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Sarah Bird Headshot
Moz CEO Sarah Bird.

Seattle-based Moz, a 12-year-old maker of marketing software, will cut 28 percent of its workforce as part of a broader initiative to refocus on search engine optimization as other parts of the business have lagged.

Starting in 2012, the company invested in many different marketing products beyond its original focus of SEO, including social media, keyword research, topic analysis, and content marketing among others, Moz CEO Sarah Bird writes in a blog post detailing the changes.

“Increasing the breadth of the product suite added a lot of complexity to the business, but didn’t result in the growth we expected,” Bird writes. “We do, however, have momentum in our core SEO products, especially Moz Local and the new features in Pro.”

As part of the strategy shift Moz will no longer in invest in its Followerwonk or Moz Content products. Bird writes that SEO remains an underrated market.

“We believe the search industry is as important as ever, and surprisingly doesn’t see near the investment it should given the clear value of SEO as a channel,” Bird writes.

Approximately 220 people, a mix of employees and contractors, worked for Moz before the reduction, and the new headcount will be approximately 160, Bird said. The company will work to help those being let go find their next position.

“They are a part of the Moz family and it is heartbreaking that they will not be working alongside us in the future. We will do everything we can to give them the Mozziest transition possible, including severance, coaching, and assistance finding new roles. Because I know the caliber of folks we’re parting with, I am confident they will go on to do great things.”

Moz, which changed its name from SEOmoz in 2013, has endured ups and downs over the years. Things were looking good earlier this year, when the company raised $10 million in January, bringing its total funding to $29.1 million. In total, Moz posted revenue of $38 million last year.

The funding was meant to accelerate Moz’s product offerings. With the move away from some other features Moz will make investments in its core SEO business.

“Customers will enjoy increased investment in core SEO features, especially in local,” Bird writes. “We’re on a roll with these products; we’re out to win this market and we believe we can. We’ve got updates planned for crawl and rank tracking that we think you’ll love. We know we’re behind in link technology right now, and we’re working on something ambitious.”

[Editor’s Note: Moz is a GeekWire annual sponsor.]

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