The many faces of marketing

Our key learnings from the Product Marketing Summit – and what you can learn, too

We caught up Juliette Aiken, Victoria Dovey, and Julia Neuhold, to find out more about:

  • the role of the product marketer
  • why it’s an up-and-coming function in businesses around the world
  • and what takeaways you can apply to your role, regardless of the marketing prefix your job title bears.

1. Firstly, tell us a bit about what product marketers do. Does it differ from regular marketing?

Juliette:

Product marketers work at the intersection between product and marketing, but also sales. We work closely with the product management team in creating successful products that sales teams enjoy selling and customers love using. dotdigital started as a pure-play ESP 20(!) years ago. With the launch of our campaign orchestration tool, we evolved into a marketing automation platform. When I joined the business, automation adoption was under 20%; just last week we found that more than 80% of our customer base now adopted automation! Since then, we’ve added a host of channels and smart functionality and have advanced further into the Customer Engagement space. MarTech is always evolving, as are the expectations of the marketer, and so as you can imagine, a lot of our time goes into making sure we get the product messaging and positioning right. We need to ensure people know what value they can get from our platform.

As for whether it differs from regular marketing, it depends. Ultimately, there is much overlap between the goals of marketers and product marketers, the process and how you get there is what tends to differ. Although saying that, many marketers already fulfill product marketing functions, they just don’t get called out as such. It’s a mixed bag really.

Victoria:

Externally, product marketers communicate a product offering to customers. Internally, they act as a translation and communication team for the product team to other departments. One key area that is, however, often overlooked is that both of these functions also work in reverse as we feed back to the wider product team from all the people inside and outside the business we speak to in our roles.

Stakeholder management is a big part of it, keeping them informed and having the facts and figures in your back pocket to justify roadmap items, proving value to both the business and customers. Because they operate in such a multi-disciplinarian manner, product marketers need to be skilled in strategy, creativity, and also people management. I think that’s one of the reasons why product marketing is growing so quickly, because it brings the business together whilst also allowing it to move to new places.

Julia:

One thing I will say is that product marketing at dotdigital is never dull. We are part of the product team, but we sit in on meetings with sales and marketing, and work closely with a number of customer-facing teams. As a product marketer, you’re different things to different people, which requires quite a diverse skillset – the key one being communication. I particularly enjoy how we are asked to combine creativity and analytical skills to solve problems and keep everyone looking forward. The Product Marketing Alliance just released the State of Product Marketing Report 2019, which is worth checking out it you’re interested in product marketing goals, responsibilities, and so on.

2. So there’s definitely an overlap with marketing! Was this reflected in the attendance of the Product Marketing Summit last week?

Victoria:

There are loads of transferable skills between us, and we work a lot of the same space. We communicate directly with customers working with the marketing department on campaigns and the marketing website, and work together on content and event ideas. 

Julia:

The summit was attended mostly by product marketer execs and managers like us, but there were also some growth marketers and growth product managers who share very similar goals as us. Ultimately, we’re all working towards increasing platform and feature adoption. 

3. Was there a common thread across the talks?

Juliette:

Many of the topics discussed on the day can be brought back to the same central theme: communication. What you say, how you say it, and even when you say something can have an effect on the impact and success of your message. As marketers we have to think whether something is a marketing message, or an operational one, and so on. Whilst defining these is important from a legal or industry guideline standpoint, customers don’t see it that way. They expect the same familiar, relevant experience whether you’re sending a BAU marketing email versus an update on their last order. So really, I think a lot of attendees came away with the message that all communications count as touchpoints and that they should strive for consistency between them – regardless of who ‘owns’ that channel.

Julia:

The biggest recurring theme for me was the idea that we’re not just selling a product, we’re selling a solution to a problem, and to do that, you need empathy. If you just focus on the product, you’ll end up with an all-singing- all-dancing end result that appeals to no one, precisely because it’s trying to appeal to everyone. But if you focus just on the customer and ignore the product, you can end up in a space wildly different from your actual value proposition, making you again appeal to no one. Pain points should be front and center to value propositions; but rather than trying to please everyone, you need to get to the bottom of what it is they want to achieve, and find a solution that might be different from what they were expecting.

4. What communication trends are you interested in at the moment?

Victoria:

We’ve discussed how important it is to get to know your customer, and one of the best ways to get to know their pain points is to make it easy for them to get in touch. Frictionless two-way communication is a big part of this. it applies to our own customer comms as well as the end customers of our platform users. Enabling replies to messages, whether they are emails, SMS, or web chats is crucial in improving brand-customer relationships; and improving those relationships is often the last battleground between you and your competitors. 

