Last week our SIM team had the opportunity to attend Mozcon. As some of you may know, Moz is a company based in Seattle that focuses on building tools for online marketers. Beyond this, Moz has created a community based around Search Engine Optimization and this community is engaged and active in discussion on their blog every single day.
There were many key points that the various speakers made throughout the week, and it was extremely difficult to pick out just six. However, we looked at the trends in the conference and decided to expand on those.
Innovation wins the internet
Lindsay Wassell gave a great presentation about how we can reach our audience in the information age. Within her presentation, one of her main points was that, “Innovation wins the internet”.
Lindsay defined “innovation” as “a new method, idea, or product.” Specifically, for marketers, innovation means to try a new method in your marketing strategy. This is absolutely crucial as the marketing world is changing at a rapid pace. If you want your company to stay ahead of the curve and competition, it’s essential that you continue to constantly innovate new methods to increase your client’s traffic and conversions.
What are some examples of innovation within the marketing world?
- Using micro data markup in ways that your competitors aren’t using yet
- Conducting a study that applies to your audience and conducting a campaign around it
- Slimming down your homepage in order to focus the user’s attention on a conversion point
A/B Testing is essential
Kyle Rush of Optimizely spoke on A/B testing and how we can architect great experiments as marketers. Most people think that A/B testing is only done on E-Commerce sites in order to increase conversions and purchases, however Kyle mentioned (multiple times) that this is not the case.
In fact, Kyle mentioned that you shouldn’t limit yourself in thinking that A/B testing is only for E-Commerce or for higher-end websites. You can (and should be) conducting A/B tests on any website that you are working on.
For those that aren’t familiar with A/B testing, it is essentially the process of changing an element of a certain page on a website and testing out how that change alters the conversion rate of that page.
Some things that you can run A/B test on are:
- Your contact forms (color, size, wording)
- Where certain pop-ups or advertisements appear
- How much content is actually necessary for your homepage
Your Website Needs To Be Mobile
Cindy Krum of Mobile Moxie spent some time talking to us about key strategies and concepts of mobile optimizations. Cindy wasn’t the only one who was talking about mobile optimizations, in fact, most speakers had something to say about the mobile world of search.
The fact is if your website isn’t responsive or mobile-ready you are behind your competition. Cindy mentioned that optimizing for mobile search is different than optimizing for a regular computer.
Some of the differences included:
- The search results are influenced more by locality
- Page Speed has a huge influence on mobile rankings
- Mobile search results are more universal (there are more images, videos, etc.)
Pointless Content Is A Waste of Time
Richard Baxter spoke on storytelling and content marketing during Mozcon. In the past two years or so, people have been using the phrase “content is king” more and more. While this phrase is true in a lot of ways, most people don’t realize that pointless content is just a waste of time.
If you think that writing 400 words about something general that everyone has already heard about is going to get your ranking on the first page, you’re in for a treat. Richard explained that we have too much pointless content on the internet, and people crave quality content that brings them value.
Here are some ways that you can stop creating pointless content and start focusing on content that will make a difference:
- Stay up to date on relative news in the field you are in
- Give people value with what you write (get specific)
- Understand the medium that your work is going to be presented in, and use that to your advantage
Don’t Change Your Goals Every Month, Repeat Them
Dana DiTomaso spoke about reporting and tracking goals for clients. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that this was going to be Dana’s topic because most people wouldn’t dare go in that direction.
When you really think about it, reporting and setting accurate expectations can make it or break it for the happiness of a certain client. So, why don’t we focus more on how to report accurately?
Here are some things we can do to improve the way we report to our clients
- Set realistic expectations (and make sure they understand them)
- We shouldn’t get in the way of the client setting certain goals, we should encourage them
- Avoid using technical terms (use words and phrases that your clients will understand)
Guest Blogging Still Works (When Done Right)
Guest blogging has been a huge topic of debate in 2014 and multiple speakers touched on it during Mozcon. Moz’s own Rand Fishkin actually had a point where he discussed an experiment he ran with guest blogging.
Within the experiment, Rand got offered to post a blog on a high authority website. Naturally, he got curious and decided to stuff the blog post with links and rich anchor text. Rand even went a step further and poked fun at Google and tweeted Matt Cutts (their lead of webspam) what they would do about it.
Can you guess what happened? That’s right – nothing. Well, nothing other than Rand getting that blog post ranking very highly in the search engines. The key takeaway here is to understand that if you are guest blogging for the right reasons (i.e. providing someone with quality content that will help them or inform them) then you shouldn’t be worried about Google penalizing you. However, if you are building links just for the sake of building links (and are doing so in a spammy manner) you should stop.
Here are some things to consider when guest blogging
- Is the content you’re writing unique and relevant?
- Is the content you’re writing going to be informative and helpful?
- Are you writing the post just for the link? If so, stop.
We had a great time at Mozcon and we learned a lot. One of the best things to see while we were there is that we are ahead of the game. It felt really good sitting amongst talented marketers knowing that what we were being taught were things that we were already thinking about implementing.
For more key takeaways from Mozcon, comment below and ask us specifics!