The #Mozcon Chronicles – Day 1 Morning Sessions

The #Mozcon Chronicles – Day 1 Morning Sessions

26th July 2012

SEOmoz MozCon is probably one of the most looked for Web Marketing conferences of the year.

Not anymore only focused on SEO, but widening its attention to everything digital marketing: SEO (still a lot, for sure), Social Media, Content Marketing, CRO and Paid Search.

We will try our best to offer to you the most important things shared by the speakers here in Seattle, but if we will miss something, please forgive us because it is true that tons of cool stuff is shared by all of them in light speed talking velocity.

We will present you two daily posts, one about the morning sessions and the second about the afternoon ones.

So… let’s start!

MozCon Intro

Rand Fishkin opened the 2012 edition of Mozcon with a short but dense talk about the State of Our Industry. Here what he said (paraphrased):

SEOs is still a growing industry.

Links still rule the Algo… but for how long?

Google and Bing are keeping SEO as dynamic as ever. The industry is so alive that to say SEO is Dead is simply stupid.

And keep marketing teams biz as nervous as ever… just think to the last Google warning advice emails.

Yet, Google’s transparency is questionable. Even if they talk a lot about it, in their core products they have a long way to go.

For instance data accessibility remains frustrating… not provided for SEOmoz is an huge two digit percentage!

Though they do make some laudable contribution, especially on the political side (i.e.: Sopa, Pipa, homosexual…), and have responded to some of the community’s biggest criticisms, as the one done by Wil Reynolds before this year.

Then, Bing seems to be an underdog to cheer for, but still has ways to go.

Google+ seems to be making headway. And also the other social networks are getting more and more interesting, proving how social is not just Facebook. We have tons of networks to work with: Reddit, Tumblr, Stumble Upon, Pinterest…

We’re living in a multi-channel world. That means that attribution is getting more and more important in order to understand how our marketing is performing, and that’s why Analytics is even more essential now.

But we still have a hard measuring and messaging how the funnel works.

Then, we must admit we are incredibly lucky to be in this industry. Finding talent is actually one of the hardest problems.

That is why Rand Fishkin and Dharmesh Sha are offering a new solution to this problem: Jobs at , a new job board where to post job positions.

Paddy Moogan – 35 Ways to Get Links

Second on stage is our own State of Search blogger Paddy Moogan, who amazed the attendees with 35 link building tips, which I report here below all, apart one he kindly asked me to not cite.

Link building it’s not easy. It’s not build content and you’ll get links; have a blog and links will come.

That’s so for SEOmoz, Mashable, Wired, TechCrunch. People trust them, they are influencers, and have the age, authority, following and connections to get links and social shares just pushing out content. Most of us are not so lucky.

The Rand link building tool is the publish button!

But let’s go back at 2007. For Rand was not so easy: no comments on SEOmoz blog and few thumbs up. Now is doing better today. Why? Because Rand is right about Inbound Marketing (or whatever you wanna call it).

But what Rand, Dharmesh don’t have to do: monthly SEO reports. Paddy (and I) has still to do it!

Inbound Marketing success doesn’t matter when it comes to short-term needs of clients.

We have to differentiate between Strategy and Tactics.

Strategy is important, but you need tactics that will constantly more you closer to the end.

The Paddy Moogan link building tips list:

