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SEOmoz (Erica McGillivray) Reveals Their Inspirations

SEO Software has become very instrumental to our industry. No other brand continues to have global coverage than SEOmoz. Therefore interviewing SEOmoz, namely Erica McGillivray, was a great honour. To quote her bio on SEOmoz, she’s a “die-hard geek who spends a ridiculous amount of time being nerdy, both professionally and personally”. Superb!

To recap, over the past few weeks I’ve interviewed:

Enjoy the interview with Erica.
  1. Can you describe SEOmoz Pro as if I knew nothing about it?
    SEOmoz Pro is an online marketing analytics app that helps you improve your website. Currently, most of our tools have an SEO focus, but we’re quickly expanding that to the greater inbound marketing needs of websites such as social. We target online marketers, but do offer agency and enterprise versions of our app. Our tools range from analyzing your website for common crawl errors and warnings that you can fix to tracking keywords to checking out the backlinks profiles for you and your competitors. We also have a big emphasis on education, and in addition to our free resources such as our blog and the Beginner’s SEO Guide, we also offer PRO members training and have a strong PRO Q&A forum where PRO members can answer each other’s questions or have staff answer them.
  2. What was your inspiration for creating SEOmoz Pro?
    We started building our current PRO tools when we were an SEO agency. We used them for our own clients and organically evolved into offering these tools to others. Soon we realized that our tools were our mission and now focus on that full-time. We love helping people make their websites even better.
  3. Since the commencement of your SaaS product, what have been the highs and lows for SEOmoz Pro?
    Because we are such a community-driven company, the lows are definitely the days when there’s an outage or a tool isn’t working. Our PRO members are so passionate about our tools, and we realize that so many people rely on on our tools for their reporting and work that we’re even more motivated to make sure everything’s working optimally and growing in awesomeness. In the same vein, the highs are when we have people tell us that our tools and resources are invaluable to their work. Whether they tell us how we’ve changed their entire business or just helped them with a very specific problem.
  4. Which top 3 features of SEOmoz Pro would you say outshine the competition?
    Our Top 3 features are: Open Site Explorer (OSE), Web App, and MozBar.

    1. OSE is a tool used for link research and analysis. Using it, you can dig deeper and compare the quality and quantity of backlinks on your site and your competitors. OSE is a tool we built from the ground up, and we stand behind the accuracy of its data.
    2. Our Web App is really the heart and soul of SEOmoz PRO. In it, you can set up campaigns for each of your websites, track them, and get feedback on how they are performing. One of the best features inside of our Web App is the Weekly Site Audit, which informs you of crawl and errors and warnings that could be either problems on your site or causing problems with site indexing on search engines. The audit not only points out errors, but also gives suggestions on how hard or easy they are to fix, how bad the error is, and links to our educational resources to help you repair it. Another wonderful feature is our On-Page Optimization tool, which analyses your target keywords and the pages you want to rank for that keyword. It gives a grade (A-F) and informs you both what you did correctly and what needs improvement. Then On-Page Optimization tool continues to track that term and page so after you’ve made adjustments, you can see your changes making a difference.

    3. And last, but not least, the MozBar is a Firefox and Chrome add-on that allows you access SEO metrics as you surf the web. You can do things like comparing link metrics for Google, Bing, and Yahoo! with a SERP overlay, expose page elements including link types (follow, no-follow, internal, external) and keywords, and create custom searches by search engine, country, and region/city.

  5. Do you have time to read the SEO blogs while working with SEOmoz, if so, which blogs/twitter accounts do you follow?
    Blogs on my reading list:

  6. There are a broad range of techniques within the SEO industry, how do you think SEOmoz Pro manages to facilitate this?
    At SEOmoz, we strive to demystify inbound online marketing. Whether you’re trying to improve keyword rankings, gather 1 million Facebook likes, or link build like a fiend, this doesn’t happen because of magic spells or deep secrets hidden on the internet. It comes from both having a great company/product and hard work. That hard work can be complex, but a lot of is implementing simple best practices and SEOmoz is here to help with analysis, education, and advice. With our PRO app and tools, we want anyone in the online marketing world to be able to use them and see clear data on their website with suggestions for improvements and go forward with making their websites more awesome.
  7. Without giving too much away, what juicy features are on your roadmap for the next 12 months?
    Besides some tweaks that will make our users happy, we’re launching social tools. We’re starting with tracking your Facebook and Twitter pages and analyzing trends, mentions, and more. Currently, this is in beta, and our PRO members we brought in for their feedback have been loving it. We’re also working on making our reporting features more customizable, especially downloadable reports. And…coming this spring/early summer, we have a big announcement; but right now, our lips are sealed.
  8. What third party tools do you wish you could implement but don’t currently have an API?
    We believe in building features ourself to ensure accuracy of reporting. Sure, we do pull some information from PRO member’s Google Analytics and, of course, Twitter and Facebook for those social tools. But overall, we believe that we can provide more reliability and a higher quality of data by building our tools with as few third-party APIs as possible.
  9. Who inspires you in life and how is this transposed into your work life?
    Who inspires me most is the Moz community and the greater internet marketing community. The passion to build better and cooler tools comes from a curiosity to make things better or create something new. But without a vibrant and passionate community, that passion dwindles. Without our community, we wouldn’t be anything. *hearts*
  10. What conferences are you attending over the next 12 months?
    We’re always on-the-go. We’ll be at SES London, San Francisco, and Chicago. We’ll also be as SMX West 2012 and Advanced here in Seattle. Additionally, we put on an annual convention MozCon in Seattle, which will be in July. Our CEO Rand Fishkin will be speaking at Future of Web Apps, SMX Advanced, Marketing Innovation Forum, O’Reilly Where Conference, and, of course, MozCon. See you on the road!
Thank you Erica. I appreciate your time in replying.

Erica is SEOmoz’s Community Attaché and spends her day fostering and building relationships with SEOmoz’s members, fans, potentials, and haters both online and offline. She has a background in e-commerce, and in her spare time, she runs GeekGirlCon, a nonprofit supporting geeky women.

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Phil Yarrow