If you have never seen the Optimize This series of interviews, done by Chris Gilchristâ€™s HitReach, thereâ€™s really great bits and pieces of tips and tidbits from various well-known SEOs and marketing “celebrities”. This week, the subject was the Almighty Rand Fishkin. And boy, if you had any question about how much he thinks of himself, this interview leaves very little doubt, because as he claims everybody who knows him personally or interacts with him personally loves him.Â Yep, everybody loves Rand, or so he believes.Â
And now, you have to give Chris credit for asking random pretty ballsy questions that Iâ€™m pretty sure no one has EVER put to Rand while under the hot seat before.Â Part of me likes to think Chris sat there during the interview thinking “do I dare ask him this?”Â Well, many of us are sure happy he did, because it is entertainment!Â I think this is just become my new favorite mini interview series in the entire industry, especially if he continues to push the envelope with asking the kinds of questions that most people want to ask but are too chicken shit to actually come out and ask.
Rand was asked specifically about what he thinks of people who are part of an anti-Moz movement or bandwagon. Now, when Rand specifically says anonymous online handles, either pretty good guess that Iâ€™m probably lumped in with group, along with all the trolls a Moz employee told me spam his blog (drunk Mozzers are a great source of info!)
“I havenâ€™t seen us be specifically more targeted or hated or received criticism that well-known companies and other industries received, so I donâ€™t think itâ€™s unusual or unnatural,â€ Rand says.Â Okay, Iâ€™ll give him points there, when you compare Moz to the Walmarts or the Exxons of the world, by comparison he is as much beloved as Apple or Coca-Cola.Â But of course, he doesnâ€™t leave it at there, because, you know, the ego thing.
â€œI think when we won people over or change peopleâ€™s minds that maybe previously disliked the company, itâ€™s usually the result of them getting to know us personally. I think itâ€™s very easy to have a strong dislike or hatred for someone that you donâ€™t really know, itâ€™s much tougher if you actually get to meet and know that person, and I think thatâ€™s why thereâ€™s so incredibly few people that weâ€™ve actually spent time with, that I have, that someone from our community team, or people that work at Moz, who really really dislike the company, I think it tends to be folks who either have anonymous Internet handles or havenâ€™t had personal relationships with the company, so I take that as generally a good sign.â€
For those wondering, I have spent time with Rand and many members of his team over the years, including multiple drinks, dinners and a multitude of industry parties.Â And I know many non-MozZombies feel the same way I do.
But what about outing people for spamming or blackhat techniques?Â Well, it hasnâ€™t stopped Rand from outing people when he thinks he can get page views â€“ although he loses a lot of credibility and insider tips on what is and isnâ€™t working.
â€œI like the idea that [â€¦] the world of SEO or the world of marketing is not some mafia where we try to keep each otherâ€™s secrets from law enforcement or from Google or thereâ€™s some idea that we have a code of omerta or silence and we have to aggressively shame each other into staying quiet. I think that all those are generally evil and wrong things in the real world and they apply equally online.â€
Pro tip Rand, this is precisely why people refuse to share cutting edge tips with you.
He continues on, â€œIâ€™m also not of the belief that some people would take a different tack on this that Google is this evil superpower that is sort of pushing down either on our intellectual or economic freedoms and therefore we need to adopt this code of silence in order to defend ourselves. Â I think the world of marketing and the world of SEO is so big and so broad that that is not really consideration yet even though I do think Google is doing plenty of evil things.â€
Tsk tsk Rand.Â Maybe itâ€™s comments like this why Matt Cutts didnâ€™t offer to help you on a Google+ ranking study like he did Eric Enge.