• David Jaeger

    Ahh, Andrew, you speak the word. Thank you for the insightful post. I’ve always told my upper management that SEM for SMB’s won’t be around in a meaningful way in 3 years. I’ve told that to some Google peeps too, I don’t think they “got it”.(Sad reality, market economics). Planning ahead requires identifying the successful business owner, and “partnering” with them. Let’s see how this industry goes…

  • Andrew Shotland

    Hey David, I disagree that SEM for SMB’s won’t around in a meaningful way in 3 years. As long as there are millions of SMBs that don’t have the time, patience or resources to do their own marketing, there will be plenty of opportunity to provide these services. The trick is figuring out a way to do it profitably at scale.

  • Terry Wall

    Hi there, Andrew! As usual, I enjoy your commentary–both here and on your blog. Something I’ve noticed about these “tools” (and you probably know it, as well) is that many of the companies that offer them also use them as lead-gen vehicles. So if I’m “Terry the SMB owner” and I fill out “SEO-X” company’s form to get my “free” ranking report, I can expect to be contacted by their sales department. I know how bombarded SMBs are with all manner of digital offerings being thrust at them, and I’ve seen that churn monster devour several online marketing companies. And I don’t see anything on the horizon that tells me his appetite will be diminished–in the least! My $0.02.

  • Lawrence Blumberg

    I have also been entrenched in this smb riddle for a decade, mostly on the direct sales front with enterprise level companies. I’ve found developing partnerships with Very clear expectations and mutual incentives (ownership/internal engagement that results in new business they can touch) can be sustainable.

    Granted, my current team is small, <10, so we have the 'luxury' of more personalized service. Companies like Hubspot, a reasonably large platform, has been scaling this landscape for years successfully without major forces of disruption.

    The teams that can manage to keep exceptional service priority one and Believe in doing so, will rub that Ark more often. I can't remember it ever working differently. Beholden to share holders, red tape, fast profit, etc. or not doesn't excuse subpar execution. Even if you take short term hits. Both sides get out what they are willing to put in. As the market matures, these companies will continue to thrive.

  • http://www.getsnappay.com/ Jim Rudnick

    Seen much of the same thing up here in CanuckLand, Andrew…especially from the ranking tool providers. With the recent announcement by Raven about their upcoming no-rank offerings…the Canuck ones I know up here have jumped on that bandwagon big time.
    Tools are tools. They can be used by anyone who knows how to run same. IMHO, that leaves out just about every SMB (up here at least) as they’re so thin Mgmt team wise that no one has the time to spend to even source good SEO tools…never mind using them.
    All our clients want are the reports – with tactical ROIs shown – and updates on quarterly strategy….everything else they’re not interested in…..might be a Canuck thing…but I do doubt it, eh!
    :-)

    Jim

  • http://steveplunkett.com @steveplunkett

    Google’s Terms of Service do not allow the sending of automated queries of any sort to our system without express permission in advance from Google. Sending automated queries consumes resources and includes using any software (such as WebPosition Gold) to send automated queries to Google to determine how a website or webpage ranks in Google search results for various queries. In addition to rank checking, other types of automated access to Google without permission are also a violation of ourWebmaster Guidelines and Terms of Service.

  • http://twitter.com/harryfassett harryfassett

    Need help Jim? I’m standing by. @harryfassett

  • http://twitter.com/harryfassett harryfassett

    “The trick is figuring out a way to do it profitably at scale.” Extremely tough, but if the relationship is strong, it can be done, because I have done it. :)

  • Antima Sharma

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  • Lucky Balaraman

    After optimizing our website for more than a decade, our conclusion is that yes, SEO is a good thing, but if you want to hit all the bases (aka keywords), a healthy dose of search marketing is absolutely necessary (with the added benefit of immediate results).

  • Andrew Shotland

    Thanks for the encouragement Antima. And super thanks for pointing me towards a great resource for underpads. Quality underpads are hard to come by these days.

  • http://www.agencyplatform.com/ Dave Thompson

    As one of the smb toolset providers, I am pretty excited to see what seomoz + getlisted would come up with. You are absolutely right. Many of us peddling our tools out there ;)

    But I think there are very few (Raven is one of them) who have understood the needs of smb’s and agencies.