An Interview with Rand Fishkin – Co-Founder of Moz and Experienced SEO-Marketer

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“…Love the ability to share an idea and get feedback, amplification, and appreciation so immediately”


It’s impossible to promote any website without using the correct SEO methods and techniques. If you run your business online and strive to always “stay in the competition” then it is much essential to be informed of the current SEO trends and proven tips that result in better conversions, more satisfied customers and increased sales. The recognized experts in search-engine marketing share with us their vision and experience on how to make your online presence more effective and dynamic. Moreover, they are pleased to share the most exciting facts from their lives and self-development to inspire you for success in your particular field.

Rand Fishkin (a co-founder of Moz – a SEO-consulting company based in Seattle) has versatile personality. He is really “addict of all things content, search and social on the web”. In his interview for GT3 Themes Rand speaks on SEO trends that don’t go away, his Whiteboard Friday blog, the best books on SEO, and the thorny path to success.

1. Would you please share a bit about yourself and your field of expertise?

“Certainly. I’m the co-founder of Moz, a Seattle-based software company helping people with organic/non-paid web marketing channels like SEO, social media, local listings, and content marketing. My expertise is, broadly, in web marketing, and I’ve got deeper specialization in SEO specifically.”

2. What was the first thing that inspired you to get into consulting?

“My Mom was running a consulting/services business back in 2001 when I dropped out of college, and I liked building websites (and didn’t really want to try applying for jobs with my dropout resume). Moz got out of the consulting business in 2009, though we’d been winding it down since 2007 when we shifted to a software-focus. I liked the helping-people aspect of consulting, but was never very passionate about the business model.”

3. Can you name several strengths that help you combine the skills of a SEO Expert and online marketer with those of a startup junkie and a brilliant blogger?

“Ha! I don’t know about “brilliant,” maybe just “obsessed” blogger would describe me better šŸ™‚

Some of the strengths and skills that have helped me over the years include:
Relentless obsession with proving myself – I’ve never felt good or good enough about my professional accomplishments, and that’s always a driving force in my writing, my work, and my emotional state.
The ability to translate complex topics into understandable, enjoyable content – whether that’s written blog posts, videos, presentations, guides, or books.

An amazing network of people who care about me and want to help me succeed; I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve that, but I’m constantly striving to give back as much as I can to the people in my life and the people in my communities (Seattle, the web marketing world, the startup world, etc).”

4. I’ve heard that Moz was launched when tons of collected material outgrew the forums. Can you claim that just a large amount of quality and targeted content was helpful to quickly promote your website from the very beginning? Or can you claim that your website promotion was a thorny path at first?

“It was VERY thorny at first. It took almost 2 years before Moz really had success in building an audience with our blog and website, and many more years before we were a true industry leader, even in the small niche of SEO. Building an audience online is a process, not an overnight lucky break.”


5. Can you please name two current online marketing trends that aren’t going away and stay effective for more than 10 years. What are the two freshest trends you advice to follow today?

“I like that question!

#1 – Higher Signal: Noise Ratio – because there’s so much content and so many channels today, and that number keeps rising, I believe the people, brands, and voices that stand out from the crowd and build powerful audiences are going to be those who produce the best work on an ongoing basis and have deep empathy for their communities. That means not just producing lots of content or material, but being respectful of the challenge of keeping up and only creating truly worthwhile, uniquely valuable stuff.

#2 – Owning Your Primary Marketing Home – Over the last 20 years of the web, we’ve seen tons of companies attempt to “own” the platform for businesses and organizations. Back in the early days, it was AOL, then Amazon and Ebay, then LinkedIn, then Facebook, now Medium and Snapchat and Android/iPhone and dozens of others are vying to be the central place to which brands drive their traffic.

In none of those cases was it ever a good idea to build your marketing and conversion home on the web on someone else’s platform. For all the time I’ve been in the field, the best and most secure way to do web marketing has been to own your website, make that the central focus of your online efforts, and use every other channel to direct traffic there. I don’t see that changing anytime in the next 10 years.”

6. Can you briefly describe a few main changes in design and content made to Moz during the last 3 years? Share please just a single key advice for current businesses to make their websites work a bit more efficient for a brand promotion?

“We’ve changed a lot over the last 3 years – we migrated from an old brand “SEOmoz” to a new, broader one “Moz” and grown traffic ~2X in those 3 years (from ~1.5mm visits/month to ~3mm visits/month). We’ve also moved from a single-product business to a multi-product business, and that’s changed a lot about our approach to our website and our marketing channels/projects.

As far as advice – my best tip is to interview your current customers, a sample set of potential customers who’ve considered you (hopefully you’ve got some of those email addresses), and a sample of folks who are similar to your current customers in profile (demographics, psychographics, etc) but haven’t yet experienced your brand/product. Ask them all questions about what made them choose you (or what would), how they found you (or where they go now to find answers to the problems you provide) and what would make them consider you (or stay with you). Those answers will provide huge value in terms of crafting the right messages for your website and your conversion funnel.

For more detail, see this video.

7. I know you’ve got 4 different blogs at Moz and you run a Whiteboard Friday blog, what do you personally like the most about blogging? How does your team help you with your blog? Were there any readers of “YouMoz” that now write for it on a regular basis?

“I love the ability to share an idea and get feedback, amplification, and appreciation so immediately. My favorite posts are the ones where folks tell me “this really helped me in my professional/personal life.”

As far as the team helping – it’s really our Audience Development team that runs the blog. I just contribute an occasional post or video. They determine the content, the schedule, and what posts to promote.

Regarding Youmoz – yes! Absolutely. Lots of former readers make up the authors for the blog, and that’s even true of the main Moz blog.”

8. How did the idea of appear? Say a few words on the goal of this project please.

“Dharmesh and I really wanted a place where marketers could come to share their experiences and the best content from around the industry on a regular basis. Our hope was to build a clone of Hacker News for marketers.

Since Hubspot took over the project a couple years back, they’ve expanded the mission and today are working to build a bigger, more inclusive, more fully-featured community. So far, it’s looking great :-)”

9. What is your daily routine? What tasks you can’t imagine your usual working day without? Will you please say a few words on how to manage time to make a daily work more efficient?

“I’m addicted to email – I’m always working to get to inbox 0, and one of my best productivity devices is to make everything I do go through that one communication channel. We use tools like Jira and Slack at Moz as well, but I have all the notifications go to my Gmail, and then I manage them through that system. When I have nothing on my calendar and no more emails in my inbox, I’ve finished my work. It’s a great way to stay productive and in easily accessible communication.”

10. I’ve heard about some of your books on SEO, Inbound marketing and the related subjects. What one would you recommend to read to folks interested in making their website more effective?

“If you’re seeking to improve your website overall, my favorite book on the topic is still Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. For those seeking to learn about SEO, I’d check out the Art of SEO, which covers that topic in great detail.”

We are thankful to Rand for providing our readers with a precious advice on product promotion, giving us an insight on how to make any work more efficient and sharing the most interesting facts from his creative life.

About the Author
Being involved in this diverse world of web design, I enjoy writing various blog entries regarding WordPress and all around topics, starting from its functionality and capabilities to the latest news and updates. Also Iā€™m always ready to share some useful materials and free stuff that can be really helpful for your website maintenance.

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