Jul 2015


Missed Day 1 of Mozcon – Read about it here MozCon Day 1

Day 2 at MozCon 2015

MozCrawl on a Monday night was a bad idea! Woke up with a hangover. But Seattle’s freshly brewed coffee and #MozCon’s Spotify playlist helped! Oh, and I got a MozCon tee! Can’t wait to wear it to work and make my colleagues jealous 😉

Ok, getting back to the notes…I have them right here and it pretty much sums up everything that happened today, thanks to Unbouncers!


Surviving Google: SEO in 2020 – Pete Meyers, @dr_pete


  • Pete’s work: Google Algorithm Change History. Now famous for his Moz testing and SERP tests.
  • SERPs have changed significantly over the years – now there are hardly any organic results above the fold.
  • SERPs now contain Paid shopping, AdWords ads, local listings, enhancements, knowledge graph, verticals, carousels
  • Knowledge Cards (answer box): Answers basic questions. It’s made up of structured data.
  • Human edited knowledge doesn’t scale – That’s why Google is trying to automate its search for info by pulling information from its Index to present us with “Featured Snippets”


  • The system isn’t working well enough…yet




  • There are new types of snippets coming out that combine different data sources…


  • Google also doesn’t know what we’re looking for sometimes

Are answers being driven by mobile?

  • Google working on voice search on mobile. In doing this, the answers are going to have to become more and more concise.

Is your niche safe from disruption?

  • voice search is crossing all kinds of verticals – including sports.

Problem: Is Google really showing my data correctly in a snippet?

This example shows a snippet from one of Dr. Pete’s pages as a SERP snippet:



  • What if I change the data on my page? Will the snippet in the SERP update? Yes!


How questions work for ranking in the “featured snippet”:

  • Once you clear the “page one hurdle”, you are eligible to have your content in the knowledge graph snippet. From there, Google figures out which listing on the 1st page is the most semantically relevant to the question.
  • Takeaway: It can be easier to get from position number #5 to #1 simply by revising your content and making it more relevant to the question being queried.

Google Authorship

  • It came and went. BUT the people who took advantage of it for the 2 years it was around, experienced HUGE CTR increases. Lesson learned: take advantage of new features and new tools that Google releases, regardless of whether or not it will stick around forever.

Definitive Answers – disrupting SERPs



a)     These answers are killing click through. There’s no reason to visit a webpage to get your answer.






  • Google is creating this SERP content and it’s taking over your content.
  • Google is building, designing and displaying content algorithmically.
  • The example below shows movie listings that have color below the image. That color is being chosen automatically.




Is your niche next?

  • Think how easy it would be for Google to buy the MLS listings and change the real estate game?
  • It’s easy for Google to show basic data in a SERP. So what are you doing to make your data irreplaceable? Create content that can’t be simply replaced with a snippet box in the SERP.

Let’s talk about mobilegeddon

  • It wasn’t much of a “geddon”. There was a tiny bump on April 22, 2015 when it rolled out.
  • BUT Google got what it wanted…now about 80% of the sites in the mobile SERPs are mobile friendly.
  • So Google cried wolf and got us to change without doing a huge algorithm update.
  • Mobile is now taking up half of ….usage
  • 65% of searches started on a smartphone (3 years ago).
  • People then continue their research on desktop later.
  • We entered the mobile first era because Google started experiencing incredibly low CTR on mobile devices. So it started to make it’s push to mobile.
  • Carousels were created for mobile and rolled out to desktop.
  • Snack packs were also built for mobile



Here’s another example (below) on how Google is designing and displaying its own content in the SERPs

So what do you do to create a good mobile experience?

  • First, run your numbers and find out if mobile makes sense for you. Who are your customers? How do they behave online?

Paid Listings in the SERPs

  • hotel bookings – Google is now showing paid information showing up in a seemingly “organic” knowledge panel in the right sidebar.


  • Same with movies… 




App Packs can now replace up to 6 organic spots


  • Look to mobile to see the future of ads.
  • What might a SERP look like if it had no organic results. Here’s a fake SERP we created to conceptualize this idea for “Jurassic World”


  • This might be fake, yet how easy would it be for Google to do this? IT already has all these elements, so why wouldn’t it do this? It’s a great user experience.
  • Google is going to be working on improving user experience so it can mix ads into organic results to make the experience more seamless
  • With these changes in the SERPs, you can’t ignore paid search.
  • SEO is still a great investment, but paid should be considered at the same time.

