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:
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 RegulationSeveral 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”
3. Google’s Penalties have taken a toll on spam, but hurt many businesses too.
4. We are nearing the end of “SEO” as a job title.
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.
Mobile SEO Geekout: Key Strategies and Concepts
Speaker: Cindy Krum
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.
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.
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
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.
- Be more than an SEO, think critically about your Internet marketing and the customers’ journey.
- Use data and analytics to tell a story.
- 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!