Well MozCon 2011 in Seattle, WA was excellent! The new knowledge was plentiful, the planning was primo, and the food was incredible – tons of vegetarian options and lots of snack times! Frequent breaks were necessary to refresh our brains every few hours so we could cram more giant piles of information in. Aside from a major wireless internet issue that persisted throughout the duration of the conference, I think MozCon 2011 was a huge success.
Before I left I posted a list of my most anticipated Mozcon 2011 sessions, and now it’s (past) time for a recap of my favorites. I was pleasantly surprised by some and less impressed by others, as to be expected at any conference and depending on what information you’re hoping to gain. Just goes to show - don't judge a conference by the session titles. In the end, the conference was really impressive and I feel so fortunate to have attended, thanks to PlattForm Advertising. Let me preface this by saying these are my top five favorite MozCon 2011 sessions, which means they best applied to my specialty areas and current projects, but a great deal more were excellent, informational presentations that were absolutely worth seeing for people in a number of disciplines. For all the goodies, check out the SEOmoz official website.
Top 5 Favorite MozCon 2011 Sessions
It was a tough call because there truly were so many valuable sessions to glean useful SEO, social media and other internet marketing tips from. But when it came time to knock out a top 5 list, these sessions made the cut.
- “Conversion Rate Optimization: Developing a Process to Increase Market Share” – Stephen Pavlovich. Perhaps I loved this one most because it is my area of specialty and I’m inherently interested in all things conversion rate optimization. But I especially loved what Pavlovich had to say about testing ways to improve conversion rate on your site. Small tweaks and changes aren’t going to magically revolutionize your conversion rate. You need to examine all stages of the conversion funnel, find where and why people aren’t converting, and fix it. Sometimes I get in a rut about what to do next to keep growing conversion rate on my sites. Pavlovich’s presentation helped re-frame the problem and put it all in perspective again. I’m chomping at the bit to get busy implementing ideas that sprouted during this presentation.
- “Measure the Right Things and Achieve Magical, Analytics Awesomeness” - Avinash Kaushik. I’m a bit of a data fan-girl for Kaushik. I should’ve brought my copies of his Analytics books for an autograph to really up the level of pathetic. Aside from being an outstanding presenter and speaker, Kaushik an incredibly smart individual with serious SEO community street cred. While his presentation didn’t stray far from his usual topics of “measure the right things,” he always delivers such a clear, actionable education on improving your site as a whole, throughout the conversion process. Kaushik’s main point was that in order to make more money on your site, you need to “know what you’re solving for.” What are your business objectives, goals, key performance indicators, targets and segments?
- “Maximizing Power of Retargeting” - Joanna Lord. This is something I have not really dabbled in as it focused almost entirely on paid search, however it is something I want to investigate further and find ways to apply to the sites I work on for sure. The main takeaway I got from it was – don’t give up on people who didn’t convert right away. Instead, pursue them and nurture them through to conversion. More than 95 percent of visitors do not complete transactions on their first visit to a website, but through a number of retargeting tactics, you may be able to re-capture those individuals’ attention and nudge them through the conversion process.
- “Automating & Scaling Keyword Research” - Richard Baxter. This presentation was like the geek mecca of the conference. Many jaws were dropping and applause broke out as Baxter whizzed through spreadsheets and macros to demonstrate how we can do valuable, actionable keyword research on a grand scale. He showed us how we can still preserve that authenticity and manual touch that is necessary for expert-level SEO services, but get a whole lot of data an analyzed a whole lot faster. I loved how he broke down long-tail keywords into actionable parts, and encouraged us to “mix and match” them (more or less) to get whole new insights.
- “Give It Up” – All Presenters. All the presenters that were still in the house at the end of the session created a panel on the stage to give one last piece of sage advice. I won’t go into the tips they gave here (you should go and see for yourself next year) but suffice it to say that most of them were top notch, edgy ideas that should definitely be tried and tested. And to think, I thought this was just an applausey wrap-up farewell and almost rushed out the door. Definitely stick around to catch this if you’re fortunate enough to attend MozCon 2012.
3 Honorable Mention MozCon 2011 Sessions
A few honorable mentions for being great presenters who gave me really excellent ideas or corroborated things I‘m already doing.
- Wil Reynolds "How to Earn Links the Lazy Link Builders Way" – Excellent ideas on how to get high value, relevant links in creative, white hat ways without going to the dark side.
- Hannah Smith "International SE: Analyzing What Makes a Site Rank in One Country vs. Another" – Made me think about more than just territorial boundaries when building sites for other countries – and languages.
- David Mihm “Turning Google Places Pain Into Gain” – Sometimes Google’s ever-changing emphasis on Local can be confusing and downright maddening. It was just nice to see that the large non-local sites can stand a chance too.