Rand Fishkin, CEO of Seattle-based SEOmoz.org, was in Salt Lake City this week speaking at the first stop on this summer’s Family MozCation tour. In between sipping Corona, signing autographs and posing in pictures with Utah fans, Fishkin spoke with SEO.com about, among other things, his relationship with Google Spam Czar Matt Cutts.
Fishkin’s company is a leading provider of search engine optimization software and his efforts to get websites to rank in Google have compelled Fishkin to delve deeply into why some sites show up No. 1 as others don’t even make it into the top 100 search results.
Utah is the only spot in North America that SEOmoz will visit during MozCation. Next Fishkin is off to Brazil, Peru and Spain.
SEO.com: Do you and Cutts have a pretty interesting relationship?
Fishkin: “Interesting” is a very good adjective to describe it. He is a good guy, but … I want to be very transparent and open.”
SEO.com: Will you characterize your interaction with Google since starting your career in SEO?
Fishkin: Early in my career I struggled for a long time to figure out how Google ranked pages and why some things ranked and some things didn’t … It’s frustrating to those in the (SEO) industry and it’s frustrating to me too.
The reason that I am frustrated with them is that I don’t feel there is a conflict. We’re on the same team as Google. I’ll use a football analogy; Google is a quarterback refusing to use us — all its great receivers. Throw the ball and let people like us move it forward for you.
SEO.com: How does Google view SEO companies?
Fishkin: My bias would be that I think Google views the situation more risky than it really is … So they operate from a perspective of fear.
SEO.com: What’s your major beef with the search giant?
Fishkin: They’re not transparent. We’re very open, and if Google would go that one step to be much more transparent they would earn a lot of people’s trust and they would earn a lot of forgiveness when they screw up.
SEO.com: When has Google “screwed up” in the past?
Fishkin: Google spam is a huge problem.
SEO.com: How is SEOmoz more open with information than Google?
Fishkin: There is not very much that we would not make public. Clearly, transparency has been really good for us. I’ll tell you our revenue, the number of users who have a pro account. I’ll tell you the sources I am pursuing for venture capital financing.
And that’s exactly what I would do with all the results I care about.