My name is Chipper and this is my personal MozCon story.
What is MozCon? Glad you asked, MozCon is a conference put on by the swell folks over at Moz They rightfully hype MozCon saying, "for three days, we bring you amazing, future-thinking content from industry leaders, deep diving into SEO, social media, marketing analytics, content strategy, data science, and so much more. You're sure to come back home with a universe's worth of actionable knowledge to start implementing."
9+ hour flight delays, a Monday morning, Stumptown coffee, and 3 flights of stairs later I was in the Washington Convention Center. Huge navy, space themed MOZCON posters lead right into the main hall. Walk in, the lights are down, MOZCON sprawled across 3 massive movie theater screens and RJD2 starts up!
MOZCON HAS STARTED
TL;DR Take Aways:
1. TAGFEE FTW! The amount of transparency that Moz offers has to make some people nervous. Financials, products, mistakes and more are all wide out in the open for whoever to take a look at. No dodging or zig zagging around the truth, it is just there. Not all companies can afford to do that, but there are some great things that TAGFEE offers that would be great to bring back to your team.
2. Use IFTTT to straight up dominate everything. Make it do the hard work for you and pipe Twitter, Google Alerts and more right into Evernote, email and even texts. These productivity hacks that Will Reloyds shared were both eye opening and mind blowing. I was able to share some great ones with our team and start using IFTTT more myself.
I have to preface this by saying I'm a vegetarian and (struggling) part-time vegan. That being said I have over 20+ years of eating meat, so I know a thing or two about a thing or two. I also didn't eat at MozCon everyday. I had to explore some of Seattle's veggie food, like this veggie dog called The Californian.
Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal and the whole works. Moz puts Dennys to shame and they offered every juice known to man. Most importantly gallons upon of gallons of Seattle's Best Coffee, which is not just a bold statement, but their brand name.
Snacks: CLIF Bars, Nature Valley, fruits, mixed nuts, sodas, fancy sparkling water in mini glass bottles, more coffee and even ice cream. Moz treated us like kings in between sessions, which helped keep our energy up.
Lunch: One thing I really respected about Moz was their options for vegetarians, Kosher people and even vegans. Everyday was a different option for everyone, not just people that eat like rabbits. Pasta with all the fixins, Thai food and every side you could ever want was served over the span of the 3 days.
The Line Ups
Nothing pumps up everyone like one of the coolest guys in search kicking off the conference. He gave a great overview and told all the Moz Pro users that they get beta access to the new Moz Analytics which got some whoops and hollars from the crowd of almost 1,200 attendees.
His first slide should have said, "hang on to your hats folks," because Richard blasted some fast and furious Excel, Google Doc and scraping tips. I tried my best to take notes and half ass live tweet, but I quickly gave up and just followed along Ruth Barr's twitter. This is one session where I was glad they had the slides ready to download.
Indiana Jones Lego slides themes, cool accent, high energy and international search had my brain in full functioning mode. I realized that making the move to international markets is something that SEOs and UX can make or break it for your company.
Simplifying Complexity: Three Ideas For Higher ROI: by Avinash Kaushik | @avinash | No slides
Google's Avinash was a crazy (in a good way), cursing, mad man who did nothing, but inspire and drop truthbombs. Some of his great take aways were, focusing on all stages of the customer relationship, not just the final purchase and hypothesize, test, be less wrong.
A picture is worth a thousand words and Lena brought that point home. People love memes, images and inspirationsal quotes, so give the people what they want. Use tools like Pinterest and Instagram to take full advantage of your images.
Ross dominated this session with some awesome take aways that can help build some good link for your business. Try locating old content with outdated content finder and update it, then ask for the link.
Data hounds really dug this preso. Matt and the Moz team surveyed SEOs, and others to see what they thought the ranking factors are and how they have changed over the year.
Matt is the SCHEMA wizard! Add schema and open graph code on your sites as these are huge opportunities right now. Try using the schema “sameAs” tag that links to the wiki page (or some other trusted data source) to take advantage of the knowledge graph.
Karen makes it simple and obvious to see how much mobile matters. Showcasing examples about the first computer and stats about the digital divide help drive her points home.
Mackenzie was another inspiring speaker that makes you look at things in a different light. She stressed putting your focus on the business by building community and that will build your business.
Yet another inspiring session at MozCon. Dharmesh seemed like a really down to earth guy and gave some great tips. Try using LinkedIn for posting your articles, like he did here, which got him over 80,000 views. He also suggested becoming an early adopter on social platforms because that will get you exposure that you may never get otherwise.
