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After 15 presentations of pure gold on day 2 of MozCon it’s hard to believe that there is still ground to be covered but these are exciting times in inbound marketing. As traditional marketing practices converge with inbound marketing we are finding that what is emerging is so much better for the internet user experience AND it’s much more fun to work on. The final day of MozCon includes more exceptional speakers and even more of the biggest, best and most valuable tips and takeaways from the worlds #1 inbound marketing conference. Enjoy!

Beyond 10 Blue Links: The Future of Ranking

by Pete Meyers (@dr_pete); SlideShare: download

  • Understand that developments in Google search means that sometimes ranking first means you’re below the fold. What with image results, the 7-pack, site links, knowledge graph, local one-box, image block, news results, video thumbnails, recipe ratings, authorship etc.
  • That said, sometimes number 1 is richer than it used to be, with expanded site links, rich snippets, etc.

“Ranking should not be a goal, because Google is constantly changing the rules about ranking.”

  • Note that “similar searches” results indicate that Google doesn’t have confidence in the results for that query, so they suggest a new one
  • Disambiguation results can let you know what Google thinks is the dominant intent for a search (see the disambiguation box on the right sidebar)
  • Knowledge Graph search is bleeding into organic search and changing everything. For example, knowledge graph celebrity information includes bios, events, songs, images – all in the right-hand SERP (search engine results page). The results page itself has become an entire experience. So what about organic results? Nobody cares because they have all they need from the Knowledge Graph and this means the high-value organic real estate on the left is turning into “noise”
  • Related searches for health information and conditions are actually at the beginning of the SERP, not at the end, they have their own snippet. This is stealing page views from sites that used to rank and provide this information. The same goes for typing flight numbers into Google: airlines are not getting those page views. Typing in “best of” searches for books, movies, etc. also get Carousel results now. The make-up of the results you are seeing now is all changing
  • In-depth news box is a new result for news related searches presenting pictures and snippets. If you’re in any kind of insurance comparison industry then prepare for your world to change in the next month or two
  • Everything about Google SERPs is that they’re all about Google: their aim being to get you to stayon Google
  • Only 15% of SERPs (out of 10,000 results) had no rich information at all. This is happening NOW
  • Now Local Searches are moving beyond SERPs and desktop will begin to look more like mobile search. Think about the digital agents that shape the SERPs into presenting what you want to see, e.g. Siri which means that soon you won’t even have to ask a question. Google Now is the beginning of that experience
  • Google is trying to figure out what you want to know before you search. How can you rank if there’s no query?
  • We get so focused on tactics that we’re missing a strategic mental change we need to make. If you’re trying to game any one signal, you will lose, no one piece will be enough, we must look at the bigger picture and take a strategic approach
  • What do brands and authors have in common? They’re entities. This is the web of things! Google’s job is to model the real world so you’ve got to be an entity to survive. The good news is as you can be an entity! Start acting like a brand and Google will recognize you as a brand
  • Ranking should not be a goal, because Google is constantly changing the rules about ranking. It’s time to think like a brand, so instead of buying links, attract links, instead of targeting keywords, target concepts, build a following, not followers. Show your expertise and make a name for your brand and don’t forget to think locally. Do it for real! If you built a real business, Google changing the rules couldn’t sink you
  • Put the emphasis on selling before emphasising ranking. If you ‘sell’ that you’re a business properly, you’ll rank
  • Start thinking about what SERP changes Google may implement into your verticals and how you can better brand your business to stand out

Using Metrics to Build Social Media Engagement

by Carrie Gouldin (@carriegouldin); SlideShare: download

  • Valuable content is timelyinformativeuseful and entertaining. It doesn’t matter if you havemillions of followers if no one is clicking on your content or converting on your site
  • Measure social metrics that show ROI: 1) follower counts 2) engagement rates (more important: mentions, comments, replies, clicks, RT, favourites, likes, shares, plusses, repins. 3) conversion and revenue
  • Social ROI can include branding, customer loyalty, customer evangelism and even recruitment, all whilst providing customer feedback
  • Test, test and test again. You can test with frequencies and the times of day that you post. This will be different for every company and every network so monitor results and make changes as necessary
  • Be careful with your automation of posts; ideally you need to be available to engage when your posts are going live
  • Monitor and measure comments on Facebook as they have a different value than likes.
  • Check out what’s floating to the top of your Pinterest board throughout the day and then share that stuff
  • Update your brand icon throughout the year to reflect seasons and show your personality
  • Know the news before you post. Pay attention so you can be there with your community in a timely way

The Search for Company Culture and Why It Matters

by Sarah Bird (@SarahBird); SlideShare: download

  • Prepare a value statement as shared values make for efficient communication. It’s a shared language to discuss decision making and it puts you in learner mode
  • Encourage engagement through having strong values. When people are engaged, they care, and when you care you speak your mind strong company values also help you hire the right people – from employees to vendors. It’s amazing what happens when people care
  • Having good culture helps you gain financial success, but it’s also the right thing to do. If living with integrity is of primary importance, above making money, then this will help you achieve success beyond success
  • Define your culture i.e. how you get things done. Every group has a culture, even your family, but are you conscious about it? To be clear, ‘culture’ is not the same as ‘perks’. Perks are neither necessary nor sufficient to build a culture, so you don’t need a budget to have a good culture

“Culture is a marathon, not a sprint.”

