Rand Fishkin is regarded by many as a legend in the field of inbound marketing. Here he is interviewed by Dewaldt Huysamen* to get some Fishkin insights for you on the subject - and more.
What exactly does the term inbound marketing relate to for those marketers that do not understand the term's meaning?
Inbound marketing refers to investments that earn the attention of your customers, rather than buying it. It's a convenient, efficient way to say "content marketing + search, social, community, analytics and CRO."
Rand Fishkin is the CEO & co-founder of SEOmoz, a software startup based in Seattle, WA. He's also a published author, occasional tweeter, weary traveler and intermittent speaker at events around the world on search, technology, startups and Internet marketing.
The power of inbound marketing lies in its ability to reduce the cost of customer acquisition and build upon itself organically. A dollar spent on advertising rarely results in a win greater than the singular attention that dollar drives. But an hour spent earning attention, awareness and trust from your potential target audience (and those who influence them) may come back to you in dozens of amazing ways.
I love inbound marketing because it fits with my philosophy about how I want to reach an audience and how people make decisions in 2012. I love the feeling of making a difference and creating real, lasting value.How does SEOmoz.org use the different inbound marketing segments?
We're pretty heavy users of every inbound channel available. We produce a ton of content, have built a really exciting community, invest in search, social media, and email marketing. In addition, we follow these up with quite a bit of CRO and analytics to measure and improve our efforts.
I think it's precisely because we've had so much success and fun with these channels that we believe in helping others achieve them.Where do you see Google investing most of their time and money in the next three years?
Google+ is a huge one, but I think they're also investing heavily in hardware and operations to streamline the process of improvements to the data they can crunch and the quality of indices/algorithmic components they can launch. Even at Google's scale, there are plenty of efforts I've heard about inside the company that get turned down due to need for computing/engineering resources (both people and hardware).What are your major plans for Opensiteexplorer.org updates and new features?
The first is one launching very soon - our much larger index. We're moving from about 50 billion URLs to about150 billion URLs. We've seen some big challenges processing data this large, so we may go down again to get faster indices before we can do the work to get big again.
After that, we're moving from four-week freshness to two-week updates. We're also adding a spam score that we hope can correlate well with what we've seen Google penalising/banning. We're also adding more features on date tracking, crawling HTTPS and lots more - stay tuned! :-)
What is the biggest factor according to you that produces the best ROI for any online business?
Dewaldt Huysamen is a qualified Google guru and is head of R&D at Etraffic.
When it comes to marketing, investing in reducing your cost of customer acquisition is huge. It means you can better scale that function long term and build a true competitive advantage. That's why I love inbound marketing channels - they are dramatically more powerful in lowering COCA than investing in paid channels, branding plays or inside sales.Do you think Facebook's new search engine plans can be threatening towards Google?
Based on what I've seen and heard, there are no Facebook plans to get into broader web search in the near term. I think that's a smart move on their part - they need to focus on their core business for a long time before they should be trying to take such a huge, non-culturally-matching step into other territory. I'd see them launching a mobile phone or platform before they get into web search.
Would you say Link Juice is dead, unless it is from authorship friendly sites?
No - certainly not yet (and probably not for a long time to come). Sadly, a lot of very spammy, very crappy links still work in the short term. On the plus side, high-quality links from editorial sources still provide a ton of long-term value (both through their impact on SEO and the direct traffic/branding value they create).
Still, we're much closer to a world where fewer links count and authority/editorial input are what matter than we have been in the last decade.If you had eighteen million dollars in what would you invest right now?
Hiring, new office space, a bigger, fresher web index, probably some strategic acquisitions and more content, inbound and yes, even some paid marketing efforts.Is it true you were in deep debt? If so how did you get out?
It's true. I described it in some depth here: http://randfishkin.com/blog/103/just-keep-going
. Basically, we got out by getting good at SEO, retaining some valuable clients (back in our consulting days) and only paying fractions of what we owed back to the credit card and loan companies.Any last words for new marketers exploring the horizon of inbound marketing?
Think long term. If you need results tomorrow, Inbound can rarely help you unless you've already built a community, a trusted site, a following through social media and authority with the engines. To be truly successful at inbound, you have to be willing to sacrifice smaller short term wins for longer-term, bigger ones. Of course, that's true in all of life :-)
*Dewaldt Huysamen has over five years of ongoing experience when it comes to inbound & paid marketing (SEO - SEM) and is a qualified Google guru. He is head of R&D, gives in-house training and is a SEO expert over at Etraffic. His portfolio contains clients paying anything from R3500-R20 000 per month. Follow him on Twitter @dewaldt_h