Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
SEOmoz has lost its SEO. Well, from its name at least.
In a blog post earlier today, the search engine and social optimization software company announced that SEOmoz is no more – it is now known simply as Moz with all links now redirecting to the new domain.
The SEOmoz brand kicked in to life way back in 2004 with a blog, focusing on all-things related to optimizing websites for search engines. The company grew as a consultancy and software company, though the former was retired in 2009 to focus exclusively on the latter. Today, the site sees more than two-million visits a month, which isn’t bad at all for a software startup.
The reason for the name change? Well, CEO Rand Fishkin cites a number of factors – the company doesn’t focus specifically on SEO software. But also, it seems as though Fishkin feels constrained by the connotations of ‘SEO’. He says:
“SEO is bigger than just SEO – as hard as I’ve fought personally and we’ve fought as an organization over the last decade to make marketers and organizations think more holistically about organic search, the branding of the past remains. SEO is seen as a narrow set of activities that move rankings up and bring search visitors in.
To truly help with SEO, we have to do more than just place keywords, make sites accessible, and build links, but first we need the influence to make these changes. A broader marketer is often granted that influence, while pure SEOs still, unfairly, must strive for it.”
Throw into the mix negative associations (spam/manipulation), pronunciation (“It’s surpisingly hard for folks who don’t know to say the acronym ‘SEO'”) and other (wrong) expectations, all this colluded to make the name-change a no-brainer. It seems like this is Fishkin’s move to start afresh.
Today’s rebrand coincides with the news that it’s also expanding its software into ‘Moz Analytics’ – a platform to track and measure inbound marketing and provide website analytics and marketing campaigns. This encompasses social analytics, including traffic analyses, engagements, and shares; and also brand and Web mention data, letting clients see where they are being mentioned online – but not linked to. So SEO is still very much part of the picture.
“For the past decade, we’ve fought to make SEO a legitimate, respected part of a web marketer’s arsenal,” says Fishkin. “Today that battle is expanding to include content marketing, social media, community building, brand tracking, and other inbound channels. While SEO remains a key part of our product, it’s no longer transparent or authentic to say we’re purely an SEO software company.”
Moz mark II
This marks the start of a new era for the company, and comes a little over a year after SEOmoz announced a chunky $18m funding round – using popular Internet memes rather than a press release to broadcast this news.
Since then, the Seattle-based company has been taking on new hires, and has been fairly active with acquisitions too – it took on FollowerWonk in August, nabbed GetListed in December, and AudienceWise a month later. It’s clearly moved far beyond a consultancy for brands looking to get one up on Google, so a rebrand makes sense in many ways.
“The transformation of Moz over the past year is a direct result of the feedback we’ve received from our customers and community,” continues Fishkin. “We’ve taken input from thousands of marketers, and built the tools they need to understand the impact of their efforts.”
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