Will the SERPs disappear?

  • More maps
  • more voice search

Will voice be the death of SERPs?

  • How is Google going to monetize voice search. Nobody knows.
  • What if keywords don’t matter anymore?
  • Takeaway: Today is what matters. Although the future is coming, we still need to play today’s game. Do what works now – we’re still loving in his reality.
  • Adopt a dual mentality. Do today and think tomorrow. Short term tactics + long term strategy.
  • You can no longer think of a typical organic listing (blue link) as your only opportunity. There are tons of opportunities – paid, snippets, knowledge panel, shopping etc.


  • Marvel Example: They just listed all the movies they are creating until 2019. They are marketing for the future. The content they created is already generating links. When they launch it, it’s going to do great.



Become a Mobile SEO Superhero

Cindy Krum, @suzzicks


April 21, 2015 was the Mobile algorithm change and it was a big deal. Google actually communicated the data and instructions of an algo update. Since when does that happen?!

Seems like something fishy is going on…

Google loved the press that this algo update was getting. It meant more people were going to be mobile friendly by the date of the algo roll out – exactly what Google wanted.

Surveying the mobile landscape – dissecting future mobile friendly updates

How can we evaluate the mobile landscape?

What is the threat?

  • Mobile traffic is still growing…
  • More types of mobile devices…
  • web results being de-emphasized…
  • Google doesn’t care about the user going to your site -they just want the user to get the info they need.

Google’s higher calling

Organize information on the web so people can find what they want when they want it.

Google is trying to make search a better user experience across a wider range of devices.

Types of mobile sites

  • mDot – Google shares SEO signals between the two sites
  • Responsive Design – Googles favourite – media queries are used to serve content on devices based on the browser window size
  • Selective Serving –
  • Single page web apps – use html 5 or JavaScript to make a website look more like a fluid app that you would download.

Google is considering the desktop version of the site as the default canonical for evaluating your text content.

  • Google knows that on a mobile site, you’re going to cut content, that’s why it looks to the desktop site to evaluate your content, semantic meaning and keywords.

Google is now indexing deep screens within an app.


Honor the integrity of the canonical

make sure there is one URL that renders for each page of content on your site. Be very specific with this URL. Make sure that the URL is always consistent (i.e. trailing slash or not | case sensitive etc.)



How is mobile SEO different from desktop SEO?

Mobile SEO is a lot more technical – we have to do a lot more to prevent errors.

It’s more about specific rankings and the interaction from the ranking to the content and usability of the site.


We focus less on rankings and more on the user experience.

[image “settings that impact mobile search]

The user experience and display of search results depend on many things…



Google is now trying to decide how to serve better results to people on slow data connections. App packs and other “rich” stuff won’t show in a mobile SERP on a slow connection. This can change the SERPs significantly so that more “blue links” display.

Many ranking software tools can’t pick up the nuances of these changing mobile SERPs. They are showing you an average which makes understanding rankings difficult if you don’t dig in and explore what’s going on.

The only thing that Google cared about in the Google friendly update was us making CSS and JavaScript crawlable. The Google mobile bot wanted to better understand the rendering of your content on different devices.

The mobile bot is only understanding the visual rendering of the page. The desktop version of the bot is the one understanding the text content.

So…the Google mobile bot is illiterate? We don’t know just yet.

We think the Google mobile smartphone bot is reading text at a low level.

The “Mobile Friendly” Tag

how do find out if your site is considered mobile friendly: do a “” search

Or try Google’s Mobile friendly testing tool.

If you have CSS or JavaScript that’s not crawlable – is that OK?

Google has whitelist of domains that are ok to have blocked resources. You need to make sure that any CSS/JavaScript assets you have control of are not blocked

If you want to know how Google renders your mobile pages, use Google Webmaster Tools “Fetch & Render” tool.

Google is doing everything it can to understand mobile rendering so it can devalue hidden content etc.

