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What is MozCon?
What comes to your mind when thinking of a conference? Lectures, sitting in a quiet room all day, and structured slideshows? Me too. MozCon on the other hand? Well it was the complete opposite. The days were filled with enthusiastic speakers, who spent months preparing and creating presentations that not only provided incredibly valuable insights, but left the audience with tools that can be implemented for our clients as well. (More on this later). Additionally, MozCon offered an abundance of opportunities for attendees and speakers to meet and network. Everyone was talking to everyone, offering useful tips and discussing how others are navigating the confusing and ever-changing world of marketing. Not to brag, but at one point we found ourselves talking to some of the speakers of MozCon - marketing royalty. They were more than eager to answer any questions, and give their expert advice.
Another reason MozCon was amazing? The city. (And we lucked out… no rain all week.) Being surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and snow covered mountains was something I don’t think I will ever get over. In our free time we were able to explore the iconic landmarks such as Pike Place Market, The Space Needle, Olympic Park, and so much more…although I wish we could have skipped the Gum Wall.
The Good Stuff
Now comes the important part. What we learned. I could write a 10 page essay, but I am going to try my best to sum it up in just a few short paragraphs.
First, the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). A HUGE topic this year. With Google constantly making updates, SEOs are always left scrambling for new ways to rank. Andy Crestodina, co-founder of Orbit Media, said it best. Ranking is NOT everything. CTR (click-through rate) is. Now that search engines are more visual based (people also ask, images, videos, etc), even the top search results are pushed lower on the page. Therefore, across the board, websites have been seeing less organic traffic. So, although your website may be “ranking #1” for a certain search term, you are now placed half way down the first page. Don’t believe me? Andy included screenshots within his presentation, comparing the SERP in 2002 vs 2022. As you can see.. very image based. Therefore, focusing on users clicking and STAYING on the website (compared to just ranking and pageviews) is crucial. Making sure that they are actually reading and interacting with the content, which will hopefully result in conversions, is MUCH more important than “I am ranking for - keywords,” or “I am number - for this search query.”
Visual Search and Google Lens
Another amazing tool that was covered at Moz was Google Lens, which was released in 2017. Crystal Carter, the head of SEO and Communications at Wix, described the crafty (and some-what creepy) tool throughout her presentation. The app can decipher when your images were taken, who is in the photo, and what brand is being featured. It is also an online shopper’s dream come true.
As shown in a screenshot of Crystal's presentation, if you are looking for a certain dress style, but would rather have it in green, Google Lens allows you to add a filter and find similar options that fit your specific fashion needs.
In order to successfully rank based on your images however, you need to ensure that text direction is uploaded correctly, relevant entities are included, and branding is CONSISTENT. For example, don’t change your logo or text color for various campaigns. Keep everything the same so that not only users continue to recognize your brand, but that Google also does as well.
In Crystal's example, Google picked up on the image of the Yankees Stadium, recognizing that Wix had banners behind home plate. Because the two large purple advertisements stuck to Wix’s original brand colors, Google had a 97% and 95% match on those logos, connecting them directly to the brand. However, because the banner on the far left strayed from Wix’s primary color pallet, Google Lens only found a 72% match for the Wix logo.
Essentially - stick with what you got!
Creating content for Location Pages was discussed by multiple speakers such as Emily Brady (Senior Manager at Podium), Amanda Jordan (Director of Digital Strategy at RicketyRoo Inc), and Amanda Milligan (Head of Marketing at Stacker). Typically, most brands or companies templatize their location pages with very little unique content variation. This is a huge miss. Your competitive advantage and users in these specific locations are not benefiting from this content or information.
Using GEO targeted keywords as well as unique images and information is crucial to generating traffic and conversions. For example, rather than just including the same, top-level FAQs on each of those pages, add information such as, “How do I get to your store from the nearest local transportation?” This not only shows customers that you care about them, but will also get them to your store and generate business and revenue opportunities. Furthermore, including seasonal products based on each location, listing popular services, answering the most common questions for that specific area, and adding customer reviews and social posts will build trust and brand loyalty amongst local customers. The images above showing a mobile location page (from Emily Brady’s presentation), are an excellent example of how to customize your pages to make the most out of local SEO.
