The Umbrella Marketing Podacst : Episode 04 – Hacking Digital Influencers For Organic Growth ft. Rand Fishkin

White label digital marketing services

By Itamar Shafir on Jun 29, 2021

Hi … and Welcome to The Marketing Umbrella Podcast! If you are the owner of a local marketing agency looking to grow your business, OR maybe you are an entrepreneur looking to build an agency, then you will love The Marketing Umbrella Podcast!

In each episode, we interview leading digital marketing experts and sales gurus – and I’m talking about LEADING … They will share their story and provide advice in the form of practical tactics you can put in place to grow your sales … break the noise … scale … and provide better value – OR in short, grow your agency. I’m your host, Mr. Itamar Shafir, CEO of UMBRELLA, the technology platform, and brand that is powering thousands of marketing agencies globally. I have built my business by learning from super-successful people, and I want to introduce you to other people who can help YOU, too.

This week it’s our absolute privilege to be joined by Mr. Rand Fishkin, who is a known speaker and accomplished author who founded one of the best-known SEO brands in the world, one that I use many times, Moz, and took it to over $30 million in sales. He’s also the co-founder and CEO of SparkToro.

Itamar:  Welcome to The Umbrella Marketing Podcast, where we talk with successful marketing experts about ways to build and grow your digital marketing agency. My guest today is a known speaker and accomplished author who founded one of the best known SEO brands in the world, one that I use many times, Moz, and took it to over $30 million in sales. He’s also the co-founder and CEO of SparkToro. I’m excited to say hello to Mr. Rand Fishkin. Hi, Rand.

Rand Fishkin: Hi, Itamar. Thank you for having me. It’s good to be here.

Itamar: Awesome, Rand. So as you know, in The Umbrella Marketing Podcast, as we discussed, we’re trying to help marketing agencies grow in many, many different ways. But before we get into it, since you are so accomplished, has done so much as an entrepreneur and as a writer, I think our guests, our listeners would benefit much from just hearing a little bit about your background if you don’t mind.

Rand Fishkin: Oh, sure, yeah. So I, as you mentioned, started a company called Moz. Originally Moz was a blog and a consulting business. So, for folks who have been around in digital marketing for a number of years, I started the website in 2003. It was sort of a blog where I shared SEO experiences and eventually built up kind of this content marketing hub before content marketing was even a term that we used. And attracted a relatively significant audience at which point it transitioned, the company transitioned to being a software company. So I launched a set of subscribable tools, one of the first software as a service product in the SEO space. And over the next seven years, yeah, grew that from nothing to $30 million in revenue. And it’s amazing what happens when you are already attracting the audience that’s the perfect fit for your product.

And so by virtue of that blog, the business really built itself up. I started a video series called Whiteboard Friday that a lot of folks are familiar with, and many folks know me from that. Having watched those videos over the years, especially agency folks. I speak at a lot of conferences and events, especially prior to COVID. And yeah, so in 2018 I left Moz and started this new company SparkToro the next day. And SparkToro is in the audience intelligence and market research space. So essentially helping businesses of all kinds understand who their customers are and what they pay attention to so that they can do marketing of all kinds in those places and with those sources. And at the same time that I left Moz I released a book called Lost and Founder, which has been relatively well received. I just got my sales update from my publisher, Penguin Random House, and they seem to be pretty happy, so-

Itamar:  Good.

Rand Fishkin: … that’s a good thing.

Itamar: If the Penguins are happy, you’re happy.

Rand Fishkin: Exactly, exactly.

Itamar: I have to tell you, by the way, I love Moz. I’m sure all the listeners here know Moz and appreciate it and appreciate the blog and appreciate the tools. To this day I think we have a webinar talking about a pay per result SEO. In the webinar we look at Moz research on for how much agencies are selling SEO-

Rand Fishkin:  Oh yeah.

Itamar: You did some research in a few countries and it was super important for us as a company that deal with that all the time to kind of find the right benchmark for the prices. So that’s awesome. So I have to commend you on not just the financial success. It was one of those brands that kind of, that’s a real value for me. Like that’s a super value, it’s not a tool. Well, then it was also a tool, but it was a super value. Rand, I think you actually managed to create a little bit, kind of a loved brand, a little bit of a loved brand inside that ecosystem, which is hard to do. So I commend you for that.