These don’t yet affect your site getting the “mobile-friendly” tag

  • View Port settings
  • Font sizes, tap targets
  • mobile specific errors

How to improve page speed on mobile

  • use CSS sprites – group of images combined into one image (think social icons)
  • File size – save images to the exact size you need it on the page – compress files
  • – HTML5 crop, scale, zoom images to make them fit on the page
  • Use an image server to serve up images efficiently on the fly

Other recent changes to Mobile SERPs


  • More featured information (answers, aggregations, interactions)
  • Easy to see (packs, cards, carousels, expansion information
  • Semantic – (natural language, compound search, entity understanding)

You need to better understand the intent of the searcher


Google serves up content that gives users fast answers by trying to better understand intent.



Notice how few “blue links” there are here?


Device intent Matters

Google now reports on rankings for mobile, tablet and desktop separately.


So what indicates mobile intent?



What’s happening in mobile SERPs

  • Play a video without clicking through
  • Carousels
  • Larger meta descriptions
  • Search boxes to search by the site being listed
  • Displaying different data depending on whether you search for a definition vs a question
  • i.e. “What is the meaning of life” vs “meaning of life” – very different results.

Compound search queries

Google now shows you different results for the same queries to figure out what answer you’re looking for. This will tie into future personalized results.


Implied keywords

If you’re standing under the Eiffel tower, Google will assume you are searching for the height of the tower when you query “Eiffel tower”


Crumb trail URL Formatting now in SERPS to show deep pages

Making Apps Your Ally

App Packs can take up to 6 spots for organic listings.

Where these app packs link to:

  • The app store
  • Deep screen within an app

Google identifies user intent based on device (iOS vs android) and serves up different app results.


Having deep links is a positive ranking factor when it comes to apps.


To get deeplinks indexed in Google, you need to have corresponding desktop content (the canonical URL that google focuses on). This will likely change in the near future.


Deep links that don’t need website parity.



Be sure to focus on Local SEO, email mark-up to enhance mobile results and visibility. Paid results are now taking up more of the SERPs


TV and Media sponsored results are gorgeous, enhancing clickthrough.


If you can’t get your App to rank in the App Pack. Getting a paid app listing works great, so it’s well worth considering.


Other Types of Sponsored Results (Paid)



Predictive Search

Merging of Chrome, Maps and Google Play – they are all coming together to share information so that you don’t have to type a query in.

Voice search is becoming more popular especially with wearable products.


Drive More Conversions with Lifecycle Email Campaigns

Tamara Gielen, @tamaragielen

  • Email marketing was done because it was cheaper with her original clients.
  • Everything she knows about email marketing has been learned through trial and error

In 2015:

  • We get a TON of emails and you have to stand out.
  • There are a ton of choices to be made by consumers.

As a consumer, we like to be in control and own the buying experience.

  • In terms of email, you want to choose which emails you’ll open and which you won’t.
  • And you want companies to make it easy for you.
  • Plus, you want the email to have value for you! “What’s in it for me?!”

The average attention span on the internet is 8 seconds – say whaaaa?

  • You’re not going to take 8 seconds to open or delete an email – it’s instant.
  • What things drive you to open?
  • Most likely going to be the sender name (subject line is only important if you are a sender that’s doubting whether your emails will be interesting or not).
  • With customer attention becoming an increasingly scarce commodity, marketing success depends on delivering relevant, timely and personalized marketing messages.

To do this you’re going to need DATA.

  • We need to get to a stage that we can start predicting what people are going to buy from us.
  • Think about the whole journey a person takes to buy your product.
  • Send the right message at the right time and try to think about what message they’ll need from you first before they even think about it (not easy to do).
  • Amazon has great data on their consumers – automated emails that are tailored to things you’ve looked at or bought
  • Automated triggered emails are very, very powerful.


  • Email marketing today is still really really strong.
  • Everyone tried to say that email was dead but it’s not.

3 important questions when thinking about lifecycle marketing:

  1. Who is your ideal customer?
  1. Put a name and face to them, outline their objectives and challenges.
  2. If you know what kind of objections they have, then you can already write your copy to counter those objections before they can say “no, I can’t.”
  3. You need to know from start to finish the steps people are going through when they’re buying your product(s)
  4. Map them out in detail.
  5. See where you can give them that little push to move them forward through the buying journey.
  1. What is their journey?
  1. How can you assist them?

Example: a company called GamersFirst sells video game weapons. The issue that they had is that people can’t buy something from them unless someone has registered, logged in and already played a game.

  • People would drop-off with double-opt in verifying their account.
  • They would also drop off after verifying but not logging in.

GamersFirst tackled this by using email to trigger automatically at these drop off points.

