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2012 MozCon – Day Three Wrap Up

Day three of the 2012 SEOmoz MozCon conference is done and thus ends the party. What a fantastic time it was; full of so many wonderful people eager to share their knowledge and advance the SEO collective. We were expecting that the final day would be a little light given it was the last day, but we needn’t have worried. The lineup was as rich and informative as the previous days, which is saying a lot.

Here is the final wrap up. It includes information on attribution modeling, conversion rate optimization, the true power of Google profile pages and more. To download any of the presentations from any of the three days, you can go to MozCon-live. Also be sure to read our day one recap and day two wrap up for our take on the speakers and what they had to offer.

Martin MacDonald, Expedia, If MacGyver Did SEO

Martin opened the day yet more Excel tricks and tips. After joking about his mother of invention being not necessity, but ineptitude, he showed proved that he is, in fact, quite clever. Much like Dr. Pete, Martin believes the number one indicator of the Google algorithm is ranking. There are many solutions available for gathering link data, but what Martin has done is create a method for indexing SERPs using Excel and some creative plugins.

Aleyda Solis, International SEO consultant, SEO Project Management

Aleyda’s number one message to us SEOs: stop whining. Rather than blame other people and/or departments for your failures, avoid them in the first place with solid project management best practices and methodologies. Aleyda courageously revealed to the crowd that the knowledge she was sharing was gained the hard way; by failing enough times to learn her lessons. She is clearly a woman that knows the pitfalls and requirements associated with the ubiquitous corporate environment:

  1. Give clients clear and realistic expectations from the beginning of the project
  2. If the client is not sure about the business effects of the proposed SEO changes and needs more input to approve then run a pilot project with a sample of the site
  3. Always have a backup plan in case something goes wrong, from the creation of the SEO strategy to implementation
  4. Provide examples and mockups/screenshots for any recommendations to avoid confusion with the development team
  5. Create custom SEO reports in Google Analytics and create alerts to send you updates automatically

Mike Pantoliano, Distilled, Attribution Modeling: Why You Must Be Doing It And How To Do It Easily With Google Analytics

I realize that we’ve said this several times already in our MozCon wrap ups, but Mike is another guy who really knows his business. As the Lead SEO Consultant at Distilled, it’s no surprise. As a company that has been doing attribution modeling for years, and trying our best to convince others of its power, we were glad to hear Mike tooting the same horn. If there’s one thing Blast is onboard with, it’s that work needs to be measured and business strategy decisions need to be backed up by deep analysis of the data. Here’s what Mike had to say about it:

  1. Primary reason to use attribution modeling: You may find that your non-branded organic search terms are performing even better than you had thought, warranting more time and money investment in the channel.
  2. Use advanced segments to help your filter out specific users to get a better idea of what they are doing
  3. With attribution modeling, you can’t discount what an understanding of the whole picture will grant you. Even if you’re just an SEO. Or just social. Knowing how the whole business makes money can help you significantly.

Jessica Bowman,, Estimating Traffic Based on Keyword Research

Jessica Bowman did a fantastic job of pushing the need to qualify and quantify SEO processes, reasons and value.
But she did more than that; she also shared methods of how to communicate it with your client (or in-house overlords) in a way that they can get behind, using language they can understand:

  1. When supplying a client estimated keyword traffic numbers provide a range, not a hard number
  2. Identify what must happen to achieve the increased traffic numbers
  3. Identify risks that will hinder achieving the goals
  4. Compare what the costs through other means (PPC, Affiliates or other sources)

Joanna Lord, SEOmoz, A New Form of CRO

Similarly to Jessica Bowman, Joanna Lord didn’t just list out a bunch of things we should all be doing, she also conveyed the crucial need to be able to communicate and get others on board. It’s obvious that SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin knows how to build a better than average team and that fact is exemplified in his selection of Joanna as his Director of Customer Acquisition and Retention. She’s a real-life Carry Bradshaw, complete with insight, intelligence, charm and love of shoes. Here are some highlights of what she had to say:

What should you be testing on your website?