  • Culture is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not a one-decision, one-day thing – it’s all day, every day but you don’t have to build culture for the whole organisation at once. Start with your collaborators, have a conversation about accountability, help hold each other accountable because you do have control over your own responses and therefore together you can develop your culture
  • When the most important thing is to live according to your values, it unleashes your creativity

Why the Internet Hates Us and Can #RCS Change That Perception?

by Wil Reynolds (@wilreynolds)

  • Your experiences make you a better marketer – experiences make you think and engage. Being inspired without taking action on it is pointless but the key to success is respecting other disciplines and expertise and working together for the greater good. Builders need architects to create a building, this is no different
  • Don’t do content just for SEO or you will eventually fail, you have to be doing it for love. Be human and don’t look at everything as a transaction
  • Book recommendations: ‘Quiet‘ by Susan Cain, ‘Setting the Table‘ by Danny Meyer, ‘Nudge‘ by Thaler and Sunstein
  • Learn storytelling, pitching, journalism and branding – SEOs in a foot race with real marketers
  • Learn to innovate, it means doing stuff people aren’t already doing or looking for. For example, Volkswagen realised that people fast-forward commercials, so they created a slow commercial
  • Create things that add value for the long term, not just links. It’s all about VALUE
  • Does anyone search for your assets with your brand name? That’s #RCS (Real Company Stuff) and it’s epic. 69% of traffic to the “How do they make money?” infographic came from referrals

“Create things that add value for the long term, not just links. It’s about VALUE.”

  • Get the title of your content right you get natural anchor text. 41% of links to the infographic used the title
  • Build your content responsively. 20% of the people who hit the infographic were on a mobile device
  • Give mobile users a great experience and they’ll have similar user behaviour to desktop users
  • Learn who feeds whom i.e. which influencers you need to be noticed by so you know who to target. A site that feeds the Today Show picked up one of @wilreynolds’s pieces and it got on the Today Show
  • Work with real writers. They have real connections with real publishers and news sites
  • You don’t need a huge budget to do #RCS, check this out
  • Check out these tools: IFTTTEvernotePage 2 RSS
  • Track email newsletters and sign up for your competitors. In IFTTT you can automatically push competitors’ newsletters that mention specific brands into Evernote. Categorize who’s posting and commenting and you will have an instant content strategy
  • Subscribe to Zappos’ YouTube channel. Use IFTTT to push Zappos’ mentions of your brand into Evernote
  • Check this out: A blog post on using Just-Discovered Links to get email notifications of new links
  • Friend your competitors’ employees on LinkedIn, then use Newsle to “stalk” them. Show your CEO how often your competitors’ CEOs get mentioned, that’s how you get budget allocated
  • Image Raider RSS – tells you when you have an image that’s been copied (hat tip to @hannah_bo_banna)
  • Imagine if you open up Evernote once a month and get all your info on you, your competitors and what you’ve done

Building Your Community From the Ground Up

by Jen Lopez (@jennita)

  • Starting a community is hard but everyone starts from somewhere. When you first start your community, there’s not going to be very much action, be patient, you have to nurture it
  • Start with some goals and consider turning your company goals into your community goals
  • Community itself can help build awareness. For example, Colon Cancer Alliance says right out there that they’re a community
  • Get specific about what you hope to achieve such as signups, sales, emails etc. Something like this would work: our company goal is to create a broader audience and our marketing team goal is to increase engagement within the community. In addition get very specific and measurable e.g increase engagement by 25%
  • If you’re just starting out and you don’t have any engagement, it’s okay to focus on building likes and followers AT FIRST
  • Know what your KPIs are going to be for every goal, they will be different and there are lots of tools to cover different goals
  • Tool recommendation: PageLever is a great tool for engagement measurement
  • Also check out Sproutsocial
  • Don’t forget to track on-page activity as engagement happens there too
  • Use your internal resources because you don’t have to do it all yourself, know what skills your team members have. Does anyone at your organisation already have a large network? If so then use that to help build your community. Everyone at your company can be part of your community
  • Do some research – is there an existing community you can tap into? Research competing communities. Where aren’t they present?
  • Start with the social networks that are already sending you the most traffic. Take one or two and get started. Focus!
  • Show your personality. Even scary/sad topics like colon cancer can have a sense of fun within their communities
  • Start with a list of tasks that have to be done daily and assign them owners
  • Test it and try new things. When you find the right thing, test it some more
  • Are your goals still in alignment? Do your KPIs make sense? Is the team missing anything? Check in regularly
  • Read this great post full of ideas on how you can combine community and #SEO from @jennita
  • Read this: More than you’ve ever wanted to know about building online communities

