Ad Agencies Hate SEO's - Call them Clowns


It appears that some Ad Agencies view SEO's as clowns

Ed ,

You and the rest of the SEO/SEM clowns amuse me. You create this phoney imaginary scenario of search engines serving as a marketing vehicle when in reality, it’s primarily used to find keywords in documents.

He was posting a comment at Tribal Ad Agency's blog sartirically says

Ad Agencies generally look great at first, they wine and dine you, show you flashy presentations and after the contract is signed eat all the resources from of your company. We love for example to build websites out of 100% flash so that the search engines can’t spider it then bill you additional hours for search engine marketing fees. This is great for our business model because that way you are tied to us for the rest of your natural born life. We also love to use image navigation and ‘click here’ as our text navigation. We feel it’s comical to see your pages go into the abyss of Google, Yahoo and MSN never to be found. Though it’s possible that we have no clue what we are doing, since there is no such thing as an Ad Agency that understands Search Engine Optimization (though we can try to sell it as a billable search marketing fee after you discover that your flash inspired pages never will rank).

So who is right ?

Full Story


I'm ok with ad agencies not

I'm ok with ad agencies not getting it. I can make more money that way.

Ad agencies

Hi im a new user, though have kept an eye on tw posts for a while. Lets face it ad agencies only have an edge because of their exposure to the traditional ad market and many have created a new division (usually called "agency name" i). I am of the mind that proper businesses should employ their own seo/sem people instead of using agencies, as many companies are finding there simply isnt the ROI. Wots more, if you could offer a decent seo service you wouldnt bother billing for it you would publish your own sites and reap the benefits of adsense etc. Its a bubble waiting to burst, get out, get out b4 its too late :)

Maybe he just had a bad morning

The guy is definately wrong on many accounts, but perhaps he just didn't have his coffee this morning. LOL. I expressed some of my comments already on the site, and here

The Clowns Are Right...

Sorry, but SEO is the most powerful advertising method since television. It is relatively inexpensive, targeted, and damn effective. To be honest, I haven't had a client in 5 years say they were even considering running television, radio, or other ads. In fact, the only ads they do run are PPC.

Hey Ad-Agency, I Tivo & skip your commercials, don't read the newspaper, much less magazine ads, I throw away all snail-mail advertisements, filter email spam, listen to my Ipod (not the radio), ignore highway billboards, and havent touched the yellowpages in years. I am the next generation - where are you going to advertise to me?

Google. Thats where.

These ad agencies don't get it yet

They have no idea in my opinon what happened to them...

They Know

That's why they all claim to offer SEO/SEM services. They haven't the vaguest idea how to provide those services, but more and more of them are offering them.

They aren't offering it.. they are taking money

They can't offer it all they can do is bill for it... these Agencies build the site 100% in flash and use image navigation and never go out trying to get backlinks..

They have not the foggiest idea... at the end they outsource it to an SEO firm... or push the client to SEM.

Keywords in documents?

Well, he's got the 'used to find keywords in documents' part right. Which is why I've got lots of text on my sites :). Helps people find my site when they're looking to by the products I offer. I think he missed the second step though, where they then proceed to buy stuff, and the third step, where I make money from that.

What we are looking at is

What we are looking at is advertising companies that haven't made the transition to understanding the Web medium. I'm not sure why that is -- they've certainly had plenty of time to do so -- but that's pretty much been my direct observation of ad agencies in action. They like all the woo-woo of flashy advertising and clever marketing yack ("Five Ways the Elephant Jumped the Fence" ... ugh!), but have not yet grasped that their usual methods of delivering that content to consumers are problematic on the Web. PPC and banner ads are thus their saving grace. :)

I'm not saying that they don't know anything; they very well may, having been in the advertising game for however long they've been at it. I just wonder when the day comes that they realize that anyone can beat them with so little as a title tag. Of course, I've been wondering that for almost a decade. It's kind of hard to believe (it really can't be true, can it?!), but then I suspect they've gotten so stuck and satiated on TV, radio and print that ... well, whatever.

Shooting fish in a barrel's really so fun to get on the ad agency folks because they make themselves SUCH easy targets. I think Andreas proved that pretty well.

It's going to be really fun for about the next 3 years. Just remember at some point they ARE going to get even, and they are gonna be out for blood from all us clowns who exposed them for the idiots they were.

