Top 10 Presentations from MozCon 2022

MozCon 2022

That’s a wrap!

MozCon, the annual SEO and digital marketing conference held in Seattle by SEO software giant, Moz, just completed and now it’s time for us to outline our learnings. The conference featured industry experts speaking on a variety of SEO topics including technical SEO, local SEO, content marketing, link development and more. Plus, conference speakers focused on SEO-adjacent topics like analytics, management styles, prioritizing web development initiatives and how to overcome common SEO roadblocks when working with organizations.

Of course, we had to kick off the week catching a Mariners game.

MozCon 2022

The conference was comprised of 3 days of speakers, breakout sessions and one-on-one meet and greets. While there were several speakers who were all incredible, below we are highlighting our 10 favorite speakers and the topics they covered over the 3-day event.

1. Andy Crestodina (Day 1)

Andy Crestodina

The conference kicked off with a bang with Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios. Andy’s speech covered the current state of the SERP, the result page we’re all vying to get our content listed in. He covered all of the current elements of the SERP like featured snippets, image cards, video cards and the evergrowing people-also-ask section.

The Bottom Line

The layout of Google’s SERP changes all of the time. Tweaks are made to improve search experience and in some cases, to give more visibility to Google’s ad units as we’ve seen with pay-per-click ads and product listing ads over the years. It’s important to be keen on these changes as they correlate to how much organic traffic a website can expect.

2. Areej AbuAli (Day 1)

Areej AbualiLater on in the day, we were able to catch a thorough presentation from Areej AbuAli (Head of SEO, Papier) about an e-commerce SEO tactic of enhancing product listing pages. Product listing pages, sometimes referred to as category pages or subcategory pages on e-commerce sites, sit in the middle of the conversion funnel and have tremendous SEO opportunities when optimized correctly.

The Bottom Line

Instead of being focused entirely on highly-competitive head terms, use your product listing pages to target long-tail queries through advanced filters and internal linking. By using faceted navigation and covering the SEO basics (title tags, descriptions, heading tags), you can be indexed for long-tail searches from customers who are ready to convert.

3. Will Critchlow (Day 1)

Will Critchlow

Will Critchlow is a well-recognized name in the SEO community and moreso in the Moz community. In his 2022 speech for the conference, Will focused on the importance of testing in SEO and likened examples to statistical analysis used by the NBA. Will’s company, Search Pilot, is on the frontlines of SEO testing and provides a lot of insightful data any SEO can use.

The Bottom Line

Just like how the NBA has changed with the advent of statistical analysis, so too has SEO. And while we as SEO analysts don’t have surefire techniques that work every time, it’s critical to test, test, test. The only way to improve your shot chart is to test different scenarios and theories, then figure out what works best. If it means playing in the paint is better than trying to shoot 3-pointers, go with it.

Bonus: Search Pilot offers a free newsletter with some great information about SEO tests and case studies. Sign up at https://www.searchpilot.com/resources/newsletter/.

4. Tom Capper ( Day 2)

Tom Capper

As the Senior Search Scientist at Moz, Tom Capper knows a thing or two about organic search and user intent. His keynote “Trash In, Garbage Out: A Guide to Non-Catastrophic Keyword Research” outlined the importance of doing “good keyword research” and how to determine which keywords are actually worth investing resources in targeting.

The Bottom Line

Traditional keyword research is a waste of time and resources. Historically, this research has focused on compiling massive lists of every keyword your brand could or should rank for, and then assigning metrics like volume, CPCs, and other KPIs to the query in order to determine our most valuable targets. However, these metrics often do no accurately represent the data we are truly looking for (CPC does not approximate SEO difficulty), and search volume estimates are often over-inflated and vary widely tool by tool. Rather than allocating resources to all this unnecessary data, we should instead focus on user intent, impressions, and optimizing for clicks when making keyword decisions.

5. Jackie Chu (Day 2)

Jackie Chu

As an SEO with experience at major companies like Dropbox, Square and Uber, Jackie Chu’s presentation on enterprise SEO was one we (and the rest of the audience) were looking forward to. Unlike SEO for a local business, enterprise SEO is reserved for organizations with 250+ which means there are more departments and individuals to coordinate with. Optimizations may take longer to make, but they can yield tremendous results.

The Bottom Line

The key takeaway from Jackie’s presentation was an acronym that seemed new to most people in the audience – RICE. RICE or Reach, Impact, Confidence and Effort, is how SEOs (in-house or agencies) should approach prioritization of projects. Use data to help prioritize SEO efforts based on what is going to be the most impactful for an enterprise organization. When you have multiple priorities all at once, nothing is appropriately being prioritized.

6. Amanda Jordan (Day 2)

Amanda Jordan

Midway through Day 2, we had the opportunity to hear from Amanda Jordan (Director of Digital Strategy, RicketyRoo) about the importance of optimizing local SEO landing pages, and how to differentiate and add value to your content. Local SEO was a topic mentioned several times throughout the conference, and Amanda had some in-depth insights for brands struggling with their local strategy.