0 Link Removal Pro-Tips That Will Change Your Life

by Sha Menz (@ShahMenz); SlideShare: download

  • Don’t make assumptions about link removal before you start. You can get manual spam penalties revoked but don’t settle for only removing 15-20% of bad links, likewise don’t assume that your links are so bad that nothing good can come of it. Success is possible with a clear link removal process
  • Create a new email address at your target domain and turn spam filters off so you don’t filter out replies from webmasters
  • Identify directories where you want to remove links and serve them a 404 status via .htaccess
  • Check “undeliverable” replies from webmasters – sometimes there’s a link or address that will work better in the reply
  • If ArticleSnatch is one of the domains you need to deal with, be grateful. They have options for controlling your links
  • Write link removal requests like you’d write an email to a potential new customer – imagine the person you’re writing to
  • Link removal could actually bring you new business. Webmasters might just check you out and like what you do
  • Don’t forget that you’re asking for a favour when you ask for link removal. The occasional small thank you gift can’t hurt
  • Be a real person and prove it, include a real name and phone number

How to Be a One-Person Link Building Army

by Mike Arnesen (@Mike_Arnesen); SlideShare: download

  • Don’t disregard links they are still very important. Fight harder than your competition and you can still beat them even if their budget is bigger
  • Do what you can when you can – leverage tools and process
  • For efficiency: Use IFTTT with Page2RSS to email you when your competitors are getting links
  • Use Google Alerts to keep track of your competitors to see what they are doing. You can track brand mentions and mentions of key employees then send outreach emails to those who mention your brand – it’s a great source of links
  • Use keyboard shortcuts to create more automated outreach emails
  • Use Textexpander to save outreach email templates that you can quickly personalise and send. This process could also be good for removals
  • Send handwritten notes, people like that and it can be very effective
  • Use HARO to find stories reporters are writing about, don’t make them come to you – go to them. Branch out into related topics for HARO outreach, look for anything you could possibly talk about with some authority
  • Be nimble and opportunistic. When you don’t have time to build links, you should be doing it whenever you can
  • Be biased toward tools that return maximum quality with minimum time investment. @Mike_Arnesen likes AuthorCrawler
  • Make your content stand out, Truckpocalypse is a great example of an interactive infographic that stands out and attracts links
  • Embrace new technologies to get links from people talking about those new technologies
  • People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Figure out what that reason is and capitalise on it
  • Be the person who’s the reliable expert on one thing so you become the person people go to on that one topic
  • Do stuff now that might make people want to link to you later, just because they like you. Find your advocates and nurture those relationships
  • You can be a 1-person link building army if you’re efficient, agile, linkable and serendipitous. don’t build links – earn links

Throw Out Best Practices, Double Email Conversion

by A. Litsa (@a_litsa); SlideShare: download

  • Review the traditional best practices you are working with and consider testing alternatives, you stand a good chance of increasing your conversions significantly
  • Get more people to click through to complete product reviews by using responsive email design, even on a boring email, is likely to do better on every front. Case study results: before responsive email: 17 reviews a day. After: 47 reviews a day
  • Make sure usability problems aren’t blocking your users from leaving reviews and engaging with your content. It’s possible that your mobile site traffic might be pooling on your email landing pages
  • Look at hotspots of mobile activity on your site – are they indicators of social interest? You’re doing all this work to bring mobile users to your site – are you serving them well when they arrive?
  • Discovering your mobile audience requires removing user experience barriers and lots of testing. Make sure you still have a way to capture leads from mobile and add a point of engagement. Even people who say they’re ‘mobile experts’ are new to mobile because mobile is new
  • Use the subject line as a headline – then the first line of the email to say why people should care.
  • Check out: handbook for mobile design
  • Check out: schema for email

Anatomy of a Viral Hit: Reach Millions, Cultivate Relationships and Generate Links

by Kelsey Libert (@KelseyLibert)