  1. Bookbait = ego bait in real life – Get 50 contributors to a book, get it printed and mailed them a copy. It worked for a client of Distilled (“I love charts” the book).
  2. Embed code within an embed code… call it Inception tactic. – This will make your embed code bigger, but will improve the chances of getting more links. Use: to do it.
  3. Photos get links. Use Google Alerts and Google Images reverse search and contact websites that use your photos asking for credit. Case Study: Paddy did this for a client, sent 16 email getting 15 links. Remember, photos can offer you the opportunity to obtain links from very authoritative sites.
  4. Competitors doing guest posts. Search for the bylines of your copetitors in Google to find where they guest posts.
  5. Put competitors backlinks into a Custom Search Engine. Search for things like guest post.
  6. Find guest blog opportunities quickly. I.e.:,,;
  7. Offer access to paywall content for links. Take first click free to a new level and do deals with bloggers to give them content free but on a first click free basis.
  8. Find someone’s email easily using Rapportive.
  9. Buzzstream Tips > Use RSS tab to se what your potential contacts have written about recently and mention in your outreach email. Second, measure response rates on email templates.
  10. Make your photos embeddable. Use:
  11. Take bloggers to an event. Needed some budget but is asure fire way to build relationships.
  12. Competitors doing badge bait? Paste the URL of the badge in Google and you’ll find all those using the badge. Contact them;
  13. Bring offline online > Paddy suggests to check this case history about “Offline Facebook” objects – Or create a local blogger list and use offline, amazing for relationship;
  14. Ask bloggers what content they want. Do it before even producing your content, for instance infographics. Then, give them credit for the contribution and ego boosting will work;
  15. Find writers and bloggers on Twitter with;
  16. Use Boomerang for Gmail ( It is an amazing tool for performing a better outreaching – But combine it with canned responses;
  17. Have a client (person) profile page. When senior people at your company are quoted, it is so much easier to ask for a link to their profile page rather than the generic homepage. Setup G Alerts for that person’s name and ask for links if people have quoted them but not linked;
  18. Monitor tweets and look for websites. This work particularly well for inforgraphics, if someone tweedted it and you find have a website, outreach and see if they want to embed it too.
  19. PR Request Twitter Hashtags + IFTT – For instance #prrequest “travel” will listen for tweets that contain this and send an email advising me. – Use
  20. Make up fake products for eCommerce.
  21. Pay your writers to guest posts. It is pretty easy to get a nicely sized pool of outsourced writers, find your best ones and pay them to find places to put their content. It’s paying on commission, not buying links!
  22. Tweet at people at just the right time. How? Check when with – And tweet people only when they are online:
  23. Run or Sponsor a local meetup. Go to and search for “blogger” and you’ll find loads of meetups. Take your products to the meetup.
  24. Blogger competition (with a twist). To enter a competition, bloggers have to write about your site in some way. But make one of the conditions “you should nominate five other blogs to take part”.
  25. Paddy asked to not write about this… and we respect his request.
  26. Second level broken link building. Use Check My Links Chrome plugin. Don’t just advise, run OSE and discover who else is linking to that broken link and outreach.
  27. Create a Spotify playlist for your niche.
  28. Incentivize sharing a page. Paddy talks about the Tweet & Eat case.
  29. Getting your customers to link build. Add an “If you have a website or blog, enter it here” field in your form. Create a database of your customers sites.
  30. Geek Bait. Konami codes to get discounts. Full library at
  31. Monitor HARO tweets for keywords. Use the IFFTT recipe at Paddy prepared a recipes page at
  32. Build a good infographic in an hour witht – and they look quite cool. Use it to create tests to show your boss results of.
  33. Use Amazon Wishlists for bloggers. You’ll be able to get the email addresses if high level bloggers, enter their email here and see if they have a wishlist on Amazion.
  34. Find outreach targets using Amazon. Reviews are links to profile. Some have no website or contact details. But try: “Web Page” “Blog” “Email” and you can get tons of results.
  35. Send some physical goods to your contacts.

We had a short needed coffee break…

Jon Colman – Build the Agile SEO Framework

Returned to the huge meeting room, it was the time of Jonathon Colman, who talked about web agency organization (but also big brands marketing dpt. organization) and presented the model followed by REI, the agency he works for: Agile.

Agile Marketing is a scalable solution to make web marketing more efficient.

There are 4 Agile principles and 13 Agile hacks.

Principle 1: Customers first. That is the most important key in how structuring work and organization.

  • Hack 1: User Stories. As a “customer” I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>. Create personas and remember customers are real people with real values.
  • Hack 2 : User collaboration. For instance with polls and surveys. Passionate customers may help you out.
  • Hack 3 : Lo-Fi prototyping. Why guess? Find out and then adapt, changing on the fly thanks to customers feedback.

A cool tool to use for this kind of tests is balsamiq

Principle 2: Cross-functional teams. Let structure you around the users.

  • Hack 4: Break down silos. Let marketing areas working together. Help direct conversations between teams.
  • Hack 5: Self-Organizing teams. Only the team can design its own destiny.
  • Hack 6: Minimize meetings. How much are your meetings costing you? Find out here and put all that money in users’ research.
  • Hack 7: Work with transparency. Categorize tasks in very easily to understand ways: “Story” “To do” “In Process “To Verify” “Done”.

Principle 3: Be biased toward action.

  • Hack 8: Make your own commitments. Sign up yourself and don’t wait for your boss telling you what to do.
  • Hack 9: Remove impediments. Have a person in the team with that role, to free the rest of it having the freedom to do the job.
  • Hack 10: Maximize the work not done.

Principle 4: “Don’t hate – iterate!”. Build, measure and then learn from your users.

  • Hack 11: Ship early, ship often.
  • Hack 12: Respond to changes.
  • Hack 13: Stop chasing perfection.

If you want to know more about Agile, check the Jonathon Colman presentation slides below:

Jen Lopez – Community as Inbound

Last speaker of the morning was Jen Lopez, the hearth of the SEOmoz community.

Jen presents – again – the Inbound Channels circles. And Social is one these channels. And Content Maketing too. And Blogging. And email. And User Generated Content.

But what is making all these happening? Community. If you’re not thinking, “I’m not doing Community”, that is stupid, because you have to do it.

Links, social shares, on site signals like thumbs up are all “Community signals”.

But also the people participating in your forums, commenting on your blogs…

Ok, what can we actually do? Create a taskforce. Not something that happens overnight? No. It’s the consequence of team efforts.

And it is not easy. But if you make the Community your priority you can succeed and make Inbound Marketing happens.

10 pro tips:

  1. It’s a team sport. Delegate answers when you cannot answer by yourself.
  2. Test, test, test! Jen talks about the testing done by SEOmoz on Facebook with photos (great success of soccer photos of Mozzers, and Promoted and Sponsored stories).
  3. Turn critic into a fans.
  4. Delight them!
  5. Give a Sh**! Because you have to care about your Community members are doing.
  6. Be proactive.
  7. Give them props.
  8. Use Google Plus search.
  9. Everyone helps.
  10. Listen and Act.

Make Community your greatest Inbound asset.

And that’s all folks for the morning.

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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