Call us today! (907) 222-3254
Transformative Online Marketing Solutions

The Thrive Hive

Tips on digital marketing you can apply today.

My MozCon 2014 Highlights

Scott Thomas - Wednesday, July 23, 2014



In what is becoming an annual tradition, I attended the annual MozCon conference on behalf of the Apokrisis team. The tag line for the conference was spot-on:



“Not your typical marketing conference.”

Once again, MozCon lived up to, and exceeded my expectations. After what felt like a bit of a slow start on Day 1, the presentations and speakers consistently presented exceedingly useful material. The topics continued to broaden out from SEO and inbound marketing; touching on public relations, social media, analytics, and PPC.  Given that many small agencies work on inbound marketing and PPC, I was very happy to see that topic given some attention this year. 

For this blog post, I'm summarizing 4 presentations that I thought were most relevant to Apokrisis and our clients. It was very challenging to narrow down my list to these 4, but each of these presentations touched on topics that I believe are on the horizon or were items that we have experienced first hand with our clients.

Rand Fishkin presented 5 Big Trends from the Last Year in Web Marketing

1. We May Be on the Verge of Regulation

Several trends in Europe and the United States indicate that regulation is on the horizon: the cookie law, the right to be forgotten law and legislation that was being developed in the U.S Senate this May. Google may have staved off regulatory action by their aggressive lobbying efforts (2nd largest in the U.S.).


2. “Inbound Marketing” terminology is losing ground to “Content Marketing”

Job postings using “inbound marketing” are down 46% and job posts using “content marketing” are up 90%

Inbound Marketing: Marketing based on earning attention rather than interrupting.

Content Marketing: Producing and promoting content to earn customers.

3. Google’s Penalties have taken a toll on spam, but hurt many businesses too.

Since 2012, website owners, marketers and publishers are now required to stay vigilant for spam that points to our sites, even if we didn’t create it. The pace of change and the onus on sites to watch their own backs creates job security for SEOs.

4. We are nearing the end of “SEO” as a job title.

1997 - 2010: “I’m an SEO”
2011 – Present: “SEO is part of my job”


5. Google is shortening the searcher’s journey. This may appear to hurt publishers, but the reality may be more complicated.

Instead of Google directing people to your website, the results page may pull and display content from your site, and answer the searcher’s query directly (and likely prevent them from leaving Google). Google is providing the quickest answer possible to feed an “addiction to search.” Increasing the number of searches conducted by users, this may be a way that Google is attempting to increase search activity. How do we combat this? 1) Diversify your traffic channels and 2) Become more important to Google’s searchers than Google is to your traffic.

Mobile SEO Geekout: Key Strategies and Concepts
Speaker: Cindy Krum

Google cares a lot about mobile. Mobile traffic is growing, and it’s expected that mobile traffic will surpass desktop very soon. Cindy reviewed how mobile SEO is different: algorithmic factors, strategic focus, and technical considerations. Technical issues with mobile SEO include: crawler confusion, inefficient crawls, domain errors, and problematic indexing.

Mobile usage has grown faster than Google expected. It’s expected to surpass desktop usage very soon (later in 2014 or in 2015). With desktop traffic (and searches) flattening out or declining, you will miss out if you ignore mobile.



Mobile search rankings are very different than the desktop experience. There is much less room above the fold, so it’s imperative to rank high (top 2 positions), otherwise, you won’t be seen. It’s important to note that branded searches are much more common on mobile, and a branded search often triggers a drop down option with additional links to your site. Have you checked those links in the search results? Audit these branded searches on mobile and test your landing pages. 

There are also many more universal-style results on mobile (images, video, news, etc.). These often look great and encourage users to touch them. Does your site make use of images, video, and/or news for greater visibility on mobile devices? 

Technical considerations are critical for mobile. Audit your mobile site and focus on errors and speed. While Google has publicly supported responsive design, it is often a slower performer on a mobile device, which can be problematic. To improve your mobile performance, make use of Google Pagespeed and the Chrome plugin to find recommended efficiencies. Remove unnecessary code for mobile, minify all (images especially), and consolidate round trip requests. 

Considering the user experience, keep in mind that social and mobile are “twins.” So maximize social sharing opportunities on mobile. Also consider designing your sites for mobile first, and then consider the design for tablets and desktops.


Bad Data, Bad Decisions: The Art of Asking Better Questions.
Stephanie Beadell

Bad data from surveys can waste resources that can compound problems. It’s important to write better survey questions and be more critical of surveys you see published online. When creating your questions, ask them on a 5-point or 7-point scale. This approach gives a better idea of sentiment. If you rely upon yes/no answers, you miss out on much of the story. 

Secondly, break down big concepts into tangible pieces. When asking for feedback on a product or service feature, break them out against a 5 point scale.



Compare your answers across questions, and use segmentation. This is where you may start to see the correlations you are looking for. Beware of bias and try to avoid priming your audience. Be careful of the tone of your survey, the order of your questions (make them random), and be mindful of stereotypes, and how they can change answers.

For those sensitive questions, save them for the end of survey, after you have built trust. Use ranges for demographic information. To help avoid boredom, set expectations up front, and show their progress in completing the survey.


You are so Much More than an SEO
Wil Reynolds

As someone who is proud of being an SEO and Inbound Marketer, Wil’s presentation was a breath of fresh air. I’ve felt the frustration of client’s wanting to see optimized pages, efforts to improve local search, etc. and not focusing on their customers’ experiences. Will reminded all of us what’s most important – the customer’s experience. If SEO gets searchers to a dead end on the first step of their journey, there is nothing to celebrate. It’s time to think about the Search Users Experience (#SUX). Do we care about the person after they click your result in search? 



Instead focusing on SEO tactics, focus on delivering a holistic, end-to-end strategy. Don’t get pigeon-holed and stop being the custodian (expected to clean up everyone’s mess/mistakes). Instead of allowing the focus being on outputs (creating content, optimizing pages, getting links, etc.) shift the focus on business outcomes. As a marketer, shift your focus on making the clients’ customers happy. 

Focusing on the searchers’ user experience requires social media. Relationships are fragile and multi-touch – are you willing to fix that experience? Show that you genuinely care about the customer and really help them out (even if it doesn’t directly mean a sale). Social done wrong is why clicks don’t turn into customers, but social done right makes every channel more profitable. 

I won't attempt to summarize all of Wil's excellent presentation here. The key takeaway for SEOs is to shift the focus on the searchers' user experience. Are you focused on real business outcomes or celebrating first steps? 

Conclusion

A week after the conference, I'm still reviewing and trying to digest my notes and the speakers' slide decks. All of the speakers provided valuable information. Some of the presentations were absolutely mind-blowing. The opportunity to visit with my peers was invaluable (and fun) as well. I'm looking forward to sharing what I've learned with the Apokrisis team and our clients as well.  

If I had to summarize my whole MozCon experience into a brief list of takeaways, this is what I came away with:
  1. Be more than an SEO, think critically about your Internet marketing and the customers’ journey.
  2. Use data and analytics to tell a story.
  3. Use testing (A/B tests) and surveys to test and measure your efforts (and make sure you are using good data). Learn from the past efforts and improve upon them!

Leave a Comment




Captcha Image