Julia:

I agree, and another way to improve upon these relationships is by building trust. Just like our personal relationships, customers require honesty and transparency in what they are getting. For your product or service, it helps to be direct with customers by removing jargon and marketing filler words – just be frank in what they are getting for their money!

For your communications, the GDPR of course requires you to have clear opt-in and opt-out processes. This means many businesses have been forced to focus on what us good marketers have known for years – providing something valuable in your content that the campaign audience will want to read or know about! But it also helps to set expectations from the start by breaking down what it is they’ll be receiving from you, how often, and giving them granular control of this so it’s not an all-or-nothing captive situation. At dotdigital, one of the ways we advocate for transparency is through our public roadmap. It’s something quite unique to us in our market space and allows customers to always know what our product team is working on.

Juliette:

One of the points raised at the Product Marketing Summit was around the voice of the customer – and who looks after it. In most businesses, many teams wear the ‘voice of the customer’ hat, and rightly so. They all have a part to play in collating feedback, all from different standpoints which makes it all the more valuable. It is however important that one team is in charge of synthesizing all this feedback, to ensure it gets distilled in a way that is meaningful and actionable. So whilst not an established (internal) communication trend yet, I hope this is something that will be recognized and gain more traction in 2020, both at dotdigital and other businesses.

5. And finally, what are your top three takeaways from the Product Marketing Summit that everyone could learn from?

Juliette:

The idea that the competition isn’t always who you think it is. Krishna Panicker, VP of Product at Pipedrive, delivered a great talk on this and relayed that during his time at Skype, no one even saw WhatsApp coming for them. As far as Skype was concerned, it delivered a desktop based voice-calling app, and newcomer WhatsApp was a mobile messaging app that was playing in an entirely different space. We all know what happened next.

Another frequently cited example of a company thinking of its competition differently is that of Netflix, and how sleep is their biggest competitor. 
The key takeaway here is if you focus solely on the product, you get more product – the only differentiator between you and a competitor becomes a checkbox. Panicker revisits the principle of minimum differentiation and urges us all to look for the ‘invisible slice of the pie’. 

It’s a timely message for us here at dotdigital as well, especially as we are in the middle of our annual Hackweek. During Hackweek the known macro-level pressures are put to one side, and the tech teams have a chance to focus on creative, innovative projects that will make a difference. The winning result is a highly original product, tool, or feature that enhances the marketer’s day job. Stay tuned for a blog in January to find out which idea won this year…

Victoria:

For me, it was mostly the idea of how much it benefits everyone to have product marketing in the room sooner. Because we are unique in working across so many different departments, we bring perspective that could sometimes go amiss. We know what’s coming with the product, and we know the history of decision-making that led to that advancement in the roadmap. Not only that, but we can take the knowledge and comments of other teams and feed that back into the product. This kind of knowledge sharing ultimately empowers everyone in the business. 

Julia:

Finally, I’d say that the role of sales enablement goes beyond what people typically perceive it to be. You’re essentially enabling any customer-facing team, to tell the right product stories in whatever context they find themselves in. And more importantly: this relationship goes two ways. At dotdigital, working closely with account managers and customer success allows us to regularly gather valuable customer feedback. In that same vein, it’s also our responsibility to enable the core marketing team to ensure there’s a coherent brand experience. This, combined with the fact that we wear so many hats, is why we encourage all staff members to come to us with anything they feel we can help with. And we would encourage you to do the same with your product marketing team!


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Teach Google About Your Entities by Using Topical Hubs – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by gfiorelli1

I’m not so sure it’s correct to say—as is so common lately—that today’s SEO is a new one, especially with regard to on-site SEO.
Many of the things that are necessary today were also necessary in the past: a well-designed information architecture, a great navigation structure, good internal linking, etc.
We should talk instead of a new emphasis we must give to some factors as old as SEO itself.
Today I’ll talk about one of these factors—Topical Hubs—that, although it has been important in the past, is even more so today with Hummingbird and the increasing weight Google gives to semantics and thematic consistency of the sites.

[Disclaimer about my accent in the video: I swear, my English is not so bad, even if it really sounds Italian; just the idea that I was in Seattle shooting a WBF stressed every cell in my body].

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Video Transcription

Hola, Moz fans. I’m Gianluca Fiorelli. Finally, you are going to see my face and not just my picture or avatar.