Rand Fishkin: Thank you. I’m thrilled to hear that the survey data, the agency survey data was useful. I think that was a project, I want to say that I launched in maybe 2014 or ’15, after someone like yourself emailed and said, “Hey, Rand, I’m trying to figure out how we should pricing. Do you have an article about this?” And I was like, “I don’t have an article about that. I don’t do agency pricing myself. I know what I should do. I should survey all the Moz users.” And this, I think helped gather a ton of data about how digital agencies, digital marketing agencies do their pricing and how they hire people, all that kind of stuff.

Itamar:  It was super important. We have, I think 750 agencies selling SEO and they were like, “This is helpful.” Of course we mentioned Moz.

Rand Fishkin: Oh, I love it, I love it, of course. I should do that again. There’s no reason not to update it in 2021.

Itamar: I think, and now you should do it for-

Rand Fishkin: Yeah, for SparkToro. Why not?

Itamar: Yeah. Okay, so speaking about SparkToro, SparkToro is also about helping brands and helping agencies doing marketing and kind of in a different way than SEO, because you’re now focusing on info on the personas, right? That you should target them and how you should target them. And you and I talked before we started the podcast about this podcast is about helping agencies. So how does that help agencies?

Rand Fishkin: Yeah, I mean, so I, Itamar, I’m really challenged to find a competitive advantage, a consistent competitive advantage with SEO anymore. I think there’s this long period of Google sort of growth and rise to dominate industry. I’m sure you remember, right? Like 1997 to about maybe 2014, 2015, even tiny small businesses, if you built something valuable on the web and did your SEO with it, your keyword research and worked on your content guide, your links built, you could outrank [crosstalk] a lot of your competitors. Like you could be number one, number two, number three.

Today there’s really three problems that are challenging that dramatically. The first is a massive amount of competition. Every single brand that wasn’t online before the pandemic is online today. I don’t care how big or small you were, over the last 18 months, every single brand all around the world. So this just means massively more competition. And that was even true pre-COVID.

The second thing is, Google has become a machine learning first search engine. And the machine learning signals interpret a much wider range of potential ranking inputs than what was previously sort of hand selected by a bunch of engineers sitting in a room together. And so when that happens, when the machine learning system took over Google, you started to see a strong preference that was already existing, but a stronger preference for brands ranking at the very top of the results, you know? Brands that people knew like trusted preferred to click on, it was the era of being able to build your brand with SEO kind of went away and SEO became an amazing opportunity for already existing strong brands.

So if you’re Peloton, SEO is a great opportunity, because you’ve already got a strong brand and lots of people know you. If you’re Airbnb, Airbnb built their SEO and content strategy the last four or five years, right? That’s not how they built their brand, but once they had a great brand, then they executed on SEO and content. And this is true for so many more, Canva and Stripe and Shopify and Etsy. All these brands essentially got to a place of power and influence, and then they executed on SEO and content.

So that’s the second problem. And then the third and last one is, and I just released some research about this last week. Google is basically keeping two-thirds of all the searches that happen on google.com inside of Google’s walled garden. Like for every 100 searches that are performed, about 65 of them, maybe a little more than that, stay on Google. They don’t click to another website. So this opportunity, this is some research I did with SimilarWeb, which Google wrote sort of a semi-retaliatory blog post about, but didn’t offer their own numbers.

Itamar:  I can go into a conversation just about that for two hours, that’s super interesting.

Rand Fishkin: Yeah, it’s fascinating stuff, right? The research, the reaction was interesting. I think the data by itself is interesting, that the variance is super high. We looked at some very specific examples, like you search for Apple iPhone XS, and of all the searches, many thousands of searches that were performed for that particular keyword phrase in 2020, SimilarWeb looked. And hey, the click through rate is almost 65%, right? So only, Google’s only keeping a little over a third of those searches.

Then you go to something like Donald Trump age, 95% are kept on Google. You see the number, Google provides an instant answer, you don’t have to click. Nobody goes anywhere, right? So you’ve got this sort of wide, wide range of stuff. But because of these three things, my perspective for digital marketing agencies and the folks that they’re helping is, if you can go help them build their brand online and off before you start doing SEO and content, you’re going to have an amazing time. Like the SEO and content equation is essentially, have a brand that people love, trust, like clicking on, get them to search for your brand and branded terms, and then execute on that with high quality SEO and content after you built it.

