The region is rife with companies helping us find answers faster.Seven have joined forces to put a public face on the work they do.
By Joe Frey

Google has changed the world. It tells us what we want to know when we want to know it and what else we might like to know about what we want to know. All we have to do is type and click “search.”

Exactly what happens behind the curtain at Google and other search Web sites is more closely guarded than NORAD, and as arcane as Mandarin Chinese. That’s why companies across the globe pay huge dollars to firms that are down with Google’s lingo. They want their messages front and center — on the first page of search results — to let us know that when we type in “Marriott Maui,” we actually want a “... memorable vacation in Lahaina” at Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club.

Google is able to embellish (if not read) our thoughts, thanks in large part to search engine optimization (SEO) firms — those guys who talk Google’s jive. There are tons of SEO companies out there, muddying the waters with confusing, sometimes incoherent babble.

But in Cleveland, things are very, very different.

“[The companies here] are highly experienced, highly regarded and just give really great advice and information,” says Sage Lewis, president of the Akron-based SEO firm SageRock.

In fact, Cleveland’s SEO community is one of the country’s best, producing big results for large and small companies alike. Problem is, few around town know it, which is why seven local SEO companies have banded together and formed Cleveland SEO (at to get the word out about the good SEO vibe here.

Brulant, Goebel Group, IdeaStar,, Optiem, Pilot Fish and SageRock are the founding member companies of the group that pledges, according to Lewis, to be a business resource for the Cleveland and American business community, featuring information from “the best in SEO ... in the country.”

“As we’ve gone against the biggest national players, we’re finding they aren’t any better than us,” says Paul Elliott, principal of the search engine marketing group at Cleveland-based Brulant. “And in most cases, we’re superior to them.”

Work ethic has set the Cleveland SEOers apart. “It’s the inborn mentality that you outperform your competition by working harder and smarter than they do,” Elliott says.

That blue-collar mentality will help introduce the SEO community to a larger Cleveland audience, and with a little marketing savvy, Cleveland SEO firms will be steering more businesses the way Google guides us.

“We don’t have to inflate anything or lie,” says Lewis. “We just have to tell our story, because it’s true.”

Cleveland SEO is: Brulant, GoebelGroup, IdeaStar,, Optiem, Pilot Fish and SageRock;

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