MBD + MozCon Local 2017
Markon: Meet MozCon Local
If you follow Markon on Instagram you know that our team recently traveled up to Seattle to attend MozCon Local, a two-day, powerhouse event all about SEO - search engine optimization - with a strong focus on local search. As brand managers with specialties in design and content, we traveled to MozCon Local with the hope of putting some fresh knowledge about an evolving field in our back pocket. And we did! SEO and digital marketing experts provided us with a powerful, bootstrap education in SEO. Greg Gifford provided us with a whirlwind, flashpoint list of actions to take to shore up simple things we can do to improve our search result rankings. Cindy Krum and her colleagues at Mobile Moxie gave us a lot to ponder regarding mobile and voice search. Rhea Drysdale made us rethink public relations, and Heather Physioc encouraged us to ponder building local pages. Many others inspired us to rethink the value of our choices as content architects, web designers, and brand builders who place words, links, and images on the internet for a living. TLDR: We learned an incredible amount about SEO in just a couple of days. To the people at Moz and Local U: Thank you.
SEO is branding | Branding is SEO
As brand designers and managers, themes began to emerge immediately into Darren Shaw's opening keynote, and they continued throughout the two-day event. The theme being: SEO is as much a tenet of digital marketing as it is about good branding and brand maintenance. @@Things that matter to Google: consistency, accuracy, relevancy, and recency. Things that matter in branding: repeat list!@@
A foundational tenet of SEO is to have the same name, address, and phone number available on your website listed in other places, such as your Google My Business listing, Facebook, Yelp, City Search, Manta, and other listing - or citation - sites. This is also primary tenet of branding: consistent representation of core brand data online (and in print). Having your company named, listed, or even linked to on other sites around the web, but particularly in local media and on local organization websites, is a core strategy in SEO. It's also just damn good digital marketing and public relations. The same can be said about collecting customer reviews and publishing case studies.
Now, this is not to dismiss SEO as just another name for what businesses should already be doing. The benefit of an education in SEO, even a rudimentary one, is that it provides an understanding of how all of these actions come together to increase the likelihood that your business or organization will rank well when users are searching for the nearest or latest xyz that relates directly to what you have to offer. An education in SEO also provides a professional with a practical lens with which to identify the many ways simple mistakes, incomplete data, or easily ignored/unknown tasks can increase your company's ability to show up in someone's search results.
SEO then, as we see it, is a vital core of any digital marketer's tool kit. Ignore it at your peril. Embrace it to your benefit!
Authenticity and Consistency are Paramount
If you read Markon's Trends Report for 2017 you know that we called authenticity out as the chief indicator of a brand's viability this year. Users can tell if a brand is inauthentic, and through complex algorithms, so can Google. To our delight, the presenters at MozCon Local understood this, too. Should your brand start a link building campaign to get its name out in the world and rank better on Google? Yes! BUT: only if that link building campaign is tied to an authentic marketing or public relations campaign. Earlier we mentioned the need to gather customer reviews (which we'll discuss more of in a future post). It's not enough to simply ask some of your best customers to head over to Google and log a five star review. Feedback, and the ask for a Google/Yelp/Facebook review, should be an authentic part of the customer experience at your organization. As brand managers, we would tell you that positive customer experiences and earned media should be authentic attributes/actions of your brand. Today, we'll tell you that not only does it strengthen your brands reputation, but it will improve how your brand performs on Google: a double win.
SEO and Markon
We've never claimed that SEO was a strength at Markon. However, after MozCon we now understand that our understandings of SEO are, well, spot on. Armed with the tips and tools we learned at the conference we are ready to provide stronger guidance and support to our clients on this topic, and strengthen the suite of services we offer. Stay tuned for more.