Itamar:  So let me ask you, if we’re talking about a very small business, a local business, not Stripe, we’re talking about one of your local HVACs. So you’re saying, start with the branding first, even start with small budget advertising, get the clicks, get the likes, and then move into SEO?

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Rand Fishkin: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So I’m saying, if you are, if you’re a local business, a small business, a medium sized business, a new startup on the web, a new content business, you’re building a newsletter, whatever it is, I would try and find the sources of influence that reach your audience. So, if that’s, in HVAC world maybe that is places like, I don’t know, it’s Yelp and Nextdoor and your local newspaper publication, and maybe there’s a local weekly. And maybe there’s a few newsletters that people in the neighborhoods that you serve subscribe to. And perhaps there’s a few popular Twitter and LinkedIn and Instagram accounts that people are following.

Those could be individuals, or they might be publications that are associated with other media brands. Maybe there’s podcasts that are local or a neighborhood blog. Those are the spots. That’s where I think, they’re not very crowded. They don’t receive tons of pitches all day, every day, especially not from people with interesting data about, “Hey, did you know that the Ballard neighborhood, we surveyed 500 of our HVAC customers over the last three years and we found all these amazing data points about what’s going on with cooling systems and how, whatever. How climate change is impacting Seattle homeowners.”

Boom, that is the kind of content, you don’t need any SEO for it. You produce that. You make some good graphs and charts. You’ve got a decent methodology. Boom, every news outlet in your local region is going to pick that up. Podcasters are going to be thrilled to have you on, “Yes, come on the KPLU Podcast and talk to us about what you’re discovering.” Amazing. It’s that kind of thing where essentially you are finding angles of interest for the publications that reach your audience, the sources of influence that reach your audience. And pitching them, doing outreach, doing that work in whatever ways resonates. It can be different for every different field and every different person. But I think this is where a great digital marketing agency can really make a huge difference, because these SMB owners, they can’t do it themselves.

Itamar: Yeah, they can’t, completely can’t. I agree with you. So, let’s even take it to a more practical step. Rand, I’m a small agency. I work in Atlanta. I want to help a dentist client, but you know what, let me go with something maybe that we can write a little bit more about, let’s say a plastic surgeon.

Rand Fishkin:   Okay, yeah.

Itamar:  That’s kind of more consumerish lifestylish. What is my first step? I’m not a supermarketer. I’m a marketer, but I’m not Rand Fishkin yet, so.

Rand Fishkin: Hey. You probably, I will say this. If you are serving a niche community in a local area, you’re probably a better marketer than I am. You probably have a better idea of what the local publications and people and sources of influence are and what they’ll pay attention to and what can get amplified and broadcasted. But, Itamar, let’s start from zero, let’s assume you have none of that knowledge. My recommendation would be, I would first have conversations with your clients’ customers.

So, you go talk to the plastic surgeon and you say, “Hey, could we talk to a few of your happy customers and get a sense of what brought them to you and what sorts of research they did before they came to you and what they paid attention to?” And like, “Hey, let’s ask a few of those questions, just a few 20, 30 minute interviews over Zoom or a phone call or a coffee or whatever it is.” Invaluable.

You will gain so much knowledge about it, deep knowledge about it. And the second thing that I would do is I would run a survey. I would ideally run it to, if there’s an email list of customers or potential customers, maybe people who signed up, even if they didn’t come into the plastic surgery clinic, but they, maybe they scheduled an appointment or they signed up for a newsletter, whatever it is, they gave their email somehow.

Even if you have none of those, you could use a tool like SurveyMonkey Audience, and narrow in, or run some Facebook ads to capture some survey. Get a 100, 200 answers. Oh, okay. People in Atlanta who are considering plastic surgery did these things. They thought about these things. They had these problems, they described their problems in these ways. You can figure out what the right questions are to ask based on what the client says their goals in marketing are.

