MozCon 2017 review – Marketing (and Snacks)

What is MozCon? A three-day conference with 27 lectures covering digital marketing from multiple angles. More here.

I could just upload all my unfiltered notes but I will spare you that. Instead, here are four themes that resonated with me and will influence my work going forward:

The changing nature of search:



– Voice search is growing exponentially. No URLs are needed for that. What do marketers need to know about this development? Watch this space.

– The popularity of chat bots is also rising. They aren’t as hard to set up as you might think. In fact, they are a cost effective way for small business to handle basic enquiries.

– Google creating content. It’s getting harder to benefit from Google rich snippets, especially when things are becoming a winner-takes-all proposition. i.e. You don’t hear the second result on Google home / have two answers from a bot.

– There’s no value to a rich featured snippet if users don’t click through. Only optimise for complex queries that will need additional, follow-on advice. (Don’t donate content to Google!)

Be a problem solver:


Better to be thanked then ranked. Google is catching up on how to rank the best content. It’s becoming all about user experience, measured by meaningful engagement with your content. When Google unleashes machine learning on your content, you better be ready.

– Related: Act now or be ready to cry: don’t be over reliant on any one marketing tactic, it’s far too risky (assume your favourite tactic might plateau tomorrow: what would you do?)

– Build a brand known for expertise. One way to stay ahead of search engine tweaks is to build a brand so that users search for your content specifically. Hard, but something to aim for: it’s easier to win branded search but requires long term, sustained commitment.

This is hard work: empowered teams need to be comfortable with complex, iterative systems:


– Understand where tactics fit with strategy. Don’t just flip the switch and pursue all-the-things. You spread yourself too thin and your content will be lightweight – i.e. won’t be solving problems comprehensively enough. (Again, no prizes AT ALL for second place). So, balance risk of limited tactics, versus diluting your efforts. A key problem to consider.

– Build communities around solving the challenges you care about. Put yourself in service of your customers and their problems; your dedication means you can facilitate the growth of a community. This can be great for you and your customers: win-win.

Keep learning or be left behind:


– You must be a subject matter expert on both your customers’ problems and your solutions to that problem.
Keyword research is still vital: but think long tail.

– What are available solutions and why is yours still best? Answers to these questions must pervade every piece of content you create.

Top tips:


Some actionable things to do:

– Organise outreach to promote your (useful/relevant/timely) content

– Breakup the writing process: drafting / editing / promotion

Use markdown!

– Process planning isn’t a waste of time – do it. Creating repeatable workflows is how you consistently deliver valuable, problem-solving content.

– Schedule time with customers to learn about their problems in insane detail: that’s what personalisation means in practice

Swag review:

– I forgot my sunglasses so MozCon shades were welcome.

– Who doesn’t want a moulded plastic robot? I renamed mine Rupert. He hugs helpful marketers and destroys over-optimisers.

– I bagged a couple of nice t-shirts from JumpFly, GetStat, and MozCon itself. :-)

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