I’m here not to talk about how to snap faces, but about topical hubs. 

What are topical hubs? We are going to discover it. 


Why are we talking about topical hubs? We are going to talk about it because of Hummingbird
. Hummingbird, we know that it’s not a really well-known algorithm, but it has really changed how Google works.

One thing we know is that it is simplifying the results [SERPs]. 

One thing that is not working anymore, that was really, really a goldmine for SEO, was working on long, long tails. You can remember maybe many sites targeting millions of pages about every kind of long queries possible. This is not so anymore because
Hummingbird has simplified [everything]. If query A, query B, and query C are the same when query D, Google will always show query D [SERPs].

In order to optimize your site for this kind of new semantic understanding that Google has of the queries – especially conversational query – we must understand that
we have to think in entities and not in keywords. We have to think about the connection between the entities, and we have to be really sure about the context of the content that we are creating

All these three things then will guide our keyword research.

How can we do this?

We should start our job not from keywords but from entities. 

These are a
few tools that we can use, like directly using the Freebase APIs, which is directly using a Google source (as Freebase is Google), or we can use the AlchemyAPI, which can make our job easier. 

There are also other tools, like 
ConceptNetYahoo Glimmer, and Bottlenose. Bottlenose… I suggest it to you if you are going to create or craft a site about something which is really mainstream, but has concepts stemming especially from social. Bottlenose is really good because it’s taking care also of entity recognition in social media. 

There is RelFinder, which is a really nice tool for free. It is relying on the dBASE, the Wikipedia database.

From there, using these tools, we can understand, for instance, let’s say we are talking about pizza because we are a pizzeria (I’m Italian). 

Using these tools, we can understand what the concepts are related to pizza: What kind of pizza (thin, crunchy, regular pizza, with tomatoes, without tomatoes, Neapolitan or Romana, so many kinds), but also the history of pizza, because Pizza Margherita was named from an Italian queen. 

We can discover also that pizza can be related to geography also because pizza is Italian, but the World Championship of Acrobatic Pizza (which is a sport) is Spanish. 

We can understand many, many entities, many, many facts around the concept of pizza that can populate our site about pizzas.

Let’s say that we are a pizzeria. We have a local site, and we are maybe in Tribeca. We shouldn’t just focus ourselves on the entity search of “pizzas,” but we should start also thinking about entity searches for entities related to Tribeca, so New York Movie Festival, Robert De Niro, etc.

Once we have all of these entities,
we should start thinking about the ontology we want to use, that we can extract from these entities, how to group them and create our categories for the site. 

The categories of a site substantially are our topical hubs.

Going to another kind of website, let’s think of a classical real estate classified site. 

We usually have in every classified site the homepage, then the category and product pages. People always say, “How can we make our category pages rank?”

Consider them to be topical hubs. 

A good site for topical hubs could be a microsite.
We have just to think of our site as if it was a composition of microsites all contextually connected

So the category page in this case should be considered as a new site all about, for instance, Tribeca or all about Harlem, or Capitol Hill in Seattle, or any other neighborhood if we are talking about real estate.

From there, once we have decided our categories, we can start doing the keyword research, but using a trick,
we must credit Dan Shure for the tip, which is to find keywords related to the entities

Now Dan Shure is suggesting to us to do this: going to Keyword Planner and instead of putting a few keywords to retrieve new ones, use a Wikipedia page of the entity related to the content that we are going to optimize. Goggle will start suggesting us keyword groups, and those keyword groups are all related to a specific subset of the entity we are talking about.

So we can start optimizing our page, our content hub, with the keywords Google itself is extracting from the best SERPs of entities (Freebase or Wikipedia). In doing so, we are creating a page which is really well optimized on the keywords side, but also on the entity side, because all of those keywords we are using are keywords that Google relates to specific entities.

But that’s not all, because when we talk about topical hubs, we have to talk, again, about the
context, and the context is not just writing the classic, old SEO text. It’s also giving value to the category page.

So if we have done a good audience analysis, maybe we can understand that in Capitol Hill, there is a certain demographic. So we can organize the content on the hub page focusing on that demographic, and we know that we will have our text talking about the neighborhood, but we also have our initial listings. Maybe we can see, for instance, if a neighborhood is really appreciated, or if the demographic is young families with two kids and so on. Maybe we can add values, like Zillow is doing: has school close to or in the neighborhood, or parks close to the neighborhood, or where to go to eat in the neighborhood, or landmarks in the neighborhood.

