What I Learned at MozCon: Going the Extra Mile Is Your Greatest SEO Advantage

I recently had the opportunity to attend MozCon, an annual SEO conference held by one of the industry’s top software suites. There were 3 full days of incredible lectures, running the gamut from local SEO to enterprise SEO, e-commerce, SERP features, visual search, competitor analysis, keyword research, link building, digital PR, website accessibility, and more. But there was a common thread that I noticed among many of these presentations.

Quick wins still have their place. But the best way to secure an advantage with your SEO is to invest in strategies that require more time, effort, or resources—because chances are that these are the opportunities that your competition may be overlooking.

SEO Is Becoming More Holistic and Far-Reaching

Isn’t it every SEO’s dream to rank #1 for their most important keywords? What if I told you that ranking #1 isn’t always enough any more?

Depending on which SERP features are present for a search term, the #1 organic ranking could appear below the fold. While many of us may have more experience and expertise in gaining #1 rankings, those who continually learn how to appear in Google’s variety of new and ever-changing SERP features will see the best results.

This means that SEO must increasingly take into consideration:

  • Video
  • Images
  • Directories
  • Big blogs and media sites
  • Professional associations
  • User-generated content sites

SEO Is Becoming More Personalized

Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all SEO strategy. This means doing more competitive research, testing, audits, and looking at actual SERPs to find the best opportunities for your business.

After all, your search rankings and visibility are dependent on what is actually appearing in the SERPs and how you can provide more value than those competitors. No one can do everything, but you can prioritize keeping up with and surpassing your competitors. As one presenter at MozCon put it, “If it doesn’t scale but is good for your SEO, your competitors probably aren’t doing it.”

Not only should your strategy be personalized, but also your content—especially in providing unique information on your location pages and incorporating your actual expertise in your content. For example, take the time to actually update content with expert insights, firsthand observations from the field, analysis, and original data instead of just adding a new date, mini-summary, or line about how the piece was reviewed by an expert. And rather than saying the same information in different words on each of your location pages, provide different information about each location, such as your unique offerings by location, information about the local area, staff bios, or location-specific FAQs.

SEO Strategies Should Allow for Failure

As much as we’d all like to be right 100% of the time, not everything you try is going to work. By testing different hypotheses, you can gain important information from your failures as well as your successes.

Even if a strategy succeeds, what caused the success? Was it the work you did, or were there any outside factors that played a part?

One of the areas where this is most apparent is digital PR. As one of MozCon’s presenters reported, less than 10% of digital PR pieces achieve wild success, and you will always have some pieces that yield no results. That’s why it is critical to continually work on link building, measure success for holistic rather than individual efforts, and learn from what has worked, what hasn’t, and why.

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