Key learnings from MozCon 2022

Jimmy McLaughlin, Principle SEO Strategist,

In July, I was lucky enough to travel to Seattle for the first in-person MozCon since 2019.

A host of digital experts and enthusiasts descended on the Seattle conference centre for one of the most highly anticipated events in the digital calendar. From seasoned industry veterans to newcomers and community speakers, a whole host of topics were covered throughout the conference - including content, technical solutions, outreach methods and building teams and cultures.

Here's a roundup of the best insights I got from the four-day event:

Make your content work better for longer

CEO of Foundation Marketing, Ross Simmonds explored how we can make our content work harder and be effective for longer. He touched on Disney’s strategy of continually remaking and updating old stories and applied this to content creation. Why spend so long researching and creating content, only to push it into the wild and not think about it again?

Reviewing your older content and improving and updating it with new information is a great way to make the most of your content and gain more results over time. 

The same fundamentals apply to outreach and PR. Paddy Moogan, Co-Founder of digital marketing agency Aira, looked at how outreach and linking have changed over the last ten years. After pointing out that the fundamentals remain - he outlined why asking for links and outreaching in its traditional sense is not always sustainable.

As with reusing content, the same can apply to campaign activity, assets should have a longer shelf life than just one push - we should be looking to freshen up these pieces for multiple rounds of outreach. Some key points from Paddy’s talk include:

  • Utilising the customer journey to identify opportunities and ideas.
  • Solving pain points of the audience.
  • A successful outreach campaign does not have to be all singing and dancing, a quality piece of content that serves a purpose can generate links for years - if maintained correctly.
  • Ensure you are clear about who your target customers are and who your target link prospects are - these can be two very different audiences.
  • Aim for the links you didn’t ask for - if you rank well for the correct questions, people will use them as a resource.
  • PR/outreach teams and SEO teams must be integrated.

Measuring the success of your content

President of Kick Point, Dana DiTomaso opened day two with some wisdom on measuring the success of your content, leading on nicely from the talks around content and outreached content engagement from day one.

Dana explained that all the work you put into your content and getting people to your site means very little if people don’t interact. Rather than focusing on page views, we need to be measuring interaction. A large number of your page views could just be an open tab on a browser. It’s crucial to look at more granular factors when measuring success - not all page views are equal - remove those tab hoarders!

So, what other factors do we need to measure? Dana provided several potential metrics you can use to measure the success of your content, including:

  • Look at how the page was loaded - what was the navigation path?
  • Measure the length of time customers stay on the page
  • Look at how far down the page they scrolled, did they see any potential CTAs? 

Whilst the above are all useful, the most important takeaway is that we need to be judging content on its purpose and general interactions. It's important that content is grouped and each page is judged on its intended job - this sounds simple but is so often ignored. 

The importance of keyword research

SEO, Analytics and digital strategy expert, Tom Capper, focused on keyword research, often considered a basic task - but if not done properly can undermine your whole strategy - keyword research.

He advised focusing on what traffic keywords are driving, or could drive for you (just because you know the volume doesn’t mean you know the clicks). Try to avoid focusing on monthly volumes in general - capture intent instead of keywords. 

Knowing your tools is another vital aspect of keyword research, we looked at  Google Ads data which overestimated clicks by a factor of 18x, and what happens when a keyword list reports volume data without organic CTR estimates.

Embrace the messy middle and focus on audience personas

Dr Pete Meyers focused on why we should embrace the messy middle when it comes to the customer journey. Most SEOs have fallen into the trap of focusing on the keywords that land towards the bottom of the funnel - as these naturally have the better conversion stats. However, he argued that there is far more to search than what happens between awareness and conversion. Most searches occur in the research, exploration and evaluation phase of the decision-making process.

If we want to stand out as digital marketers, we need to introduce the idea of the next step and almost replicate this journey through our site. We need to create more middle-of-the-funnel content by optimizing for Google search features such as rich snippets, answer boxes, knowledge graphs and PAAs. Focus on what type of content works throughout this journey - be that text, video or more visual aspects, it's vital to understand the messy middle as best you can.

VP of Marketing at audience research start-up SparkToro, Amanda Natividad, reminded us to focus on audience personas, not buyer personas when looking at strategies. First and foremost, your audience doesn’t end at “people who will buy from you.” Your audience also includes people who may amplify you and people who may pay attention to you. Naturally, all these different audiences will be looking for different types of content from your site. Each of these audiences has different motivations - again these motivations change depending on which part of the journey they are on - if you know how these audiences work, you will be able to create more effective strategies. 

Summary

After an incredible four days of listening to some of the industry’s best and brightest – here are three of my quick-fire takeaways:

  • Focus on quality, not quantity - don’t assume rough volume and rank give clicks, focus on those clicks! 
  • Remember that when it comes to E-A-T - real expertise is paramount. The word expert can often lead us to think these tactics can be complicated, but that is not always the case - equally, this expertise must be real.
  • It is imperative to continue building authority and trust in your site - remember this can’t be faked.

The above only scratches the surface of all the great insight which was on offer at the conference. If you get the chance to go to MozCon in the future, go for it. Alongside the great lineup of guest speakers, the whole event is a fantastic opportunity to make new contacts, share knowledge and meet with your peers.

The full schedule of who presented and links to the presentations can be found on the Moz site.

A big thanks to the team at Moz and STAT… roll-on next year! 

MozCon 2022

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