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Stjarna-check: what's it like to work at SmartRanking

July 9th 2020

As part of our company assessment, we visited the SmartRanking office and had extensive interviews with employees about the things they like about working there, things that could be improved, and the general company culture. In this article we will give you an exclusive and objective look behind the scenes on what it is like to work at SmartRanking!

About SmartRanking

SmartRanking is a company from Groningen that specialises in SEO. Their office is located at a business park on the Osloweg. They help various companies throughout the Netherlands to rank higher in Google's search results. The company was founded by the now 24-year-old Jarik Oosting.

Stjarna-check: SmartRanking

Focus on SEO

Initially SmartRanking was a somewhat broader agency that also focused on social media, but soon Jarik found out that it works better to focus on one thing. "You should do what you're good at".

Young team

SmartRanking employs approximately 10 people, 6 of whom work full-time. So it really is a small, tight-knit team. Also worth mentioning is the rather low average age. They are all in their 20's and the oldest employee is only 29. This has not been a conscious choice, and something that has just grown naturally. SEO is a relatively new field, so it is logical that you automatically get a lot of young people applying.

Stjarna-check: SmartRanking

Unlimited holidays

SmartRanking employees receive an unlimited number of holidays. "I don't care if an employee takes more holidays, as long as they do their job well." according to Jarik. So here you get a lot of personal responsibility. But if Jarik notices that someone is working too hard, and, for example, takes very few days off, he will bring that up. Working overtime is certainly not stimulated here, but rather discouraged.

Stjarna-check: SmartRanking

Lunch together every day and "Pizza Thursday"

The SmartRanking team has lunch together every day. Once a month they also organize the so-called "Pizza Thursday" where everyone comes together and discusses for example the latest SEO developments, but also internal issues can be raised. If there are frustrations, they can be expressed here. You are also encouraged to go to conferences in the field of SEO, for example. There are also regular get-togethers after working hours.

Stand-up meeting

Every day at 11:30 there is a stand-up meeting in which everyone on the team briefly tells what they are working on, what they are going to do that day, and whether there are certain issues they are struggling with.

Stjarna-check: SmartRanking

What employees are most positive about

Social employer

The employees of SmartRanking are particularly enthusiastic about the fact that Jarik really is a social employer. He thinks it's important that his employees are given room to develop themselves, because he understands that the company will also reap the benefits in the long term.

Stjarna-check: SmartRanking

Jarik as a mentor

Because Jarik is really passionate about SEO, he really is an employer who finds it important to teach his employees new things, and he can explain things very well and patiently. Also, new employees are not immediately thrown in the deep end, but are well guided and given the space to get used to working for a new company.

Stjarna-check: SmartRanking

Feeling of appreciation

What we also hear from many employees is that they really feel that they are appreciated. You are also expected to have a pro-active attitude, and to really feel free to come up with certain issues or ideas. Everyone's opinion matters.

Good team vibe

The team vibe is something that many employees really value. Communication is direct, everyone is equal, and it is still a relatively young company that is still developing. This is of course different from the somewhat more established companies where things are more strictly defined.

Stjarna-check: SmartRanking

How mistakes are dealt with

Once an employee makes a mistake, it is dealt with in a good way. Instead of punishing such an employee, or not talking about it at all, it is seen as something you can learn from, which can happen to anyone. The next step is to look at "what went wrong?" and "how can we improve or prevent that?".

Flexible working hours

Every employee is free to plan his week as he or she wishes. For example, if you work part-time, you can choose which days you want to work. And if you are having a bad day, you are absolutely free to go home and catch up at another time.

Stjarna-check: SmartRanking

What employees see as areas for improvement

Internal communication

The fact that it is a very young team that is still in development, of course also has less positive sides. Some internal communication processes are still rather chaotic and unclear. There is certainly still room for improvement. Especially when the company is going to grow in the future. People who really need structure and clarity would struggle with this.

In practice often very busy

What is also mentioned is that, because everyone is very busy with the ongoing tasks, there is often little time left for things such as setting learning goals and actively working on them. This all needs more structure. But the intention is definitely there.

Stjarna-check: SmartRanking

Salary and pension

In terms of salary, most employees were moderately satisfied, but recently this subject has been discussed and agreements have been made based on everyone's learning goals. With SmartRanking you do not build up a pension, so SmartRanking could certainly improve in this area by arranging this for employees in the long run.

Own responsibility not pleasant for everyone

The high degree of individual responsibility will also not be pleasant for everyone. The type of employee who needs more control and just wants to complete a list of tasks will probably not feel at home at SmartRanking. This is not really a point for improvement, but it is something you need to be aware of if you are considering working here.

Stjarna-check: SmartRanking


SmartRanking is definitely an employer that truly understands the value of investing in its employees, and finds it important that its employees enjoy going to work. A lot is done for this as well. While speaking to every employee we also noticed that there really is a deep passion for their field, SEO. SmartRanking is on the one hand a really nice place for the Junior or Medior SEO Specialist, because you can learn a lot and develop yourself well. On the other hand, it is also an interesting place for the Senior SEO Specialist, because this is a company that is really scaling up at the moment, and also serves more and more large and international clients.

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