SEOmoz co-founder and CEO, Rand Fishkin, just returned from Sao Paulo where he was a speaker at Expon and he took a few minutes to discuss with us the Open Site Explorer upgrade, his views on the Internet marketing industry as a whole and even handed out some kudos to others in the industry who are moving the needle forward.
MP: So tell us about the updated Open Site Explorer?
Rand: The top things for our users and those thinking about using us need to know are that we are providing social data in Open Site Explorer which is pretty damn cool. Facebook likes, tweets and even Google +1’s are now being taken into consideration when looking at backlinks for quality.
We have expanded the ability for users to drill down using improved filters that provide just about any type of segmented information a search marketer could want including anchor text and much more.
We are also offering advanced reporting where a user can make queries to find very specific types of links which will help online marketers hone in on what can be of benefit without having to wade through as much information.
MP: You have also worked on the infrastructure a bit, correct?
Rand: (laughs) Yes we have. For instance, our previous page index consisted of 40-45 billion pages put that has now been pushed to 59 billion pages.
We did this however, not by just going out and grabbing everything we could. In fact, the domains we crawl has dropped from about 115 million to around 91 million. Our philosophy is to do a deeper dive on higher quality sites and to weed out the spammy returns which can make results muddy.
One of the most important things we are looking for from the search marketing community is feedback about this approach. We feel very confident that have created something real good but the end user will ultimately determine whether this is the right data or not.
MP: With Yahoo Site Explorer being shuttered by year-end you look poised to fill the void.
Rand: We certainly hope so but we are not alone in getting this kind of work done. The panel I was just on included Dixon Jones of Majestic SEO and they are doing a smoking job with their offering. There’s plenty of room and it’s good to see so many others doing great work to move the industry ahead.
MP: Who do you see as some of these up and comers or even some folks that are starting to breakthrough after some time (Ed: Remember that the SEOmoz blog started in 2003 and the company in 2005 so this is no overnight success story either).
Rand: There are a lot of folks making great strides. Wil Reynolds of Seer Interactive has seen his shop in Philadelphia grow recently from 9 to 32 people. I look at a company like Distilled that went from 1 office in London to several offices, including one here in Seattle and a successful conference series. I have been impressed with Adam Audette’s work. And finally, on the local search front the work that David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal have done with their Local U conferences and GetListed.org have opened the doors for SMB’s to gain the sophistication in search that we believe will ultimately become SEOmoz customers. Of course, we support their efforts in doing so!
MP: Can you give a quick look into the future of Internet marketing? Will the term SEO even be around to use?
Rand: Well, the lines have certainly blurred as everyone is realizing that there is no one online discipline that can impact a business all by itself. As social influences search and all of the lines are blurred between the various parts of inbound marketing the rules will change.
I doubt that SEO will go away as a term. Look at email marketing. That has been around forever and still is strong today. It is integrated into the different umbrella terms for Internet marketing as a whole but the discipline still exists. I expect the same to happen for SEO as well.
MP: Where does SEOmoz go from here?
Rand: Well, it’s been an exciting year for sure. I have shared through my blog about different ways we are looking to continue to grow SEOmoz and stay in line with our mission. We are dedicated to making the information needed for online marketing success to be obvious and relatively self-explanatory. We think we have done that to a great degree with Open Site Explorer. Of course, our SEOMoz team continues to do a remarkable job and we believe that remarkable people make a remarkable company. There is lots to consider for the future and it is exciting.
MP: Last thought, tell us about MozCon.
Rand: This is our conference held here in Seattle (July 27-29) that is doing really well and is attracting a lot of interest. It’s our sixth year and we are sold out but busily trying to expand the space that we have to accommodate the demand. It’s a nice problem to have really.
Thanks to Rand and his team for carving out some time to speak to us here at Marketing Pilgrim. With the Yahoo Site Explorer tool scheduled to go offline by the end of this year, SEO’s and Internet marketers of all stripes will need to get link information from somewhere.
What ways to you go about getting link information for your work? How do you see the changing landscape as it relates to your SEO efforts?