The #Mozcon Chronicles – Day 2 Afternoon Sessions

The #Mozcon Chronicles – Day 2 Afternoon Sessions

27th July 2012

After a very intense morning, we returned back in the huge meeting room ready to hear the speakers of the afternoon session of this second day of Mozcon.

This post looks at the experiences shared by four great speakers: Marty Weintraub, Pete Meyers, Jenny Lam and AJ Kohn.

Marty Weintraub – Persona Modeling Unhinged: The Zen of “Whole” Customer

I was very curious to hear Marty Weintraub, who I personally follow on Twitter and I deeply respect for his knowledge about SEM, Advertisement and Retargeting.

As announced in the Mozcon Agenda, his presentation told us how to “explore radical social PPC targeting combos to comprise comprehensive “Persona” modeling concepts. Identify multi-channel market segments demonstrating susceptibility to KPIs. If your audience exists, we’ll teach you to identify, target, and DESTROY it!”.

Interesting, isn’t it? And it was. But the peculiar hyperactive way of speaking of Marty, which was surely entertaining and understandable, made almost impossible to write down a good summary. So, I am asking you to forgive me, I consider that is better for you to download his presentation.

Pete Meyers – A Secret Algo Project Launch

Pete Meyers presentation was surely one of the most anticipated ones. What was this secret algo project? If you follow Dr. Pete on Twitter, you are probably aware that he was talking about something really important and related to Google and Google updates.

Everything started with the Google Algo Change History project, which lead Pete to the conclusion that the gap in knowledge we have about the algorithm is enormous.

What do we know? 20 named updates from 2003 to 2012. Two updates per year? No, we discovered in 2010 that they were 516 changes! And the numbers are even higher.

So what do we know? Very very little.

What Google says.

  • We have clues from patents. But even if we know the patents, we don’t know when they are applicated.
  • We have clues from the official accounts and staff of Google (Matt Cutts, Pierre Far…).
  • Especially from November we started to have the Search Quality Highlights.

In 2012 we had quite a bunch of updates, many minor updates including spell-check et al.

And then we had Panda. 16 updates (3 major, 13 minor) over 17 months. But how minor is minor? Google doesn’t explain it.

Instead, what we observe?

A good resource is the webmaster chatter. But now the chatter is more complicated because of personalization and localization.

What’s normal for Google? Because without knowing what’s normal we cannot understand what’s abnormal for big G.

To answer that question Dr. Pete started the “Project: Algo Alert”.

It is based ober the Top 10 rankings for 1,000 keywords de-localized and sampled across 5 volume “bins” and monitored 24/7.

What are the Algo Alert Finding?

A sunny Day in Googletown has a 3.82 Delta, while a Storm Day 14.31 Delta (that was the Penguin launch day).

Something went wrong with Penguin. How can be there 2 big losers and 8 small winners. Because Penguin caused a massive shift in the SERPs.

And then we had the “Bigfoot” Update. In June 4 something happened. Something that Google never recognized, which effect was a vast domain diversity drop, and multiple domains got 2+ rankings. We had a 2.6% drop in domain diversity.

Big 5 dominate rankings:

  1. Wikipedia,
  2. Amazon,
  3. YouTube,
  4. Facebook
  5. Twitter

These five sites dominate more of the 10% of SERPs.

On June the 9th, Google launched Panda 3.7, which Dr. Pete data shows as it had a multi-day rollout.

Then we had the late-June mystery update, this one – again – not recognized by Google.

But this is just “bounce”? No, the algo is permanently changing,

What’s normal?

Normal is that the 79.7% of the SERPs changes every 24 hours.

What are the busiest days?… On Sunday Google works a lot.

The result of this long research was the creation of a new site, a sort of Google weather cast site: 

Should we chase the algorithm? No. It’s unsafe to rely only on Google.

But maybe we should answer: Yes!, because we have also the obligation to control how Google changes, especially because it literally is the human beings knowledge database.

Download the Dr. Pete presentation here.

Jenny Lam – Leading the way to Great Design

How marketers can be part of making great design. Good news. Design is important, especially for everything related to emotions.


Why it’s an example of great design? Because they started from user experience first.

Do you know? Every dollar spent on design yields 415.15$, while advertising less than 10$.

How do you get people to trust you and your site?

Answers from a Standford study were clear: 47% Design look, then 28.5 Info Design/Structure. All the rest follows.

Bad News. How can we judge objectively if a design is good or bad?

Being great at design takes years of practice. Understanding the principle and practicing, but also be up to date with all the new changes and the news about user experience design too.

And not every business can rely on tens of design roles professionals.