But then you take that data and the interview data, and you can combine that into aha, here is our marketing research. This tells us, this gives us the road map for in order to compellingly reach this audience that’s interested in plastic surgery in Atlanta, we should be in these types of publications and sources of influence. If you want there’s a few tools that help you do this online. They basically crawl social and web data and then aggregate it together. My company SparkToro is one of the tools that does this, but there’s a couple other good ones. One that I like is called Audiense. But instead of spelled with a C it’s spelled with an S.

Itamar: Okay. Yeah, Audiense.

Rand Fishkin:  Audiense with an S. Another one is called helixa.ai. And a third that I really like and did some work with is SimilarWeb, right? So SimilarWeb aggregates a ton of, “Hey, people who visit whatever it is. You want to find people who visit RealSelf.” Which is like a plastic surgery research site actually started by a sort of colleague of mine here in the Seattle area, that people who visit that website, what other websites do they visit?

You can get that for free from SimilarWeb, you know? Just go to similarweb.com. You scroll down, they’ll show you what other websites people visited. So now you’ve got a bunch of data from whatever, SparkToro and SimilarWeb, and these other places, showing you, okay, here’s this audience. Here’s what they say they’re interested in. Here’s sort of our experiential learnings from those interviews.

Here’s the sources of influence they pay attention to. That’s a marketing roadmap my friends. That is essentially, “Okay, we are going to do these interesting things on the content side, on the pitching side, on the outreach side, on the product side, on the presentation side, on the way we talk about what we do on our website, on the call to action, on the whatever. On an email newsletter, on getting our doc on a bunch of podcasts. On getting them in front of people on webinars and whatever.” You’ve got your tactics and you can craft your strategy and then you match them up.

So if it’s, “Hey, we are going to present, whatever, the top 10 objections. And we’re going to market that top 10 objections to plastic surgery and concerns that people have and help get them over the hump. Because our primary marketing challenge is convincing people who are interested to actually come in and schedule an appointment, a consult.” And if that’s the case, then a lot of your learning is going to be focused on that conversion hump, and getting over that. Or it could be, “Hey, we do great with conversion. Once somebody gets to our website and enters their email, they’re in. Our problem is traffic.

We need high quality relevant traffic. Okay. So let’s start with, how do we find the publications and people and sources of influence that reach our market and get in front of them with something that they are interested in, so that they’ll cover and write about us and talk about us and amplify us to the audience that needs to hear from us?”

Itamar: And do you think, let’s say I’m using SparkToro to do that. And I have the set publications that I need, would you say, and I’m not a great copywriter, and I’m not sure about my ability, for example, to prepare well crafted content that will be super interesting for those publications. But hey, they offer advertising. I have the dollars to buy them. That works, right?

Rand Fishkin: You know, what’s beautiful about that too, in a lot of those cases you can, whatever, call up the ad team at your favorite podcast that reaches your audience. And you could say like, “Hey, we want to sponsor the show.” You would be shocked, the cost per 1,000 impressions to a highly relevant audience that you know is the people that you want to reach can be so much lower than paying whatever it is, $8, $10, $15 a click on Google or Facebook. Especially in plastic surgery.

I mean, plastic surgery, the numbers are probably 30, 40, 50. So you’re just talking about crazy, crazy numbers. And a lot of times, no offense like, like Facebook and Google advertising can be quite effective, but in most cases what happens in most markets is there’s enough people bidding on them and the traffic is worth, let’s say the return on investment that you can get is, I don’t know, $85 a click. Google’s goal, Facebook’s goal is to charge you $84.99.

That’s their incentive, right? They want to maximize, they want to come right up to the point where you will stop advertising because the profit margin just isn’t there, and extract every last dollar. And they rely on the fact that everybody uses them to bid up to that point, right? So that they can learn over time. They have enough data and sophisticated algorithms to figure that out. And of course the market incentivizes them to grow their ad earnings every year. That’s a nightmare for a small business owner. How are you going to make a profit? You got to find sources that aren’t crowded with competition, that don’t have, whatever, thousands of engineers in Mountain View, California paid six figures a year to find algorithms that will maximize their profit and minimize yours.

Itamar: I agree completely. So I’m going to my client, I’m starting that pitch, and unlike coming with some sort of specific offer. This is a more, “Hey, let’s strategize and build something for the long run.” So would you say if I’m prospecting, it’s not my client yet, I’m prospecting, coming into the prospect conversation, the client discovery conversation, would that idea of the methodology and the back end, you think that’s too much? Or do you think that’s exactly what they’ll appreciate?

