The #Mozcon Chronicles – Day 1 Afternoon sessions

The #Mozcon Chronicles – Day 1 Afternoon sessions

26th July 2012

The afternoon sessions of the first day of Mozcon were filled with practical tips, data about the nature of spam and a three great presentations about the importance of creating true relationships, doing marketing real companies do and how really pitching clients with your Content Marketing ideas.

John Henshaw – How Relationships Drive Link Building

The first talking was John Henshaw, and it was about how relationships drive link building.

Any site is like a castle, and Google is a warrior that you see coming, but never getting closer. Until one day it reaches and hits your castle killing anybody inside.

Fact: if you build links the wrong way, Google comes and ruins overnight everything you’ve built in years.

Good link building is hard. Relationships aren’t easier either.

What do most people from want from a relationship? They want to be heard, respected, noticed, and paid attention to.

To know the characteristics of a healthy relationship, we have at first to know what people do not want from it:

  • People don’t want to be sold something;
  • People don’t want to feel like a pawn or an object;
  • People don’t want to talk about links.

How do I build a relation and target someone without making him feel being a target? Being genuine.

Ok! But what the hell does it translates practically?

Finding the websites you want to target using every possible way, which is relevant to us. And finding who are the responsible and following their trails.

To Google people is very easy and forgotten way to find out who are these people.

But we should also discover who are their followers and friends.

Full Contact is the service John Henshaw suggests to use for making this search and the monitoring part of this job easier. Because you must monitor your targets and interact with them. Nothing new, but so important it must be repeated again and again, because just monitoring and interacting we’ll be visible to them.

Then use spreadsheets or a CRM to maintain everything under control. The Raventools CRM is great for this, but we can try any other tool with similar characteristics.

While doing this remember to take notes about the relation you’re creating.

But develop relationships naturally it’s “participation marketing”, not hard selling, so we must understand it is a long term tactic.

And, please don’t overwhelm your targets, stay on topic, which is not necessarily your topic, and create a positive experience and be patient.

What’s the outcome of this? Doing real friends and connecting with your friends’ friends.

So we will have social exposure and, the best, natural links and unexpected mentions.

We must be a resource, show appreciation, be a good host, donate to a good cause, help others, collaborate and leading by example and doing link pimp.

And if we are in a secret groups, remember that the first rule of secret groups is that we don’t talk about secret groups.

Pay it forward and think long term. And long term is consistent is how you want to build authority for your site also to Google eyes.

John talked about creating a spreadsheet which led nicely to the next session…

Annie Cushing – Badass Excel Tips and Tricks for Your Data

The next speaker on stage was Annie Cushing of SEER.

Annie did not do a classic speech, but a real life demonstration of how to use Excel and obtaing the best from it with your own data.

I could not really write up this presentation, but all the Excel geekery shared by Annie can be found on this long and “secret” post [PW mozcon].

Matt Peters – Web Spam Research: Good Robots vs Bad Robots

Next on stage was Matt Peters, the SEOmoz scientist, who presented the results of a research about Web spam.

Dowload the Matt’s presentation, which is quite self-explanatory and actually giving significant information about the patterns of spam websites and the methodology followed by SEOmoz in order to present in the next future spam information within its links data both of Mozscape and, probably sooner, of Freshscape.

But we can bring with us these takeaways:

  1. With lots of data, “unnatural” sites/link profiles are moderately easy to detect. You’re at a risk if you’re being obvious;
  2. mozTrust seems higly correlated to the percentage of spam of a site.

Wil Reynolds – Beyond Link Building: Real Companies Do Real Things

The fourth speaker of the afternoon was one of the favorites of the SEO community and mine: Wil Reynolds.

But this time Wil decided to not talk about link juice. Why? Because clients don’t care about link juice, but revenues.

Sometimes we forget that businesses existed before marketing and link juice. So, how did they were selling their products before Google? Let’s say in 1986? They did Real Company Shit (#RCS) not Fake Company Shit.

Before what was marketing. Just think, and then consider if we can make better things than:

  • Buying old domains and 301 them;
  • Or buying text links in footer;
  • Or 10,000 Pinterest accounts;
  • Or 3 way link exchance;
  • Or building private networks.

Does anything of these tactics add value and take conversions? Nope.

#RCS is tough.

True story from SEER: a client in the construction business. Idea: to target mommy blogs. Really? Maybe some links can be build. But maybe is better  to focus on the client mission: “Our company wants to inspire the next generation of engineers”. This is easier, this can get us the budget we want.

Let’s do a search for polo shirts. All the big brands ranking do things like charity. They do real company shit, no dofollow links buying per kilos.

Another example. Fashion space. Do image reverse search and check who is “stealing” the images of your client catalogue. Don’t simply ask for attribution links, but create an event which mix social and link building with those sites, engage them becoming your link builders.

Oh… but Google’s favoring brands… don’t cry about that. Actually, you should say that finally Google is rewarding Branding.

Now is the time to do real entertaining SEO.

Now you cannot do SEO with no followers, no fans, no content, no anything.

Cleaning up low quality links? Why not instead developing a clean up your crappy business tool.

Today’s SEO wants Clients who:

  • Engage;
  • Rabid Fans;
  • Stand for something;
  • Share their expertise;
  • Share data.

… because transparency attracts links and building followers is the new link building.

What writer, bloggers et al are following you? Check them out on Followerwonk.

No followers. Do the same search on a competitor profile!

Client challenge you with this sad reality: no new stuff for links. Then we must find new ways to use old content to create link building occasion. For instance Image search of logo + sponsorships, or doing a search like: [company name] + event.

