It has been about five years since I last interviewed Patrick Gavin, and back then I interviewed Patrick on his new company, Text Link Ads (TLA). Who knew TLA would have such a huge impact on the lives of so many SEOs and shape this industry, for better or worse. I should add that TLA has been a long time advertiser here and RustyBrick, my company, does work for TLA on the development side.
Patrick has stepped down from TLA's parent company, MediaWhiz a few months ago. Patrick has been informing various bloggers about his new SEO venture with Andy Hagans named DIYSEO.com, Do It Yourself SEO. Since Patrick is one of the most successful, honest and caring people in the industry, I thought I would cover a Sphinn thread on this new project. I asked Patrick several questions over instant messenger on DIYSEO.com. Here is that interview:
Barry Schwartz: Hi Patrick, thanks for agreeing to answer some questions about your new SEO venture, named DIYSEO.com. Can you first tell us a little bit about the new business? Patrick Gavin: Thanks Barry. Sure, DIYSEO is a venture I am launching with Andy Hagans. The product is a SEO software platform aimed at small business website owners.
Barry Schwartz: Can you tell me about some of the software's features? What features will make this the killer SEO app? Patrick Gavin: To start with our software is not a suite of tools, instead it is a task based system designed to give website owners a step by step playbook on how to improve their natural search engine rankings. It is unique in that it gives advice tailored to specific verticals. When a site owner begins the process, they complete a questionnaire. We then take that data to give them an SEO campaign and task list that is truly geared towards their vertical.
Barry Schwartz: I saw that ShoeMoney wrote about your new tools. But doesn't ShoeMoney also have his own SEO tools he is selling? How does yours compare to his? Patrick Gavin: ShoeMoney has a great suite of tools. The difference to us is we are not designed for professional internet marketers who are looking for advanced tools. We instead are designed for business owners who want a step by step plan for SEO success. We think there is a need in the market for both expert tools and what we are doing: an SEO system that takes your hand and walks you through a winning SEO plan without having to be an expert.
Barry Schwartz: Would you consider any tools currently out there similar to yours? If so, which ones? Patrick Gavin: I wouldn't consider any current SEO tools as similar to ours. We are taking a new approach to SEO and I think you would have to look outside of the SEO industry to find similar approaches. Among those would be Mint.com and Basecamphq.com.
Barry Schwartz: You have been in the SEO industry for a really long time. You are most famous for Text Link Ads, the company you founded and sold to MediaWhiz. How does this product differ from the Text Link Ads product, in terms of market-a-bilty? Do you think it will be as successful? Patrick Gavin: The product is really quite different from TLA. Where TLA focuses on advanced "off page" SEO techniques via link buying, with DIYSEO we are offering a full service SEO platform that will instruct users with actionable on page and off page SEO actions. In terms of marketability, the market opportunity is tremendous. Adwords has some 1.5M+ advertisers buying keywords on a PPC basis. Most of these are small business owners. Some 75% of clicks go to natural search results, not PPC. All of these PPC advertisers would love the additional exposure in natural search so that is why we are so excited about this opportunity. We think we can drive value to our clients and if we can do that we will be successful.
Barry Schwartz: So our readers know, can you explain if you are still working for Text Link Ads? Patrick Gavin: I am no longer an employee of MediaWhiz (Text Link Ads' parent company) but do some part time consulting to MediaWhiz. MediaWhiz and TLA have a number of exciting initiatives underway and I remain close to the business as a number of my best friends (and some real talented people) are there.
Barry Schwartz: To be frank, why are you asking bloggers, such as myself and ShoeMoney to write about DIYSEO when it is not even live yet? Patrick Gavin: Well I have never been shy about promotion :-) We wanted to build some buzz to build up an initial contact list that we can then invite to our beta launch and other fun things we are doing. The SEO community is great about participating and giving feedback that we can then act on. Having been in the industry since around 2000 has given me the opportunity to build relationships with some great people and I am very thankful to be in the position to be able to get the word out on this project.
Barry Schwartz: Since I am being pretty direct, let me point you to the Sphinn thread on the topic. Some folks in our industry find the announcement on Sphinn's home page to be considered spam and should be removed from the home page. What do you think about that? Patrick Gavin: I think it's great. Again the SEO community is a lot of fun. We will never agree on everything and I am sure we will have a few DIYSEO dissenters once the product is live but I have found that is what makes the SEO community so much fun. Fiery discussions and if you listen/read close enough there is some great feedback in those discussions.
Barry Schwartz: Finally, I asked those that follow me on Twitter @rustybrick that I am interviewing @patrickgavin right now and asked some to send questions. @shoemoney sent a question, he asked. Can you ask him about his twitter contest and if he is happy with the results http://www.diyseo.com/twittercontest. Patrick Gavin: Twitter has been an interesting ride for me. Shoe did a post recently about Twitter being his #3 traffic sourse http://www.shoemoney.com/2009/05/05/for-those-who-still-dont-get-twitter/ and that really got me tuned back in to the marketing power Twitter has. Twitthis.com powered the Twitter contest and the results have been very impressive. Since the contest started my @diyseo follower count has gone from about 100 to 1,400 and still growing, so yes very happy!
Barry Schwartz: Thanks Patrick, I am looking forward to the DIYSEO product. Any words you want to end with? Like maybe the launch date or something else? Patrick Gavin: Thanks Barry it has been my pleasure. We are not ready to announce the launch date just yet but if you sign up at www.DIYSEO.com you will be the first to know! :-)