Rand Fishkin: Yeah, I think what you want to do is, and this is a great way to differentiate yourself as an agency, right? To basically say, “Look, we can help you with SEO. We’ve helped people get rankings. We’ve helped people produce content. We’ve helped them, whatever, get an email newsletter set up, get their social media PR marketing presence set up.

We can do all of those things. But it’s going to be difficult to get a competitive advantage with just those things alone. And if you want us to, we will manage your ad spend on Facebook and Google. We will help bring you the best return on investment we can. We’ll help you with negative keyword optimization, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

However, if you want to build a true marketing competitive advantage, a flywheel that scales with decreasing friction over time, you are going to want to build up a brand that people know, like, trust, and associate with solving this problem in this space, in your region, better than anyone else. And that is something that will be very hard to take away from you for decades to come. No matter how much somebody else spends on Google ads, that’s tough to take away. I’m sure, Itamar-

Itamar:  I love it.

Rand Fishkin: … I’m sure you can think of in your, whatever, in your hometown in Israel, here in the United States, you can think of places where you have like a deep personal association with, whatever, your local, your favorite coffee shop.

Itamar:  Yeah, of course.

Rand Fishkin:  Your favorite local retail store where you buy things. I have a furniture store I love. I have a sushi shop in Ballard that I love, near my house. It’s going to be really tough for someone to advertise their way out of the brand loyalty that I feel to those places.

Itamar: I agree a 100%. Unless you’re already on the move or it’s transactional, then yeah, I completely agree. So I love it. So it’s pretty much a formulated way for branding. And just to recap for our members, guys, you don’t have to be the smartest, most successful marketer. Grab a few clients. Or even if you’re just prospecting, start this as this is your path towards branding that would lead you towards success, and then move into those conversations and then use SparkToro to kind of find that data that you need to find the locations where you need to advertise in brands. And it’s perfectly fine that we’re talking about SparkToro, because I wanted to talk about it anyways. If I’m going to SparkToro now, and I bet a lot of listeners after this podcast-

Rand Fishkin: I do you want to say, I’m kind of, I’m very sensitive about promoting my own stuff. I feel, I don’t know, almost bad and wrong about it, but the nice thing about SparkToro is it’s free. So you can go, you can set up a free account, you can do some searches, you can find … A ton of people, especially marketers get a lot of value from just using the free version. And so I super encourage you to do that. I encourage you to check out the free version of SimilarWeb. Audiense has, I think you can run one search through them and get a demo and a free analysis.

So, some of these tools, you can get a lot of the value that we’re talking about, where you discover those sources of influences, and present them to your client. And then, if your client signs up, if they’re like, “Oh, I am in. Yeah, give it to me, baby. This is great.” Okay, now you can go, choose your favorite tool, pay them some money, bill that to your client, and use the full process that you need. But this is a great way to start off that conversation and break out of the duopoly.

Itamar:  I completely agree. A lot of times we recommend them doing the free rooms and the free tools before. Yeah, definitely. The only thing, I usually don’t talk about tools so much with the people that I interview, the fact is, and I started this and I’m not embarrassed. I love Moz. So I don’t care. You built it. So I pretty much, that already transferred my trust in SparkToro enough to talk about it. But the reason I also want to talk about it, because I want to be very tactical on the podcast. And you were very tactical about defining the three steps you think that they should take. Just in few sentences, if you can encapsulate, not in a promotional way, but just for people to understand what exactly SparkToro does-

Rand Fishkin:   Sure.

Itamar:  You come in and then you type something and what happens?

Rand Fishkin:  Right, right. So I, for example, I just did a search. I was helping someone who’s in the recipes world, right? So she runs a cooking blog and she sells products through the cooking blog, mostly an affiliate model, but what … One woman show. So I looked for, I did the search. My audience frequently uses the hashtag Japanese food. There’s a dropdown. You can choose a number of different ways to search. But in this case, we knew that a lot of the people who come to her website are interested in Japanese cooking and Japanese cuisine.

