Touch Up Paint & Growth Hacks With Rand Fishkin

Posted on Mar 16, 2018

Episode: S01E01

Podcast Guest: Rand Fishkin
Role: Founder
Company: Spark Toro

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This episode, featuring Rand Fishkin (aka the godfather of SEO), drills down on growth hacks and the role they should play as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. Rand also shares the core channels that Moz leveraged to scale (which we’ll likely see at SparkToro as well).

Episode Transcript

Eytan Buchman: My name is Eytan Buchman and you are listening to episode three of Two Minute Marketing, where we take insights on how the real world works…and find out what it means for marketing. And this, my friends, is a doozy of an episode. If SEO has a godfather, he’d have a waxed mustache, a ton of whiteboards and you’d be able to spell the word rank out of the letters in his name. I think you know exactly who I’m talking about…

Rand Fishkin: My name is Rand Fishkin I’m the founder of Moz, the new founder of Spark Torso. And I hope you enjoy this.

Eytan Buchman:

Oh, you will. But first, the real world. Walk into a used car dealership and check out the cars, with every scratch buffed out and every window polished. But when you get behind the wheel and turn the key, you’ll quickly realize if you’re sitting behind your next car…or if you’re getting ripped off. Because a paint job and a scented tree will never transform that Fiat Pinto into a road beast. And that’s a feeling that I frequently have about growth hacks. In many cases, growth hacks are less growth…and more hack. Changing a button color may slightly move the conversion rate needle…but that’s not where you get your exponential growth And Rand can tell you why.

Rand Fishkin: So it’s been my feeling and sentiment for a long time that a lot of the individual component hacks, the things we try and do to improve our marketing or improve a conversion rate or get more traffic are oftentimes not in service of the full goal.

And so a big part of that for me is in recognizing that the design of Google’s algorithm is intended to reward the very best result and the design of human beings psychologies is designed to reward the very best experience. And so when I craft these things and when I encourage other people to practice SEO or content marketing or social media marketing whatever it is I’m trying to encourage them to craft whole experiences. That’s not because it’s a trick or a tactic but because it has the very best result.

Eytan Buchman:

Now, that’s not to say that growth hacks don’t work. But think about the really successful ones, right, and a great example Airbnb’s integration with Craigslist. The reason that took off is because Craigslist users wanted more listings…and Airbnb’s growth hack addressed their core experience, not gloss.

That’s a central tent for how Rand approached marketing at Moz, as they grew into an SEO powerhouse. So obviously, I asked him what were the channels that really worked…and why. Here’s his answer

Rand Fishkin:

I think the ones that have had the most impact, absolutely for the company, have been content and SEO.

So the content that has tended to work best is content that truly helps people do their jobs better and is very reference-worthy, meaning it actually enables them to accomplish something that they couldn’t previously before or that they did better because they consumed it and it was something that they felt, or at least many people, felt was worth citing, worth amplifying, worth repeating, and sharing with their audiences.

I think if you can if you can do that right if you can sort of answer that question who will help amplify this and why with your content investments, you’re going to have a lot more success.

Eytan Buchman:

That’s it for today. Before you power down, fire up your browser and head over to Amazon.com and snag Rand’s latest book, Lost and Founder. Also, check out this episode’s page on my website, buchman.co.il, for the link to an amazing letter rand wrote summing up his time at Moz and what’s up next.

And now go forth…and market