Interview with Ray Grieselhuber Co-Founder & CEO of GinzaMetrics

SEO (search engine optimization) is probably the most fast pace and dynamic online marketing channel. Managed and practiced in the right way can become any SaaS provider’s dream offering huge amounts of relevant visitors at amazing prices.

That being said, SEO is a highly volatile and changing methodology that requires a lot of analysis, management and maintenance. The bigger your market, the more professional and reliable software will be needed.

As an SEO consultant for over 6 years, I have tried and tested literally all possible SEO managing systems looking for that special one that might provide me with the best hands-on experience and managed results.  My search finally came to an end when I discovered GinzaMetrics, an All in One SEO Suite and to me personally – a breath of fresh air.

Interview with Ray Grieselhuber Co-Founder & CEO of GinzaMetrics:

Hi Ray, please tell us a bit about your background.

I’m an engineer who came to computer science relatively late in life (at 22, after first studying Japanese). At first I struggled with it because I didn’t have a strong quantitative background but I became very excited about it when I learned how to build web applications.

Ever since then I’ve been building large systems for the enterprise market – real time messaging and collaboration tools, document management tools and, most recently, marketing and advertising platforms. I got into the marketing / advertising world in 2006 when I worked for a startup that was building an analytics dashboard for CMOs and marketing managers. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by the idea of helping businesses reach new customers by using a combination of creative content and the data to know how and when to reach which customers with that content.

I started building Ginzametrics in my bedroom when I was living in Japan in 2009. I got one customer in Tokyo initially – a large ecommerce firm – and used that traction to apply for Y Combinator in 2010. I was accepted into the Summer 2010 class and moved back to California. I rebuilt Ginzametrics and launched it officially in August of 2010. Since then, I’ve brought on a co-founder, raised money and we are now two years into our startup with a great team and a product that is being used daily by hundreds of businesses around the world.

Search engine optimization has radically changed the way companies reach prospects and market their business. What kinds of developments are you forecasting in the near future?

SEO remains one of the most volatile marketing channels in the sense that it is constantly changing and evolving but it is also one of the most effective ways to reach customers and convert them to whatever you’re selling. The long term ROI on building successful organic search marketing operations far outstrip almost every other marketing channel online and we are passionate about helping more businesses do just that.

I think that 2013 is going to be another year of more upheaval in the SEO market. We’re going to see an increased investment in SEO technology, both on behalf of investors and businesses. There will be new SEO startups but you’re also going to see some consolidation happening in the market as the bigger players begin to acquire competitors and complementary players.

What Google does will continue to be of interest to everybody. During 2012, you had many new innovations and changes. Google has made it clear through their actions that they want to own the clicks and onsite engagement of the most valuable type of searches – transactional and searches with purchase intent – in addition to the many types of informational searches (weather, news, etc.).

The recent Google Now announcement, currently only on Android but a natural extension of Universal Search, is a key indicator of their long-term strategy.

Mobile adoption is the megatrend underway. I believe that 2013 will be the year that a minimum of 3 screens per user – notebooks / desktops + tablet + phones – will become a major reality.

This evolution, combined with the incredible upsurge in mobile device around the world is bringing the power of the internet to entirely new groups of people and the changes that occur as a result will dwarf anything we’ve seen so far. All of this will, of course, have a big impact on search and how SEO evolves.

Every year, there is a new version of “SEO is dead” or “SEO doesn’t work anymore” that is paraded through the news, social networks and blogosphere but this mindset demonstrates a profound lack of understanding about how the internet works.

If you think of SEO only as optimizing your site so that it shows up #1 in Google, you’re dealing with a definition of SEO that was already dated five years ago. Real SEO professionals understand that their job is to help businesses reach customers by providing the content and products they are looking for, regardless of what technology is involved in the process.

How can Saas companies increase their market awareness using Ginzametrics?

SaaS companies make up one of our largest customer segments and are also our fastest growing customer segment. There are multiple reasons for this. First, the SaaS market in general is growing rapidly.

We see new companies emerge everyday and those business that are able to get to revenue quickly can survive on far less funding than consumer startups. The industry as a whole is also maturing and many SaaS companies have grown up over the last 10 years. Finally, SEO is a critical component of any Content Marketing strategy.

Content Marketing is one of the most – if not THE most – effective way for B2B / SaaS companies to grow their businesses. Ensuring that your content is found and leads to conversions via organic search is the way to make Content Marketing pay the bills over and over again.

SaaS companies can use Ginzametrics to discover what the most relevant keywords and topics to write about and then track the impact that new content has on sales. Our customers use Ginzametrics to track their progress across thousands of keywords, monitor their competitors and optimize their content so that it stands the best chance of performing well in organic search.

We’ve seen our customers grow their businesses dramatically simply by using our tools write about the most relevant topics for their users and then do everything necessary in order to ensure that they are taking the right steps to get that content found.

What Marketing challenges do software providers need to overcome in order to sustain growth? Have these challenges changed over the past 5 years?

SaaS providers are dealing with an increasingly complex and competitive market. It used to be enough to be the SaaS version of X (as opposed to client-server or desktop software) but those days are fading fast.

Additionally, because of the dropping cost of cloud infrastructure and open source programming languages and frameworks, once sparse markets can quickly become crowded and commoditized as new competitors emerge with aggressive business models.

Marketers need to get good at communicating their story to the market, make it very clear and simple how their solution is different and convey the image of being everywhere at once.

What in your opinion are the key factors that will determine a company’s successful marketing efforts?

I read a quote once – which I believe is a fictional quote from a Tom Clancy novel but still relevant – that said something to the effect of “Amateur soldiers study tactics. Professional soldiers study logistics.”

What this means to me in a marketing context is that your success depends on how well you can execute in comparison with your competitors. And it comes down to how well you can operationalize your marketing.

Understand that content marketing is the future and the foundation for all marketing efforts going forward. Based on that, is your content production process consistent and well executed or is it sporadic and sloppy? What are your KPIs? How did you arrive at those metrics as the right things to measure? What process are you going to use to create better, more compelling content than your competitors? How are you going to take down larger, better-funded competitors? How are you going to convey your message and how your product is different than everybody else?

These are the key factors that will determine a company’s success, in my opinion.

If you had only one marketing tip for new Saas startups, what would it be?

Blog more! Blog as much as you possibly can. It’s the one thing that I have seen transform the marketing of businesses more than anything else you can do.

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Omri is the Head of Demand Generation, as well as the Lead Author & Editor of the SaaSAddict Blog. Omri established the SaaSAddict blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to SaaS and cloud migration.