Our lives are becoming ever more digital. We shop online, watch TV online, communicate and organise our lives online. That said, it’s becoming more and more important for businesses to have a big and highly focused digital presence in search results and advertising.

Winning the fight for the ‘clicks’ that will make or break online businesses is what Bath-based pay-per-click (PPC) specialists, Search Star, is all about. We catch-up with CRO (Conversion rate optimisation) Director of Search Star Ryan Webb, for some insight into their business from startup to successful SME.

The birth of pay-per-click

search-star-doctorPay-per-click is traditionally used by organisations to drive traffic to their website or product, usually by having sponsored links and adverts on other related sites or search engines.

Ryan tells me that, for Search Star, it all began back in 2002 when Dan Fallon – Search Star’s Founder – got in touch with Google and purchased sponsorship of two common searches, ‘flights to Paris’ and ‘flights to Brussels’, to advertise on behalf of his client, Eurostar.

For Dan, the ads were such a great success that a love of paid search was born and, in 2005, he set up Search Star!

10 years later…

A decade on, Search Star have expanded their expertise to include, as Ryan puts it: “top notch conversion optimisation” – refining the key pages of a website to help direct the right sort of visitor and adding value to both the site owners and the visitors too.

It’s not all been plain sailing though and Ryan gives some advice about expanding a company that they wish they knew 10 years ago: “Every expansion, whether it’s an office move or diversification into a new market or service area is nerve-wracking. Plan it well, go with your gut instinct and understand where the money is coming from to fund it and you can’t go far wrong.”

“Search Star’s biggest success is building a team of 20 happy staff”


It’s advice that can’t be too far wrong either as Ryan tells us that Search Star’s biggest successes, as well as broadening their horizons beyond PPC and into conversion optimisation, also include: “Building a team of 20 happy staff who are well motivated and do a great job for clients.”

Becoming a PPC expert

As well as becoming experts in the field of PPC and conversion optimisation, Search Star have become known for sharing their skills and knowledge with highly popular training courses.

“The complexity of what seems like a simple service surprises people”


search-star-artworkBecoming a PPC expert isn’t as easy as you might think though. Ryan explains: “The complexity of what seems like a simple service surprises people.”

“We often start working with clients because they initially come to us for PPC or analytics training and when they see what it involves they then decide it’s best left in the hands of experts!”

However, if you do fancy jumping in and learning what you can, from PPC to the fundamentals of Google Analytics, you can find out more about Search Star training courses on their website.

Building a network of professionals

Search Star also supports the growth of the local marketing professional network by sponsoring the Bath & Bristol Marketing Network. These free events are run every month in Bath and Bristol for local marketers to network and learn from industry speakers.

“There’s a great community of like-minded agencies in Bath”


Ryan says: “There’s a great community of like-minded agencies in Bath. We work closely with a number of agencies in the Bristol and Bath area driving referrals between businesses. It’s a great city to be in – we love it here!”

Thanks to Ryan for answering our questions. You can keep up to date with Search Star by following them on Twitter at: @Search_Star.

Alice Whale