Looking Back, Moving Forward
For a decade the SEO-software powerhouse, Moz, has hosted their annual SEO conference, MozCon. This year we made the trip out to the land of SEO (Seattle, WA) to join 1,500 other marketers looking to stay on the leading edge of search engine marketing practices.
Moz describes their conference as “Three days, one track of forward-thinking, actionable sessions in SEO, brand development, CRO, the mobile landscape, analytics, customer experience, social and content marketing, and more.” Our challenge is take these insights and turn them into something that will benefit our clients.
Below you can find some of the hottest tactics and best takeaways that all the trendy SEO’ers were talking about at MozCon 2017.
Digital Marketing Specialist
One speaker that really stood out was Phil Nottingham, Video Strategist at the video platform, Wista. He dove into the concept of putting your distribution channels at the forefront of your content marketing strategy, instead of creating content and blasting it out to every platform you’re using.
One excellent example of the shift of purposeful content creation is the struggle between creating video for YouTube and Facebook. Too often you’ll see videos on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter that were clearly meant to be viewed in a longer form on YouTube.
The key difference between videos on these two platforms is how it is actually consumed. YouTube is meant for the “active browsers” who are searching for specific types of videos. Facebook on the other hand is very fluid and often is meant for passive viewing. On YouTube there is a timed skip ad button where you have a timed opportunity to draw in your audience. Facebook also has a skip ad button… it’s called the thumb.
In 2016, 85% of all Facebook video was watched without sound. As you’re creating video for these channels, Phil made this very easy to remember with a simple math equation (not real math) about how users consume the content:
YouTube = AURAL + Visual
Facebook = VISUAL + Aural
It’s time to keep distribution channels in mind as you build your content marketing plan. Stop blasting a single piece of content across every channel — it removes the user from the platform’s native experience and can be harmful for your brand. Tailoring content will increase in-platform engagements and drive valuable links back to your owned subscription channels like a website or emails. Start capitalizing on optimized content and push meaningful actions for your brand.
TL;DR (abbreviated version) — Distribution channel comes first when it comes to social content creation.
VP, Marketing Services
Wil Reynolds’ session reminded us all as marketers that simply chasing a ranking doesn’t directly equate to business success. Don’t get me wrong, data is great. Data-driven marketing defines our new landscape, and an SEO strategy not backed by sound analytical insights is futile. But Wil Reynolds emphasized that losing sight of the human aspect of marketing is dangerous.
All too often, marketers get consumed by simply targeting a persona without realizing that there are real people behind these keywords that are seeking out solutions to their problems. Wil’s company Seer Interactive took a look at the top SAAS companies to understand how they communicated pricing via search. Interestingly, they found that only 23% had a pricing page while 54% ranked a demo or contact page for pricing info searches that did not contain any pricing information whatsoever; many of which were PPC results.
Brands were continually paying to disappoint people serving them information via search that would not answer the questions they had! And when Seer looked at Google One Box Answers (Google’s SERP feature positioned above organic search results aimed at answering questions based on searcher intent and behavioral modeling), they found that a staggering 83% of pricing answers for SAAS companies referenced content from other organizations and not the company itself.
So what is the key takeaway with that above study: Google won’t let you rank if you continuously disappoint people. So stop! Stop overthinking how to find that top ranking and begin delighting your customers with helpful information that actually answers the questions they have.
I’ll challenge all SEO marketers: when was the last time you watched people conduct search? Yes, I mean actually sat down and viewed how users search and why they pick the result they do. Can’t remember? Well, then start with your keyword research project. Sure surveys are great, but they only tell part of the story as they are self-reported data.
You need to get to the root of the ‘why’. Ask users what is missing, why did you click/not click on that, what would make this experience better. It’s our job as marketers to get to know people. Here are a few key tips to begin humanizing your search research:
Look at search query reports with conversions in word clouds to understand themes and get to the root of the ‘why.’ Then tailor ad, title/meta description and landing page copy accordingly.
Analyze 5-star reviews to understand what your customers love, and use this in meta descriptions.
Use NGram Analyzer to review core terms in competitor’s 1 and 2 star reviews and leverage these insights to develop content to position against them.
TL;DR (abbreviated version) — Stop overthinking search and start answering the questions your audience asks.
President & CEO
In an ever-changing SEO environment, an effective digital outreach strategy will ultimately help you rank on competitive search engine results pages (SERPs).
In Lisa Myer’s session, “How to Get Big Links,” she discussed the importance of building a reliable digital outreach strategy coupled with valuable, uncommon content types. In order to understand the significance of outreach, it’s crucial to understand what link building is and why it’s worthwhile.
Link Building = The process of acquiring hyperlinks from outside websites that refer back to your content.
While link building refers to the actual process, it’s important to take a step back, analyze the data surrounding your work and look to pivot how you display your content. One great example from Lisa’s talk was Expedia’s one-of-a-kind take on virtual tours. They built an interactive website for Malmöhus Slott, that drove over 80 links from major publications and more than 25,000 views.
One powerful way to use data to inform content decisions is to utilize SEO tools like Moz or SEMRush to find related keywords that speak to “searcher intent” — find those questions your audience has. Begin tailoring your content to answer the question. Make it easy for your outreach network to use, share, and repurpose your content.
At the end of the day, outreach is all about building personal, tangible relationships. Whether you are using outreach tools like Buzzstream, Gorkana, Buzzsumo, or Meltwater, you have to consider the human connection you’re making on the other end of every outreach pitch email. Write your messages with those individuals in mind — be informative and be explicit about the intended audience.
TL;DR (abbreviated version) — Use digital outreach and unique content to build real, tangible relationships that help bring in the big links.