About Mike Arnesen

Short Bio: Founder & CEO at UpBuild. Total geek for optimization. Husband. Vegan. Startup culture enthusiast.

Mike Arnesen is the Founder & CEO at UpBuild, a technical marketing agency that specializes in SEO, analytics, and conversion rate optimization (CRO). Mike has been working on the web since 2006, originally coming from a development background (including a stint at MySpace and with multiple web dev startups). His background also includes a BA in History from California State Northridge and extensive copywriting experience.

Prior to founding UpBuild, Mike was on the team at SwellPath for 5 years and served as the Director of Analytics and Optimization prior to the company’s acquisition. Mike developed strategies and worked on SEO for companies like Nike, Jama Software, Urban Airship, Adidas, Jive, Portland State University, Sony, Cedars Sinai, Intel, the Linux Foundation, and GoodData.

Mike founded UpBuild to test a hypothesis: could you create an idealistic marketing agency on your own terms and make it? The test is currently running, but the initial data is hopeful.

Mike is happily married and lives with his wife and two Pomeranians in Beaverton, Oregon. When not on the web, Mike is weightlifting, running, or geeking out on sci-fi and fantasy.

Professional Journey

Mike was grew up in Southern California and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from California State University Northridge. Post-graduation, Mike took at job at MySpace as a customer support agent for MySpace Karaoke/kSolo. Though he had always been fascinated with the web, it was there that Mike was first exposed to professional web development and was encouraged by MySpace developers to learn how to code and to use WordPress as a testing ground.

The shift in Mike’s career toward full-time web development and SEO came when he joined startup Incendia Media as an entry-level developer, content manager, and SEO assistant. This was Mike’s first formal introduction to the theories of SEO. Eventually, Mike moved with his girlfriend (now wife) to Portland, Oregon and initially worked various part-time jobs while scouting for a place to begin a long-term web-related career. These jobs included working out of a basement posting “followed” blog comments for eight hours a day and working as an office/website manager for a yoga studio in Beaverton.

Through networking with the local tech crowd in the Portland suburbs, Mike eventually landed a job at Blue Sky Web Design (now defunct) in a split web developer/SEO specialist role. Working closely with managing partner, Rich Mayo, Mike learned by doing and eventually came to run all of the startup’s SEO and PPC engagements. While at Blue Sky, Mike also built a strong base in PHP scripting and MySQL database usage, honed SEO copywriting skills, and continued to evolve his knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Flash. However, opportunities for growth, both professionally and for the company, were limited in the suburbs. After a year and a half, Mike accepted an offer for a startup digital agency in downtown Portland.

Mike began working at SwellPath in 2010 as a Search Analyst and ultimately came to lead the agency as Director of Analytics & Optimization. SwellPath allowed Mike to grow his skillset further than anywhere he’d previously worked and provided him with new opportunities to provide SEO for Fortune 500 companies, travel to speak about SEO, attend national SEO conferences, and more.

Following SwellPath’s acquisition, Mike set out to form his own highly-idealistic agency: UpBuild. Find out more at UpBuild.io.