SEO tools to increase website traffic: Moz
Currently, few things are critical to the success of a business, because the ability to be found on the internet, and making yourself visible means understanding what people are searching for and how search engines are ranking your website for those keywords always important. I admit that this is an area that I personally have often considered to be akin to magic or voodoo.
Recently, I spoke with Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz. Most people interested in search engine optimization (SEO) have undoubtedly come across Moz, and Sarah’s journey to the role of CEO of such a remarkable company has given her some interesting insights into the leadership.
Marie Juetten: What is your company name and where are you based?
Sarah Bird: Moz was founded in 2004. Our headquarters are in Seattle, but we have a remote global workforce and another satellite office in Vancouver. Moz started out as a consulting company, but we’ve turned to SaaS to build new tools and platforms to help marketers understand the SEO impact of their campaigns and content.
Juette: When did you start?
Bird: I’ve worn many hats at Moz. I first joined the company as General Counsel when the company was just a small group of about eight people, but in 2008 I took on the role of Chief Operating Officer ( COO). I held this position for six years, then I became President in addition to COO in 2013, which helped me take the reins as CEO in 2014.
Juette: What problem are you solving?
Bird: We’re an SEO technology company fixing the way people market to their audience. At Moz, we believe customers should be earned, not bought. We do this by helping brands rank higher in search results and drive traffic to their website by providing the most accurate SEO data in the world. We also believe that SEO is one of the least understood tactics and strategies today, which is why we’re committed to providing resources for a wide variety of topics and experience levels.
Juette: Who are your customers and how do you find them?
Bird: Moz prospects find us because our resource center has answered their questions about brand awareness or driving traffic. Some strategies or tactics can be managed without a subscription, and we’re here to help marketers understand and implement what’s possible. For businesses that need more data and insights, we offer a self-service sales model that gives prospects options on how to engage our team. Our clients are in-house SEOs and marketers from some of the most trusted brands, as well as agency heads who manage tactics and strategy for their clients.
Juette: Who’s on your team?
Bird: We are 160 Mozzers, based around the world. We’re not just building a place to work, but a place to thrive. This vision is to build a community that recognizes, celebrates and elevates voices. We are a team with big, bold goals, fueled by the creativity and dedication to see them through.
Juette: Have you raised any money?
Bird: Our last funding round was in 2016 – a $10m Series C – almost $30m in total.
Juette: Any tips for newbie founders?
Bird: I see running a business like climbing a mountain.
If other early-career founders or CEOs are like me, they’ll probably have felt that certain people are right for the role (and that may or may not be them.) But that’s not true. No one climbs a mountain the first time without preparation and team support. You can and should train with “short hikes” to improve and reach new heights. It’s true in leadership – we’re not a special breed of people, we just worked and prepared with teams to get where we are today.
It is also important to understand that CEOs do not live “at the top”. To be frank, mountaineering and leadership are very difficult. These are not situations that many people describe as “fun”. Sure, there are times when you’re overcoming obstacles and enjoying the sunset from the top, but damn it, to get to this point, it took so much strength, energy and endurance – and often many failed summit attempts.
Achieving these milestones requires putting one foot in front of the other. Leadership is the same way – we are not guaranteed a summit, even if we are as prepared as possible. There are things beyond your control, like bad weather or an injury. There are also many things beyond your control as a business owner, such as what the competition is doing or the regulatory environment. All we can do each morning is see the peaks we are trying to reach and walk towards them. What’s most important is how you respond to the challenges along the way and to keep trying even if you don’t make it to the top on this particular hike.
There’s a reason not everyone is a mountaineer, just like there’s a reason not everyone is a CEO. Whenever I think of things like “maybe I’m not cut out to be a leader” or “that CEO thing just isn’t working right now” I really think of this illustration to remind myself that ‘today I didn’t make it to the top, and that’s fine. There is tomorrow. Today was training for a better future.
Juette: What is the long-term vision for your business?
Bird: When I think of the long-term vision, I think of our importance rather than our success. In the tech community, success can come from bold headlines, big funding rounds, or lucrative exits. Any quick search shows that these have become commonplace. I want Moz to leave a legacy of something more meaningful.
Most companies have core values or principles to guide decision making. Moz’s culture is no different, having been defined by “TAGFEE”; Mozzers are transparent and responsible, generous, fun, empathetic and exceptional.
What is an exception, however, is that Moz is also focused on improving the digital marketing industry, rather than just the team and the company, thanks to these values as well.
I recently spoke publicly about engaging rather than avoiding political conversations and making Moz an anti-racism company, while our CMO, Christina Mautz, is committed to responsible marketing.
By making our positions public, we hold ourselves more accountable for our actions. To continue these efforts, we brought in a diversity, equity and inclusion expert to assess our efforts and establish a roadmap.
Thanks to Sarah for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share her thoughts. His point is particularly salient, that CEOs are not born but created, and achieved through trial and error, success and setback. My experience is that by sharing these lessons learned, a legacy is created. #From.