Rand is the co-founder of Moz - they started as an SEO consulting company in 2004 and today they’re SEO software developers. What does all this mean? Basically Rand is an SEO ninja. Do everything he tells you to do.
When you were a kid could you have predicted that one day you’d work for yourself and the internet would be the vehicle in which you share your work?
Since the Internet didn't even exist for most of my childhood, I'd have to say definitely no! And even later in life, I thought I'd get a regular job working for a stable company like my Dad who retired on exactly his 30th anniversary at Boeing with his full pension.
You are the head at Moz and you’re like the SEO whisperer of the internet - what is it about SEO that’s get you springing out of bed in the morning?
I love the constant change, the mystery, the optimization process, and the ability to learn, test, and benefit. It's the perfect ecosystem for a kid who grew up loving video games and getting just the right configuration of Tetris blocks.
Focus very specifically on the one thing you do better than anyone else.
How do you decide what to publish on your blog/social media platforms? Do you pre-plan or just write whatever pops into your head?
A little of both, but more planned than unplanned these days. I usually have a lot of conversations with folks at conferences and events, in social networks, and via email, then turn those conversation topics into content ideas. That helps me stay relevant and up-to-date with the real problems real people are facing in their digital marketing work.
Being the leader of a tech team, how do you stay motivated and keep energy levels high?
I'm not Moz's CEO anymore (I stepped down a few years back), but I do still lead some of our product and marketing efforts. For me, motivation has never been a big challenge, but energy can be. I need lots of sleep, a solid amount of daily exercise, and a relatively healthy diet. To do that, I've configured my days around those items. I walk to work and back (about 30 minutes down and up a steep hill each way), I have physical therapy I do for my back, I wear a Fitbit to help me track exercise, weight, and sleep, and I try to be mostly healthy with what I eat 🙂
What big changes do you see in the blogging/online business world for 2017? What should we be keeping our eyes on? Any SEO tips we should be tucking into our tool belts?
We're seeing more and more types of search results and testing of new types from Google all the time. One of my biggest pieces of advice is to consider how those features affect both click- through-rate on classic rankings and how they impact which types of features you should optimise for (e.g. news, images, local, knowledge graph, instant answers, etc).
A good keyword research tool like KW Explorer will show those features and the estimates CTR (via the "Opportunity Score"). I'd say it's essential to bake that into your process for choosing keywords.
I'd urge anyone investing in blogging or content creation of any kind to consider whether you're producing truly high value stuff and earning lots of engagement.
As far as other big changes; there's a nasty challenge of signal:noise ratio that's overwhelming a lot of sites that invest in content creation and promotion. If you can't stand out from the crowd and earn a loyal audience, content marketing is not going to produce high ROI for you. I'd urge anyone investing in blogging or content creation of any kind to consider whether you're producing truly high value stuff and earning lots of engagement. If not, you probably want to reconsider your strategy -- better to put time and energy into other forms of marketing if content isn't your passion and competitive advantage.