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.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image media=”49489″ media_width_use_pixel=”yes” alignment=”center” media_width_pixel=”500″][vc_column_text]
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.”
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.”
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.
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[vc_row][vc_column column_width_percent=”88″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″][vc_column_text]Even if you have a solid foundation for managing online ad campaigns and have mastered the different ad platforms, there is still much you can learn. The industry is constantly changing, so to be a true PPC expert, you’ll have to keep up with all the latest developments and PPC news.
PPC 301: Continuing Education
Dig in and read everything you can get your hands on from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The IAB is the self-governing body of digital advertising. Their theoretical role in the madness of ad tech and online advertising is to make sure things don’t get too out of hand.
There are a couple sections of their site to continually monitor. The first is their Guidelines data on just about every digital ad unit you can imagine. You can read about best practices in compliance, data use/management, social, and more.
The other must-read is their section on Research and Thought Leadership. They have a team on staff that puts together research on things like the best ways for publishers to migrate to a world focused on viewability. It’s a great way to learn about what is affecting the industry and what is to come.
Following Digital News Sources
AdExchanger.com is a technical resource that you should review daily. It provides glimpses into specific ad tech platforms and their place in the marketplace. You’ll find long-form guest posts from industry leaders talking about things like header bidding.
Digiday.com is more about general digital advertising.
You should definitely keep Happens in AdOps handy. Even though this Tumblr is filled with memes, you’ll see a TON of jargon. These terms are the perfect Googling material for you to learn more about specific aspects of the ad tech world. If you’re a client, you might also learn what things drive your agency reps mad!
Who You Should Follow on Social
There are several people who are so good at PPC that you can’t afford not to follow them. A few of our favorites include:
Eric Franchi, Co-Founder of Undertone
His weekly ad tech newsletter, The IO (formerly the Ad Tech Newsletter), aggregates 10-15 articles a week with his personal blurbs on the impact that each trend or piece of news has on the industry. He’s been pushing these out consistently for over a year now, and there is no sign that he is stopping soon.
If you can’t get enough of the newsletter, follow him on Twitter @ericfranchi for daily 140-character responses to things going on in the industry.
Bonus Bonus Points
Follow him on Snapchat at @ericfranchi for day-in-the-life type experiences, all the way through to his mad grilling skills.
David Berkowitz, Founder of Serial Marketer
No, he is not The Son of Sam. However, he is a serial marketer who has played several big agency roles including his last, CMO at MRY.
He frequently contributes to Ad Age and has been known to make appearances on several other large digital publications. Mixed in with a lot of his personal interests, you’ll get a daily dose of ad tech. He’s also a frequent contributor on the conference circuit. Find him on Twitter @dberkowitz.
• • •
So there you have it: our full, three-part series on how to be a PPC expert. If you missed them, you can check out Part 1 and Part 2 here.
Becoming a paid media expert takes a lot of time and effort. We should know; as a Premier Google Partner, we have to adhere to high standards and stay ahead of the PPC curve. If your online advertising campaigns could use some work, feel free to contact us for help.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
[vc_row][vc_column column_width_percent=”80″ overlay_alpha=”50″ gutter_size=”3″ medium_width=”0″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″][vc_column_text]Once you have analytics and conversion tracking set up, as covered in our previous PPC School post, you can start running some ads. There are many different types of ads you can run, on many different ad networks. So, for part 2 of PPC School, it’s time to educate yourself on how to use the different ad platforms available.
PPC 201: Working With Ad Platforms (e.g. Pulling The Levers)
It makes sense to start the education process by looking at the ad platforms that are generating the most revenue (where most businesses are investing). However, you also want to consider which platforms have the best growth rate, since that may mean that businesses are finding success there and increasing their spend accordingly.
The biggest platform and the one you should focus on first is Google AdWords. To become certified in Google AdWords, you need to pass the AdWords Fundamentals certification exam, plus one of the following:
Each certification has a study guide to help gain the required knowledge to pass the exam.
It’s important to learn each area in order to develop an understanding of the entire paid digital eco-system. Different clients or projects, each course will provide more or less help in the actual execution.
We recommend starting with Search Advertising and then building on to that with each additional certification. What you don’t use for one client or project, you may find useful for the next.
If you are working with e-commerce or mobile apps , then we recommend taking the separate Google courses focusing on these specific areas.
• • •
While display ads often get short shrift, there is still ample reason to use them, especially for brand awareness. We have also seen Google Adwords start to innovate their platform, and DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), to be focused on direct-response ads. Sheerly because it is a Google platform, we think DBM Certification is something that every paid media manager should explore.
If you really want to get into Paid Search or extend your potential investment/reach, then you should get certified in Bing Ads. Bing now accounts for 21% of searches.
We recommend starting with Search Advertising and then building on to that with each additional certification.
Bing is very similar to Google AdWords and makes it easy to import campaigns over. However, there are slight differences, which is why the certification is important.
One of the ways to push the limits of paid search to the highest efficiency levels is to learn about Alpha Beta campaign structure.
Facebook has quickly become the number two ad platform (and by Facebook we mean the whole company, which includes Instagram). The Facebook ads platform has changed over the years, with Facebook Business Manager now being the foundation.
While Facebook does not have any certification programs currently, Facebook has rolled out Blueprint, a catalog of courses. The courses provide introductions to the various parts of running Facebook and Instagram ads, from setup to reporting. In addition, Blueprint provides best practice courses and webinars to further build your knowledge on this platform.
Twitter actually provides a certification program called Flight School for various “flight paths” depending on how you want to use Twitter. This provides a great overview of the ways Twitter can help achieve your business objectives and expands your knowledge of what is possible with Twitter.
• • •
While remarketing (or retargeting) is not a separate ad platform, it is very important to utilize in building campaigns. The best course for getting started with remarketing is the Google Best Practices video series that walks through the setup and optimization of remarketing.
WordStream’s PPC University provides a great overview of the PPC world with their structured course levels of PPC 101, PPC 102, Advanced PPC, Social Ads 101, Webinars and White Papers. While there is no certification, this offers a non-biased (towards one platform) view of the PPC world.
Once you have all of that down, you’ll know everything you need to know! Right? Well, sort of. There is still much more you can learn if you want to become a true expert. And the industry is constantly changing, so even if you know everything now, you’ll soon fall behind if you don’t keep learning. That’s why we’re going to have a Part 3: Advanced Digital Media. Stay tuned.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]