So great. My audience uses the hashtag Japanese food, and then SparkToro basically pulls back and says, “Okay, our database found 3,200 people who in the last 90 days used the hashtag Japanese food on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Facebook, all these places. And here are characteristics and attributes of that audience.

Like what else did they talk about? And right now what’s fascinating is, on the rise are terms like cherry blossoms, fried chicken, pork belly, ramen. What is this? Wait, I’m not exactly sure. Oh, izakaya. Okay, that’s like a Japanese bar. Okay, so I can see a bunch of content topics that are resonant with this audience, which can potentially inform some of the content strategy or ideation that she might have around what she’s going to do. And then it’ll show me social accounts that this audience engages with most. It’ll show me websites that they visit the most. It’ll show me podcasts that they listen to.

I had never heard of this, but it sounds amazing. Deep Dive from The Japan Times, 10% of this audience engages with this podcast online. And apparently Japan Times journalists get interviewed by this guy, Oscar Boyd on this podcast, which runs in English here in the U.S. Oh my God, are you kidding me? There you go, boom. And then, and you can find media sources, so Serious Eats, which is an American recipe website, but apparently very popular with Japanese people who make Japanese food or want to at home. Boom, like this is golden stuff.

You will probably find some of these sources if you were to do Google searches for Japanese food. But what you will not know is whether the audience that talks about them online actually pays attention to those sources, and which ones and how much. So if it says, whatever it is, “Oh, well, 10.6% have engaged with Bon Appetit Magazine in the last 90 days. And Japan travel advice has gotten nearly that much.” I bet I could pitch Japan travel advice much more easily than I could pitch Bon Appetit. I’m going to reach out to them.

Itamar:  That’s perfect. I love it. I get it. I get it completely. I’m going to use it.

Rand Fishkin: It can be really fun. You’ll find fascinating stuff in there. And you can apply it to, if you’re running like Facebook ad campaigns or Twitter ad campaigns, LinkedIn ad campaigns, you can take the hashtags in the topics and plug them directly into the audience builder for those services and go, “Oh, perfect. This is who I can reach,” and potentially get a little more advantage over your competitors who might not be so well informed. SEO and content and keywords, and all that stuff.

Itamar:  Completely. There’s also one thing we talk about in this podcast, which is the entrepreneurialship part of it. And I always ask successful people the same question, having worked with a lot of people, manage, or have colleagues and friends that are also successful. Maybe those who were less accessible, those who’ve tried, and those who succeed and those who have not. Do you find a pattern that you would recommend? Did you find a pattern of successful people versus unsuccessful people of what to avoid or what should be done?

Rand Fishkin: I think the most interesting part of the question is the definition of success, which changes so dramatically, depending on who you’re talking to and when you talk to them. So for example, a lot of folks think that I was very successful at Moz, right? They’re like, “Oh man, that company is doing whatever, $50 million in revenue. And they got 25,000 plus customers and Rand must be successful.” And look, I think obviously I did reasonably well. I had a nice salary while I was there. I still own 17% of the company. So potentially maybe someday if something happens with it, yeah maybe it’ll turn into lots of money. But when I left Moz, I started SparkToro the next day. Not just for the sort of marketing, audience building aspect of it, but also because I needed to make money quickly, right?

I have my rent to pay, and bills, and food, and travel and all the things I like to do. So it is really interesting for me to talk to a lot of agency owners. I’m friends with a ton of folks who own digital marketing agencies. And when they learn that their companies are more sort of financially lucrative and successful for them and their co-founders and even sometimes their executive team than what Moz was for me, they’re shocked. They’re like, “Wow, how is that possible? My agency has never even done $5 million in revenue a year, you were doing 50.” And this is the thing about how you structure your life and your business.

Moz I raised $30 million in venture capital. And so until, or unless the company sells, has an exit, that money is illiquid, right? The ownership is illiquid. I could never pay myself profits from the business. So even though Moz probably made, was profitable to the tune of $5 million last year, I’m not going to see any of that money. I think another thing to realize is what success means outside of finances. And I think that it is actually a really great thing as you get older to start to realize, “Oh, there’s an amount of money where my life will not be all that different in meaningful ways if I have more than that.”

Itamar: I agree.

