Whenever I think about someone who can teach the intricacies and best practices required for good SEO, nobody comes to mind faster than Rand Fishkin. I had the incredible opportunity to chat with him after he gave a talk at a conference I was attending recently – this episode is my recording of that conversation. In it, you’ll find a wealth of information as Rand outlines the top tips you should apply for your SEO efforts in 2018. I also asked him about his experience scaling his company (MOZ) from nothing to over 120 employees, and he revealed that the human component of scaling was the hardest part. In his usual style, Rand delivers actionable advice that anyone can apply today. Don’t miss this conversation.

Rand Fishkin says there are 3 reasons SEO has rapidly changed in the last 5 to 10 years and gives advice about how to deal with it

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed that the best practices for SEO have changed dramatically over the last five to ten years. Rand Fishkin says there are three primary reasons for that. It has to do with Google taking over the SEO market and consequently becoming the dominant force to determine what good SEO practices should be, along with the way the marketing world, in general, has grown up over that time frame. These are intriguing concepts to explore and ones that Rand explains, along with one more, in this conversation.

One of the biggest challenges around scale is the human interaction involved and the tendency toward tribalism. How do you keep team members unified?

It’s not easy to grow a company, but it’s even harder to grow it in a way that keeps the team cohesive and working toward the same goals. That’s what Rand Fishkin explains about the difficulties of scaling MOZ from a startup that consisted of him and his mother to a company of over 120 employees. There are all kinds of dynamics that arise as the team expands, including tribalism, which Rand defines and highlights as one of the biggest challenges he faced as his company continued to grow. There are a handful of lessons you can learn from the stories Rand shares on this episode, so make the time to listen.

SEO for 2018 is shifting away from being predominantly keyword-driven and more toward intention-driven

Though keywords are still important when it comes to SEO in 2018, the reality is that Google is attempting to make its algorithms more and more intention-driven. What does that mean for best practices for SEO? It means that those doing SEO for their websites need to keep in mind that word selections, the crafting of web titles, and even the formatting of the content on the page needs to be done in a way that tries to discern the intention of the person searching and what would cause them to land on the pages you are designing. It’s sort of like trying to figure out someone’s motive without talking to them, but Rand says it is the way SEO in 2018 is headed. You can hear his explanation in this conversation, so I encourage you to take the 21 minutes required to hear it.

Rand Fishkin says if you only have $1000 for marketing, focus on the convergence of these three things

Most startups struggle when it comes to marketing simply because they have a limited budget that has to be divvied up among many priorities, all of which feel crucial to the growth of the business. Rand Fishkin says that marketing is one of the priorities that has to stay near the top of the list, but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg at the beginning. In our conversation, Rand reveals the importance of three marketing decisions that founders or leadership teams can make that will enable them to make the most out of their limited marketing dollars. To give you a preview, here they are in bullet point form.

  • Focus on an area where you have passion and interest (video, visuals, audio).
  • Choose an area where you can provide unique value that nobody else is providing.
  • Find a place where your audience or their influencers are.

Key Takeaways

  • [1:09] The reason Rand is known as the “face of SEO” in Roy’s view
  • [2:03] Three forces that have driven rapid changes in SEO
  • [6:21] Rand’s journey with MOZ and the challenge of scaling
  • [10:26] The top SEO tips for 2018: Get out your pad, Rand has 10
  • [14:30] What startups can do with a $1,000 marketing budget
  • [15:45] Here is why startups need to focus on SEO
  • [16:55] One of Rand’s favorite entrepreneurs: Jessica Mah
  • [20:26] Rand’s biggest fear: He won’t be able to build another successful company


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