Who is Rand Fishkin? Rand Fishkin is the founder of Moz, an inbound marketing software company. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author and popular speaker on all things SEO. In this blog post, get to know more about Rand and his journey as an entrepreneur.
Who is Rand Fishkin?
Rand Fishkin is the co-founder and former CEO of Moz, a software company that offers inbound marketing and marketing analytics software. He is also the co-founder of Inbound.org, an online community for inbound marketers.
Who is Rand Fishkin beyond the Wizard of Moz? He’s also the bestselling author of Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World.
As the CEO of Moz, he’s helped countless marketers improve their skills.
Rand’s excitement for the industry and how marketing and marketing technology are essential to businesses shows how much he cares about helping them improve.
How Rand Fishkin Created An SEO Empire: The Story Of Moz
Our obsession with Google dates back to the earliest days of the internet.
Thanks to the proliferation of smartphone technology, the way we consume and share information has completely changed. We can now find and communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time.
The search engine market was booming in the late ’90s and early 2000s, with companies such as Yahoo and AOL dominating. Unfortunately, as time went on, the major players either disappeared or were bought out by larger companies.
However, the early-comers to the so-called search game have all but vanished from the marketplace. The meteoric rise of search engines such as Alta Vista, and later on, Yahoo, was staggering, to say the least. But they were unable to keep up with Google’s momentum or retain their market share.
In fact, ever since Google released its then-little-known search engine, things have drastically changed in this virtual playing field.
When Google first opened its doors in 1997, people were flocking to it.
At a time when many of the then-prominent search engines were relying primarily on hand-indexing data, Google instead leveraged powerful algorithms to categorize and catalog the world’s digital information based on a potent little formula called PageRank.This allowed them to quickly and effectively become the leading search engine, a position they still hold today.
Since then, much of the online search market share has been skewed.
Most of the world’s search is conducted through Google’s search engine, which accounted for 89.44 percent of desktop searches in the first quarter of 2016. This stranglehold that they’ve maintained throughout the company’s existence has given them a lot of power in the online market.
While many people appreciate the prominent position of Google search, few understand the intricacies of the search algorithm.
In fact, the search giant has built a colossal business on this very fundamental tenet. Google is the most popular and relevant search engine available. It provides quick and accurate results without any extraneous clutter.
When searching on Google, it is known that the results found on the first page of its search engine results pages (SERPs) are going to be the most relevant and useful. The search giant has built a successful business on this very fundamental principle.
Still, as Google has become more prevalent, so too has confusion about the company arisen. This is due in part to the fact that Google obscures some of its practices, shielding the inner workings of how it ranks at the top of SERPs from potential competitors and rule-abusers.
The underlying foundation of an impartial organic-search system demands obscurity to avoid gaming of the system. Additionally, Google desires to shield many of its inner workings from potential competitors and rule-abusers.
But, don’t solely lay the blame at Google’s feet. After all, it’s had its hands tied somewhat lately.
Google’s hands were tied due to the rise of unscrupulous individuals who learned how to break its rules and guarantee themselves the top spot on SERPs. These individuals have reaped the economic benefits that come with near-limitless free organic search traffic.
What started out as a small group of people with valuable information, turned into an illegitimate ‘black hat’ business where people were using sneaky and underhand methods to get ahead. But, thankfully, Google didn’t just sit back and watch. They fought these unscrupulous tactics and now, thanks to them, the web is a safer, more honest place to be.
Google’s search algorithms have evolved over the years, and they’ve gone through several name changes, including Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird.
The goal of these algorithm changes was to improve the quality of the web by weeding out spam content and increasing the overall value proposition.
Google has definitely achieved a lot!
Unfortunately, in the wake of this, many so-called experts have given out bad information. Many have spread their advice on blogs and social media sites, in books, and on audio.
Everyone knows the importance of being ranked highly in search engines.
The importance of SEO is hard to overstate. With millions of websites competing for the same search engine rankings, entire industries have sprung up around optimizing for search engines.
The Rise Of MOZ
As an entrepreneur, SEO expert, and founder of Moz, one of the world’s top marketing blogs, he has seen the growth of this industry firsthand.
In 2001, Fishkin was well aware of the importance of search engine optimization for driving traffic through search engines such as Google, MSN, and Yahoo.
Not only did he realize that being at the top of the search engine results pages was crucial to being found by potential customers, he personally witnessed how competitive and cutthroat the world of SEO can be.
He realized that there was a lack of information on this topic.
At first, he focused on figuring out how to rank on Google. But, he quickly realized that he needed to rely on other contractors and other local companies that he knew.
As demand for SEO services grew, so did the prices that businesses were willing to pay. This caused many business owners to hire outside agencies, which increased their costs and limited their control over their campaigns. However, by hiring an in-house team, he was able to keep his expenses low and maintain control over the campaign.
He was obsessed with creating websites that were not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional.
But not on marketing.
Eventually, Fishkin had no choice but to begin lurking in the online forums and asking questions to get answers.
After some time had passed, not only did he become proficient in SEO but authority as well. He had amassed so much material, data, and analysis that he could no longer rely on forums as his sole outlet. He needed another way to share this information.