The bad news is that good designers are really hard to find, everywhere. Here in the US, but also in any other country.

Ways to great design

First: Build a Design Culture. Imagine buildings like San Pietro. It is amazing because artists were in charge of it. And it took a century to be finished. What is the take: to help your designer lead.

Pro tip: don’t find a designer that code, but a dev who loves design and put him in the design department.

Try to have an Interaction Designer (HCI trained, Product Definition, User Flows) and a Visual Designer (Graphic Design trained, Sensory-minded, Brand centric).

Hiring a designer:

  • Formal design training;
  • Talks about user, brand and tech;
  • No “delicate flower” syndrome;
  • Portfolio itself is designed well;
  • Shipped something. It can be something crappy, but at least he passed through all the process;
  • Have a Senior Designer review the work.

That means that it is be the time to have a design advisor.

Second: Keep in mind 3 fundamental design principles.

  1. Integrity;
  2. Harmony;
  3. Radiance.

Designing for user is not pandering.

Integrity in personality. Example Mailchimp vs. “Campaigner”.

The first is fun, easy, hardworking and charismatic, while the second is generic and could be any other kind of product site.

Harmony. How all the parts relate to the all. It embraces all the site and the consistency between all the business areas to its persona.

Radiance. The pleasure we Feel when we Experience the design.

Radiance through delight, thanks to the little details.

When one is delighted, they have the perception of working better.

Third: Practice the Art of the Critique.

We don’t really critique anymore. It is not sitting down and saying what’s wrong. Real critique is to present data collected and offer new views and help progressing.


  1. Visual designer is the owner and gets veto power;
  2. Weight down agreed-upon goals and keywords on the whiteboard;
  3. Focus feedback on problems, not solutions;
  4. Don’t try to get to a final solution as a group.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Make design recruiting a priority;
  2. Figure out the right design skills needed for your tea;
  3. Build a design culture;
  4. Integrity, Harmony, Radiance;
  5. Respect, not pander;
  6. Practice the art of Critique.

AJ Kohn – Google+ SEO and Authorship

Do you know? Google+ works. But isn’t G+ a ghost town? Don’t believe everything you read and check this instead: Google+ by the numbers.

Google+ is here to stay. Its secret weapon? Android. Huge market share and slick mobile app.

Why should you care about Google+. Because you must if you care about Search. Yes, Google+ is a lot about Search.

Search+ (SPYW), small but very powerful. Google+ can give you SERPs domination. Get all the positions!

But how many people are really logged in Google+… just check your not provided!

People are using it. And there are proofs.

Google+ Profile tips.

  1. Connect Social Profiles. Because when you do searches they will appear because of this connection via Google profile.
  2. Rel=publisher >
  3. Words matter. Not keyword stuffing, but use the words that matters to be found on search.

Google+ Migration Tips.

Just get them to circle you. How?

  1. Exclusive Content
  2. Hangout (on Air)
  3. You should circle me on Google+ now.

Google+ Sharing Tips

  1. Tame your ego. Curate your niche and promote others.
  2. Reshare. Do unto others…
  3. Go native. Use the micro-blogging platform benefits of G+

Google+ Formatting Tips.

  1. Title your posts. Create your Title tag;
  2. Use keywords;

Google+ Engagement Tips.

  1. Saved Searches. Do searches on your industry, save, rinse and repeat;
  2. Evangelists Circle. Add people who comment, +1 or share your content;
  3. Ripples.
  4. Flag people down;
  5. Red Number Notifier in Chrome. But don’t over use it.
  6. Comment. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

+1 button tips.

  1. The value of the +1 button. Let others do the work for you.
  2. If you share on Google Plus, all the people in the circles will see that share in their SERPs.
  3. Optimize the snippet.

Google+ Social Signals

  • But how much is a +1 worth? Don’t worry about it.
  • Google Plus Activity API. Study it and you’ll see how many things they track.


  • Google Authorship objectives: highlight and rank. Highlighting Authors. It’s a CTR magnet.

Authorship Snippet

  • Goes directly to that page;
  • Goes to your Google+ Profile;
  • Goes to a list of content by author of that query.
  • Google+ is an identity platform. And authorship is the way to verify your identity. The problem is that there are so many choices.

Authorship tips.

  1. Use the rich Snippets Testing Tools;
  2. Do not freak out about warnings!
  3. Use a face as photo;
  4. Author Stats. Under Labs in Google Webmaster Tools

Author Rank

  • It’s about the second objective of Authorship.
  • It is based on the Agent Rank Patent.
  • It is needed to understand the expertise of the people behind the content indexed. AuthorRank complements PageRank.

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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