  • The result = 44% increase in revenue with 3 little emails

7 Ways to Assist Them on Their Journey


1. Welcome/Activation/Onboarding

  1. Welcome new subscriber/user: Tell them what you’re going to send them and try to convince them to come back or do the next step
  2. Famous rule of 3 by Goodreads (example): Gave 3 easy things to do to stay connected. People like things in threes – remember that!
  3. Sign off emails personally
  4. Abandoned shopping cart:
  1. Recovery Program


– If you can get even a portion of people back through 1-3 follow-up emails, it’s going to pay for itself in a very short amount of time (and then some).

– Test different options

– Start with a discount to come back, or just a simple reminder that the cart is still waiting


  1. Abandoned search?

–       Someone came to your site and started filling out a form to download a whitepaper, for example. You could send an email that reminds them to come back and grab their whitepaper.

–       Don’t play big brother too much though – it’s really creepy.

–       Amazon will email you when you’ve been searching for blenders to remind you that they’ve got some good ones available – another example.

  1. Up-sell/Cross-sell Programs

a)    The Dewalt battery example of a battery that fits ALL their products. Saving by buying more.

b)    Upgrade to a pro plan, or similar.

  1. Follow Up Program

a)    Take a survey emails, or get ready for your trip emails.

b)    “Please review your stay”

c)    NOTE: read “The Principles of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini – great book recommended by Tamara.

d)    Review reminders (like, Trivago)

e)    Symbols in subject lines stand out. This will fade soon though – short lifetime.

  1. Review/Replenishment Program

a)    Don’t forget to re-stock (i.e., running out of ink)

b)    Last chance emails

  1. Surprise and Delight

a)    Happy Birthday emails that drive free stuff

b)    Thank you emails

c)    Send people something to reward them

d)    “People are looking at your profile” – automated

  1. Reactivation

a)    “We miss you!”

5 Keys to Success

  1. Get management buy-in
  1. to run automated messages, you’re going to need to get data involved
  2. Figure out a campaign first that’s not automated to see how much revenue it will drive, and then bring the data altogether
  1. Bring the data together
  1. Set up the right rules and triggers
  2. Test your setup extensively
  3. Optimize for conversions

Start Small

Think really hard about what it is you’re trying to achieve.


Reaching Critical Mass: 150 Active Members

Rich Millington, @richmillington

How many online community efforts actually succeed?

  • So I went to platform vendors and asked…they wouldn’t tell me
  • Out of 957 orgs that announced they launched an online community in 2015, five succeeded

So what goes wrong?

  • Big launch
  • Mass promotion
  • The plummet

Even organizations like Dell fail to make successful communities.

Successful communities have 1 of 3 things:

  • A lot of angry customers
  • Selling something exciting
  • Credible founder

If we want successful communities we have to pay attention to the hobbyists who are amazing at creating communities:

  1. How to get your founding members?

What do successful community builders do differently? They invite their friends – not their email lists, Facebook groups etc.

The best way to get a community off the ground is to begin with people you know. I mean actually know.

What if you don’t have credibility? Get it using the CHIP process:

  1. Creative Content
  2. Host Events
  3. Interview experts
  4. Participate in existing groups

Create a list of 250 prospective founding members. Then have at least 50 of them interact together.

If you can’t get 50 people to interact with each other, then the community is not ready for you, or you’re not ready for the community.


  1. How to make sure your Community Pops to Life


Too many companies make communities about themselves. That only works if you’re Beyonce.

Don’t make the community about what you want members to do.

  1. Build a community around a problem that they have

Example: a community for teachers to swap time saving tips

  1. Build a community to seize an opportunity your audience is aware of

Example: Housework hackers

  1. Build a community for people to explore a passion
  2. Build a community to increase status or be a member of an exclusive group

Example: World’s Top Inbound Marketers

  1. How to create the perfect platform for your community


Most platforms are terrible homes for their communities.

Let’s look at what are the most active successful community platforms out there today:

Reddit – it’s ugly but it works

hackernews – ugly too, but hey…it works!

Maybe looking good isn’t important. Maybe we need a platform that shows the latest activity on the landing page of that community.

Your platform has to be activity focused. Show the excitement above the fold.


4. How do we get members to participate?

Mistake 1: Introduce yourself

Mistake 2: Complete your profile

Mistake 3: Dump members into the community and hope they participate and engage


You have a 15 minute window to persuade a member to share an experience option or problem.


