MozCon 2015, Rand Fishkin, and my not-so-secret SEO crush

The TopLine team is heading to MozCon next month, and we can’t wait: three whole days of sunshine, seminars, and SEO. Well, there probably won’t be sunshine – it’s in Seattle, after all – but you can’t have everything. It’ll be a marvellous opportunity to see some of the biggest names in digital marketing at the very top of their respective games; we’ll probably at least be within visual range of the Space Needle, which is as cool as it sounds; and it doesn’t hurt that it’s hosted by one of the most influential digital marketing companies in the world – in fact, the only one that’s had a bigger impact is probably Google itself. 

We’re especially excited about seeing one man speak in particular. The main man: the Lord of Links, the Prince of PageRank, the Czar of Conversion, the Sultan of SERP – Rand Fishkin himself. TopLiners can scarcely contain themselves: Luke, a grown man of several years and robust constitution, has been utterly overwhelmed. Hannah, known for her dignity and stoicism, has been reduced to a babbling Belieber. And me? Well, my reaction is probably the most embarrassing of all.

You see, for some time, I have nursed a major professional crush on Rand Fishkin: something I have, until now, struggled to fully articulate. Were he to come to me and suggest running away together, I’d probably say yes. Who am I kidding? I would definitely say yes.

I’ve decided that enough is enough, and it’s time to sort through these complicated feelings once and for all. Why do I find Rand Fishkin – the Maestro of Moz, the Nemesis of NoFollow – so very compelling?

1.    He’s an SEO genius

Well, let’s start with the obvious bit: the man’s SEO bona fides are beyond dispute. He may not have invented the discipline, but he’s certainly redefined it, and if you’re running a digital comms agency (like me!) he’s your North Star.

Rand Fishkin is to search as Miles Davis is to jazz; as Fellini is to cinema; as Federer is to tennis: he is the sun in the sky; he is the trees in the forest; he is the water in the ocean. What is SEO? SEO just is Rand Fishkin.

2.    His beard is made of stardust

Since 2014, Rand Fishkin’s official title has been ‘Wizard of Moz’. With characteristic humility, he calls it a ‘ludicrous title’, but in its way, it’s kind of true. It’s not that his SEO tips are magical – although truthfully, they totally are – more that he, like every great wizard, has truly impressive facial hair.

It’s an essential part of Moz’s iconography, and if he ever shaves it off, it should go to the Smithsonian.

3.    He’s friendly, transparent, and ADORABLE

The film The Social Network solidified the idea of the tech entrepreneur as an aloof, ruthless monster nerd with little regard for decency, humanity, or anything besides the advancement of himself and his company. While we’re sure this isn’t the case with Mark Zuckerberg himself (don’t sue us, Facebook), that it’s become so prominent means there’s probably at least a grain of truth to it.

Rand Fishkin bucks this trend. In his videos, interviews, and blogs, he comes across as a genuinely affable guy who enjoys what he does – and wants to share it with the world. He’s committed to honesty and self-improvement, to the point that he posted his own performance review in 2012 – a move that put him firmly at the top of a Forbes list of the most transparent entrepreneurs.

And besides which, he’s just kind of adorbs, and possessed of an appealing, childlike wonder. In fact, as a kid, when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said “a dog” – citing their friendliness, loyalty, and popularity. And for anyone who knows me, they’ll know that dogs (check out TopLine’s Chief Frisbee Officer) are the way to my heart.

4.    He has a cool name

“Rand Fishkin”. It sounds like a Dune villain!

5.    This Rand is Your Rand, This Rand is My Rand

Above all, however, Rand Fishkin is accessible. Whenever I’ve had a problem with SEO, Rand Fishkin – on his blog, in a Whiteboard Friday, or elsewhere – has had a brilliant, yet entirely comprehensible solution. Accordingly, the fact we offer the best search marketing services to our clients can also be attributed to him. His philosophy of ‘simplicity in design’ is likely the reason he uses a whiteboard: what better symbol of concise, direct, and intelligent communication?  

He’s been a huge influence on me and TopLine, and it’s the same for thousands of others in the PR and comms industries. Through his work at Moz, Rand Fishkin has made SEO and digital strategy available to all.

Alright, that’s enough. I think I’ve figured out why I’m into the King of Keywords. Because honestly, based on the above, who wouldn’t be? MozCon 2015 is going to be amazing, and it’s all possible because of him.

So thank you, Rand. See you next month!
Image credit to JD Lasica