The message in the length of a tweet: Distilled is opening an office in Seattle and taking over SEOmoz's consulting business.
This might be the single biggest step we have ever taken. In some ways, it's bigger than when Duncan and I first started the company. When we started, we had very little - no contacts, few assets, no clients and no employees. Personally, we were both unmarried and renting. Over the last (nearly) 5 years, we have grown a ~£1m business that employs 16 people, both got married, bought flats, sold flats and bought houses.
It turns out that this isn't enough. We are still shooting for 2010 to be a bigger year personally and professionally. Not only are we both starting families in 2010, but we are also taking the Distilled family to the US of A.
As many of you will know, over the last couple of years, we have worked very closely with SEOmoz:
- in 2007, we started informally working together and receiving referrals from the recommended list (including some big name brands that we are still working with today) - in mid-2008, we teamed up more formally as global associates to work together on consulting projects and contribute to Q&A and the main blog - in October last year, we collaborated on the London PRO SEO training seminar that brought together a couple of hundred expert SEOs (and aspiring expert SEOs) for two days of fantastic learning and networking
The Global Associates deal has worked well for both sides. We have worked together for some great clients (including Microsoft, Real Networks' Film.com, Scribd.com, etsy and others) and I think we've written some pretty cool stuff:
- A linkbuilding method so effective I can't believe it's not blackhat (by Tom) - The 3 cornerstones of SEO (one of my favourites of Duncan's posts - maybe because he nicked the diagram from me) - 7 ways to use the web developer toolbar for SEO (by Rob) - How to find out what search engine users are really asking (by Rich)
I'm also told that the accent works well for Whiteboard Friday (I joined some early ones, ran some myself and am going to be appearing in a few over the next few weeks after Rand and I recorded five on my recent trip to Seattle (so far, Scott has published kill the head or chase the tail? and making clients happy).
For a variety of reasons (which I'll let Rand elaborate on in his post on the subject - I'll update this with a link when that's live), SEOmoz has been moving further away from consulting over the time we have worked together (and this formed a large part of the evolving goal of the global associates relationship). In summary, though, they want to focus on growing their awesome products and community and consulting is both a distraction (especially a time-sink on Rand personally) and a potentially confusing message for agencies considering using Linkscape and paying for PRO membership. For some time, Rand, the rest of the SEOmoz management and their board have wanted to move away from this, and now the time has come to make that leap as their PRO community goes from strength to strength.
At the same time, it seems crazy to throw away such a powerful legacy of branding, success and relationships. We are focussing 100% on making our client services as good as they can possibly be and are excited about reaching ever more clients in more places.
For those skipping to the punchline, here's the low-down:
- Distilled Limited now has a wholly-owned subsidiary, Distilled LLC registered in WA - There isn't much of a US web presence yet, but you can still check out distilledconsulting.com - Rob Ousbey, one of the lead SEOs at Distilled here in London is heading West to brave the frontier and begin the process of establishing our US office - We are opening up office in Seattle - A relationship very similar to the 'global associate' deal outlined above will continue - with our staff writing for SEOmoz, answering Q&A and contributing to product decisions and testing (in exchange for which we will get loads of access to powerful tools, data and expertise) - We will manage the SEO consulting page on the SEOmoz website and handle bespoke consulting needs for any of the SEOmoz community who would like to work with us. Rand, Scott, Gillian et al. will also continue to pass people who enquire directly to them on to us (for which we will be paying a small commission) - We will all continue to refer to the recommended list where appropriate - We are now hiring in the UK and the US: if you are a talented SEO or great marketing administrator, please check out our jobs pages - Yes, we are also wondering if we did this just to make ourselves into a case study in international domain strategy.
We are already working with a number of US (and especially West-coast) companies and are hoping to announce new deals in the upcoming weeks. If you are based in the US and always really wanted to work with Distilled, but thought we only worked with UK companies, think again - now is a great time to get in touch.