Posted by randfish

Today, it’s my pleasure to announce some exciting news. First, if you haven’t already seen it via his blog post , I’m thrilled to welcome Russ Jones, a longtime community member and great contributor to the SEO world, to Moz. He’ll be joining our team as a Principal Search Scientist, joining the likes of Dr. Pete, Jay Leary, and myself as a high-level individual contributor on research and development projects.

If you’re not familiar with Mr. Jones’ work, let me embarrass my new coworker for a minute. Russ:

  • Was Angular’s CTO after having held a number of roles with the company (previously known as Virante)
  • Is the creator of not just SERPscape, but the keyword data API, Grepwords , too (which Moz isn’t acquiring—Russ will continue operating that service independently)
  • Runs a great Twitter profile sharing observations & posts about some of the most interesting, hardcore-nerdy stuff in SEO
  • Operates The Google Cache , a superb blog about SEO that’s long been on my personal must-read list
  • Contributes regularly to the Moz blog through excellent posts and comments
  • Was, most recently, the author of this superb post on Moz comparing link indices (you can bet we’re going to ask for his help to improve Mozscape)
  • And, perhaps most impressively, replies to emails almost as fast as I do :-)

Russ joins the team in concert with Moz’s acquisition of a dataset and tool he built called SERPscape . SERPscape contains data on 40,000,000 US search results and includes an API capable of querying loads of interesting data about what appears in those results (e.g. the relative presence of a given domain, keywords that particular pages rank for, search rankings by industry, and more). For now, SERPscape is remaining separate from the Moz toolset, but over time, we’ll be integrating it with some cool new projects currently underway (more on that below).

I’m also excited to share a little bit of a sneak preview of a project that I’ve been working on at Moz that we’ve taken to calling “Keyword Explorer.” Russ, in his new role, will be helping out with that, and SERPscape’s data and APIs will be part of that work, too.

In Q1 of this year, I pitched our executive team and product strategy folks for permission to work on Keyword Explorer and, after some struggles (welcome to bigger company life and not being CEO, Rand!), got approval to tackle what I think remains one of the most frustrating parts of SEO: effective, scalable, strategically-informed keyword research. Some of the problems Russ, I, and the entire Keyword Explorer team hope to solve include:

  • Getting more accurate estimates around relative keyword volumes when doing research outside AdWords
  • Having critical metrics like Difficulty, Volume, Opportunity, and Business Value included alongside our keywords as we’re selecting and prioritizing them
  • A tool that lets us build lists of keywords, compare lists against one another, and upload sets of keywords for data and metrics collections
  • A single place to research keyword suggestions, uncover keyword metrics (like Difficulty, Opportunity, and Volume), and select keywords for lists that can be directly used for prioritization and tactical targeting

You can see some of this early work in Dr. Pete’s KW Opportunity model , which debuted at Mozcon, in our existing Keyword Difficulty & SERP Analysis tool (an early inspiration for this next step), and in a few visuals below:

BTW: Please don’t hold the final product to any of these; they’re not actual shots of the tool, but rather design comps. What’s eventually released almost certainly won’t match these exactly, and we’re still working on features, functionality, and data. We’re also not announcing a release date yet. That said, if you’re especially passionate about Keyword Explorer, want to see more, and don’t mind giving us some feedback, feel free to email me (rand at moz dot com), and I’ll have more to share privately in the near future.

But, new tools aren’t the only place Russ will be contributing. As he noted in his post, he’s especially passionate about research that helps the entire SEO field advance. His passion is contagious, and I hope it infects our entire team and community. After all, a huge part of Moz’s mission is to help make SEO more transparent and accessible to everyone. With Russ’ addition to the team, I’m confident we’ll be able to make even greater strides in that direction.

Please join me in welcoming him and SERPscape to Moz!

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