  • Use images to connect with users in a strong, highly emotional way. One piece of content got links from 273 domains: a broadly accessible, engageable campaign around an emotional issue: unrealistic body image
  • Close to 4 million people saw the “Effects of Meth” campaign – it was picked up nationally and received links from 1200 domains
  • It’s a participation age – we need to connect with users more deeply
  • The fascinating familiar: see the miraculous in the mundane to help people fall in love with it, see example Will It Blend
  • Synaptic play: when you make connections between unrelated ideas, you experience creative joy, see example Real Life Nyan Cat. The beauty of the web is that we can put together ideas that didn’t go before, to give users synaptic joy
  • The energy exchange: you’re driven to share things because of the emotion inspired by that content
  • Create new experiences, if it’s just an advert, or regurgitated content, it’s less engaging or shareable than new experiences
  • Upworthy got 1.7m uniques in their first 6 months. How? By re-framing emotions as data
  • Check out: Viral Emotions Study from Fractl. Fractl looked at a subreddit and picked the top upvoted images and coded them with emotions to track patterns. The top 4 most shared images in had the highest emotionality score
  • Pair positive emotions with amusement and surprise; negative ones with empathy and self-doubt. Contrasting positive and negative emotions works even better
  • Surprise, amusement and interest are the 3 emotional keys to viral campaigns
  • You need to make your pitch for your content stand out, editors see 100+ pitches a day
  • An engaged audience is way better to have than a followed link
  • Calculate the ROI of viral content by measuring how much it would cost to buy the links, endorsements and PR coverage. Check out:Content ROI calculator tool

The Secret Ingredients of Better Marketing

by Rand Fishkin (@randfish); SlideShare: download

  • Better marketing: The right tools and tactics, building products people want, committing to the right approach and a good team. Bad marketing is fake, plastic, selfish, boring, myopic and cookie cutter and it’s burning out our users. 98% of Americans distrust information on the web. 59% of Americans say there are too many ads on the web
  • 56% of Americans blame outdated information for distrust of the web. 53% blame self-promotional content. No wonder click-throughs suck and display ads conversion is so low. 50% of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental
  • Clicks on SERPs are showing higher and higher standard deviations – people are clicking in more diverse places. Instead of just focusing on higher rankings, work also on earning the click-throughs

“Better marketing is Fun. Fun marketing is shareable content.”

  • Even when we earn the click we lose 40% of our audience to page load times
  • 70% of CEOs say they’ve lost trust in marketers. Why? New tools with old thinking; new channels with no narrative; too much focus on tactics without strategy; and, prioritising the short term
  • What you need is transparency to earn trust, this gets you customers and links. Provide access to the data your customers desperately need and let your community be your data source. If you think your data isn’t that interesting, you’re not that creative. Better marketing is authentic
  • Leverage your strengths and what you’re known for to create an honest, credible connection between you and popular culture
  • Understand what’s at the core of your audience’s love and deliver authentic advertising, it can double as share-worthy content
  • When you don’t let your brand and company reflect who you really are, you’re in a state of cognitive dissonance. If your product/service delights people, give a little away and forge a social connection
  • Be generous behind the scenes. There’s karma at work (plus it’s the right thing to do). Make your generosity transparent, but not overly self-promotional. Small acts of generosity to targeted demographics can yield links, social and brand loyalty. Think generosity won’t produce results? It’s a great strategy because it prioritises long-term serendipity over short-term ROI
  • Better marketing is Fun. Fun marketing is shareable content
  • Don’t just think about SEO in your titles – think about clicks and shares too. The right positioning can earn great press. If there’s a super cool fun result in the SERPs, you’re going to click that!
  • Even the most dry and boring content can become viral if the format’s right and the quality is high
  • Find the intersection of your professional and personal passions when you build content. Doing humour well is super challenging: it’s definitely got to fit with your brand
  • Better marketing is empathetic. Think of questions your users might have about your product before they buy, then ANSWER THEM. Transparency is empathetic. Visuals are a powerful empathetic communication tool. Think empathy is too difficult? The harder it is, the harder it will be for the competition to catch up.
  • Respect your audience’s biases and present in a familiar format.
  • Content doesn’t have to sell. Sometimes, you’re just there to help. We need to get into the customers’ minds, think how they think, but not for links or ranking, just be helpful
  • You don’t have to spend a fortune on design. Simple and usable content earns shares, too
  • Better marketing is exceptional. A poor original is better than a good imitation. Apple’s white headphones are one of the smartest marketing moves ever made. Apple delayed shipping on the iPod just for white headphones. That’s viral, visual branding
  • Observe what others do. Question their logic. Choose the opposite. Be willing to invest the time and effort
  • Don’t just run a contest. Help the winner become an evangelist. They’ll become content marketers for you

Again, many thanks and appreciation for live tweeters especially @mackfogelson@gfiorelli1 @ruthburr and@Mike_Arnesen. Images courtesy of Thos Ballantyne.

What's Next?

Now MozCon 2013 is over and the benefits of all the learning, processes, tools and examples have been spread worldwide its time for inbound marketers to embrace this exciting time in our industry so we can help clients by creating the kind of content that their audiences and influencers truly value. Conferences such as MozCon help reinforce that we are doing the right things and help us have confidence in testing new processes as well as providing inspiration.

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