After much deliberation, Fishkin decided to open a blog called SEOmoz in November 2004. He was frustrated with the lack of knowledge available about the “opaque, secretive world of SEO”.
However, it was those early days that were fraught with much struggle.
The company struggled to make money in the beginning. Fishkin questioned his decision to move into the SEO business, but he kept at it, sharing relevant and high-quality information consistently. This eventually led to the success of SEOmoz.
From the SEOmoz blog came the SEOmoz consulting business, which eventually transformed into today’s Moz software business.
But the first few years were rough. They struggled to find any way they could make money.
They had no strategy and jumped at every project that came along, from one customer to another. The turning point came when they launched the Moz blog, which attracted a steady flow of clients.
Once he had refined his idea, he focused on his messaging and company vision.
Since then, the blog that was previously unknown to the world has turned into an SEO empire.
Today, Fishkin’s SEO software business offers three core services:
- Moz Pro, a subscription service that offers tools such as keyword explorer and the open site explorer designed for professional SEOs
- Moz Local, a service designed to help small businesses manage their profile and map listing
- Moz API, for individuals who want programmatic access to their data
In 2007, Moz raised $1.1 million from investors, including Ignition Partners and Curious Office.
By 2010, the company was on the Inc. 500 list, ranking #334.
SEOmoz was named one of the “Best Places to Work … and Play” by Seattle Met in April 2011.
In 2012, the Foundry Group led a round of $18 million in venture capital funding into the business, allowing them to grow to over 155 employees and expand into new offices.
The MOZ website now receives over 3 million unique visitors each month. There are 23,000+ Moz Pro accounts and 14,000+ Moz local users.
That’s a great accomplishment for a once-struggling blog!
While Fishkin’s success is a testament to the power of persistence and self-belief, he remains humble. Although he is no longer CEO – a position he held for many years before handing over the reins to Sarah Bird in 2013 – he still feels a sense of responsibility to both Moz’s investors and employees.
For him, it has never been about making money; instead, his goal has always been to make a positive impact on the world.
How to Improve Your Search Rankings
As a renowned expert in the search engine optimization industry, I asked Fishkin for his top three SEO tips for newbies.
Organic SEO is, without a doubt, the most effective way to drive traffic to your website. However, it takes a lot of time and effort to get it right.
Here’s what Fishkin said:
First – don’t jump into doing what you think is helping your search engine optimization until you’ve spent serious time learning about it, and ideally, have mentored with an experienced professional. Search engine optimization is deceptively simple, but is actually very complex. For instance, you might think that buying links to boost the number of inbound links to your page will boost your rankings, only to find out that Google is penalizing sites that have too many outbound or purchased backlinks. Or, you may think that creating tons of similar but slightly different pages of content for your target terms will help your ranking, only to find out this kind of “thin” or “duplicate” content is hurting your organic search performance. Or, you may have heard about rel=canonical, a metatag that tells a search engine that a particular URL should be treated as the canonical version of that resource, and that it should be redirected to another, more important, canonical version. But, if you add this tag to every page in your domain, you’re actually killing your search engine visibility.
Second – before you even begin creating content, think to yourself, “Who is going to help spread this and why?” If you can’t think of a great, concrete answer, then it’s probably not worth it to create it. Content that doesn’t earn links, shares, email forwards, word-of-mouth, press, etc. probably won’t stand out, won’t rank, and won’t be worth your energy to build.
Third – Don’t expect immediate results from your search engine optimization efforts. It’s the exact opposite of marketing, where results come fast and easily. Instead, it requires a huge investment in time, energy, and creativity, and you won’t see the fruits of your labors for months. But when it does, it can provide a massive return on investment, far outpacing what you get from other types of marketing efforts.
When asked what the biggest mistakes are for an SEO, this is what he had to say about it:
Almost everything in SEO that sounds too good to be true (cheap links, instant rankings, guaranteed success, etc) is. An SEO specialist should never do anything that they can’t explain to you in plain English. Don’t hire someone who “can’t share the secret sauce.”
There are no tricks to getting good rankings in search engines. It’s just like anything else – it takes hard work, but it’s a logical process.
Don’t use a website that is free, like blogger or wordpress, as your main business site. Also, don’t rely on Facebook or Yelp as your business’s homepage.
Get your own domain name, choose a content management system (CMS), get your own web hosting, and own your digital space.
What Does The Future Hold For Moz?
Out of a desire and willingness to provide the most value possible, the experts at SEOmoz have become the leading authority in search marketing.
For anyone interested in SEO, there’s no better resource than Moz. Whether you’re looking for educational content or tools to help with your efforts, Moz has it all.
But Fishkin downplays his success.
As a business owner, he primarily focuses on making money for his investors, paying his employees, and taking care of his customers. He is also interested in helping those using SEO to get their business out there.
Who is Rand Fishkin? Rand Fishkin is an entrepreneur and founder of Moz, an inbound marketing software company. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author and popular speaker on all things SEO. In this blog post, we got to know more about Rand and his journey as an entrepreneur. His story is inspiring and shows that with hard work and dedication, anyone can be successful in the digital marketing industry.