Apprentice boost for resort firm

Eventual winner Mark Wright (left) brought the concept of search engine optimisation to a wider audience when he appeared on BBC show The Apprentice, pitching his idea to Lord Alan Sugar.

Eventual winner Mark Wright (left) brought the concept of search engine optimisation to a wider audience when he appeared on BBC show The Apprentice, pitching his idea to Lord Alan Sugar.

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When Lord Sugar told Mark Wright “you’re hired” in the latest final of The Apprentice, one Blackpool business discovered you don’t have to be on the show to benefit from it.

Australian salesman Mark Wright won The Apprentice with a business plan to launch a search engine marketing company in London.

In Blackpool, XP Web Services found its phone ringing more as viewers who are also business owners decided it was time to find out more.

XP founder Kevin Donnelly said: “Mark Wright managed to take the purpose of SEO – to help businesses climb the search engine rankings – to a huge audience.

“A lot of people’s experience with SEO, if they’re aware of it at all, is the faceless cold call or email promising them No 1 rankings in Google. I think The Apprentice has helped show the industry in a more personable, more accessible way – and we’ve had more people calling us as a result.”

XP copywriter Mike Brown said: “The fact it’s January has also helped. More businesses seem to have made a New Year’s resolution to look again at their online marketing thanks to The Apprentice.”

“We’ve been helping businesses across the UK get found on Google since 2009,” added Kevin, “It’s interesting that Mark Wright’s unique selling point was a personal, tailored service. We’ve been doing that for years.” They have boosted the online presence of the likes of furniture retailer Paul Gaunt and Blackpool suspended ceiling supplier Judge Ceiling Systems.

Michael Judge of JCS said: “We don’t have the time to manage our online presence, so finding XP Web Services has made a huge difference to our business.”

Continuing growth means XP Web Services is set to need new apprentices of its own during 2015.