August 3, 2007

"Rand Fishkin speaks out about himself, the future of search engine optimization, Seattle, and ice cream."

Search engine optimization king and devourer of good ice cream, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, was kind enough to take five minutes out of his hectic work life last week to answer some questions with Internet Hunger. Here, Rand Fishkin speaks out about himself, the future of search engine optimization, Seattle, and ice cream.

Rand is the CEO and co-founder of Seattle based SEOmoz. Proclaimed as "the major authority on SEO, Social Media, Humor, and tips on running an SEO agency" by Search Engine Journal, SEOmoz is one of the leading online optimization and marketing firms in the world. Here's what Mr. Fishkin had to say: 

Internet Hunger: To start things off, really quickly, who are you?

Rand: Who am I? I assume you mean in the professional sense rather than the philosophical one. I'm the head of a small company, focused on providing services and community to people in the search marketing field. I've been a consultant on everything from web design to usability to information architecture with a heavy focus on organic SEO.

Internet Hunger: Would you consider yourself to be a prominent leader in the search engine optimization field?

Rand: I probably would have said "no, I don't consider myself a prominent leader" six months ago, but today, I think it's becoming more and more self-denial to use that line.

I know that there are a lot of people in this industry and outside it who view me as a leader in the field, and that's both an honor and a burden - it's certainly made me much more conscious of my actions and more careful about what I do, say and blog about, which has both positive and negative effects.

Internet Hunger: What would you say is the most appealing thing to you in SEO?

Rand: I love the dynamic environment - particularly how the rise of social media and blogs have made this an industry that has news 24/7. Even missing a summer weekend worth of search news means there will be a lot of catching up to do come Monday morning.

Internet Hunger: What really gets you excited everytime you get a new optimization project or while you're browsing around the web for SEO related news?

Rand: The things that make me truly excited are almost always when new opportunities for people to measure and improve come along. I love stats and tracking and data - if it were up to me, the search engine algorithms would have even more transparency.

Internet Hunger: What do you see as the future for SEO? Nobody knows what the major search engines have in store, but a lot of companies are being bought and a lot of changes are constantly on the rise. Do you see any predictible things happening in the future for search engine optimizers and marketers?

Rand: Obviously, with Google Universal and Ask's 3D results, I think we should be expecting more and more searches to be "answered" rather than directed to URLs.

Beyond that, I expect that new social communities will emerge and leverage the power of users to an even greater degree. One day, we might even see something like Naver in South Korea - where human answers and opinions precede algorithmic results.

Internet Hunger: How is Seattle? In a lot of the posts on SEOmoz Seattle is a fun topic, would you ever consider moving locations?

Rand: It's a great town, and it's home. I travel an exceptional amount, but whenever I return to Seattle, it's easy to remind myself why this little corner of the US is home. Great people, always a lot of activities, fantastic summer weather (though even I admit that December-April can get a bit rough), great food, great hiking, a solid arts scene - and, probably most of all, an unmatched landscape.

Internet Hunger: Finally, I want to say thank you for taking the time to sit down and chat with me for a bit. I know you've been a great inspiration in a lot of lives and you will continue to do so for many years. The last question I have for you is: what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Rand: I've got an empty pint of Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream behind me, so I'll have to go with that. 

Thanks to Rand over at SEOmoz for the interview. It's the weekend again, which means I won't be back until next week. I've got some great interviews, articles, and news for you next Monday, so come back and find out what's in store. See you next week.