Rand Fishkin will be speaking at the “SEO Tools Shoutout” session at SearchFest 2013 which will be taking place on February 22, 2013 at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click the following link.

1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.

I used to be an SEO, now I’m mostly a CEO who happens to be passionate about web marketing, blogging, SEO, and all that jazz. I started SEOmoz in 2004 as a blog, pivoted to a consulting business, then a software business. Since then, we’ve raised venture capital, hired more than 100 people, acquired some cool companies (all of them in Portland – clearly we’re obsessed with your town), and flown around the world more times than anyone with back problems should.

2) How do you see the major toolsets evolving in the next 1-2 years? More full-featured, more niche, or perhaps a bit of both?

Full-featured is more likely than niche, since software providers can continue to add features and pull market share from niche players. That’s not to say that a few won’t thrive, but in 2012, we already saw a lot of social tools that were really features, not companies, fold or sell or get acquired.

3) What questions should a prospective toolset purchaser ask of a vendor to make sure the toolset they choose best meets their needs?

If you’re buying an enterprise software set, the questions will totally depend on your specific needs, and only you will know that. However, if you’re in the market for something like what SEOmoz offers (or companies similar to ours), I’d recommend first and foremost asking your peers (or even competitors) what they like and use, and what alternatives they’ve considered.

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