We’re excited to have interviewed Portland SEO Expert Kent Lewis, from Anvil Media, for the next installment of our Featured SEO Expert Series!
As president and founder of Anvil Media, Lewis oversees the strategic direction of the company, with a focus on sales and marketing. He speaks internationally, writes for industry publications and has been an adjunct professor at Portland State University since 2000. He’s founded and co-founded four agencies and two organizations since 1999, including pdxMindShare and SEMpdx in Portland. He’s been named a Top 40 Under 40 and Marketer of the Year by AMA Oregon and was BuzzSumo’s Top 100 Digital Marketing Influencer in 2019. Outside of work, Lewis enjoys consulting with startups and spending time with family.
What would you say is unique and/or challenging about the Portland area SEO industry?
“The greatest challenge facing SEO professionals in Portland is market saturation. There are too many SEO pros in such a small market, even when many of the service providers support clients outside of Greater Portland.”
How does your agency stand out in a crowded market like Portland with so many good agencies in the region?
“As one of the oldest SEO/SEM agencies in Portland, we’ve won more awards and generated more press coverage and credibility as thought leaders than any other firm in the market. We’re also actively involved in the community (SEMpdx, pdxMindShare, EO Portland, Portland Business Journal Leadership Trust, etc.) which helps differentiate us from competitors.”
“I first started working with Travel Portland in 1998. Since then, I’ve worked with them at three different agencies. Prior to COVID, the organization tapped us to ensure their website outranked all other Portland-related tourism resources. For the past decade or more, we’ve helped them maintain a top position for Portland tourism search terms. They are not an active client currently, so I don’t have current data, but you can check Google yourself to verify they still own top ranking for most Portland searches.”
What is the best advice you ever received in business?
“The best business advice I’ve received is ‘there is margin in mystery’ – which fueled my pursuit of ‘web marketing’ back in 1996, when there were no books, conferences or classes on the topic.”
What do you think is the most important quality that makes an agency truly great?
“I believe the number one quality an agency needs to have to be truly great is curiosity. Agencies that focus too much on growth or profit tend to forget the importance of staying relevant in a dynamic industry. At Anvil, we’ve embraced leading-edge technology and trends to ensure our clients are well-served. Twenty years ago, it was social media, email marketing and online PR. Fifteen years ago, it was video and mobile marketing. Ten years ago, it was marketing automation. Five years ago, it was Amazon and voice search. This year, we’ve focused on NFT marketing.”
Any predictions for the future of SEO?
“I believe Google will continue to shift ranking focus from on-site (keywords and site speed) and off-site factors (links and mentions) to user behavior (click-throughs, time-on-site, social sharing, reviews, etc.).”
What is your reaction when you hear that “SEO is dying”?
“If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that, I’d be retired. A decade ago, I got into a big argument with a very senior marketer at a global tech giant about the death of SEO. He predicted a six-month time horizon. I disagreed. I was correct. SEO will continue to evolve for sure, but it hasn’t changed dramatically since I first started optimizing websites in 1996. The fundamentals still revolve around Content, Code and Credibility. “
What do you think is the most important contributor to keeping clients happy?
“My mantra is to delight, then elevate. If you don’t build respect and likability with a client early in the relationship, it doesn’t matter if you generate a strong ROI. I’ve lost most of my clients the past 25 years due to lack of delight. I’ve lost a handful of those clients due to lack of results (elevation).”
Interested in being considered as an SEOblog “Featured SEO Expert”? Reach out to our team at [email protected]! We’d love to hear from you and give you a high-traffic platform to share your SEO agency’s story and insights.