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MozCon 2011: a Sleepless Seattle Experience for Top SEOs

by Matt Hunckler

What happens when you bring together 400-500 of the search industry’s elite? We found out during last week’s big Seattle search media conference—MozCon.

For starters, we found out that when you pack that many web geeks into one room, it can easily bring even the most enterprise wifi network to its knees. Next time, I’ll be sure to bring my own wireless hotspot.

But seriously, MozCon is where SEOs come to learn SEO. It’s an assimilation of knowledge from the search illuminati.

Here are a few key takeaways:

The definition of failure is “not trying.”

Joanna Lord from SEOmoz kicked off the presentations with a captivating “what not to do” overview of retargeting. While the presentation was all about her failures in rolling out retargeting at SEOmoz, it was clear that Joanna has built up a high level of expertise in that area.

I bet you that won’t stop her from continuing to learn, though.

Steven Pavlovich explicitly called out this paradigm of failure during his engaging presentation on conversion rate optimization processes. Steven says it’s better to go big or go home—meaning, if you’re going to test only a few things, test the bigger ones. You can always hone the details later.

Prioritization is the key to taking action. As soon as you know your next action step, it’s go time. Would a little prioritization help you accomplish more today?

If you’re not social, you suck.

Social is how the web is evolving. And if you’re just putting a Like button next to your posts or product pages, you’re doing it wrong.

Love it or hate it, Facebook isn’t going anywhere and will only accelerate its integration into the rest of the web. Now is the time to take advantage of Facebook’s APIs and build the platform into your product. Now is the time to figure out how to use Google+. Now is the time to revisit your social strategy.

What’s measured improves.

Okay, so I stole the above quote from Drucker. But it’s a great segue into a topic near and dear to my heart—a passion that grew even greater after Avinash Kaushik rocked the house with his killer presentation on measuring the right things.

I think the exact title was: “Measure the Right Things and Achieve Magical, Analytics Awesomeness.”

Love it.

That’s the promised land. The holy grail of web marketers.

Avinash urges that we stop focusing on the extremely tactical metrics and start measuring metrics that make it very obvious that performance is either good or bad.

Eliminate inference from the equation. Metrics should make complex data simple to understand. Step up to the challenge and build something that will help not only you, but your entire company, fully understand the true triggers in your organization.

You can read more about Avinash’s approach to web metrics on his blog.

The three-day SEOmoz conference was a blur, but every moment was memorable. Given the dawn-till-dusk schedule of activities, there were a ton of opportunities to get to know some of the SEO industry’s finest.

It wasn’t just the presenters either. The group in attendance included some of the sharpest marketers, communicators, and tactical geniuses I’ve ever met.

As with any conference, however, it’s not how much you learned that matters, but how quickly you can implement.

So, what will you implement this week?

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