Interview with Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz and the Search World Today

By On January 23, 2012 • Search Engine Optimization Comments (6)

rand fishkin

This is my SEO Dream, an interview with one of the best SEO professional in the industry – Rand Fishkin, CEO + Founder of SEOmoz. The most intelligent and good looking SEO that I have ever seen (HA!).

I want to say big thanks to Rand Fishkin for doing this interview. I asked this to him as a birthday gift and he answered, VIOLA! Everybody knows this man, but reading this interview will surprise you a lot about Rand Fishkin and SEOmoz + the SEO world.

SEO would never be complete without Rand, the man behind one of the best SEO software and community, SEOmoz.

Who is Rand Fishkin before SEOmoz? What made you choose SEO?

I used to be in web design/development but as our clients needed to earn traffic, we hired SEO consultants to help with that projects. When they got stuck, I learned the practice myself and tried to help others through the SEOmoz blog. Eventually, that site became popular and we changed the name of the business to SEOmoz (though to this day we maintain it on a .org).

How do you spend your free time when you are out the SEOmoz world? (just curious how a busy man like you spend his free time)

I don’t have much free time. As I type this, I’m half-watching an NFL game (I love pro football, but have never gotten into college), which is one of the only things I do outside of work.

You always say that transparency is one of the biggest success story behind SEOmoz. Would you cite a simple situation wherein transparency was the biggest credit for SEOmoz?

One example of our transparency is that we share our revenue, traffic and expense numbers annually. You can see some pretty up-to-date figures in my blog post about our failed VC round from this summer.

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What SEO move that you made from recent years that can give weight on the quotation “Work hard today and be rewarded tomorrow.”

We did a lot of hard work earning the links, references and brand that we have today. We’ve never bought a link (except in this experiment, but even then, they didn’t point to Moz), never engaged in manipulative or black hat practices to grow our traffic and today, we’re recording almost 1.5 million visits, with 95%+ coming from organic sources – RSS readers, search engines, social media, direct traffic, etc. That organic traffic means our customers find us naturally, come to like our brand and our product and sign up for our software. We didn’t take the quick + easy route, but over time, that’s meant far more to the company in long term, tangible success.

SEOMOZ is one of the best in the SEO industry but I wonder, How do you recruit SEO’s in SEOMOZ? Is it like the facebook movie wherein there’s a round table and contestant hack a system and drink a beer?

Nope. In fact, I heard that Facebook never did that either :-)

We actually interviewed a candidate just this week for an inbound marketing thought leadership role on our product team. We chatted on the phone, had the candidate talk to tons of team members in one:one and group interviews – pretty standard stuff, but we try to keep it fun, engaging and more focused on seeing how they work in a productive environment than on asking the usual battery of interview questions.

What is your perception with SEO’s in the Philippines, their competitiveness in the Search Industry?

I know several folks who’ve hired teams in the Philippines to help with SEO practices, but have never interacted directly with folks there myself, so I’d be hard pressed to give any accurate picture. I will say that I’m very excited to see SEO extend around the world, and I look forward to potentially meeting some of the community out there.

Is there a chance that SEOMOZ will visit the Philippines? Or just you visiting our country (I saw you like to travel). I tried to nominate our city in MOZCation, but was not lucky enough to be picked though.

Definitely try again! If there’s a ton of participants, passion and people clamoring for a Mozcation, we can’t say no :-) I suspect we’ll be running that program for a number of years so you’ll have plenty of chances.


What’s your take with Google’s panda update? Continuous and really shifted the SEO world into a new level.

I think it’s been an overall positive, as many folks in the field and around it have backed off of thin content and low-value-add practices. However, I would give the move two strong critiques – it’s had an adverse effect on a few sites that I don’t think should have been categorized as “thin content” (a good example would be Seattle startup Teachstreet), and it didn’t target manipulative linking schemes, which still sorely need to be cleaned up.

This is the magic question that I always ask on interviews, “How do you see SEO 5 years from now?”

I suspect we’ll see even less of a focus on pure, hardcore SEO to the exclusivity of other web marketing practices. Given how brand, user data, social media and other new signals are making their way into search rankings, those who practice SEO will need to be good at a vast number of practices that extend far beyond content, crawlers, keywords and links. The responsibilities of SEOs have been upgraded.

Any message for your Filipino Fans? (You’re a celebrity here Rand!)

No way! How can I be a celebrity? I’m an Internet geek :-) But please tell everyone there that it’s an honor to have them in the wonderful field of SEO and I wish them luck with their careers.

Follow Rand on his personal blog, Moz blog, Twitter, Google+ and

Super big thanks to Rand Fishkin for allowing me to do this interview


Jayson Bagio is the lead strategist of SEOteky. A digital marketing team from Manila, Ph who specializes in content marketing and link building. Get in touch with him using the contact form on the side or by visiting the about page. You can also follow him on twitter & google+.

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Related posts:

  1. MozCation Craze Hits Manila, SEOmoz in the Philippines!

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6 Responses to Interview with Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz and the Search World Today

  1. Well done Jayson!! How about an interview with our company for your next blog? LOL!! Anyway, I’m proud you man! Keep it up.

  2. nice one bagz!!! Let’s invite him sa next MORCON…
    Eduardo Joven recently posted..Satechi R1 Collapsible Aluminium Tablet Stand

    • Jayson says:

      Thanks Joven. Why not the whole SEO Philippines community unite and bring the MOZCATION in our land :) All we need is convince the SEOmoz team that we deserve a visit from them :) That would surely rock!

  3. Dexter says:

    we need to bring Rand in Philippines. nice interview..
    Dexter recently posted..What Mobile Network Band Works in Philippines

    • Jayson says:

      Thanks Dex! Yeah there’s a Mozcation City Nomination that is being run by the SEOmoz. Last year I tried to nominate manila for a Mozcation Family visit but I fell short. Rand told me that there’s another round of nomination and so we need to prepare more in order to win the nomination.

      Here is the post for all the winning cities – See the Mozcation winners

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