MOZCON LOCAL 2016 – THE 8-BIT GRAPHIC OF THE LOCAL SEO INDUSTRY

This year’s joint efforts of Moz and Local U resulted into a fascinating new edition of the MozCon Local series. This highly regarded local marketing conference gathered a star team of speakers, who discussed intricate topics, ranging from local content creation, local link building, business citation management, email and app hacks, brand building, team management, social media strategizing and … well, let’s see from up-close, shall we?

The following infographic of the MozCon Local 2016 features the best slide deck quotes from the event. We have divided the valuable speakers’ tips into 5 main categories: Mobile SEO, Online Mentions, Content, Technical and Brand Building. Enjoy!

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For the more curious of you below we have summarized the major concepts and tips offered by the speakers in their MozCon Local slide decks. So if you haven’t been to the conference and you don’t have time to go over each presentation slide-by-slide, let us brief you on the essentials of the event:

MARY BOWLING: FEEDING THE BEAST: LOCAL CONTENT FOR RANKBRAIN

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In October last year RankBrain, the AI Google incorporated in their ranking algorithm, was announced as “the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query.” Therefore, many of the content creation SEO techniques were revised as to comply with RankBrain’s rising demands.

Figuring out what an AI ‘wants’ is a challenging task, but Mary helps local business owners understand the key concept of writing in a ‘RankBrain Age’: “Stop the cheap and easy insanity!”

Mary quotes industry experts and Googlers to convey the simple truth: online marketers should focus on the user when writing content. They should keep in mind topical context instead of targeting separate keywords and offer “interesting & useful, expert, high quality” content.

According to Mary online visibility and user attraction should go hand-in-hand. Once a business achieves higher rankings in the search engines it should be able to convert the online users, i.e. attract them to leave the SERPs and engage with the company (by calling, stepping over to their office or visiting their official website). Well-taken care of rich snippets resulting in info-rich Knowledge Panel, business rating stars and reviews in SERPs are important aspects to consider.

Creating content for location pages has always been a challenge for business owners. Mary advises to furnish such pages with a FAQ section, testimonials, pricing info, calls to action, real photos, case studies, and of course: ‘people content’.

MIKE RAMSEY: LOCAL LINKS: TESTS, TOOLS, AND TACTICS

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Going over this year’s Mike Ramsey MOZCon slide deck is a real treat. He focuses on a topic many white-hat SEOs have been shying away from recently, namely Link Building. And regardless of the recent snowballing Google Penalty actions for “unnatural inbound links”, it would be naïve to ignore the evergreen importance of the regular inflow of relevant backlinks to a business website and its indisputable impact on company’s local rankings in the search engines.

“We’ve gotten lazy and scared of link building and penguins,” admits Mike Ramsey to the audience and goes down the rabbit hole of “natural link earning.”

The science of attracting local links for big well-recognized brands, according to Mike, is pretty straightforward: requesting link attribution (with finesse, of course) for already existing online mentions will do. The logic is simple: “People love big brands and do things for you.”

However, the small companies should get a bit more creative and delve into some competitor intelligence and invest in the good old/new quality content creation in terms of regular guest posting. Creating, donating or buying a closed local website is also an interesting link building insight of Mike’s, which, however, requires a long-term engagement and investment of valuable resources, so it might not be every SMB owner’s cup of tea.

Mike’s MozCon presentation is a genuine appeal to the Local community to recall and reinstate the power of inbound links.

As a small compliment Mike has incorporated a basic guide towards searching for link opportunities in Google by using special search operators like inurl; intext; and so on.

It seems as if the 79 slides turned out to be rather insufficient for Mike’s Link building “crash-course” to develop its full potential and worth. Thus his full pack of link building strategies for the local business has found a cozy home at Nifty’s official blog here. You can narrow down the alternatives by filtering them by turnaround time, budget estimate and value added for pursuing a specific link opportunity.

DARREN SHAW: CITATION INVESTIGATION!

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Darren’s presentation reveals an interesting study on how effectively data aggregators automatically distribute the NAP information of a new local business online. The results are then compared to the manual citation submission. But before we jump to the final conclusions let’s delve a bit deeper into the specifics of the experiment.

In order to test 7 citation distribution providers (Infogroup, Neurostar/Localese, Acxiom, Factual, MozLocal, Yext and WhiteSpark), Darren ‘creates’ 7 companies, all within the same vertical market and registered in same city centroid. The test was launched in early October, 2015 with business website development and citation submission to the respective citation distribution providers.

Among the key takeaways are:

 

  • “Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual take longer than 4 months to distribute”
  • “Building citations manually is more effective and half the cost of the 1st year of yext”
  • “Yellowpages.com is one of the first citations to appear in LCF and one of the first URLs to appear in Search Console”
  • “No Google listings have appeared for any of the businesses in the study.”

