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About Us

Keyword First was created by two partners who in 2000 helped form the first search engine marketing team at, a division of W.W. Grainger and the nation’s largest distributor of industrial supplies. After leaving Grainger and taking leadership roles for organizations in Search and Online Marketing, the partners formed Keyword First to provide customers with unmatched service and industry expertise at rates affordable for companies of all sizes.

Keyword First is different from other firms in the industry because our team is comprised of people who not only understand Internet technology but are professional marketers. We work closely with clients and turn visitors into leads and sales by developing plans that work best for them. We think that we must prove our value to our customers everyday. That’s why we do not require long-term contracts like many other firms. If you are not 100% satisfied with our service, you are under no obligation to continue working with us. The Keyword First team is comprised of dedicated people who are passionate about Online Marketing. We love what we do and it shows. If you are thinking about starting a search marketing program or looking for a new partner, please contact Keyword First to see how we can help.

Meet the Management Team

Kurt Anagnostopoulos (
Kurt Anagnostopoulos comes from a seasoned background in search marketing and advertising. Before coming to Keyword First, Kurt was a Director for SMG Search, a division of Starcom MediaVest Group. He was responsible for the overall strategic direction, planning and implementation for paid and natural search projects for numerous clients, including Sun Microsystems, National Car Rental, Macy’s, Walgreens, Philip Morris, Disney and ESPN. Kurt’s paid search initiatives ranged from small branding campaigns to multi-million dollar campaigns made up of 1,000,000+ keywords across numerous search engines held to strict ROI goals. His natural search responsibilities included optimizing sites to gain ranking on simple brand terms, analyzing metadata, determining content optimization and implementing rewrite modules to create search engine-friendly URLs. Kurt also set up a number of cross-linking strategies to improve client sites’ PageRank, Google’s score for page relevancy.

Prior to joining SMG Search, Kurt worked at, a division of W.W. Grainger, Inc. At, Kurt helped develop and set up the first search department, in which he naturally optimized a site with over 200,000 pages of content and implemented a paid search campaign encompassing over 100,000 products. With Kurt’s help and guidance, the department implemented search engine marketing (SEM) programs that averaged $450K monthly incremental revenue, a 350% ROI as well as search engine optimization (SEO) programs that increased search engine traffic by 30% over a three year period.

Kurt received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Northern Illinois University.
Speaking Engagement Information PDF

Mark Smith (
As a founding partner, Mark Smith brings years of Search and online marketing experience to Keyword First. Mark served as Vice President of E-Commerce for Chartered Marketing Services, where he was responsible for helping create the company’s first online sales channel. In addition to building the company’s e-commerce infrastructure, he led a team responsible for natural and paid search as well as online advertising and lead generation programs.

Mark also held the position of Director of Internet Marketing for Cosmetique, a leading cosmetics retailer near Chicago. He was responsible for the strategic direction of the online division and launched paid and natural Search programs, implemented data feeds for comparison shopping engines and launched lead generation programs that helped transform the company into an online retailer.

As an online Marketing Manager for Grainger, Mark helped initiate the search engine marketing team and helped develop the website into one of the most successful business-to-business sites in the industry. With a database driven website on a Broadvision platform holding hundreds of thousands of products online, the SEO strategy was vital for success of the website. Mark helped them achieve top positions and improve visibility that led to significant incremental revenue.

Mark received a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Iowa and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from De Paul University.
Speaking Engagement Information PDF

Careers at KeywordFIRST

We are always looking for bright, dedicated people interested in the growing field of search engine marketing. Please contact for consideration.

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