  1. Your story. What is your company all about? Improve how it is presented, conveyed, and explained.
  2. Your pillars. These are the parts of your site that never change. This could be the layout, the navigation, the home page, whatever is the most static thing on the site.
  3. Your relationships. Look at how you present to your partners and other companies your work with. Make sure your relationships are still mutually beneficial.
  4. Your triggers. This includes your calls to action and conversion paths. Make sure your customers have a clear way to complete their transaction.
  5. Your unique value proposition. You may have different UVPs based on your products or audiences. You need to target each one differently.

Special Session

There were several high points during the day and one of them was the hour-long special session in which four speakers from the SEO community shared some of their successes. It’s always great to see people that are doing things right and delivering on the promises they make to clients. Each of the 4 every man speakers brought a different story of how they achieve their success, but one thing was consistent with each: their love of SEO and helping the greater SEO community.

First to receive his 15 minutes of glory was Dana Lookadoo. Dana is an SEO consultant and trainer at Yo!Yo!SEO and spoke about rocking your SEO with structured social sharing by taking control of how social networks use your page titles and images. You should use microdata to let them know exactly what they should be using otherwise they might not grab the right image or description.

Second was Darren Shaw of Whitespark. Darren gave some extremely valuable insight into local SEO and some places to get the most valuable citations. He explained how the sources of these citations can vary based on industry and location. You should use tools to search for the most valuable citations for your keywords and location.

Next was Jeff McRitchie, VP of Marketing at Jeff and his team have become masters of video optimization and the ways it can help drive traffic, build brands and sell product. And all on a tiny budget. He said that on his site, products with videos converted at twice the rate as products without videos. If the user actually watched the videos, then they converted at five times that rate.

The special session was wrapped up by Brazilian SEO Fabio Ricotta. Fabio gave insight into the success that can be achieved by going beyond the basics of SEO, building a scaleable strategy, and following through with the plan. He explained how he was able to get good results for his clients by updating their product descriptions instead of using the manufacturers generic descriptions. This helped his clients stand out from the competition and improve their organic search traffic.

At the end of the day we got to see what is possibly the last installment of a years long battle between Rand and Tom Critchlow of Distilled. The two have been going head to head at MozCon in an good-natured, audience-voted battle royale to see who can give the best presentation. This year, even though it was on Rand’s home turf, Tom took the prize, though it was only by the narrowest margin.

When boiled down, both men had very similar presentations actually. Both talked about elevating the game of SEO with better content creation. That was the main theme of the whole conference and both of these guys are at the front pushing the ideas and trying to motivate the rest of us to push in that direction as well. They believe we need to go beyond normal link building tactics and make connections that really make a difference. It’s not just about the words on a page or the text in an anchor. Rather it’s about finding the people who matter and connecting yourself to them in real ways; build relationships that are of genuine, real-world value and the links will come. Rand had a slide presentation with his talk that is worth looking at. As always he gives lots of tips that always spark ideas and pump up the motivation. Tom’s talk was off the cuff. He had only a single slide of an SEO that is kicking butt right now and Tom just let the flood doors open in his mind and let his ideas flow. Tom is soon moving to Google and so he’ll then be on the other side of the tracks. But he’s had a wealth of experience in the upper reaches of the game, building connections with the influencers, and it was clear when watching him give his talk that he’s moved on, into a different, though entirely connected realm behind the doors of Google.

The 2012 MozCon closed with all of the presenters getting on stage and sharing one SEO tip of their choosing. We, as an audience, had to promise not to share those tips for at least 30 days and we’re going to honor that so we won’t be including any here. All in all the conference was a huge success, despite glitches like nearly non-existent Wifi. Rand has built a jugernaught in the SEO world and it was fun to jump on board the train for the week and make real connections with real people that can make a real difference.

David McCormick
About the Author

David is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Blast Analytics & Marketing. David spends his days immersed in the world of SEO, link building and digital marketing and loves when his mind gets blown by a new way of seeing something.

David McCormick has written on the Blast Digital Customer Experience and Analytics Blog.

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