MozCon 2022 Recap #2:
Put the User First & Success Will Follow
MozCon’s speakers continued the momentum of the first day, giving its in-person and virtual audiences lots of ideas to stew on and action items to implement. We’ve gathered more breakout themes from day two speakers below:
- Forget Quantity. Focus on Quality and User Intent.
- Create a Culture of Testing
- How to Measure Success in SEO
Forget Quantity. Focus on Quality and Intent.
“Have the best page, not just the most content.” Amanda Jordan’s slide summed up a significant theme to day two: quality is more important than quantity.
This is true in our keyword research, when Tom Capper told us “Don’t waste your time gathering thousands of keywords with the same intent.” It’s true on our local landing pages, when Amanda Jordan told us that “user experience is more important than content.”
And, overwhelmingly, it applies to technical SEO, as Aleyda Solis pointed out with her talk on “e-commerce SEO horror stories”.
With one common horror story, webmasters add content at the bottom of product category pages to increase rankings, “but too often this content isn’t useful and doesn’t connect with user intent,” which results in confusing Googlebot and giving readers useless text. Instead, Aleyda tells us, “show more products and write longer descriptions.”
“No one is filling out this long form,” Tina Fleming bluntly stated. We laughed in the audience, because this should’ve been obvious. That form looked painful.
But, what do you do when you need information to understand the lead? Shouldn’t they provide it in the form they fill out? Get that information elsewhere, Tina tells us. “Don’t ask the user anything that can be automatically pulled.” Have the user fill in their work email, use other data sources to gather additional information, and save the form options for users to tell you about their pain points instead.
“1 in 8 people in America has a disability,” Miracle Inameti-Archibong informs us. And when we don’t make our websites accessible to everyone, we are “stopping [people] from becoming independent members of society.”
This information arms us with a responsibility. Sure, accessibility is good for SEO. And yes, accessibility is a legal requirement, as Miracle informs us, given the 10 lawsuits filed per day. But considering that we all use the internet to manage personal finance, monitor our health, work, learn, date, shop – when we make these features available to everyone, we’re enabling them to live independent lives with dignity.
As Miracle says, “We have a duty to promote not just inclusivity for all races, but also inclusivity for all abilities by eliminating unnecessary barriers.”
Create a Culture of Testing
As Will Critchlow said on day one when citing a recent study by Bing, “Website experiments tend to bring rare but large wins.” In other words, frequent tests can result in big wins over time.
But how do we encourage our teams to test more? And how can we use tests to get buy-in for our ideas? MozCon’s day two speakers answered these questions for us.
In his talk entitled, “How True Leaders Transform a Marketing Department into a Dream Team,” Paxton Gray outlined how removing barriers to risk-taking allows team members to test creatively. It’s rare for leaders to trust their team to conduct risky tests, but when they do, the outcomes can be significant.
And not only can they result in significant outcomes, but testing can help you get buy-in for your paths forward.
In her experience with SEO in the enterprise, Jackie Chu encourages us to propose our ideas as tests, because “testing is language that resonates with engineers.” When we propose our ideas as tests, they require fewer resources than a site-wide rollout and include low-risk accountability.
How to Measure Success in SEO
Traditionally, SEOs measure success using metrics like traffic, pageviews, links, domain authority, and clicks. But MozCon’s day two speakers challenged us to think differently about measuring success.
In her talk entitled, “More Than Pageviews: Evaluating Content Success & Correcting Content Failure,” Dana DiTomaso told us how relying on pageviews can give us a false sense of whether users are finding what they’re looking for when they land on our pages.
Dana points out that pageviews are not the goal. Instead, she asks, “Did someone actually read what you had to say?” and “Could the visitor actually do the thing you wanted them to do?”
At MozCon and in Kickpoint’s recent blog post on measuring content consumption, Dana showed us how to set up Google Tag Manager tracking to measure the things we really want to know, rather than relying on misleading metrics like pageviews.
After a decade in digital PR, Hannah Smith points out a common mistake she’s made when evaluating the success of a PR campaign: attributing the success of a campaign to a pattern she recognizes, rather than thinking critically about the conditions that led to a campaign’s success.
“We’re often quick to accept explanations that seem reasonable without questioning how valid those explanations are,” Hannah tells us.
But how do we figure out why a link-building campaign was successful, if we can’t rely on the patterns we recognize? Hannah gives us six questions to ask:
- What stories did journalists write when they covered this piece?
- Did the coverage of this piece feed into something else which was going on in the newscycle?
- Were there waves of coverage that led to the ultimate success of this piece?
- What emotions did this coverage provoke?
- Which verticals (or types of publications) covered this?
- Did this piece get coverage in multiple regions or countries?
To put it even more simply, Hannah encourages us to ask these two questions: “What were the conditions which led to the success of the original piece?” and “What are our chances of replicating those conditions?”
These questions give more credit to the things outside of our control, ridding us of the false notion that if we create the same thing, it will find success again.
While there’s no one silver bullet for improving our website or online presence, following the advice from these speakers will undoubtedly put us on the right track.
More Insights from MozCon 2022
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