Hey Ad-Agency, I Tivo & skip your commercials, don't read the newspaper, much less magazine ads, I throw away all snail-mail advertisements, filter email spam, listen to my Ipod (not the radio), ignore highway billboards, and havent touched the yellowpages in years. I am the next generation - where are you going to advertise to me?

That is just too cool. Describes at least most TW'ers to a tea. Maybe they'll get it when the ad blindness increases to the point that all they do is field complaints from pissed off clients.


Lol. Yellowpages. That's a good one. Like a zombie - still walking around but it's quite dead and starting to smell funny.

Ed's "Real Marketing. Real Results"

This is Ed's killer online marketing plan:
I'm thinking about sticking with this whole SEO thing.

but then I suspect they've

but then I suspect they've gotten so stuck and satiated on TV, radio and print that ... well, whatever.

My guess is they don't want to have to take responsibility of their work: with the web everything is trackable, so you really have to improve on stuff. You have hard numbers.

With print, radio, tv, you don't have hard numbers you have to live up to. You can blame ineffectiveness on "Well, it is still good for branding."

Well, it is still good for

Well, it is still good for branding.

This is why I BARELY believe in branding (it's turned into the biggest cop-out in marketing):)

Imagine what their rankings would be like if they had used even 1/2 of the branding budget;)

My guess is they don't want

My guess is they don't want to have to take responsibility of their work: with the web everything is trackable, so you really have to improve on stuff. You have hard numbers.

I think that's pretty much it. I suspect they're used to throwing fortunes at advertising without (as you say) having to back it up with hard statistics. It's only going to get worse for them -- that's why they're turning to SEO, and why they're complaining about it.

Off course they don't like

Off course they don't like it. We're trying to tell people that organic SEO brings them targeted users, and that the visitor/client conversion is much higher in organic SEO than in any other type of ad advertising.

Yep. My guess is that SEO is

Yep. My guess is that SEO is now high enough on their radar that they can't resist the urge to invalidate SEO.

Unfortunately for them, all their clients (or their clients' associates) have to do is to observer that SEO works, at which time the advice of ad agencies invalidating SEO will be seen to be poor advice indeed. That is, it'll backfire on them.

Print yellow pages may be declining...

but online yellow pages and associated local search is growing.

Print yellow pages isn't dead yet, anyway. Analysts estimate there's another good 10 years in them. (In the interests of complete disclosure, I work for a yellow pages company, though I'm like russvirante in that I don't use those printed books any more.)

Also, the original quotation about SEO/SEM is amusing, and disingenuous. With that kind of lack of logic, one could say:

"You create this phoney imaginary scenario of television serving as a marketing vehicle when in reality, it’s primarily used to view entertainment programs."

Naturally, the author was just trying to exagerate to make a point, but it's irritating to me when they use so much hyperbole to do so. Folx use that much hyperbole when they can't prove a point thru logic.

Whatever about ad agencies...

Most of our design houses still have the same POV...

I would have thought that by

I would have thought that by now they would have gotten it, but I'm glad to hear they haven't. If I have any luck, they never will.


That was the dumbest thing, I've ever heard. No realy that was one of the stupidest quotes I've ever seen.

How can you even justify it. I can get my wife's ecommerce site to rub elbows online with or and make her look like a brick and mortar operation in less that a few months. Go figure.

Last time I checked ebay was found by word of mouth and search before they bought into traditional marketing. And what did they get from it? Some twinkle toed, bald headed fat ass jumping around singing about how he did it "my way"...

If these debates weren't so painful to observe, they'd be funny

I've worked both sides of the fence. There is no substitute for brand advertising in many (not all) cases, when trying to build a big, sustainable brand, or even a little, local one. Those who get the branding side of marketing have a huge advantage AFAIK. Those who don't get branding, please, step away from the computer, get into your Honda, fill up your tank at Chevron, go have a coffee at Starbucks, or try one of the new lunch meals at Burger King, check out the new phones at a nearby T-Mobile store just for fun, grab some groceries at Safeway on the way home (don't forget the Grey Poupon), and think about whether branding is really a scam. Puhleeeeease. ;-)

The problem IMHO, is that many insecure ad agency types are far more clueless about online stuff than the online crowd is about brand advertising. Worse, the sky really is falling in the traditional ad world (and they know it), not because branding doesn't work, but because direct marketing also works and DM happens to be what the Web does best in the realm of there is a predictable and unstoppable evolution of budgets towards the Web and away from traditional media. Same thing happened to radio BTW, when TV came along.

