Friday, August 3, 2012

5 Takeaways from MozCon 2012

I attended MozCon for the first time last week. MozCon, for those that don't know is a Search Engine Marketing conference put on in Seattle by SEOMoz.org. I was really impressed by the quality of the speakers and at some point I had to head over to the break room just to allow a lot of the knowledge to settle in a bit.

There was so much info, I really wanted to distill it down to the top 5 things that I learned. 5 things I could act on or provide my own thoughts on in relation to my experience.

So here we go... I'm not even going to look at my notes, I'm going with the things that really stuck.

Build real relationships.

Get out in the 'real world' and make some real relationships with your target audience via social platforms, blogs and other strong voices in your market. Not only is this a viable link building strategy that doesn't involve any grey or black hats but these relationships will last.

Actionable: Use followerwonk.com to find Twitter users in your market space.

Social is huge.

Social media is a big indicator when it comes to determining authority in a market. Developing an active audience on Google+, Facebook and Twitter is going to not only influence search rankings but it's going increase traffic as well. I can speak from experience when I say that I've seen Facebook nab the #1 referral slot for traffic in Google Analytics. As social media really begins to influence search results, I can only see this increasing dramatically. Aren't you more likely to click on a result that states that your friend has done so as well?

Actionable: Don't go crazy with social profiles. Launch and perfect one at a time and build your audience before you create more.

Read: http://www.inc.com/caitlin-berens/social-media-fails.html

Google+ is here to stay.

Google is using Google+ profiles to cater search engine results in some interesting ways. This includes 'followed' links in G+ profiles, ranking G+ posts and even tying authorship to articles via G+ profiles.

Actionable: Check out Google+ Authorship and connect your posts to your G+ profile. I'm looking forward to doing this with any clients of mine that blog or write their own content.

Here's a 'how to' by AJ Kohn: http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/how-to-implement-rel-author

Market all the content!

"Content = Audience = Authority = Growth" from Ian Lurie (portent.com)

Over and over again we've heard 'Content is King'. That's never been more apparent after Panda and Penguin. Content creation is hard and it's easy to jump on the various bandwagons that come along. We've resisted creating info graphics at TheaterMania.com (my day job) because they didn't really fit our market. We're not a tech company, we report on Broadway. Now, that's not to say we don't have ideas on how we can do something similar to info graphics, but I really wanted to be careful that we didn't do it just to do it. It had to have a purpose and an audience.

It's time to be smart about our audiences and how they relate to the content we create. It was suggested at MozCon that we define our audience, survey them, spy on our competitors and use any number of useful tools to help create meaningful content that our readers want. I'm all for this. Original content is the way to go.

Actionable: Simply put variations of keywords into the Google search box (don't press 'Enter') and see what people are searching for via the suggestions that Google gives you.

Bonus - Check out Portent.com's Idea Graph: http://www.portent.com/graph.htm

Do 'Real Company Stuff'!

What this all comes down to is 'Real Company Stuff' the focus of Wil Reynolds' (seerinteractive.com) presentation. We the 'Search Engine Optimization specialists' are marketers at heart. Let's start thinking like marketers. Stop buying links. Stop trying to 'game the system'. Create great content, content that adds value to our brands and provides for our audiences.

Again: "Content = Audience = Authority = Growth" from Ian Lurie
(love that quote)

Actionable: TheaterMania.com was built on guerrilla marketing. Our founders were out on the street with flyers and email sign up-sheets on clipboards. 12 years later and we're still doing that because it works. Pound the pavement and get your brand out there. Find events, street fairs, get followers and engage them with what they want.

Summary:
Okay, so I cheated and peeked at my notes a little, but the headlines were all off the top of my head.... I swear. MozCon began and at first I was a bit nervous. This is a convention for Search Engine Optimization right? Crap. Our marketing people should be here. Then I started listening and realized, SEO is marketing. Duh. We're getting eyeballs on our stuff. We're trying to increase our share of voice in our respective markets. Then I realized there was a ton of actionable wisdom coming off the stage and I took notes like crazy because this stuff works. There wasn't a single not about keyword placements in meta tags because we need to move past that and do some RCS. Real Company Stuff has been around long before Google and it's still around because it works.

Any readers out there doing some RCS? I'd love to hear what's working for you.


Here are some other great MozCon summaries.

http://www.buzzstream.com/blog/mozcon-2012-my-takeaways.html

http://evolvedigitallabs.com/2012/08/mozcon-2012-awesome-seo-tools-i-underestimated/ 

http://www.paddymoogan.com/2012/07/30/mozcon-2012/


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