Another amazing way to benefit from geo targeting? Framing your content around national AND local locations. For example, if you create a research report on COVID-19 cases in the United States and use this as your title, it may be difficult to rank nationally (because there are already millions of publications competing for this topic). Therefore, creating additional reports with the same data tailored slightly to a specific location and adjusting the H1 to “COVID-19 Cases in North Carolina,” can provide local ranking opportunities as well. It doesn’t just have to be the title either. Changing the subject line in an email or adjusting the body information to relate to a specific location are also options that can allow you to begin ranking. Amanda Milligan found huge success from this simple tactic, doubling her number of link results by creating the same blog for national AND local news outlets.
Based on the example she included within her presentation (images shown above), from simply changing the title of the article, and focusing the content more on specific states such as North Carolina, she was able to generate 310 national links and 639 LOCAL LINKS!
Creating content is great, but another key point throughout MozCon was, content is only beneficial if you update it frequently and MARKET it. It is essential to continue to add and change your keywords and remove content or titles that are no longer relevant, such as the year or date. After this is done, having others post or link to your content is an amazing way to spread awareness and generate traffic. Everyone on your team, from designers to marketers, should be on the same page about the content as well. This will allow you to report back to one another on what is working, and how to create well performing content in the future. Links are another incredibly important part of SEO, so you don’t want to overlook content distribution.
Ross Simmonds is a PRO when it comes to SEO and optimization. As the founder & CEO of Foundation Marketing, he has a well versed knowledge of how the industry is constantly changing, and the crucial need to continuously update content.
Within his presentation, he showed an incredible visual of how the content growth framework should really look (as shown above). To prove his point, one study that Ross conducted found that assets paired with distribution campaigns brought in 10x more pageviews compared to just uploading a blog onto your website and never touching it again.
"Put the marketing back in content marketing." - Ross Simmonds MozCon 2022
Words all marketers should live by.
Crazy to think… we have all been doing site audits all wrong. Traditionally, when reporting on website pages, we look at the data one month at a time. However, it is important to pull the data back to when it all started. This will allow you to see what pages are the best overall performers, not necessarily just the ones that have performed well over the past few months. Areej AbuAli (Head of SEO at Papier) had a very insightful presentation, emphasizing the importance of product listing pages (PLP's).
She discovered throughout her many years of working in marketing that PLP's drive the highest revenue and generally are those "high performing pages." Therefore, we should be focusing on optimizing PLP's and updating the specific templates based on user experience.
And remember to always keep screenshots. Being able to compare various optimizations over the years is a great way to know what is working and what is not. Additionally, comparing your pages to competitors and seeing what they have been optimizing and adding to their website can also provide incredibly valuable insights into what you can change moving forward.
Seems simple right? Marketing 101? Learned freshman year of college? Amanda Natividad (VP of Marketing at SparkToro) opened our minds to a WHOLE new world with her MozCon presentation. Buyer personas are NOT everything. They only help some of the marketing team, such as copywriters and the product team. However, what about PR, content marketers, search marketers, or the brand team? This is where audience personas come into play. This considers the whole audience.
Amanda was NOT saying that the buyer persona should be ignored. In fact, this is still a very important step in the marketing journey. Buyer Personas identify a person who embodies the ideal customer. However, this is vague. We need to take a step further and look into the Amplifier Persona, someone who can potentially amplify your brand and content. This includes reporteres, podcasters, creators, influencers, writers, etc. Stretching even farther takes us to the Attention Persona. This is someone who would consume your content, such as analysts, executives, peers, etc.
Creating content or a website is not just about marketing to the consumer anymore. It is taking a step back and looking at the WHOLE picture.
Overall, we are beyond grateful for the amazing insights, experiences, and friends that were made at MozCon 2022, and are eager to implement all of the information we learned over the past 3 days. Till next year!