For the last two years, the 130+ Mozzers across product, engineering, marketing, and operations have been working to transform this company to the next stage of our evolution. Today, that incredibly demanding, intense, but ultimately rewarding process has reached its first goal. I’m excited to announce that as of today, SEOmoz is formally transitioning our brand, our products, our company name, and all of our efforts to Moz.
What?! Why?! How?! I know – there are lots of questions, and I will do my best to answer them all. For those of you who’d like to skip ahead, here’s what you’ll find in this post:
- Why We’re Retiring SEOmoz
- The Mission & Vision for Moz
- The Beta Launch of Moz Analytics
- Plans for the Years Ahead
- Notable Changes & Announcements
The company and the name ‘SEOmoz’ began in 2004 with a blog. I’d been reading, participating, and sharing a lot on SEO forums and wanted a place to post in my own format with more detail than what I could do on other sites. Fast forward to 2006; SEOmoz had became quite a popular site, and we changed the name of the company to match it. In 2009, when we retired our consulting business to focus exclusively on software, SEOmoz was seeing more than 500,000 visits a month (in April 2013 that number was over two million).
The SEOmoz site in 2005 – designed and built by yours truly (in Dreamweaver; oh yeah!)
But today, we’re retiring that brand for a number of reasons
- Calling ourselves “SEO”moz is no longer transparent and authentic. With products like Fresh Web Explorer,FollowerWonk, GetListed, and the beta of Moz Analytics (alongside the vast array of non-SEO content we publish), we’re no longer purely an SEO software company. Pretending otherwise is disingenuous, and that violates our core values.
- SEO is bigger than just SEO – as hard as I’ve fought personally and we’ve fought as an organization over the last decade to make marketers and organizations think more holistically about organic search, the branding of the past remains. SEO is seen as a narrow set of activities that move rankings up and bring search visitors in. To truly help with SEO, we have to do more than just place keywords, make sites accessible, and build links, but first we need the influence to make these changes. A broader marketer is often granted that influence, while pure SEOs still, unfairly, must strive for it.
- For many folks outside of our community, the acronym SEO has (unfair) associations with spam or manipulation. To quote an all-to-frequent comment we see when our site is mentioned around the web, “Don’t trust any domain with SEO in the name.” That feedback is hard to hear, and it’s wrong, but that doesn’t change the impact. We know that the “SEO” in SEOmoz has, in the past, hurt our ability to persuade people about the incredible value of organic search marketing. Moz gives us a chance to do something all marketers love – test something new and observe the results :-)
- It’s surpisingly hard for folks who don’t know to say the acronym “SEO” as letters to pronounce the brand name. I’ve heard everything from see-oh-moez to say-ow-mahz to sh-ow-moss. For years, I didn’t think it was a big deal, but fluency bias suggests this probably has a substantive negative impact on the brand’s perception.
- The SEOmoz name retains a strong branding connection and expectation to our historical consulting business (just last week, I received 4 consulting inquiries!). We haven’t offered consulting in many years, and this move can help distance our 2004-2009 incarnation from the software focus we have today.
- For the sake of transparency, I need to be honest that this is also marketing move – a rebrand is a chance to earn a second look from people who’ve long known us and had associations with the company. We hope that second look is going to lead those who haven’t yet seen what we’ve become over the last few years to check out our content, Moz Analytics, and the many functions our research tools provide.
What we are not doing, and I am most certainly not doing, is giving up on the fight for the legitimacy, value, and importance of SEO. Organic search remains my personal passion, and one of the most powerful marketing channels in history. For as long as I’m active in the field, I will be shouting the value of SEO from the stages on which I present, the publications where I write, and the social channels where I share.
Moz will be part of that battle, too.
Moz’s mission is to help people do better marketing.
We’ve long had a similar core purpose with SEOmoz – to simplify the promotion of ideas on the web. But “better marketing” is a more accurate and succinct description of why we exist. Moz is about educating marketers and those they work with. It’s about providing tools and software to help measure and improve marketing efforts. It’s about giving marketers a platform to ask questions and show off their skill and knowledge. The catalyst for all of that is a belief we hold – that, tragically, a lot of marketing sucks.
Together, we can change that. The marketers who are part of the Moz community are on the cutting edge of technology and tactics, but they’re also passionate about bringing value from their efforts without compromising ethics or burning bridges with customers. We want to constantly push ourselves and the world of marketing to join them and do better.
Moz’s current vision is to power the shift from interruption to inbound marketing by giving every marketer affordable software to measure and improve their efforts.
Today, 90% of marketing investment is spent on channels that interrupt people in order to get their attention. TV commercials, print ads, radio spots, and billboards are part of this, but so too are web channels like banner advertising, pop-ups and pop-unders, non-opt-in emails, and interstitials.
It’s not that these channels are evil or wrong – interruption-based marketing can still be effective if it’s done empathetically and delights its audience. But on the web at least, less than 10% of all the clicks and traffic go through these channels. The vast majority of web users’ time and attention, whether desktop, tablet, or mobile goes to inbound sources – personal & opt-in emails we want to read, content we want to consume, search results we want to click, social media we want to engage with, videos we want to watch, etc.
We believe that in the next decade, the effort and dollars put toward web marketing will become more sophisticated, and growth in channels like SEO, social media marketing, content creation, etc. will dwarf the growth rates of those in more traditional, interruption-based endeavors. For many institutional and historic reasons (including the self-interest of web properties to encourage the flow of ad dollars), these may never be fully proportional, but our passion and our goal is to help marketers, especially those outside Fortune 1000s, with analytics and recommendations for these earned channels.
Our core values remain unchanged. They are TAGFEE:
- Transparency – we believe in sharing what we know and what we do openly, and in letting everyone participate in the adventure that is Moz.
- Authenticity – we never want to be someone other than ourselves. We won’t put on a figurative fancy suit just to impress; we will embrace our true identities and let everyone experience the real us.
- Generosity – we believe in giving without thought of return, and in sharing what we have with others. Our generosity should extend to our co-workers, our customers, and our communities, all of whom have already given so generously given to us.
- Fun – work is only work if you make it so. We want to always love what we do, and we believe that love and enjoyment of our professional tasks will carry us through the tough times.
- Empathy – it is our duty to put ourselves in the shoes of others and see things from their perspective. Empathy begins with kindness, too, and we seek to apply warmth and understanding in every aspect of how we do business.
- The Exception – wherever there is a common practice or standard methodology, we seek to question its value before deciding what to do. We believe that immense opportunity exists where others fear to tread. Our goal is to be the exception, not stick to the rules.
These three elements – our mission, vision, and values – are the architecture that helps us operate and grow the company. They’re also the yardstick against which we measure ourselves and expect to be judged by others. If you see us engaging in behavior that’s not a match with this, or if you’re ever confused by how what we’ve done compares to our mission, vision, and values, call us on it. Being held accountable is the best way for us to stay true to the right path.