In the first of a series of 3 interviews with speakers at this year’s SES London, we get to talk with a man who needs little introduction, Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz.
Rand will be speaking on the “PPC or SEO? The Ultimate Search Marketing Battle” panel alongside Dave Naylor (Bronco) and Ralph Tegtmeier, aka, Fantomaster.
Rand, thank you for speaking to us today. SEOmoz has been on quite a journey since you last spoke at SES London in 2009. Looking back on the past 12 months, what have been your favourite highlights?
Every year, I’m amazed at the growth in our maturity and the realization of how much further we have to go. This last year’s highlights for me would be the recognition internally that we can do very substantive things to boost the business with email marketing and conversion rate optimization. I think I got pigeonholed too much with SEO and blogging and didn’t look to the broader marketing world as much as I should have.
I’m also very excited about where our engineering team is going. We recently hired a new VP of Engineering with very significant experience in the startup world and it’s made a huge difference. Things on that side of the company are smoother and more robust than ever. It’s what’s allowed us to launch Open Site Explorer while simultaneously working on upgrades to the SEOmoz toolbar, a new version of the Keyword Difficulty tool and a whole new platform for SEO, set to launch in June.
Let’s talk about the conference. There are some awesome speakers this year, so which panels are you definitely going to check out?
A few that caught my eye were:
- Industry Specific Search Strategies: Under the Hood
- 21 Secrets of Top Converting Websites
- Link Building – Methods and Risks with Jim Boykin
Those topics and the speakers giving them are really remarkable. I’m particularly impressed that Jim Boykin is going to come out from behind the veil of secrecy and talk openly about link building. I think there are few people on the planet with more experience than he.
PPC or SEO? The Ultimate Search Marketing Battle? So what’s the big deal with SEO?
Ha ha ha. Well, SEO is responsible for approx. 90% of all clicks in the search results, while PPC takes home 10%. You also don’t have to pay for each click – creativity, scalability and execution are rewarded far more so than dollars (or pounds) in SEO and that appeals to me. Of course, if you’re in SEO, you’d probably prefer that others continue to stay out of it to help keep the competition levels low, so maybe that’s another reason there’s still poor perception and understanding of the field.
Without giving too much away, what are the main takeaways you’d like the audience to gain from your session?
Doh! I may have already given away too much in my previous response.
I’d say that attendees can expect a lively debate with a good amount of data and strategies being tossed around. We gave this session together in Chicago, and it was extremely well received.
2010 is set to be a really exciting year for SEOs and the digital marketing industry, generally. What “future of digital marketing” SEO issues or otherwise are you most excited about in the coming year?
I do think there’s going to be a substantive focus on vertical results in the search engines and a lot of continued effort going towards social media marketing. Weirdly, despite being a huge believer in social media, the data, time and again, is showing it’s not particularly useful or valuable as a direct path to commerce, even in latent conversions. Social can be great for branding and great for link acquisition, but I worry when I see businesses investing 10X in social what they ever have in SEO or email marketing or conversion rate optimization and expecting outsized returns. 10,000 followers on Twitter does not equal marketing success.
SEOmoz’s flagship SEO tool Linkscape is almost a year and a half old now, tell us what developments you have in the pipeline for the tool and what releases can we expect to see coming from the SEOmoz stable in the next few months?
Obviously our big news in January is the release of Open Site Explorer (OSE), a new tool to access the data in Linkscape’s index and the growth of the index to 65 billion URLs (our largest yet – although size is not a good metric on which to judge a web index). The next few months will see a V2 release of OSE with more features and functionality as well as better index freshness, quality and crawling of deep pages on important sites.
Rand, thanks for sharing and see you in London!
Thanks for the interview Richard – looking forward to it!