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MozCon 2016: 10 Key Takeaways from Day 1

Ruth Sturm

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I’m incredibly excited to be in Seattle at MozCon 2016. MozCon is an annual SEO conference hosted by Moz, an online marketing software company. It’s considered one of the most advanced, actionable conferences in the SEO business.

(Also, I get to be in a place that is near a body of water, which is pretty cool when you live in Sioux Falls.)

The first day featured incredible speakers giving advice on everything from A/B testing to conversion-rate optimization. These talks were filled with data and real-life examples. Of course, for SEO nerds like all of us in the audience, this was like Christmas Day. But for those of you that don’t spend your entire day geeking out about the internet, here are 10 tips from the 10 speakers on the first day at MozCon 2016.

1. Ten blue links exist in only 3% of searches

Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, started out the day by throwing some fun facts at us. You know that classic idea we have of Google search results - the 10 blue links in a row leading to different websites? That image is no longer correct. In fact, the 10 blue links only occur in an estimated 3 percent of searches. So many searches are filled up with Google Maps listings, rich snippets, images and more, so that the 10 blue links become more like…three blue links.

2. A/B testing is just like science class

Sometimes when we try to test things on our sites, we choose things almost blindly. What if we made this button blue? What if we made this text bigger? Instead, Cara Harshman, featured at caraharshman.me, suggests that we should create a hypothesis when it comes to A/B testing. For instance, if I place my call-to-action button higher up on the page, more users will join my email newsletter, which will give us more sales. Then you can test that hypothesis and see if it is accurate.

3. It's not a current-site relaunch - it's a new-site launch

Sometimes we have a tendency to think of our website relaunch as just an updated version of our current site. But it's not! Lauren Vaccarello, VP of Marketing at box.com, reminds us that you should think of your website launch as Day One of having a website. After it launches, you have to do all the hard work of optimizing, testing and making your website the best it can be.

4. Marketing has nothing to do with “blasts”

Email is a communication. You should communicate with your customers like you would communicate with your friends or family. That doesn’t mean it should be casual, but it does mean it should be respectful, entertaining and relevant. Justine Jordan from Litmus begged us all to stop using the term “email blast.” Real humans want to connect with other real humans, even when those humans are from brands.

5. Engagement is not the end of the line

We spend so many marketing dollars, and place so much energy into engagement. But what happens after those users are engaged? What happens after they like us on Facebook? Rhea Drysdale of Outspoken Media urged us to remember that reputation marketing is important to invest in for both future and current customers. Pay as much attention to your leads currently in the sales pipeline as you do to those that are completely new to you.

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6. If you have great SEO but low traffic, poor IA may be to blame

IA, or information architecture, refers to the way information is designed, organized and labeled. If you’re ranking for a bunch of keywords and your blog is receiving a large amount of traffic, but your sales or conversions aren’t increasing, take a look at how your site is organized. Joe Hall of Hall Analysis says you should question whether or not your blog needs to be on a different page from the rest of your content. You may be able to accurately house your content on your product pages or a more sales-relevant section of your website. 

7. Using a mobile site is like watching a horror movie

Talia Wolf from Banana Splash spoke on the problems we have with basically building mobile sites as miniature desktop sites. If mobile visitors have a hard time finding the things they’re looking for on your site, they will leave. Talia told us that a recent study found that mobile web users experience the same level of stress as when they are watching a horror movie. Your mobile visitors are different from your web visitors – you should treat them as such.

8. Featured snippets are growing in popularity

Rob Bucci, found of STAT Search Analytics, bombarded us with amazing research about featured snippets, the answers to search queries that are displayed directly in those boxes at the beginning of search results. In January 2016, only nine percent of search queries had featured snippets in the results. By July 2016, almost 15 percent of search results had snippets. This is definitely an aspect of SEO that we will need to learn how to utilize - and quickly.

9. Never stop experimenting

Sometimes, even in the fast-changing world of digital marketing, we forget to keep some things in flux. It can get so easy to fall into patterns of doing the same thing day after day, until that thing is no longer effective. Ross Simmonds, an entrepreneur building getcrate.co and hustleandgrind.co, urged us not to fall into that pattern. Inject a little bit of chaos into your marketing, and experiment with a new platform or tactic.

10. Social media is not the new TV

Dana DiTomaso, President of Kick Point Inc., reminded us that social media posts should not just be digital billboards. Online video should not just be a television spot edited for Facebook. Social media is a completely different ballgame from traditional media, and we should treat it as such.

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