To do that, use your confirmation email better.

  • What are members doing?
  • What have you recently learned?
  • What do members need help with?

5. How to Keep Members Active

If you ask a community and don’t get a response, you’ll never participate again.


If you don’t get a quick response, you’ll never participate again.

If someone gets a response within 15 minutes, they are 80% more likely to stay and participate.


40-90% of members are 1 post wonders.

So how can we hook members in for the long term?


  1. Show them that they have improved a skill

a)    benchmark members at the beginning, allow them to view progression as the result of being in that community

b)    Consolidate the information being shared in the community and make it available to everyone (eBook)

  1. Give users Autonomy – responsibility or control:

a)    [autonomy image]

b)    Find an answer to one post

c)    Interview experts

d)    designated expert

e)    run column/group/category

  1. Social Relatedness

a)    The more friends we make in a community, the more we’re likely to participate

b)    The more we can identify with a community, the more we’ll participate.

c)    It’s all about making genuine connections within the community

  1. The Journey into the community

a)    Immediate ego hit

b)    Introductions to similar people

c)    Skill increase task

d)    Responsibility for topic/idea

e)    Content about them

f)     Relationship building


Dark Search and Social – Run Rabbit Run!- Marshall Simmonds, @mdsimmonds

What is dark traffic? A URL that you can’t track. It doesn’t pass a referrer string.


  • Dark Search
    • Direct traffic
    • Apps
    • Browsers
    • Image search
    • Secure search
    • Misinformation
  • Dark Mobile
    • Apps
    • Twitter
    • Referral traffic
    • Android
    • IOS
  • Dark Social
    • Email
    • IM
    • Direct traffic
    • Sharing apps
    • Facebook
    • Snapchat
    • WhatsApp

Here’s what we see and think about Dark Data


You’re losing traffic data you worked hard to get. So you have to be able to know what’s happening and explain to other people where the traffic has gone.


Methodology of an overview to dark data

To provide you with this overview of Dark Traffic we analyzed the following:


Dark Search

“Not provided” is the biggest thing we have to talk about. Google’s hiding our keywords

We have to triangulate with multiple tools to try and get this data.


Comscore – is misrepresenting how much traffic is coming from Google.

It’s far more than what they claim – its about 92%.






Buzzfeed Shenanigans – They say SEO is dead, and Facebook has overtaken Google. that’s not true. BuzzFeed is benefiting huge from SEO (social diffusion is improving their SEO performance)



Http to Https – Google says, “Hey guys, you’ll get a ranking boost if you switch to secure”. Not true. There was no search benefit. Google isn’t telling us the truth.




If you’re going to move to a secure environment, do it for the right reasons. If you “play” in this world of secure – be aware that your social share scoring will be lost – you’re transferring to a new URL.


If there are key pages that you want to maintain social shares – read this:


Learn about the Meta Referrer Tag:

Get it on your site as fast as you can if you’re going secure


How the browsers are affecting Dark Search?

  • Incognito, private browsing
  • When browsers get updated, make sure to watch your direct traffic and make sure there is no spikes – these

Image search is no longer a viable play for marketers because Google hijacked images – people no longer click through to a site – you go to Google’s gallery.






Lesson learned: Publish articles on Monday so they get the most visits – average articles have a 2 day shelf life to get their best spike.


When we find long URLs in direct traffic, where are they coming from?

iOS 6, io7 and android came out and screwed up a lot of search data.




Let’s look at all our direct traffic and remove our homepage and all the main pages that someone might have bookmarked. This is probably Dark Social.

  • De-dupe the URLs
  • Verify links against social campaign
  • Filter for new users
  • What’s left is dark search

We ran our traffic through this formula and we found that we had an estimate of 18% Dark Search.


Dark Social



Facebook insights do not tell the whole story. We need to find that dark Social.

Facebook announced that they’re going to clean up the spam by rolling out a News Feed update.



As a result Facebook traffic was tracked more accurately.


The best tool out there for mobile data for Facebook is Chartbeat

That’s all for today folks! More coming up tomorrow!

Kanchan Lad

Kanchan is the Head of Project Delivery at Happy Marketer. She chooses traveling, swimming, crime fiction, celebrity gossip and prefers speed over stagnancy.