Rand Interviews Black Knight

Rand interviewed Ammon Johns (Ammon is also known as Black Knight, and is one of the most respected names in the industry):

Pepsi don't go to the same ad agency as Coca Cola and say "I want the exact same ad Coke just ran, but with our brand instead of theirs". It doesn't work that way. Companies and brands are not interchangeable and a package that attempts to serve all companies with the exact same thing is just a nonsense. In fact it is obviously ridiculous.

In all honesty, it seems like the vast majority of SEO practitioners and web marketers out there have developed one simple package that once worked and then just re-use it over and over until they have milked it dry.

When you get to the level Ammon is at you can be rather selective with which clients you are willing to take. Via SEW Benjamin Pfeiffer recently wrote an article titled What To Do If You're The SEO Client Nobody Wants?

It seems as though increasing opportunities for experienced SEOs, evolving search algorithms, and increased competition over time are making it much harder for unbranded businesses to find SEOs to service competitive marketplaces unless they have a holistic marketing strategy.

Ben also wrote an article titled Why The Big SEO Company Is Killing The True SEO.

This year alone, 60% of all new clients I have taken on have been what I like to call the "recycled SEO". A recycled SEO client is a client who has previously worked with another SEO company, who was either got scammed, not delivered upon, or cheated in some way.

I still think lowly of most large firms, but as Ben noted, if 60% of your leads come from one source are they doing your marketing for you? I got ripped off by a sleazy SEO outfit, and perhaps underpaying and getting junk or overpaying and getting junk is just part of the SEO learning cycle. I certainly am not scared when I read that WPP (or other large ad agencies) create SEO divisions, as I have never believed that SEO services scale, and ultimately large providers end up sending leads to smaller and better companies.

Published: March 17, 2006 by Aaron Wall in marketing


March 18, 2006 - 1:42pm

Aaron - Just noticed your blog make-over. Top work fella - that looks really good.

I'm feeling the Web 2.0. :)

March 19, 2006 - 1:53am

Thanks Nick

The makeover idea was actually a friends idea. I was partial to the old design since it was so ghetto defaultish, but times change and so must websites.

The cool makeover was done by a friend as well. I think Chris Pearson did a kick ass job with the redesign. I am nothing but impressed by his work.

A seobook buyer
March 19, 2006 - 4:48pm

FWIW, I prefer the old design and layout. More info on the screen without scrolling. Especially sideways.


March 19, 2006 - 9:37pm

WOW...I thought I was the only one who could have loved that old design!

March 17, 2006 - 1:26pm

"I have never believed that SEO services scale, and ultimately large providers end up sending leads to smaller and better companies"

What does this mean, Aaron? I have you read similar comments from you and could use a bit of clarification. Thanks!

March 18, 2006 - 3:38am

>What does this mean

That I think generally many firms that aggressively market end up doing a poor job and losing whatever clients they bring to market.

While some may rip off their clients, the net effect of large aggressively marketed firms is free leads and added exposure for smaller and genuinely honest / useful firms.

Disclaimer: I am an individual who has provided SEO services to some companies in the past, but my opinion and bias toward smaller providers is more based on hundreds of emails I received from people who claimed to have been done wrong.

Keep in mind that some of those complaints may have been garbage complaints or just clients that are hard to work with, but to be good at SEO I think you have to be creative and/or good at marketing and/or analytical. Most people are not both creative and analytical...and it is really hard to scale out making people think in ways that they may not be naturally good at thinking. It also is much easier to have more fat in the system at a large firm than it is in small firms where clients and the proprietor are close to one another.

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