Rand Fishkin: “And also, if I can reach that level and maintain it, then what I really want is a life that is rich with the other things that I love. Sometimes that’s time off. Sometimes that’s interesting projects you love working on. Sometimes it’s growth in your own intellectual capacity. Sometimes it’s helping a certain type of person or business. I know a lot of agency owners who like, they just thrive and love helping other businesses succeed. Helping other people, seeing them take off, and seeing their clients who they worked with five years ago go from, “Oh, things were really rocky to, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got a funnel that really works for us. And it’s driving customers to our door and look at us, we’re surviving and thriving despite that.'” That’s their sense of wonderment.

But for some reason I think it’s like the hyper capitalistic culture of the U.S. and the West. A lot of folks don’t think that’s success. They don’t label that as successful in their own minds. And so they view themselves as not successful compared to, I don’t know him personally, but I don’t think Jeff Bezos’ life is good. I don’t think-

Itamar:  No, I wouldn’t go so far. I was saying, “Agency owners who, successful practices more of moving forward.”

Rand Fishkin: And look at me just taking that and just running [crosstalk] 10,000.

Itamar:  I appreciate it. I appreciate it. Actually, one of the best answers, I got two questions instead of that. Thank you. That was great. I won’t ask you any more questions.

Rand Fishkin: Yeah, yeah. So change your definition of success. And I have seen a lot of agency owners who can change their definition of success to be a full definition, not just a financial one, be much happier and more successful than the ones who can’t. So that is my advice.

Itamar: I appreciate it. I’m sure the listeners appreciate it too. So the last thing we have for today is a very quick rapid Q&A.

Rand Fishkin:  Ooh, sweet.

Itamar: I’m going to ask you a few questions. If something feels uncomfortable for you, just say pass. Although, I’m just going to ask it again, so don’t say it. And it’s just short answers, right? It’s not like an association questionnaire, but short answers, quick questions. You’re ready?

Rand Fishkin:  Ready, let’s do it.

Itamar: Okay. Did you get along with your parents growing up?

Rand Fishkin:                     My mom always, my dad, until I went through puberty.

Itamar: I get that. Do you have siblings?

Rand Fishkin:  I do. I’ve got a younger brother and a younger sister.

Itamar: Do you have a pet?

Rand Fishkin: I don’t have a pet. I had a couple of frogs for a while. They both died. They don’t live very long.

Itamar: Frogs don’t count now. Do you have kids?

Rand Fishkin: No kids.

Itamar: Do you, when do you wake up?

Rand Fishkin:  Well, embarrassingly, even though I’m in the Pacific time zone, I wake up usually between 9:00 and 9:30 AM. Sometimes as late as 10:00.

Itamar: That’s good. Okay, so moving on to my next question. When do you go to bed?

Rand Fishkin:  Between 12:30 and 2:00 AM.

Itamar: Okay. Okay, so you’re pretty lazy. Ideal vacation?

Rand Fishkin: Ooh, I love exploring new places. Especially we had a trip booked to Costa Rica this year that got canceled because of COVID, but I am dying to go there. One of my favorite places to visit is Japan. I have to go back there.

Itamar:  Amazing. Are you a man of faith?

Rand Fishkin:  Ooh, no. At least not traditional.

Itamar:  Okay. Yeah.

Rand Fishkin: I’m Jewish by ethnicity, but not religious.

Itamar: Yeah. No, I wasn’t asking about religion, but more of faith. But I get it. I’m not boring into that question because that’s another two hour conversation.

Rand Fishkin:  Yeah, if we have two hours we’ll talk about it.

Itamar:  Yeah. Okay, so that’s it. I really want to thank you very much. No more. Don’t worry, no more questions.

Rand Fishkin: I love ending on the controversial where like, “Oh wow, this is really going to test you.”

Itamar: But you were awesome. And I think everything you said on a strategic and tactical level about, you actually produced a new roadmap for our listeners. And I really appreciate it. And guys, go to sparktoro.com and sign up for a free account and use it, like Rand just said.

Rand Fishkin:  Awesome. Itamar, thank you so much for having me and yeah, tell all the listeners, if I can be helpful to you or folks in your world, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I’m rand@sparktoro.com, and I’m pretty active on Twitter where I’m @randfish as well.

Itamar:  Awesome. Thank you, Rand.

Rand Fishkin:  Thanks, take care. All right.

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