All of this content, which is adding value for the user, is also
adding contextual value and semantic value for Google.

One
tip. When you are optimizing a page, especially category pages, let’s say you have the category page Capitol Hill, Seattle for your real estate site. Tag it with the Schema.org property sameAs, the Capitol Hill word, and link that sameAs to the Wikipedia page of Capitol Hill. If it doesn’t exist, write yourself a web page about Capitol Hill. You are going to tell Google that your page is exactly about that entity.

So when we have all of these things, we can start thinking about the content we can create, which is contextually relevant both to our entity search (we did a keyword search related to the entities) and also to the audience analysis we did.

So, returning to my pizzeria, we know that we can start doing recipes and tag them with recipe micro data. We can do videos and mark that them with a video object. We can do short forms, and especially we can try to do the long forms and tag them with the article schema and trying to be included in the in-depth article box. We can start writing guides. We can start thinking about UGC and Q&A.

We can try especially to create things about the location where we are set, which in my pizzeria case was Tribeca, creating a news board to talk and discuss about the news of what’s happening in Tribeca, what the people of Tribeca are doing, and if we are lucky, we can also think to do newsjacking, which we know is really strong.

For instance, do you remember the Oscar night when the guy with the pizza was entering on the stage? Well, maybe we could do something similar in Tribeca, because there’s a movie festival there. So, maybe during the red carpet show our person goes to all of the celebrities and starts giving pizza to them, or at least a Coke?

So doing these things we are creating something which is really, really thought about in a semantic way, because we are really targeting our site to all of the entities related to our micro-topic. We have it optimized also on a keyword level, and we have it optimized on a semantic search level. We have created it crossing our search with the audience search.

We’re
creating content which is responding both to our audience and Google

And doing so, we are not going to need to create millions of pages targeting long, long tails. 

We just need really strong topical hubs that stem content, which will be able to respond properly to all the queries we were targeting before.

I hope you enjoyed this Whiteboard Friday.

And, again, I beg your pardon for my accent (luckily you have the transcript).

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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I See Content Everywhere – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by MarkTraphagen

Most of us who work in content marketing have felt the strain that scaling puts on our efforts. How on Earth are we supposed to keep coming up with great ideas for new pieces of content? The answer is, in some sense, all around us. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, MozCon community speaker Mark Traphagen shows us how to see the world in a different way—a way that’s chock full of content ideas.

Heads-up! We’re publishing a one-two punch of Whiteboard Fridays from our friends at Stone Temple Consulting today. Be sure to check out “Content Syndication” by Eric Enge, as well!

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Video transcription

Hey, hello. I’m Mark Traphagen from Stone Temple Consulting, and welcome to this week’s Whiteboard Friday. I want to talk to you today, starting out, about a movie that I hope you’ve all seen by now, because this should not be a spoiler alert. I’m not even going to spoil the movie, but it’s “The Sixth Sense.”

Most of you know that movie. You’ve seen it and remember it. The little kid who says that creepy thing: “I see dead people.”

What I want to give to you today, what I want to try to teach you to do and bring to you is that you see, not dead people, but content and see it everywhere. Most of us realize that these days we’ve got to be producing content to be effective on the Web, not only for SEO, but to be effective in our marketing, in our branding and building the reputation and trust authority that we need around our brand. That’s going to be happening by content.

We’re all topically challenged

But if you’re the one tasked with coming up with that content and you’ve got to create it, it’s a tough job. Why? Most of us are topically challenged. We come to that moment, “What do I write about? What do I do that video about? What do I make that podcast about? What’s the next thing I’m going to write about?” That’s going to be the hardest thing.

When I talk to people about this, people who do this, like I do every day for a living, producing, inventing content, they’re almost invariably going to put that in the top three and usually number one. What do I do? Where do I get this from?

It’s more important now than ever before. It used to be just most companies that did content at all, websites, would hire an SEO copywriter. They’d actually use that term. We need an SEO copywriter. That usually meant that we’re looking for somebody who’s going to know where to put the keywords in enough times, and we don’t really care what else goes on with the content, what they write or how they say it or how good a writer they are as long as they can know the ways to manipulate the search engines.

Well, I think most of us now, if you watch these Whiteboard Friday videos, you know it, that that just doesn’t work anymore. That’s not going to cut it. Not only does that not really work with the search engines so well anymore, but it’s not really using your content effectively. It’s not using it to build, again, that reputation, that trust, that authority that you need around your brand and that content can be so powerful to do.

