When I met Annada in 2004 he was earning less than $100 per month (in terms of USD). He lived in a poor village in Eastern India, and just being able to access the internet was an amazing feet. He had been searching for directory submission, and somehow found me. I asked him if he would be willing to submit to some directories, and he helped build a list of directories. Then submitted to about 200 directories. Then he checked back to see which directories had added the links twice, and then reported back with a neat Excel spreadsheet with the results. It must have taken him hours of work, and all he wanted was $20 for the work. I told him that many more people would surely want his service.
From there Annada started his own company. It was him and his wife. They spent hours submitting to directories. Soon they reached a point where they couldn't keep up with the work, so they hired a few people to help. I checked with Annada periodically, and first he told me he had 7-8 employees. A few months later that number had increased to 30. Then 60. Then 80. Then I got busy with my business, and didn't speak to him for a while.
Then recently I was chatting with another Indian entrepreneur online, and he told me he had 15 employees, and I was impressed, because just last year, he was starting out by himself, and was making less than $300/month. It was cool to know that directory submission had improved his life so much, as well as provided jobs for people that increased their standard of living.
It reminded me to look at how Annada had been doing. I started browsing his site, and I saw he had pictures of his staff. There were officers, and then a morning crew and and evening crew, and three different offices. It appeared he had grown even more. I decided to send him an email, and it turned out that he was going to be in San Francisco for a convention where people from his part of India (Orissa) were coming together. He agreed to meet me last week.
I met him at the hotel and we chatted, and also went a toured the Stanford University campus with some of his friends and had dinner in Palo Alto. It was the 4th of July. He went on to tell me how he now has over 400 employees, and how he will easily double that number by next year.
A huge majority of his business is through Americans who resell his services, and do SEO work for many top 1000 sites (which I agreed not to name), but household names that everyone would recognize. While directory submission is still a big part of their business, they also offer other services such as on page SEO and other link building techniques.
It really is amazing how far Annada has come. He was making less than $100/month when I met him, and I was his first customer. Now he has over 400 employees who make five to ten times more than he made starting out, and the quality of life for both himself, and literally a large part of his town has been increased dramatically. It all started with directory submissions, and now he is the largest SEO company in India.
The directory business is still going strong, and is a big part of the largest SEO company in India. What is always important (and Annada told me this), is SEO companies want to place links on pages that are on topic, and well maintained. At Auroin they have employees whose sole job is to score pages based on a variety of factors, and they do this every day, all week long. By properly categorizing your links, writing unique titles and descriptions based on a real review of the site, and adding quality content, you can insure that your directory is at the top of his list. And when I say "top of the list", Annada's team starts each new SEO link building job at the top of the list, giving their customers the best links first and foremost. Their ability to produce quality, not just quantity is surely a part of their great success.
I'll leave you with a couple of links:
Auroin - Annada and the Management Team (click on the tabs to see pics of their hundreds of employees)
We've also started a discussion in the forum if you are interested in participating. Oh, and by the way, Annada tells me that he refers to me as his "Guru" when he talks about me. Very cool!
« Back to Articles
Previouse article: Katamari Technique in SEO
Next article: Pagerank Sculpting and Nofollow on Internal Links