Day 1 Summary:
Rand gave a good tip that I should have followed. It was something to the effect of pace yourself, take a break and breathe when need be. Well I jumped in to MozCon headfirst and about 3pm on the first day my brain was straight up melting, fried, bonked and over all just Rin Tin Tin outta service. So decided to take it easy and being a big baseball fan I had to check out SafeCo Field home of the Seattle Mariners. The weather was amazing and the roof was open which made it the perfect setting for a night game. I took the SoundTransit, which I mistakenly referred to as BART the whole time. A quick $3 and 20 minutes later I arrived at SafeCo and stated taking in the cool sights of the ballpark. The M's won, I scarfed some pizza and headed back to my hotel for a much needed night's sleep.
Phil straight up killed it at Moz. When you open your session with a Whiteboard Friday parody that has the audience and Rand lol-ing you are off to a great start. Great take aways, funny and recommendations for some low cost professional looking video equipment. One great takeaway he gave was to host your super awesome videos on your site FIRST, Phil recommended Wistia and then post your video elsewhere.
If you love the Mozscape, you would have dug Phil's session. I'm super impressed with the massive scope of Mozscape which now has over 9 million links! Moz is getting faster and faster with these crawls pumping one out a week. They are aiming to get faster and produce at almost a daily rate. Here’s some Moz link building survey data.
Sometimes the "s" hits the fan and Carin gave some great tips to take contraol of a crisis. Here are the 6 methods to recover from a crisis as quickly and painlessly as possible:
1. Accept that everyone makes mistakes
2. Have a dedicated email distribution
3. Clearly define what constitutes an emergency and make sure everyone on the crisis team is aware of it
4. Clear and concise email is crucial – put your 2-3 sentence conclusion first
5. Set realistic expectations internally and externally
6. Take the time to follow up with a post-mortem – let everybody know what happens and what you’re going to do to prevent it from happening again
Not only did Aaron star in some awesome Moz movies, but he rocks at making customers do the hard work for him. He recommence trying to make an emotional connection with users, so they will be more tied in with you and your products/services. A quick tip was to add a link to your customer service emails that makes it easy to tweet and share.
Engineering can scare some people away, but Rensch did a great job! She loves Agile (because it helps you remember your big picture goals. She also suggesting that having a personal mission statement can help propel you and your team forward. Here are some useful link that Miranda suggested:workplayagile and agiletrelloboard
Every company wants a loyal customer, and Joanna shared some great tips to help you build loyalty. She suggests being transparent with your customers, ask for your customer’s feedback, listen to it, take action based on it. A point I loved was sometimes take the online relationship offline which will help you get personal with the people keeping you in business.
Adam wasn't the only one to stress this point, but it does bear repeating. Don’t chase the algorithms, chase people and stand behind your work!
Brittan dominates soft skills. She knows how to read and feel people. She always experiments with different forms of communication because email doesn't always work for everyone and sometimes face to face interactions are the best.
Kyle helped the Obama Campaign raise a trillion-kazillion dollars in the President's reelection campaign and he shared his tips for success with MozCon. Test constantly! No seriously he tested everything, gathered all that data and tested some more. Check out his Moz blog post that is linked above for a detailed explanation which is really quite amazing.
Nathalie delivered a really amazing and interesting session. Her key tip was to know who you are targeting and communicate with them persuasively to provide the best customer experience.
Does (not provided) have you down? It does suck, but Annie suggested looking at the landing page report to see which landing pages are getting traffic from the same keyword, then optimize your site to minimize the number of pages for each keyword. The tools she uses are SEMRush or Keyword Spy.
Local SEO is heating up these days and David, from GetListed, was on point with his session. His top tips were to create a unique page for every store location so Google can recognize them and use Followerwonk and Yelp Elite to get prolific reviews for your biz.
Dana has some super sweet local tips to help you stand out, so check her Slideshare. One of her most powerful tips was to become a part of your customer’s life and they’ll stick with you like family.
Allison brought some great tips for a great user experience, aka UX. Her main goal is to make things as easy to understand and use as possible by humanizing the site and making the product delightful to your target audience. She showed some great example of adding some little surprises in your UX to make your customer feel at home and last but not least, say "thank you!"
Will's session was great, and the point he made, that everyone else doesn't seem to want to accept, is that citations, authorship, authoritative links are going to be around for a long time. So get on that Google Authorship guys! He also said the more attention you get the more links you'll get.
