Pirozhki, Robots, Swag and Intent: What We Learned at MozCon Day One

Pirozhki, Robots, Swag and Intent: What We Learned at MozCon Day One Featured Image

Day one of MozCon was a success! Right out of the gate, attendees were presented with hard-hitting insights, real-talk and next-gen SEO practices made tangible by real-world examples (not to mention advanced technical know-how).

Oh, and there were also delicious pirozhki. And photo opps with Roger, the Moz mascot.

But snacks and photo booths aside, day one set the bar high for the rest of the three-day event. Digital Current attendees Kevin Chow (Director of Search and Paid) and Dustin Diehl (Director of Content Marketing) offer a few key takeaways to lead us into day two:


Today started off with a great walk to MozCon. The weather in Seattle felt amazing. Coming from the Phoenix area where our mornings are in the 90s, I couldn’t help but enjoy our brisk 65 degree walk. You could feel the excitement from a lot of attendees. You could overhear them letting others know it’s their first time attending MozCon. I was lucky enough to get through registration fairly quickly and get my day one swag package:

It was great speaking with some of the vendors and was able to catch up with some friends from SerpSTAT and CallRail to get the scoop on some new changes coming our way. I never heard of accelo, but after a demo, I told them to set up a call for a more in-depth discussion.

Main Takeaway

For me, Stephanie Briggs blew me (and pretty much everyone) away. She provided so much knowledge and data in such a short amount of time, I’m still trying to process all the greatness that she unloaded on us. I will be going through her deck a number of times to retain everything. One of the biggest takeaways would be: don’t use a tool for just one of its services, truly understand the tool to its fullest capabilities and when you’ve it mastered, your clients will reap the rewards.

Key Insights From Each Speaker

Sarah Bird – Welcome to MozCon 2018!

  • Started MozCon off right by dancing on stage
  • Searches on Google:
    • Desktop = 40% result in a click
    • Local = 60% doesn’t result in a click
  • Organic provides 20x the amount of clicks vs. paid
  • Billion dollar spend a quarter for paid

Jono Alderson – The Democratization of SEO

  • The truth: Fix the root cause, don’t just Band-Aid the website
  • Google is moving into Open-Source to help read in blocks
  • Google is solving the issue of the web by taking initiative with WordPress/Open-Source

Cindy Krum – Mobile-First Indexing or a Whole New Google

  • “Desktop SEO tools are NOT providing accurate mobile rankings!”
  • Top-of-the-fold for mobile is dominated by:
    • Carousel
    • Answers
    • Videos
    • Knowledge Graph
  • Entity search results can be cast or interacted with “eyes-free”
  • Entity-first indexing allows Google to surface the right content in the right context
  • Branded Map Pack → Google Shopping Action (buy from Map Pack)

Amy Hebdon – It Takes a Village: 2x Your Paid Search Revenue by Smashing Silos

  • Adwords: do not focus or report on CPCs
  • Bad KPIs:
    • Lower CPCs
    • More Traffic
    • Higher CTRs
  • Good KPIs:
    • ROI
    • Growth
  • How do our paid search goals support business growth?
  • Provide a positive human experience, not scripts or efficiencies
  • Dedicated Landing Page doesn’t always win — visitor experience does

Meredith Oliver – The #1 and Only Reason Your SEO Clients Keep Firing You

  • How are you communicating your value to your client?
  • Communicate to Educate
  • Proactively schedule, remind and confirm, report and educate, brainstorm and add value, action items and ownership

Taylor Coil – Why “Blog” is a Misnomer for Our 2018 Content Strategy

  • Re-think if you were to do all comprehensive content, look at your team’s bandwidth, mental energy and happiness

Rob Bucci – Near Me or Far: How Google May Be Deciding Your Local Intent for You

  • Creating the base keywords:
    • {adjective +} noun = base
    • Qualifier + {adjective +} noun = base
    • Base + Geo-Modifier = geo-modified

Lisa Myers – None of Us is as Smart as All of Us

  • Blog outreach is fruitless and risky

  • Link Building: don’t focus on SEO, focus on great content

Stephanie Briggs – Search-Driven Content Strategy

  • Strategies for Improving Rankings
    • Keyword Targeting
    • Intent Matching
    • Authority Building
  • Strategies for Improving Coverage
    • New Pages
    • Architecture and Tech SEO
    • Prioritize SEO
  • Strategies for Market Leaders
    • Exhaust the long tail
    • Move into new markets
  • “The salience score for an entity provides information about the importance or centrality of that entity to the entire document text.”
  • Salience = keyword relevancy

Dr. Pete Meyers – Ranking Is a Promise: Can You Deliver?

  • Awareness → Informational
  • Interest → Investigational
  • Action → Commercial

One Thing I’m Most Excited to Implement “Back Home”

To be honest, I can’t cut it down to one thing, but it does come down to: entity-first indexing allows Google to surface the right content in the right context. And Stephanie Briggs’ entire deck is definitely getting revisited!


The first day of my first MozCon was a total blast! The single-track approach eliminated the need to run around to various rooms, pulling my hair out worrying that I’ll end up in a lame session or that I won’t find a seat in the popular panels. I had a chance to meet up with some old colleagues, which was an unexpected surprise; then I grabbed my coffee and settled in! Here are some of the things that stood out:

Main Takeaway

It’s all about intent. Sure, “intent” has been something we’ve talked about in SEO and content for nearly a decade, but it’s becoming a more tangible, tactical element that’s so much less theoretical and so much more real.

For example, Taylor Coil’s talk, “Why ‘Blog’ is a Misnomer for Our 2018 Content Strategy,” was a hard pill to swallow, especially for a content-focused person like me. She talked about how “storytelling” content doesn’t always work — and, in fact, might be a complete waste of time! Ah! No! But here’s the point — it’s all about intent. If your content isn’t serving a purpose for your customers, helping them accomplish a goal, answer a question or alleviate a pain point … then they don’t care.

Key Insights

Kevin did a great job recapping each of the speakers, but here are a few of the stand-out moments for me:

And of course, a Star Wars reference!

One Thing I’m Most Excited to Implement “Back Home”

Kevin mentioned this, too, but Stephanie Briggs had an amazing presentation that moved from high-level concepts to in-depth tactics and back to high-level outputs. It was really incredible, and I’m so glad her deck is available, because I’ll be spending some time with it in the coming weeks! Being able to show clients how they compare to competitors, how to measure for saliency and how all this data can actually help guide their content strategy is very exciting … and geeky … but also exciting!

We’re Not Done Yet …

Day two is already underway, and our team will continue to bring you all the latest. Follow Kevin (@chowzer24) and Dustin (@DRJedi) on Twitter; and Digital Current (@digitalcurrent) is still live-tweeting the sessions (complete with retweets and the occasional gif). For more great MozCon content from Digital Current, connect with us on InstagramFacebook and LinkedIn.



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