Company have already done #RCS in the past? Do a 30 seconds test.

Check its site with OSE and go straight to the last page of the Top Pages tab and check the links. You will understand if their links are good or shitty. Ask yourself: “How quick is my “fall off”?” and “How well is my blankett in the industry?”

#RCS gets copied? Set up Google alerts after every major content push and then act for attribution links.

And, please, learn to use Google suggests for ideas! But also do the same in Quora. They are telling you what your content should be about.

Revenue matters. How much traffic, newsletter, signups are you getting… check what Jason Acidre can say about it.

Giving away product made client $3,900 revenue. Oh and their rankings get better.

Another idea for finding content to create: search “something” vs. “something else”.

Do you have the content and are you in B2B? CRM is even easier! Because, honestly, you don’t need huge budgets to create the content people search for if you have done your homework before?

Because, you know what? Search Strategy should drive Content Strategy.

View Wil’s presentation below:

Mike King – Social Tools & Data Mining: Making a Case for Content Strategy

Wil Reynolds was a storm of ideas, and pumped the attendees… an excited mood, which grew even more when Mike King jumped on stage rapping about SEO and Web Marketing.

Perfecting pitches was the topic of Mike presentation and it was all about the concept of Content Marketing.

Because Content marketing is a great idea. But it’s not as easy as we make it sounds.

Too many stakeholders to explain it to and they will think it’s too much work to do.

You need a data compelling pitch. You need to tell a story.

Content is the glue of inbound marketing, you must take a stand.

Act one: research. Doing research that sticks.

The Content marketing process is this:

  1. Opportunity discovery
  2. topic assignment
  3. content development
  4. quality assurance
  5. placement
  6. content launch
  7. measurement.

And opportunity discovery consists in:

Business Goals > Measurement Planning > Competitive Analysis > KW Research > Asset Inventory > Audience Research > Market Research.

But the business’ goals are paramount.

Market research. Every content creator and SEO should have at least a working knowledge of the space, the company and the audience. At Iacquire they’ve invested heavily on this.

Create personas based on demographics, lifestyles…

Be aware that exist also Quasi-Ad Hoc Personas. Their problem is that these kind of personas are not empirical.

A major virtue of personas is the establishment of empathy and understanding the individual who uses the products.

But what is the iAcquire process for discovering personas?

Nielsen > Experian > Social Inventories (FB LinkedIn…)

  • Nielsen’s PRIZM segments all of the US in 66 personas. And you can segment these personas also with zip codes for personas geolocalization.
  • Experian Simmons offers even more data and segmentation opportunities (i.e.: Mosaic segmentations).
  • Google Consumer Survey, almost similar to Nielsen, but it offers the opportunity to create your own survey, specify audience.
  • Yahoo! Clues, lovely because it gives the demographics for keywords.

When planning out a content marketing campaign use the consumer decision journey to determine what need state your content will specifically speak to. As usual finding the right keywords is important. Mapping them to content, need states and kpis.

Map the content type directly to the customer decision journey to determine where in the funnel that content will reach the user.

You will need determine realistic and specific KPIs with regards to where the content is in the funnel and develop reporting that will convince your clients.

But what are the competitors doing?

  • Facebook Recommendations plugin demo. Use it.
  • Social Crawlytics gives awesome graphs of shars onf facebook and social… and by urls.

Don’t go showing all that data just yet.

Act 2: Getting buy-in. Build a list of people that want the content.

What the big idea is? It should thematically govern the content strategy and keep content from being an isolated incident.

Study or rediscover the 7 story archetypes:

  1. Over coming the monster;
  2. Voyage and return;
  3. Tragedy;
  4. Rebirth;
  5. Comedy;
  6. Rags to riches.
Because Content Marketing is Storytelling. And content is not a one-way street, but a cyclical event.

Then call your shot.

  • Authora. Which is an author search based on author graph. You search for keywords and you receive authors and content as results.
  • But use also Topsy to find interested parties.
  • Then Followerwonk,,, findpeopleonplus…

Share rate and Scrape Rate. Determine how far your content will go fro a given author by computing the scrape rate and share rate.

Broken Link Index… amazing idea of an index of not existing content site still link still!.

Content as a maximum viable product. Pitch content that supports multiple KPIs and needs. Recyclable content.

Pitching. The focus is the story. And tie everything directly to the ROI. Then tailor it directly to the stakeholders… speak their language.

And be sure to be beautiful.

Act Four: Validate.

Share of voice. It’s equal to site traffic of keyword / search volume from position one for keyword * 100%

Keyword-level demographics: FB:Admin + Search referrers = Keyword level demographics.

Best practices:

  1. Incentivize the opt-in;
  2. Just track the persona;
  3. Use the appID Cross property;
  4. Cookie and Remarket.

Map site profiles for conversions. They can give you demographics., which means offering survey your users for free on your site.

Act Five. Overcoming Failure.

Content pitches that failed and how to overcome them.

Fail 1: Weak presentation. Be personally engaged when pitching.

Solution: present a deck in-person.

Fail 2: Leaving out key stakeholders.

Solution: invite them all.

Fail 3: Not showing the value.

Solution Better measurement plans.

Fail 4 : Relyinf on too much data.

Sol: Let the story do the work.

And with that last phrase Mike King ended, and so the first day of Mozcon.

Mozcon 2012 Roundup Posts


Written By
Gianluca Fiorelli is an SEO and Web Marketing Strategist, who operates in the Italian, Spanish and English speaking countries market. He also works regularly as independent consultant with bigger international SEO agencies.
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