TV is getting more fragmented by the day, same for radio, magazines and newspapers are becoming less useful as news vehicles relative to the Web, and even classified ads have gone mainly online. All of this cuts into revenues and profitability for the ad agencies, which were facing declining margins even before the Web came along.

Personally I'm far more at home on the Web, mainly because it's more entrepreneurial, and still in it's very formative stages, so it's immensely interesting. But people and politics aside, all media, old and new, have their place. Old media types outta be spending less time sniping and more time figuring out how to evolve and stay relevant. New media types outta go to school on branding and classic marketing. Lots of good stuff to be learned, that can easily be translated to the Web.

Ooops, back to work. Gotta go put together a branding plan for a new Web site we're working on. :P

Gotta go put together a

Gotta go put together a branding plan for a new Web site we're working on.

I am just guessing I probably wouldn't spend as much time on branding elements as you would. I'd just get it a few more links and be done with it.


You never were much for branding, Mr.SEOBook.

a spade is a spade ;)

I was just teasing Caveman and hoping nobody would call me out on it hehehe


Well, Aaron may be big on links and tools, but AFAIK, he has done a remarkable job of branding what might have been just another generic term (seo book), and SEO Book enjoys a passionate following too. That ain't just a links thing.

Wardrobe and linkhound stuff aside. ;-)

>Wardrobe and linkhound

>Wardrobe and linkhound stuff aside. ;-)

At SES I will present the with a fashionable cape to don and a club for beating small furry animals.

SEO is Branding

I still there there is SERIOUS branding to be had for ranking across the board for relevent terms.

If one is searching for Brand A .. and Brand B is always showing up... doesn't that put them in the viewers mind as equal footing?

The Founder

We know differently, but IMO, yes, it does. Presence is part of branding.

Not the best forum for an

Not the best forum for an unbiased discussion of this topic is it? It's like a pub disussion that beer is bad for your liver.


Well I tried to keep it meaningful, and even tried to bait Stunty back into the fray, but WTF chance is there after the liver joke. Anyone care to buy me a beer?



That's many peoples perception of havenoclue agencyland, isn't it....

Naw, caveman; your

Naw, caveman; your information was good.

Media Reporting on Tribble

Looks like the Media is starting to write about Tribble.

I love this part: "They make

I love this part:

"They make their clients feel secure by telling them that the internet is NOT as big as it seems. It's just a lot of "fluff" and is actually on the decline, in fact the Internet is just a fad."

The problem for these guy is that the clients check out their competitors' websites -- oops.

>I'm coming around

>even tried to bait Stunty

I'm still torn...I was having a conversation with a friend today, and mentioned that a domain was only really worth the "branding value"...I stopped, and said "did I really just say that outloud" :)

I think I've beat agencies to death enough at least for a little while, but it sure is fun, because it sure is easy. That definitely doesn't mean that I'm not studying the 10% of branding that I *do* buy into:)

Branding in my mind is mainly awareness and even more than that, making something memorable preferably quickly)and associated with a positive emotion (or curing a negative one) I'd be curious to hear other folks definition of branding. (define:branding).
I just think most folks waaaaaaaaaaaay overpay for it:)

Think of how much better McDonalds could be if they just stopped their advertising like 1/2 the days of the month. Do you really think I'm gonna wake up some morning and FORGET they exist?

There's just sooo many better ways big companies could spend their with me:)

step away from the computer, get into your Honda branding I buy into...that is a big very seldom purchase. But with so much of the other stuff I think it's becoming counterproductive at times. I don't LIKE big box stuff as well as I like indy stuff. Perhaps I'm different than most (okay, highly likely), but people are starting to RESENT advertising that isn't targeted if they don't resent all advertising in general. The definition of branding is even evolving (into don't be annoying and obtrusive when hawking your wares)...and I think that's what's REALLY annoying about ad agency folks is that I can't trust the stuff they MIGHT be right about because they are so afraid of changing to new stuff that they insist on being right about everything.

