Why We Don’t Tell People How to Do Their Job

Why We Don’t Tell People How to Do Their Job

There is one thing that you won’t find on our site, and that’s how to do your job. While it’s tempting to be the company that provides tools, services, and also teaches you how to do Internet marketing, we feel the negatives outweigh the positives.

Similar to our attitude about a tools company doing services, we made the decision a long time ago to not position ourselves as a source of education. We feel strongly about this, and here are the reasons why we made that decision.

You Know Best

Raven wasn’t simply built from our own ideas, it was (and still is) designed through a collaborative process with our users. That process has included feedback from small, medium, and enterprise level agencies and in-house marketing departments. It’s also a process that has strived to understand the unique needs of each company, and then solve the problem of providing tools that can be used by all users, regardless of how they approach their marketing campaigns.

Simply put, we are more focused on building better tools, than trying to convince you that we know more about SEO than you do.

We Will Be Wrong

There are so many unknown factors that influence ranking, that it’s virtually impossible to state strategy as fact or solid scientific evidence. Even if our own correlations worked well in our own studies, it doesn’t mean it would replicate well for anyone else. The variables are simply too diverse to come to any conclusions, other than hypothesis, quasi-theories, and new ideas to test.

The other problem with the fact that we will be wrong, is that it can isolate us from our own customers. If we have customers that have a different philosophy and approach towards Internet marketing – one that has been quite successful for them – why would we want to position ourselves against them? Furthermore, what if our advice or so-called expertise, if put into practice, harms their campaign? It’s a dual-relationship we have no desire to pursue.

It Can Taint Our Motives

If our goal was to both teach you, and provide you the tools, then that would directly influence our motives. For example, when we held educational seminars, it would be in our best interest to align our preferred strategies with our tools. It would also affect how we make the tools. Instead of listening to you, we would really be listening to ourselves, regardless of what we stated publicly.

For us, telling people how to do their job, while also trying to promote our own tools, blurs the line between true teaching and self gain.

Learning to Do Your Job

If you’re new to Internet marketing, then there are excellent beginner and intermediate resources that are available. Here are just a handful of places to start:

Once you get a good grasp on the basics of Internet marketing, it’s time for you to do your own learning. You do that by:

How We Will Educate

With all of that being said, we will educate you on how to use our software. We are about to release a new User Manual, we’ll be launching a weekly webinar series very soon, and are making changes to improve the overall help documentation within Raven. We are committed to doing our job, and enabling you to do yours better.

Jon Henshaw
Co-Founder and President

Jon is the Co-founder and President of Raven Internet Marketing Tools.

Jon is the Co-founder and President of Raven Internet Marketing Tools.

  • http://Skitzzo.com Ben Cook

    As usual, you guys have taken an admirable stance on a tricky issue.

    At the risk of sounding like a fan-boy, Raven consistently sets the standard for other SEO tool companies in terms of features as well as ethics.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Christa Watson

    Ben, you’re such a fanboi! ;P

    (No but seriously, love you guys :)

  • http://yoyoseo.com Dana Lookadoo

    Can’t I just RT, I mean copy Ben’s comment, at the risk of sounding like a fan girl?

    I appreciate your sharing the resources as well – a good educational post in itself. I can only imagine the challenges you face.

    Key things Raven provides as part of the tool(s) are essential areas users can realize should be part of their process, if such are not already. However, goals and philosophies do vary widely. Thank you for providing a framework in which Raven serves to support such variety.

  • http://Skitzzo.com Ben Cook

    Ok, ok I admit it, I am a fanboi (is there an official spelling on this?) but Raven has earned it.

    @Dana, I agree it’s got to be a challenge to toe the line when in this sector. But I think this approach is a good one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read posts by some high profile SEO blogs that leave me with the impression their methods & findings are skewed to help sell more product.

  • Justin Freid

    Great insight – I happen to work for a PPC Software company in an account management role. The dilemma you describe above occurs on a daily basis for me.

    We have clients who have recently moved away from using an agency and are attempting to move their SEM Management in house, they often look to us as resources on how to structure their account, help building out their keyword list etc…

    It puts us in a very awkward position and goes against the grind of our SaaS business model.

  • Bill Hartzer

    I’m glad to see that Raven is sticking to what they do best, which is create great tools. Certainly there are ways to use tools in different ways, just like we all have our different ways of using Google to search for stuff.

    Doesn’t it all come down to something that my father said to me when I was a kid:
    Stick to one thing and do it well.

  • Amy Engler

    I am excited about the user manual and webinars!

  • Ross Hudgens

    I’m not sure I love this. Although SEOMoz’s clearly uses their blog to help inform their tools, the sheer amount of data they have helps educate, when previously, it was not possible.

    As a data hub you have the clear ability to use it to educate on possible SEO trends/algorithm shifts. As SEO’s we only have a limited dataset with which to make conclusions, and often times, our decisions our misguided. We don’t have the time to get proper sample sizes, only educated opinions. You have a larger data set, therefore, the ability to educate.

    Yes SEOMoz’s education is skewed to get you to buy their product, but still, it’s not obtrusive. I have not once thought when viewing their blog “what scam artists, they just want my $”. You have the potential to do this same thing – plus, you are missing a real promotion funnel by not leveraging this to get additional, naive viewers to your website.

  • Jon Henshaw

    Ross, we have no intention of using our customers’ data for our own gain. Also, the only obligation we have is to keep their data private and secure. We’ve also found that we don’t need to do those things to bring attention to ourselves, we just need to have a good product.

    Edit to clarify my reply above, in response to feedback
    I was mainly responding to the previous comment about obligation and the suggestion we should use customer data to help bring attention to ourselves. I was not agreeing with the statement that “SEOmoz skews their education to sell their products,” or implying that they might misuse their customer data in any way. I have friends that work at SEOmoz, and I have no reason to believe that their integrity is anything less than their own TAGFEE tenets.

  • http://imlr.org Ian Miller

    I think the only issue would be where the teachings can help inform the use of the tools themselves. e.g. “We built this tool for this reason; here’s an example walkthrough of why it’s built this way.”

    There are always shades of grey and people wanting to know how they should do their job, but I don’t have a problem (and would encourage) more posts/guides explaining how to get the most out of the tools, or highlighting features people might have missed.

    Other good examples would be workflow, perhaps screencasts of going through the tools as how you see them stiching together. I only say this as it would be really helpful for when we have new starters first exposure to the tools/methodology behind it.

  • Jon Henshaw

    Ian, we are in complete agreement with you. As we build out our help documentation and tutorials, we will include how to best use our tools for certain techniques and approaches. The difference is that we aren’t going to say that you should do this link building technique versus that technique. Our goal is to make the tools generalized enough that they work well for many different approaches.

    Although it’s a year old, here’s a good example of how we plan on handling those types of tutorials: Raven’s Link Building Ecosystem. I show you how to use the software, but ultimately it’s up to you in regards to how you do your link building, whether or not you pay for links, etc… But this gives a decent example of how you can use our tools for managing link building data.