Where the European SEO industry really began (Guestpost)

Fri 3 July 2009 10:30, Editors

Where the European SEO industry really began (Guestpost)

Dixon Jones is a very likeable guy who not only has a lot of humor, he also has a lot of knowledge of his working area. That makes him a perfect guestposter. Dixon is not writing about 'how to's' or 'why's' regarding optimisation tactics thouh, he takes us on a trip through memory lane. Ever wondered how it all started in Europe? Dixon will tell you!

Dixon founded his company Receptional Internet Marketing in 1999. Today it is still one of the leading consultancies in the UK when it comes to Search Marketing. He is also a long time moderator on Webmasterworld and maintains a personal blog at http://dixonjones.com.

Where the European SEO industry really began

Tomorrow there’s going to be a lot of SEOs getting drunk down at the Cittie of Yorke Pub, in Holborn, England. The pub rightly deserves its place in SEO history as the first large gathering of SEOs anywhere in Europe, back in 2000.

The original meet officially had 125 attendees. For my money, I would say that anyone that was at this drinkathon… sponsored as I recall by “GoTo”, “LookSmart” & “AllThe Web” and who are still in the industry today can truly be called the “old guard” of SEO in Europe. If you like, the Homebrew club of SEO.

I was lucky enough to be there. I can’t remember everyone by a long chalk of course, but who lasted and who went on to do other stuff? Here’s a trip down memory lane showing a few of the original survivors.

The guys from Pandia:

I remember two very quiet Norwegians, founders of Pandia.com. A husband and wife team I recall. I went on to use them to help me translate some early Ad text. Thank guys.

Barry Lloyd from Northern Ireland was there and had recently defended us on a forum after we had used a provocative headline in a press release “SEO is Dead”.  Nowadays, I think most SEOs would properly understand LinkBait. Back then we just enjoyed the great rankings enjoyed as our would be detractors started shouting my business partner’s name; Dr. David Smith from the forums.

Thanks for the links guys. That was the last event my business partner went to as I recall. He’s semi-retired now. 

Back then the UK listings were dominated by Barry, myself and Mark Garwell and I remember the three of us slipping out into a very sad looking courtyard to discuss linking to each other’s sites. I don’t suppose many people were thinking about reciprocal linking back in 200, but we certainly were.

I think we stopped in 2003 when everyone else started! Those links gave us all leads, because we all had different client profiles and passing leads between the three of us helped us and the client… oh… and this thing called Google which had virtually no market share.

I had several competitors to my fledgling internet marketing consultancy there. Many have since moved on or changed course. But two guys I do recall are Tino and Grant  from Ambergreen who had just started up in Edinburgh and had a frighteningly similar looking long term perspective as I had. They also had a big hotel client as I recall – or rather, I had big clients, but they had clients with big budgets.

From over the water, both RC Jordan and Brett were there. RC Jordan decided that too much publicity wasn’t his cup of tea, but did run several SEO Roadshows – and I saw him again just last Octiber in Limerick, whilst Brett Tabke went on to co-ordinate several and Brett hung onto the domain Pubcon.com.

I was amazed at that first event to meet a guy that I had met before in a previous life. He played a game called “En Garde” and I had bumped into him years before at a competition at Reading University. His name was all over the SEO world after he went missing in Atlanta several years later after a conference and it was a testament  to the industry how everyone pulled together to help him out. I think I met NFFC there too… and Shak… but my memory fades… Who else was there? Were you? If so, what you are doing now?

  • Comments (4)
  • Guestposts
  • Tell-a-cowboy

Comments (4)


  • you're old Dixon ;p Only joking mate, but to put it into perspective, in 2000 i had only arrived in the UK and were in my early twenties, last thing i was thinking about was search engines. How things have changed :)

    Vr 3 jul 2009, 14:09

  • There were plenty of others there that are still in the industry as I recall. I think Jason Duke, Ahmon Johns... A guy that mostly know as 4eyes... But maybe I am one of the oldest in the industry. Not sure if that's an advantage in today's world!

    Vr 3 jul 2009, 14:13

  • Let's not bring age into it, please, Dixon.

    Thanks for reminding me of the early days at pubcon.

    Vr 3 jul 2009, 17:28

  • Here, here! I remember that meet-up - man did we have fun and it was thrilling to meet all the faces back then. Phew, I remember Caine, Seth, Shak and most of the UK gang + all the good US folk whom most are all my very good friends and peers today. Today most of the guys showing up in London are all very good experienced seo/sem gurus today. Imagine if we knew then what we know now :)

    Thanks for the post Dixon and have a couple of pints on me tomorrow. Unfortunatly I wont make it this time, but there will be others!

    Have a good one this time guys :)

    Vr 3 jul 2009, 17:43


  • HTML is not allowed. URLs are automatically clickable.
    * Email address is not shown

  • Using Google search
  • Christoph Cemper interviewed by Bas van den Beld at SES Berlin
  • Interview with Mike Grehan about SES Berlin and more
  • Interview with the SES panel "Search around the World" by Bas van den Beld
  • Web search strategies in plain english
  • Matt Cutts on why the UK SERPS are 'broken'
  • Microsoft Bing Search - Product Tour of Bing.com
  • Mike Grehan on the future of search

Last Comments


Last event


  • J-P De Clerck
    J-P De Clerck

    Profession: Customer-centric digi...

    Company: Conversionation

  • Sam Murray
    Sam Murray

    Profession: Senior Search Consultant

    Company: Verve Search

  • Susie Hood
    Susie Hood

    Profession: Head of Copywriting

    Company: Click Consult / SEO C...

  • Tom Bogaert
    Tom Bogaert

    Profession: Managing Partner

    Company: QueroMedia

Latest Videos



  • Lizette van der Laan
    Social Media Image

    Is it the real you, the witty you, the person who reads the most interesting articles, makes t...


Subscribe to SC Newsletter:

RSS Feed

Are you a bloggerFacebook


© 2015 Searchcowboys.com - All Rights Reserved - All views and opinions expressed are those of the authors of Searchcowboys.

All trademarks, slogans, text or logo representation used or referred to in this website are the property of their respective owners. Sitemap