MozCon 2012: My Adventure and My Three Favorite Speakers

Written by Lance Padgett on August 10, 2012

Posted in Webinars + Events

At the end of July, I was blessed to be able to attend MozCon 2012 in Seattle as a representative of Formstack. As someone fairly new to the world of search marketing, I was looking forward to what MozCon had to offer. I’d heard rumors that MozCon was the conference to be at, so I finally got to see for myself.

Expectations

I came into MozCon ready to learn and bring home new tools and ideas that we could implement here at Formstack. This being my first conference, I wasn’t exactly sure how they operated. Part of me expected to be hurled back in time, as if I were once again in a high school lecture. Well, I was wrong. What I didn’t expect was a total MozCon experience!

Experience

The coolness of MozCon blew me away, and I’m not just talking about the sweet SEOmoz swag that attendees were given or the dancing competition during intermission. 90% of the conference was obviously focused on search engine optimization and the role content marketing is now playing, but it didn’t end there. Jenny Lam gave an awesome presentation on design and its importance for customer experience and trust.

The mixture of topics helped keep the holistic approach to marketing at the forefront and reminded me that not every member of your team thinks in the same way. Speakers like Jenny taught me that, at times, it’s just a matter of communication and compromise with your colleagues.

Each speaker was personable and available to chat. In fact, most of them welcomed it. You could tell each speaker was genuinely interested in improving the industry and communicating good practices. In that giant ballroom were some of the most influential people in search marketing, not to mention some of the smartest marketers around. The experience of MozCon 2012 was spectacular, but it’s what I brought home with me that is most valuable.

Takeaways – My Three Favorite Speakers

I took much more away from this conference than I could have imagined. I left feeling more confident in my own abilities and ready to implement the tactics and tricks I picked up. I felt that each and every speaker brought something great to share, but here were three that stood out:

Paddy Morgan – 35 Ways to Get Links

This presentation started off MozCon 2012 with a bang! Paddy dove into 35 ways to build quality links. Paddy brought his creative experience working with many clients from many different industries. As a new SEO, I gained much from Paddy’s presentation. I learned about tools such as Google’s reverse image search, embed codes within embed codes, and the Boomerang email plugin that lets you time your emails and track your conversations. Paddy’s talk molded my mind to think creatively about building links. He shared ways to do real, genuine promotion that will undoubtedly lead to links. Did you ever think about creating a fun Spotify playlist just for your niche or making a product cheaper and cheaper as more people share it? Paddy’s talk helped shake my perception away from the old method of just asking for a link.

Wil Reynolds – Real Companies Do Real Things

Wil Reynolds is an advocate of, as he’s termed it, #RCS. If you’re itching to know what #RCS means exactly, just hop on Twitter and do a quick hashtag search.

Wil wants companies to take their content strategies to a new level. He challenges marketers to do more with less. His creative thinking helped me realize that there are tools and methods already out there that we as marketers are not utilizing. One of the easiest tips Wil reveals is “just don’t hit enter” before Google searches. Google Instant shoves tons of quality information in your face before you even search! It tells you what content is being searched, and you don’t even have to buy it a drink. Real companies create rabid fans by the ways they do business. Wil shared the example of Revzilla.com and their customer service. Revzilla’s fans are so impressed with their customer service that their comments have to be left sarcastically in order to evoke how happy they truly are with the service.

Here is one fan’s comment on RevZilla’s customer service from Wil’s presentation. RevZilla sells motorcycle, dirt bike & ATV riding equipment and apparel.

“And…if you are on the road 800 miles from home for a three day speaking engagement when the forecast suddenly takes an unexpected nasty, cold and wet turn they will have the audacity to overnight a pair of wintertime gloves to your motel. How can they face themselves in the mirror?”

Wil’s emphatic emotion when speaking helped get his crucial points across to the entire crowd. His advice is to start making our work about industry leadership and caring for customers, engagement, and education. If you ever have the chance to listen to this guy speak, do it.

Mike Pantoliano – Attribution Modeling

After Mike’s presentation on attribution modeling through Google Analytics, I came away feeling like a smarter marketer. Mike talked about the importance of discovering your touch points through Google Analytics. Most conversions or sales through a website involve multiple “touches” or types of visits. So for example, a PPC ad might be the initial touch point. Then the user might come back organically through search. And finally, they might actually buy from your website through a direct visit. If you don’t use the full power of attribution modeling in GA, you will be attributing all the credit for this purchase to a direct visit. When in reality, it took PPC, organic, and direct to make the sale.

Mike explained the importance of this information to an online business and the buying cycle of its customers. The more knowledge you have in this arena, the better you will be able to attribute a dollar value to each segment. Mike even went through different attribution methods like the U-Curve, that attributes that gives higher importance to the first and last touch. The Time Decay (cell phone bars) method gives higher importance to the events that occur closer to the sale. The Oprah method spreads even attribution across every touch.

The SEOmoz team did a fab job of putting on an exceptional conference, and the Seattle Westin hotel was a great host. If your occupation is anywhere close to the realm of search marketing, I suggest you buy an early ticket and hop on a 737 to Seattle next July!