major redesign to make your tools even more clear-cut and straightforward. What improvements have you made?
Yeah, the redesign was kind of long-awaited improvement for us and our users.
You see, for years we’ve been focused exclusively on brushing up the software performance. SEO PowerSuite is constantly being updated: we roll out new meaningful features every other week!
What we were after with the redesign was making the software even more smart and simple, improving both visual impact and feature usability. We believe the new design is more logical and work-flow oriented – thus it helps users keep focused on the actions performed.
Do you have any new products in the pipeline?
Of course we do! We’re currently developing the fifth tool to join SEO PowerSuite bundle, the one to address social media aspects of today’s SEO and SEM.
The most successful digital marketers make a great job of being just anywhere possible socially – that’s what we want to help our customers with.
We’re building a great tool for SEO PowerSuite users to get the most from social media marketing and manage their reputation in the most efficient way – no more details to disclose so far, stay tuned for the updates from Link-Assistant.Com!
What do you wish you’d have known 7 years ago that you know now?
That’s simple – everything I know now! Honestly, 7 years is a century for everything internet, SEO and software development related. And I’m extremely excited to work in such a fast-paced industry.
It’s amazing, but every new day brings in new search trends to explore. As a result, we have a long list of ideas how to make our software even better.
Have your products got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
I must say that Link-Assistant.Com progress was well beyond our expectations!
I mean we’ve always shot big and worked hard on developing the best SEO software around but we couldn’t imagine having 380k customers simply because far fewer people were involved in SEO and digital marketing seven-eight years ago.
To know that every 3-rd SEO company was using SEO PowerSuite in 2011 is both mind-boggling and exciting. And we’re happy to see both the market and the number of our customers growing. Imagine: 600 people download SEO PowerSuite from our official website daily!
Where do you see Link-Assistant.Com in 7 years time?
I envision Link-Assistant.Com as an even more professional software house with fantastic corporate culture and passion to develop breakthrough marketing products. We’ve got huge plans on entering new internet marketing niches but I don’t want to alarm future competitors before this happens ;)
Can you convince the reader to start using Link-Assistant.Com products in under 60 words?
Behind this SEO software is the most passionate team whose goal is creating great products, not just profit. Our product quality proved itself times and again over the past 7+ years on the market: when other SEO tools fail, ours keep on working.
Download SEO PowerSuite – these might be the most useful 3 minutes in your SEO career.
Finished reading? Check out Link-Assistant.Com!