For nearly a decade, Rand Fishkin’s Seattle startup has been directly associated with search engine optimization, so much so that SEO was embedded right in the company’s name: SEOmoz.
But things are evolving and changing in the SEO business, and at SEOmoz.
Today, the company is dropping SEO from its name, adopting the new moniker Moz. (We got wind of the name change last summer). The new name is a reflection of the changing business at Moz, which is also expanding its offering today to include a new analytics platform designed to go beyond search.
Andrew Dumont, director of business development at Moz, noted that the term SEO has developed some negative connotations over the years. But the name change is much bigger than that, reflecting a much larger overhaul of the company’s core product, an effort that has been in the works for about two years.
“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,” says Fishkin, who sold off his company’s SEO consulting business to Distilled in 2010, .
The new name will help the company not only expand its feature set, but also the target market.
“SEO is changing a lot, and our product is changing with that,” says Dumont.
To date, the Moz software has really focused on improving one’s ranking in search engines.
The new offering, which is being rolled out today to a select group of about 300 Moz customers, will include new social media and content measurement tools.
“What we’ve noticed as we’ve studied the industry over the past several years is that SEO is starting to include a lot of different things, and a big piece of the channel that affects search rankings is content marketing, social media marketing and where your brand is mentioned and linked to on the Web,” said Dumont. Baked into the new product offering is something that Dumont described as a “Google Alert” for online marketers, basically telling brand managers where they are mentioned across the Web.
That means a marketing director could set up specific keywords to track, with Moz compiling real-time reports on where those mentions are occurring across the Web and social media platforms.
In some ways, that’s a bit like another fast-growing social media analytics startup in Seattle: Simply Measured.
Asked about Simply Measured, which raised $8 million earlier this year, Dumont said that the new Moz is focused largely on small and mid-size businesses. “We want to help the everyday kind of marketer, whereas Simply Measured, and a lot of folks in that space, are more concerned with the enterprise,” he said.
Dumont noted that there will be an education process as they roll out the new brand. “Another big challenge is letting people know that we aren’t just for SEO professionals anymore. We are expanding our focus and the types of people we can help to a broader online marketer segment,” he said.
The name change and new product comes about a year after Moz raised $18 million in venture funding, including cash from Foundry Group and Ignition Partners.
Moz employs about 130 people, and it boasts over 25,000 customers. Over the next several months, customers of the $99 per month SEOmoz Pro service will be transitioned to the new Moz offering. The pricing for customers will stay about the same.
(Editor’s note: Moz is a GeekWire annual sponsor).