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Local Lessons from MOZCON 2014

I recently attended MOZCON 2014 in Seattle, Washington. For those of you who don’t know, Moz is a software company dedicated to supporting the work of inbound marketers, and MOZCON is an annual gathering of the best and brightest minds in search, marketing, content, social media, and data collection & analysis. Sound boring right? Well for a semi-nerd like me, it was a riveting thrill ride of exciting ideas and endless possibilities as a content marketer. I am 100% serious.


Moz Con 2014


For me, there were several things that stood out:


  • Do not underestimate Social
  • Do not underestimate Mobile
  • Good content generates good links


But while the big, ambitious ideas and presentations at MOZCON energized me, the actual application of these concepts in a context like Edmonton seems either daunting or impossible. Generally considered a small market internet marketing-wise, I couldn’t imagine reproducing complex, international, expensive campaigns the presenters talked about executing for their clients (think LG launching a smartphone).

The more I thought on it though, the more I found examples of how to take the spirit of these concepts and apply them in Edmonton.

Do not underestimate Social

I was talking to a friend the other day who writes a delightful blog on the niceties of professional sport. There are lots of .gifs, and it’s fun. She was wondering how to increase her blog’s reach, but her options are limited as she uses a blogging platform that doesn’t give her any control over onsite or technical SEO beyond the content she uploads. So what options does that leave her? Social!

You don’t have to promote posts, design eye-popping visuals, and you don’t need a complex strategy. You just start to engage. Follow the people who share something in common with your content – geography, subject, style, etc. – and get your name out there. Retweet, respond, post your content, re-post the content of others, build a relationship. The people who are on their social media game will do the same for you, and their followers will see what you’ve got.

Do not underestimate Mobile

Have you ever seen your site on a mobile phone? Unless you or your developer put explicit thought into optimizing for mobile, you’re probably not optimized for mobile. Mobile traffic as a percentage of overall internet traffic is growing an average of 150% a year*. It cannot be ignored.

There are hundreds of tweaks you can make to a site to make it mobile friendly. But, if you’re a local business with a informational website (as opposed to an e-commerce website), people are most likely accessing your site on a mobile device for one of three reasons:


  • To find out who you are
  • To find you where you are
  • To phone you


The most important mobile friendly modification you can make is to put this information right up front.

A lot of content management systems (like WordPress) have ample mobile-friendly templates to choose from, or you can talk to a web developer about how to make a few changes to your homepage to maximize your mobile presence.


Good content generates good links

Quick lesson on linky-links – you need them, and not all links are created equal. A link to your website is basically a vote to it’s relevancy. Links from high authority (Edmonton Journal), that are relevant (your business association), and local (chamber of commerce) sites are the cream of the crop. Peer links, like food blog to food blog, restaurant to supplier, etc. – and social media links are also awesome.

There is only so far that you can get by straight-up asking for links. Sometimes you gotta earn them, and this is where great content comes in.

Doing something cool? Blog it. Offering a new service. Write it up on your website, and also blog about it. Blog about everything you’re doing. Blog about trends. Blog to educate your audience. Blog it all. Blog authentically, earnestly, and let your personality shine through. To use an uncomfortable analogy: your blog presence should be less sniper (rare, one-offs), and more shotgun spray (consistent & varied)

Then promote your content (see social section above). Getting your name and thoughts out there can generate anything from links from social shares, to reblogs, potential partnerships with like minded businesses, and could get you noticed for profiles in local media or as a go-to expert source in your field.