The Bottom Line

Businesses that have multiple locations and service areas often struggle with differentiating their location landing pages from one another. For some businesses, these pages drive a significant amount of traffic to the site, therefore they should be extremely important in your overall SEO strategy. Issues like duplicate content, doorway pages (pages that don’t provide any value to a user and exist only to rank for keywords), low user engagement, and thin content often make scalability of these pages difficult and can significantly hurt your ability to rank content. Focusing on content quality over content length, and providing location specific things like reviews, value propositions, coupons, and awards will help provide good differentiation between every page.

7. Miracle-Inameti Archibong (Day 2)

Miracle Inameti Archibald

As a company that offers web development for our clients, we are passionate about accessibility features that aid in allowing everyone to have an equal experience when browsing the web. We were excited to see and hear from Miracle-Inameti Archibong (SEO Lead, SuperMoneyMarket Group), another advocate on the subject.

The Bottom Line

Believe it or not, the accessibility features of a website are factors in the Google algorithm when determining rankings, and not enough businesses have websites built with this in mind. In fact, studies from some accessibility groups show that as of 2021, 61% of all homepage accessibility errors are due to missing alt text, half of all images missing alt text on the web are linked images that were not descriptive, and one-third of images on the web have questionable, or repetitive alt text. The truth is, these are fields that any good SEO knows provide significant value for UX and context for Google to understand your site. Another reason businesses should care about accessibility – 83% of users with accessibility needs shop at sites they know are accessible, even if the prices are higher. The ~61 million adults in the U.S. with disabilities account for over $490 billion dollars in annual disposable income, further pushing the need for accessibility on a website.

8. Aleyda Solis (Day 2)

Aleyda Solis

Aleyda Solis is one of our favorite personalities on SEO Twitter as she brings a wealth of experience and testing to the space. She’s also a fun presenter who brought much-needed energy to the afternoon’s final session.

In this year’s MozCon topic, Aleyda talked about the SEO horror stories that can happen in e-commerce settings, ranging from poorly-written product descriptions to over-indexation of low-quality pages and how faceted navigation can cause a number of problems for retailers with larger catalogs.

The Bottom Line

Instead of looking at these items as e-commerce SEO issues, let’s approach them as e-commerce SEO opportunities. No matter the e-commerce platform, be it Shopify, WooCommerce or Salesforce, there are always going to be opportunities to improve SEO. Consider areas of technical SEO that could be impacting your organic traffic and continue to focus on creating great shopping experiences for your customers by keeping in mind content, product information and how a user will shop the site.

9. Lily Ray (Day 3)

Lily Ray

Lily Ray is another one of our favorites in the industry. She’s known for a comprehensive understanding of E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness), but also brings a splash of personality to the SEO community as a drummer and DJ. She and her team at Amsive Digital conduct extensive research into YMYL (Your Money Your Life) content and how Google is rapidly changing how authoritative content is ranked.

The Bottom Line

Google wants to rank content written by experts because it creates a better experience for everyone. We’ve seen this shift occur since the medic update of 2018 and it will continue to be a part of SEO moving forward. Google is able to understand entities and can correlate content to specific people and publishers, making expertise a necessity. While E-A-T is mostly important for YMYL content on financial and health-related websites, it’s likely we’ll see it become a factor for other industries too.

10. Joe Hall (Day 3)

Joe Hall

Last, but certainly not least on our list, is SEO consultant Joe Hall. Joe has been a huge contributor to the SEO community (especially on Twitter) over the years as he constantly provides excellent insights and advice, as well as free SEO tools. In what he dubbed “Key Performance Factors” (not Key Performance Enhancers for reasons that had the entire audience chuckling), Joe takes an analytical approach to how to prioritize SEO initiatives for a business. We usually want to optimize everything, but the fact is that sometimes you can’t and you have to be selective on what is going to drive the best results for a business.

The Bottom Line

SEO audits tend to uncover a variety of opportunities a business can use to improve their organic traffic, but the speed at which a business can implement changes relies on several factors. In many cases, a business can choose to work on just a handful of things which may leave us (SEO consultants) feeling frustrated.

As Joe said, “SEO is easy to understand, but hard to execute” is something that resonates with all of us. To help with execution and prioritization of SEO tasks, he uses a framework to correlate common KPIs (organic sessions, impressions, organic bounce rate, click-through rate, organic conversions, average position) relative to his “key performance factors” (number of backlinks, word count, internal link score, pagespeed score, % of duplicate content, crawl errors). Using simple Excel formulas to make correlations, we are then able to see and assign weight to the values, giving us a roadmap to achieving the best possible results in the shortest amount of time.

Bonus: In his free time, Joe develops SEO tools that are free to the community. Check them out at https://hallanalysis.com/software/.

Final Thoughts About MozCon 2022

As a digital agency that primarily works with SEO clients, it’s important for us to keep up with the latest news and tests happening in the SEO world. MozCon 2022 was the perfect place to hear from SEO veterans, learn about insightful tests and meet with thought-leaders in the industry. While not every keynote from the conference has been covered here, every presenter brought their own unique insights to SEO and SEO-adjacent topics that are extremely relevant to any company looking to improve their organic footprint.

We want to extend a big thank you to Moz for hosting the conference, our partner Crowd Content for sponsoring the event, and of course all the speakers for sharing their knowledge with the community.

If you have any questions about what was presented at MozCon 2022, feel free to drop us a line here. You can also find presentation decks available for download at https://moz.com/mozcon/schedule.

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