How many NEW school big brands really got much bang for their buck once they started traditional ad campaigns? I jus' think it's an area of diminishing returns...lots of $$ spent for very little returns...maybe they need the writeoffs *shrugs*

I think there is definitely still value in traditional media...and believe me I'm tryin' to figure some of it out...but it's more in stuff like the mitsubishi see what happends next a testament to "non-branding" I thought it was nissan first when I googled for a site on the commercial...I didn't remember the brand from the one or two times I saw the commercial, but I did remember the commercial...all I need to find stuff now is a search engine...I don't need to be beat over the head with it 9 times anymore. Just tell me to google pontiac in a 15 second spot and show me all the features and how fast it goes. Spend the extra cash on a viral monkey flash animation or actually hiring better engineers and innovating better features. Maybe part of what is so irritating about TV ads to me is that there is so seldom a call to action.

Maybe I SHOULD hang around more agency folks...they sure make marketing seem a lot easier to me than the guys who know mod_rewrite, all about cookies, and 12 different scripting languages;)

not sure who's 'not getting' what here?

frankly I think you're all a little unfair to traditional media, the majority of SEO methods (both hat types) are based upon time honoured advertising, marketing and PR methods. SEO's aren the first people to have thought of them and won't be the last.

Good marketing/advertising people have never done everything. Thats why print buyers and copywriters etc exist. Why should they be able to do SEO? Yes they should understand the benefits of online marketing, and yes they should work with an SEO company to ensure that their offline ads/branding tie into online activity. But very few SEO's I know would be able to conceive a corporate brand strategy or an advertising campaign, and Ad Agencies exist to creat ad campaigns - not to rank someone top in Google.

You surely understand the real difference?, and yes it is largely branding, think back to some of the earliest TV ads you can remember. For me (in the UK) its stuff like the R Whites 'secret lemonade drinker' one, or Cadburies Flake, or Smash. Now if someone can explain to me how SEO (or SEM unbacked by offline media) could have made a generation associate small metal aliens with powdered potato quite so well, or for so long, then I'll be impressed. Offline Marketing is about Hearts and Minds. Online Marketing is about driving traffic and being found. Thats very short term; I can't really remember two or three years on what any of the online virals have been about, except the ones which originated as offline ads (and I rarely watch TV but the newspaper and poster campaigns reinforce the message).

Remember that half the population hardly use a computer, and the most powerful consumer market force (pester power) tend not to get sent viral marketing e-mails or click on PPC. POS is still made of cardboard and people on public transport are not all engrossed in their PDA's but are reading the posters. Being top on google for 'cheap phone calls to australia' will not make the backpacker buy your phonecard, They got one at Picadilly after they got off the Tube.

One day that'll all change but it hasn't happened yet and as long as the search engines feel the need to advertise in that old fashioned, not value for money and apparantly stupid old-media way then I guess it should be admitted that both methods have their place?

believe it or not...

if someone can explain to me how SEO (or SEM unbacked by offline media) could have made a generation associate small metal aliens with powdered potato quite so well, or for so long, then I'll be impressed.

I was just finishing a post on this very subject, but I decided not to hit the publish button. I don't want to tip my SEO strategy cards to the humans too early.

Aaron, can you tell what's

Aaron, can you tell what's that plugin you're using for the serps ? With the .gov links and so on.


so the next generation of web-savvy consumers are going to associate small metal aliens with TW and me? :D I can work with that....

I think it can be done, but even the famous 'online success' stories have offline help. Google didn't advertise much offline until recently but Google had a product which specifically targetted techies and then spread by word of mouth and in part by offline media reporting. That wouldn't be so easy to achieve with, say, sun awnings for your house, a new type of cheesy triangle or the end of season sale at Department Store X.

what's that plugin

what's that plugin

it probably will not be ready for launch for another week or two.

TW and me?

no no no

not you...your brand :p

Branding is the last refuge of the incompetent (online anyway)

I'm quite happy to rank in the serps and get top PPC placement without any branding - and in the process take a good chunk of business from the big brands. They can run their print and media ads for a gajillion bucks, the fact is you don't need branding to compete online. Branding helps with type in traffic, but if I'm at the top of the serps somehow, I'm getting traffic regardless if the consumer's ever seen the name before or associates my name with warm and fuzzies.

Branding has it's place, but it's suitable only for large corporations who've exhausted other avenues where you can actually measure roi. For the rest of us, SEO is what puts money in the bank.

not always

I have a client which sucks in the serps (no I don't do their SEO) but they understand PR and they understand old fashioned marketing. They're gaining not loosing market share in a hugely competitive industry (travel), taking a load of online bookings, and they're only a 10 person company.

SEO does put money in the bank but its not the only thing that does.


seconds request for that plugin ...

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