I recently attended MozCon, a three-day conference extravaganza for content marketers, and came away impressed by the quality of the presentations, the incredible organization of the event itself and the the amazing people I met in Seattle. Not to mention the snacks!
First: AI is a big deal. No surprise. Machine learning is fundamentally changing the way we search (and find) the information we want and need. Chatbots are growing almost twice as fast as apps, when they first became ubiquitous and the speed with which Voice-First devices are hitting the market is even greater. This VoiceLabs report predicts there will be 33 million voice-first devices in circulation in 2017 compared to 1.7 million in 2015. In a short amount of time, we have begun to expect our mobile/portable devices to understand us. (And articles like this, about the coming changes in content marketing, are becoming more and more prevalent.)
Here are five (more) useful insights from MozCon:
1. Getting Featured in Snippets
One of the most talked about topics this year at MozCon was Featured Snippets. They’re those short answer summaries that you find at the top of your Google search results, right under the ads and usually in a box. Their purpose is to provide users with quick answers to user queries. They allow web pages to get showcased even before the top ranking organic results, and can also help increase traffic to those pages. Plus, they take up a lot of real estate, especially on mobile. Snippets is one of the best places to be.
So, how do content marketers get there? Google tends to choose the pages with the most newsworthy information at the top, followed by general information lower down. Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz suggests experimenting with Inverted Pyramids to get featured.
Also worth mentioning: Voice Search doesn’t work like text search where you get multiple useful – and sometimes not – results. You only get what the AI has determined is the best answer. So, when you’re asking your Google Home or Amazon Echo to pull something up, the answer is taken directly from the text-based Featured Snippets. In order to become THE answer in Voice, this is where marketers should focus their energy.
2. Paid Social: They Love YOUR Content but Not YOUR Emails
Kane Jamison from Content Harmony talked about some creative tactics to improve paid campaign strategies. There are always newsletter subscribers who love content, but for whatever reason, just don’t open emails. By creating a custom audience of subscribers that don’t open emails, content marketers can post targeted content ads in their social feeds.
B2B targeting costs can be reduced by leveraging best performing click-through ads as CPM campaigns on LinkedIn. By connecting the ad to a high-converting landing page, that audience can be retargeted through AdWords. This is a great way to leverage the LinkedIn audience without breaking the budget!
3. PWA’s for Online and Offline Access
Due to the many different mobile devices and tablets, creating Apps is a complicated and expensive affair. Progressive Web Apps or PWA’s are modified websites that can be accessed by various devices and browsers. They allow users to access sites on- or offline, and can even send them push notifications.
Cindy Krum of Mobile Moxie, showed that Google has started integrating PWA’s into their Google Now/Knowledge graph results allowing users to add a shortcut to their home screen. This provides users with fast and optimized access to content anytime, anywhere, whether they’re connected or not.
4. Break the Silos for Growth
Joanna Lord from ClassPass spoke about how growth done right is easier said than done. Especially when it comes to staff. Restructuring teams based on goals rather than by functional departments provides autonomy to each group so that they can be agile, adaptable and nimble. Each team must be staffed by people with the expertise to plan, strategize, execute, test, deliver and monitor projects. They also need a strong leader to champion initiatives, provide approvals and consult with the executive team. The key here is that team leaders have enough authority to get things done without a long approval chain.
5. APIs + AI + Big Data = Personalization
Cindy Krum also spoke about the new level of personalization that’s coming by integrating AI, APIs and Big Data. With the recently launched Google Assistant – Google’s new virtual personal assistant – which connects to your mobile device, watch, home and car, Google has all it needs to capture users’ habits, trends, and purchase behaviors, among other things.
With this technology, “Googling it” will no longer provide you with a long list of possible answers. Instead you will be provided with THE best answer based on your own personal data in combination with Google’s data and search algorithm.
Technology is changing the way we find information and interact with our devices. Trying to rank with keywords isn’t going to cut it anymore. Content marketers need to be creative and find ways to adapt to everything from reorganizing teams to creating valuable content for new devices and platforms.
If you’d like to chat with me about #MozCon or the evolving world of #SEO, feel free to tweet me at @joelleirvine.
Hero image provided by Moz moz.com/mozcon.