Day 2 Summary: I was much better at pacing myself for day too. Took a break or two and stretched my legs. There was a MozCon party at 7pm, which I didn't attend, instead opting for a run though Seattle, kombucha, tasty vegan mac n' cheese, cupcakes and more coffee. I know very antisocial of me, but I think Roger would have beat me in a robot off anyways.
I knew with Pete, Wil and Rand talking I was going to have to bring my listening A game. I also needed to hit a few more coffee joints, so I doubled up on espresso and Mighty-O donuts. I arrived at the final day of MozCon jittery, but eager to fill my brain with more Moz awesomeness.
One of the most in depth, detailed and honestly overwhelming analysis of the SERPS. Worth taking a look at his Slideshare. "If you are in a space where Google wants to play you better watch out and not in a good way," Pete warned.
Yes another monkey mascot brand makes an appearance at MozCon with ThinkGeek's Carrie. She had some great takeaways, but the most powerful being the ROI of social media. She said it takes the form of four things:
- Branding strength
- Customer Loyalty
- Customer evangelism & recruitment
- Customer feedback
Sarah, from Moz, had a unique and eye opening session. Don't be fake with your "culture" at your company she says, "be authentic – if you’re not true to yourself and others, you can’t fake it." I loved to hear things like, "don’t be afraid of fun" and I thought a great point she made was saying that everyone needs to be on board because one rotten apple can ruin the bunch.
Will coined "real company shit" at 2012 MozCon and I'm fully on board after his energizing session at MozCon. Some of his many inspiring points were, don’t keep doing the same old thing you’ve always done and to focus on innovation, not just volume. His pro tips were to keep tabs on your competitors by subscribing to their newsletters, by using a combo of IFTTT and Evernote. Here is is Diggo that he plugged at his session as we.
Be passionate about something – nothing will excel like the things you’re passionate about. Jen suggests engaging with your community not just on linen but off-line and off-site as well. When building out your community start small then grow as you are able and tell your story, which will help people see your personality and connect to you.
Need to remove toxic back links from your site? Shah provided 10 great tips to help you do just that.
- Create a separate inbox at the target domain then turn the spam filters off
- Identifuy directory sites you want to remove links and serve them a 404 status via .htaccess
- Get to know sites that don't accept emial and go right to the submission form
- ArticalSnatch directories
- wordpress hosted blogs have a default email address wordpress
- write your link removal request as you would write an email to a potential new customer'
- Canadian can be contacted through the register
- For the UK check WhoIs
- Lodge a spam report to have egregious spam removed
- Asking for favors send cupcakes, etc
Over the past few months Mike has become somewhat of a Twitter pal of mine and I was extremely excited to see him speak. He had some great productivity hacks that he uses to be a link building master. Mike really stressed leveraging tools, processes and relationships to build links effectively. He also uses IFTTT and Page2Rss to find out when your competition is getting a new link, along with Google Alerts, FreshWebExplorer and HARO to be a one person link building army.
A. Lista used a responsive template for her mobile emails to double her email conversions. She also stressed that email marketing still works! She also recommend finding the channels on your site that get more mobile traffic and target those with mobile-optimized emails.
No doubt that Kelsey has worked on some massive viral projects, so it was great to hear her speak and give some tips. She recommend that in order to create viral success you have to create emotionally compelling content. She said they don't really take on the type of clients that aren't willing to take chances with big, emotional campaigns.
Rand closed out the 2013 MozCon with a powerful session. He really nailed home the point of "Let your influence define your role, not the other way around!" He, as well as others, stressed to stop optimizing for SERPs and just be authentic in your marketing.
Day 3 Summary:
What a great way to end MozCon. Rand was nice enough to be around for most of the third day and I was able to get a picture with him. I checked my flight back to SFO and (of course) it was delayed to I was able to take the SoundLInk, BART thing back to the airport. It was a nice trip back and let my brain decompress before my red eye flight back to San Francisco.
If this didn't do it for you here are other people that have done a great job.
Ghergich & Co: The SEO State of the Union
Tools: These tools were mentioned by (at least) one of the speakers during MozCon and in my recap. These are mostly used for productivity for link building and daily tasks.
- email-format.com: to find contact emails
- Use AuthorCrawler to find people writing for competitors sites, but not yours yet, then reach out to them
- Keyword Spy
- Yelp Elite
Well MozCon, Moz and Seattle it was grand, see ya next year! If you were at MozCon, wanted to go or will be there next year we would love to hear from you in the comments!
***This post or one very much like it first appeared on the VerticalResponse Blog when I was an author there***