Utah SEOs Pack First MozCation Tour Stop

SALT LAKE CITY – Some have called Utah’s technology industry “Silicon Slopes,” because the tech sector is situated so close to the Wasatch Range. Adobe and Microsoft have offices in the state so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that many search engine optimization firms call Utah home.

Because search engine optimization is a newer field, many working in SEO are only in their 20s. Some of the top SEO minds are college dropouts while others are still working on degrees. Some wear shorts and flip-flops to the office, but one thing remains constant: SEOs are passionate about getting their clients’ websites to rank at the top of the search engines.

SEO.com team meets SEOmoz Rand Fishkin
From the left: SEO.com President Ash Buckles, Scott Smoot, SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin, Andrew Johnson, Matt Storms and Dan Richey attend the Salt Lake City stop of the Family MozCation summer tour.

On Wednesday, rock stars in the industry, Seattle-based SEOmoz, visited Salt Lake City during the first stop on this summer’s Family MozCation tour. SEOmoz is a leading provider of SEO software.

Because Utah has so many SEO professionals, SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin said Salt Lake City was an obvious choice for a tour stop.

“The Salt Lake City SEO community is absolutely phenomenal,” Fishkin said. “If you are a website that wants to rank on the Internet you should come to Salt Lake City.”

The couple hundred people who attended MozCation in Utah would compare with a crowd of 50,000 at a New York City SEO event, he said.

“In terms of population, it’s a substantive number,” Fishkin explained in between signing autographs and appearing in photos with fans.

Some employed in the industry said one reason so many SEO firms have opened in Utah is because of the friendly business climate in the state. Low taxes and few health care mandates make Utah a popular place for startups.

“There are a bunch of entrepreneurial minded people in Utah,” said Tyson Hymas, an SEO manager at Utah-based SEO.com.

If you are a website that wants to rank on the Internet you should come to Salt Lake City.”

- SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin

Colleges in Utah also churn out SEOs.

“Schools like the University of Utah and [Brigham Young University] pump out fairly technologically savvy students ready to make an impact,” said Jordan Kasteler, a managing partner at BlueGlass in Salt Lake City. “Salt Lake and Utah County people tend to be well-educated and youthful thus an interest in the Internet and technology.”

In May, SEOmoz requested nominations from cities interested in hosting a MozCation stop. Submissions from Utah poured in.

“I’ve been participating in local events in Utah for about six years, and have seen interest increase during that time. We have a great search community in Utah that heavily supports these local events,” SEO.com President Ash Buckles said.

Fishkin was the main presenter. He spoke about social media and whether Facebook and Twitter posts influence search engine rankings.

Other MozCation meetups are planned this summer in Brazil, Peru and Spain.

“The fact that Salt Lake City is the only English-speaking destination on the MozCation tour speaks volumes about our SEO professionals, and our excitement about the industry,” said Claye Stokes, an SEO director at SEO.com.

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8 Comments

  1. Lori Gilson says

    Loved this event. It was so fun getting together with SEOs and listening to brilliant minds discuss the latest in social media and search. Thanks SEOMoz for coming to SLC.

  2. Carson Ward says

    Rand and the other presenters gave excellent speeches; we were lucky to be able to host the Mozers in our city. Thanks to all who helped pull this off!

  3. Andrew Johnson says

    It was a great event, and I learned a lot of good information about the direction that SEO is heading. It was also great to network with other SEOs and marketers here in our home state!

  4. Elisabeth Osmeloski says

    Great round-up Pat!

    It was amazing to see such a great turnout, and really set the tone for what http://www.SLCSEM.org is setting out to do.

    Thanks again to SEOmoz for coming to SLC.

    I am so glad I got to meet many people at the event, and the feedback coming through the @SLCSEM site is amazing, including some fantastic ideas from the SEO.com peeps!

  5. Pat Parkinson says

    Hi Elisabeth.

    Thanks for checking out the post. SLCSEM.org is a great idea.

    Brandon — I was also stoked that Rand Fishkin spoke at the event. Chatting with him before his presentation was a real treat. The dude speaks his mind.

    Stay tuned, I hope to have another post from our discussion.

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