Get yourself some cyborg content eyes

So what I’m going to challenge you to do today is to get content eyes. You’ve got to get content eyes. You’ve got to get eyes that see content everywhere. This is what I train myself to do. It’s why I’m never out of ideas for that next blog post or that next video. You start to see it everywhere. You’ve got to get those eyes for it.

You’ve got to be like that professional photographer. Professional photographers are like this. This is what they have. Some of them, maybe they are born with it, but I think a lot of them have just developed it. They train themselves that everywhere they walk, when they’re going down the city street, when they’re out in the country, or wherever they are, they see photographs. The rest of us will walk right by it and say, “That’s just stuff happening.” But they see that old man on the street that has a face that tells a story of long ages. They see the way that shadow falls across the street at that moment, that right time of day. They see that’s a photograph. That’s a photograph. That’s a photograph.

You’ve got to start looking for that with content. You’ve got to be like Michelangelo. According to legend anyway, he said that he could look at a block of granite and see the sculpture that was inside it, waiting for him to chisel it out. That’s what you’ve got to train yourself to do.

So what I want to do today with the rest of this time is to give you some ways of doing that, some ways that you can look at the other content that you’re reading online, or videos you’re watching, conversations that you get into, listening to a conference speaker, wherever you are to start to look for that and get those content eyes. So let’s break into what those are.

Like the bumper sticker says, question everything

By questioning everything here, I mean develop a questioning mind. This is a good thing to do anyway when you’re reading, especially when you’re reading non-fiction content or you’re looking at and evaluating things. But for the content producer, this is a great tool.

When I’m looking at a piece of content, when I’m watching one of Rand’s Whiteboard Friday videos, I don’t just say, “Oh, it’s Rand Fishkin. I’ve got to take everything that he says.” I formulate questions in my mind. Why is that true? He just went past that fact there, but how does he know that?

Wait, I’d like to know this, but I’m looking at a Whiteboard video. I could yell at it all day, and Rand’s not going to answer me. But maybe instead of just putting that question in the comments, maybe that becomes my next piece of content.

Install a question antenna

So question everything. Get those questions. Related to that — get a question antenna up. Now what I mean by that is look for questions that are already there, but aren’t getting answered. You see a great blog post on something, and then you look in the comments and see somebody has asked this great question, and neither the author of the blog post nor anybody else is really answering it adequately. Chances are, if that’s a really great question, that person doesn’t have it alone. There are a lot of other people out there with that same question.

So that’s an opportunity for you to take that and make a piece of content out of it. We’re talking here about something that’s relevant to the audience that you’re after, obviously. So that’s another thing is looking for those questions, and not just on other pieces of content, but obviously you should be listening to your customers. What are the questions they’re asking? If you don’t have direct access to that, talk to your sales staff. Talk to your customer service people. Whoever interfaces with the customers, collect their questions. Those are great sources of content.

Finally, here, not finally. Second to finally, penultimate, do the mash-up. I love mash-ups. I’m totally obsessed with them. It’s where somebody, an artist goes and takes two or three or sometimes more pieces of pop music —

they could be from different eras — and puts them together in a very creative way. It’s not just playing one after the other, but finds ways that they sonically match up and they can blend over each other. It might be a Beatles song over Gangster’s Paradise. A whole new thing happens when they do that.

Juxtapose this! By which I mean do a mash-up.

Well, you can do mash-ups. When you’re reading content or watching videos or wherever you’re getting your stimulation, look for things that juxtapose in some way, that you could bring that in, in some way that nobody’s done before.

Quickly, there are four kinds of things you should be looking for to do your mash-up. Sometimes you could be writing about things that intersect in some way. You might see two different pieces of content and, because you’ve got your content eyes out there, you say, “Ah, there’s an overlap here that nobody is talking about.” So you talk about it. You write about that.

It might be a total contrast. It might be like over here people are saying this, and over here people are saying that. Why is there such a difference?

Maybe you can either resolve that or even just talk about why that difference is there.

It can be just an actual contradiction. There’s contradiction in this thing. Why is that contradiction there? Or maybe just where they complement each other. That’s supposed to be a bridge between there. Not a very good bridge. The two things, how do they complement each other? The mash-up idea is taking two or more ideas that are out there floating around, that you’ve been thinking about, and bringing them together in a way that nobody else has.

