A look back at all the SEO things I learned from MozCon 2016. Spoiler: All of it still applies.

Bosses and other people who make major business decisions; sending someone who isn’t an search engine optimization (SEO) specialist to MozCon might be the best call you’ll ever make. But you’re probably asking “why should I when they just work in social, design or project management?” or “seems like a pretty pricey ticket for someone who doesn’t know what a structured snippet is.”

MozCon set the tone with their speakers from a wide array of disciplines within the marketing ecosystem, and didn’t distract us with other tracks on purpose. It was one room, one speaker at one time, for one reason. Not every speaker was an expert in SEO, but hearing how each facet of marketing in tandem with SEO can help achieve larger goals left us feeling lucky our bosses sent three non-SEO specialists to MozCon. One of our favorite presenters barely knew what link building was, but her expertise in storytelling will forever change how we approach creating action-oriented content online.

Basically – SEO is the one ring to rule them all, or the thing that’s gonna destroy your marketing career you if you know nothing about it.

Or another geek reference: Your specialty, a great story, and knowledge of SEO are the deathly hallows of the digital world. [While we can all respect Harry for getting rid of the resurrection stone and Elder wand, we all don’t need to be saints.]
Keep your hallows close and you’ll be the greatest marketing wizard or witch of all time.

If you’re in social media, web development, digital project management, design or copywriting – you need SEO. Here’s some quick insights, inspiration and resources from our favorite speakers at MozCon.


Putting Trust into Domain Authority with Wil Reynolds

“Don’t go viral. Go helpful.”

Wil Reynolds, Founder of SEER Interactive

Don’t always focus on the most popular search trends when creating content. Everyone is going after that audience, and by following suit, you’re missing out on the people who no one is focused on helping. Look at the niche communities that still need your product or service. If you help them, they will listen.

Go to answerthepublic.com and see what people are really searching for with regards to your product or service.


The Irresistible Power of Strategic Storytelling with Kindra Hall

“Too often we allude to the story, but we don’t actually tell it.”

Kindra Hall, Author & Storyteller Advisor

Kindra Hall talked to us about the importance of storytelling. Too often, the story is there, but we do a terrible job of actually telling it. Instead, we hint at a story, or tell part of it, and miss the opportunity to really connect with our audience on an emotional level. This is
important because stories are what makes your brand memorable. They differentiate you from your competition, and foster a loyal customer base.

Focus on the transformation of your hero and ask yourself “how did things change for them due to your purposeful message and product impact?” because stories are what people remember.


Reimagining Customer Retention and Evangelism with Kristen Craft

“Don’t try to be all things to all people.”

Kristen Craft, Director of Business Development at Wistia

Kristen Craft talked to us about the importance of capitalizing on what makes you stand-out. Don’t be all things to all people; instead, use precise language, and showcase your idiosyncrasies. By revealing what makes you different, you are more likely to attract the people that you want to attract. The people who like what makes you stand-out, are more likely to take action and engage with your brand.

A great dating analogy and helpful read to increase conversions:
Datacysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) by Christian Rudder


Breaking Patterns: How to Rewrite the CRO Playbook with Mobile Optimization with Talia Wolf

“One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

Albus Dumbledore

Talia Wolf challenged us to be the mentor that our customers need. Basically, we are Dumbledore and our target audience is Harry. Our users have a challenge and our products or services provide them the tools they need to overcome it. In this session, Talia begged us to look at our mobile and desktop experiences and analyze how our audience behaviors and needs differ when interacting with us on the go, or at a desk, or on the couch. To help gain clarity on these differences, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you know your conversions are on mobile?
  • Do you know how many people are going from desktop and then to mobile?
  • What are people searching on mobile to get to your site?
  • How do they interact with your site on mobile vs. desktop?
  • How are you helping them find what they’re looking for?
  • How are we making their life better? (e.g. you don’t sell t-shirts, you sell self esteem)

How to Be Specific: From-The-Trenches Lessons in High-Converting Copy with Joanna Wiebe

“We see 5K ads a day. We recognize 50 — We remember 5.”

Joanna Weibe

It’s a world of 5,000 competing messages a day, but people only remember a few. Don’t focus on being in the top 10, you’ve got to be better than that and every other piece of noise doesn’t matter.

And don’t dumb down your audience because you think they don’t like to read. They just don’t like to read messages that are unhelpful, vague or not directed to their specific needs. Because why? Answer: Our brains are exhausted.

Tip: Try something new and see how people-centric and more individualized and conversion-oriented copy can help you create action with this approach.

Helpful Resource: