Recently, we sent a couple of our senior SEO team members to MozCon in Seattle to let them steep themselves in everything SEO. Here’s what they learned, and what you should know too.
“Good marketing makes people make decisions without thinking,” said Dana DiTomaso on day one of the three day conference. And she is right. But, how does a brand get to that holy grail of fluid transaction? Namely, get back to marketing, focus on brand strategy, and really find and hone in on your brand voice. Once you’ve got a grasp of what your brand’s voice and strategy are, it is time to focus on mobile and content.
Read on to learn the biggest themes of the conference and just like the web, everything is connected.
Brand strategy and brand voice go hand in hand. Your brand is your promise. When there is not a unifying theme tying everything together the brand gets fractured, and so does the message. To start, look to your core values. Brand strategy is not only the future of marketing, it is your plan to execute on the core values that guide the brand. Imagine the brand as a person – what are their best and worst traits? Divide your focus into parts: currently the brand is this, in the future it may be this, and it definitely isn’t this. This will help define a clear understanding of what the brand experience and vision are supposed to look like. Make sure that brand experience and vision are clear to everyone involved.
When speaking about branding initiatives, defining the voice and tone of the brand is one of the most important things on the checklist. There is often a disconnect in brand voice because there are multiple touch points across multiple teams so you have multiple articulations (which isn’t good). In a perfect world, you would have a cross-channel copywriter who focused solely on branding. But since the world isn’t quite perfect, focus on creating a clear guide that says write like this and not like that. Explain why and give examples. This will help make your brand voice consistent. Humans like consistency, and good brands take advantage of that.
No one has to tell you that content marketing and strategy are among the fastest-growing fields in digital marketing. But what makes good content? Start by clearly targeting a specific subject. Don’t speak in highly generalized subjects, terms, or “how-to’s”. Create content that is beneficial to the user and not just the brand.
Focus on user intent. Google is incentivized to penalize us… shall we say, questionable content. The harsher their panda and penguin algorithms are, the better it is for them. So don’t give them any reason to punish you. If the content is long, give your user a break with something interactive or visually stimulating. Make something difficult to understand fun to consume by taking a learn-by-doing approach.
Next, think about the distribution plan for your content. Identify all the ways you want your customer to interact with the content, and make sure the piece is optimized for each path. If you really want to leverage your content, build sites in a way that makes it easier for Google to feature your content pieces in search results. But, understand that Google wants you to spend more time on Google, naturally.
In other Google news, Google is no longer strictly a content curator – they are now a content creator. Yep, machines are making content that works.
Last (but certainly not least), there has to be a mobile focus. Google has switched to a “Mobile-First” design strategy and so should you. Also, a little tidbit for you: responsive design is Google’s favorite. So if possible, make your site responsive.
Mobile traffic is still growing and on more devices. We are checking our phones around 150 times a day, and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon… or ever really. With mobile, there is a lesser focus on rankings because there is so much variability. A user could be logged in and showing personal results, they could have their location settings turned off, or have enabled other privacy settings. So focus on user experience.
So those were the key takeaways from this year’s MozCon. More questions? Contact us at [email protected].