LINDSAY WASSELL: TECHNICAL SITE AUDITS FOR LOCAL SEO

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Lindsay outlines the 5 key steps of conducting a technical site audit for a local SEO project (NAP identification, keyword research, landing page, site-wide factors and benchmarking). And while those are hardly news for the Local SEO-savvy business owners, her final 3 tips are really worth keeping in mind:

 

  • Track Keywords;
  • Monitor Citation Distribution & Correctness;
  • Document the SERPs.

JUSTINE JORDAN: OPTIMIZING AND HACKING EMAIL FOR MOBILE

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Justine’s slide deck is a real gem for it points out some common mistakes businesses make when drafting their email marketing strategy for mobile. She highlights that broken and frustrating hard to read emails are really damaging for a given brand’s online reputation.

Many marketers obsess over the email message itself and overlook another fundamental step of the email marketing process. A step that actually plays a huge role in motivating the potential customer to actually open and skim through the email and consists of choosing the most appropriate sender’s name, subject line and preview text for the given email.

As it comes to the email message Justine advises to:

 

  • stick to big buttons and avoid having pictures for buttons;
  • “Save image at 2x intended display size and resize it with HTML.”

EMILY GROSSMAN: UNDERSTANDING APP-WEB CONVERGENCE AND THE IMPENDING APP TSUNAMI

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What Emily’s presentation says loud and clear is that “apps are NEW and TOUGHER competition for local SEOs”. She convinces the audience that app optimization takes businesses one step closer to the so longed for ranking boosts. For instance, optimizing a Google local listing for Google Now and mobile searches could really move the needle in search engine rankings.

And in times when Google is beta testing app streaming in their SERPs it is crucial to take Emily’s tips seriously.

ROBI GANGULY: BUILDING CUSTOMER LOVE AND LOYALTY IN A MOBILE WORLD

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Another brilliant talk preaching the importance of mobile in the today’s digital marketing world. One of the most motivational quotes from Robi’s slide deck is: “Mobile is EVERYWHERE, but it’s still impersonal. Local search helps make mobile personal…”.

Robi explains that businesses should focus on monitoring customer’s journey because rarely disappointed users communicate their frustration. He shares interesting statistics to convince the audience of his argument: “96% of unhappy customers never complain. 91% of whom will simply leave and never come back.” Thus he strongly recommends surveying customers and learning about the quality of their experience.

As Robi clearly states: “customer trust and loyalty isn’t given. It’s earned” by:

 

  • Learning your customers’ mobile journey;
  • Being proactive;
  • Leveraging local search tactics;
  • Humanizing your experience.

PAULA KELLER: FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT: BRAND BUILDING FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES

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Even if brand building is a painstaking process, it offers high long-term returns. Paula skillfully explains that having a successful content strategy is essential for building online brand authority. However, a key concept to remember is that a business needs a working owned media plan and an engaging valuable on-site content in order to invest and observe high returns on paid and earned media.

To add to the magic recipe for success, according to Paula, one should also pay attention to reviews and social media. Encouraging user-generated content is another strategy to consider towards building a positive brand image.

DANA DITOMASO: YOUR MARKETING TEAM IS LARGER THAN YOU THINK

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One of the most fascinating graphic-wise presentations at this year’s MOZCon is without a doubt Dana’s slide deck. With ease and simplicity, she reveals the secret towards successfully building a brand: by focusing on consistency.

As Dana points out “You build the brand. The customer responds to your cues.” In order to achieve that a business should ensure a fast two-way communication.

CORI SHIRK: MO’ LISTINGS, MO’ PROBLEMS: MANAGING ENTERPRISE-LEVEL LOCAL SEARCH

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The three key phrases of Cori’s slide deck are: Content, Branding and UX. And while she advises to monitor citations consistency because “data discrepancies get worse over time,” she also accents on the importance of making your brand visible where you target audiences actually searches for it:

 

  • “Make sure our client’s brand shows up where people expect to find it.”
  • “Educate and set expectations early.”

RAND FISHKIN: ANALYTICS FOR LOCAL MARKETERS: THE BIG PICTURE AND THE RIGHT

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As engaging as ever Rand’s slide deck is the perfect culmination of the MozCon Local 2016. His talk on how to properly analyze local marketing projects is based on the following three milestones: reporting, diagnosing and generating targets.

As the third milestone is actually the challenging one, Rand highlights the importance of measuring the actual inputs in order to correctly measure the final results of a given campaign. As a result, one could “Double Down on Work that Improves the Metrics (one) Care(s) About Most”.

That will be a fine final tip to add to our event recap. MOZCon Local is a conference worth attending, but in case you’ve missed it, we hope that our event summary has helped you feel less miserable and more educated of the latest Local SEO trends.

Feel free to share your thoughts and observations on the tips offered by the experts above, we’d love to hear your feedback

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