Before I go on to the last one here, I just want to say “Do you see what we’re doing?” We’re synthesizing out of other stimulus that’s out there to produce something that is unique, but birthed out of other ideas. That’s where the best ideas come from. That’s a way that you can be getting those ideas.

Let’s brand-name-acne-treatment this topic up

Let’s go to the last one here. I call it Clearasil because it’s clearing things up. This is one I use a lot. Maybe it’s because I have a background as a teacher years ago. I’ve got to make this clear. I’ve got to explain this. When you see something out there that is interesting or new, somebody presents some new facts, a test result, whatever it is, but they just kind of presented the facts, you could go, if you understand it, and say, “I think I know what that’s happening. I think I know the implications of that.” You could go and explain that. Now you have cleared that up, and you’ve created a great new piece of useful content.

A quick example of that kind of thing is I had a chat with Jay Baer recently, of Convince & Convert. Something he said just pinged in my mind and I said, “Yes, that’s why some of my content works.” He has this thing that he calls “and therefore” content. He says that he’s trained his staff and himself that when they go out and they see something where somebody has said like, “This happened out there,” kind of reporting of the news, they say, “Let’s write about or do a video about or an audio or whatever, and therefore what this means to you, and therefore the next steps you need to take because of that, and therefore what might happen in the future.” You see the power of that?

So the whole thing here is getting content eyes. Learning to see content everywhere. Train yourself. Begin to ask those questions. Begin to look at the stimulus that comes in around you. Listen, look, and find out what you can put together in a way that nobody else has before, and you’ll never run out of those content ideas. Thanks a lot for joining me today.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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What Happened after Google Pulled Author and Video Snippets: A Moz Case Study

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

In the past 2 months Google made
big changes to its search results

Webmasters saw disappearing 
Google authorship photos, reduced video snippets, changes to local packs and in-depth articles, and more.

Here at Moz, we’ve closely monitored our own URLs to measure the effect of these changes on our actual traffic.
The results surprised us.

Authorship traffic—surprising results

In the early days of authorship, many webmasters worked hard to get their photo in Google search results. I confess, I doubt anyone worked harder at author snippets
than me

Search results soon became crowded with smiling faces staring back at us. Authors hired professional photographers. Publishers worked to correctly follow Google’s guidelines to set up authorship for thousands of authors.

The race for more clicks was on.

Then on June 28th,
Google cleared the page. No more author photos. 

To gauge the effect on traffic, we examined eight weeks’ worth of data from Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, before and after the change. We then examined our top 15 authorship URLs (where author photos were known to show consistently) compared to non-authorship URLs. 

The results broke down like this:

Change in Google organic traffic to Moz

  • Total Site:  -1.76%
  • Top 15 Non-Authorship URLs:  -5.96%
  • Top 15 Authorship URLs:  -2.86%

Surprisingly,
authorship URLs performed as well as non-authorship URLs in terms of traffic. Even though Moz was highly optimized for authors, traffic didn’t significantly change.

On an individual level, things looked much different. We actually observed big changes in traffic with authorship URLs increasing or decreasing in traffic by as much as 45%. There is no clear pattern: Some went up, some went down—exactly like any URL would over an extended time.

Authorship photos don’t exist in a vacuum; each photo on the page competed for attention with all the other photos on the page.
Each search result is as unique as a fingerprint. What worked for one result didn’t work for another.

Consider what happens visually when multiple author photos exist in the same search result:

One hypothesis speculates that more photos has the effect of drawing eyes down the page. In the absence of rich snippets, search click-through rates might follow more closely studied models, which dictate that
results closer to the top earn more clicks.

In the absence of author photos, it’s likely click-through rate expectations have once again become more standardized.

Video snippets: a complex tale

Shortly after Google removed author photos, they took aim at video snippets as well. On July 17th,
MozCast reported a sharp decline in video thumbnails.

Most sites, Moz included, lost
100% of their video results. Other sites appeared to be “white-listed” as reported by former Mozzer Casey Henry at Wistia. 

A few of the sites Casey found where Google continues to show video thumbnails:

  • youtube.com
  • vimeo.com
  • vevo.com
  • ted.com
  • today.com
  • discovery.com

Aside from these “giants,” most webmasters, even very large publishers at the top of the industry, saw their video snippets vanish in search results.

How did this loss affect traffic for our URLs with embedded videos? Fortunately, here at Moz we have a large collection of ready-made video URLs we could easily study: our
Whiteboard Friday videos, which we produce every, well, Friday. 

To our surprise, most URLs actually saw more traffic.

On average, our Whiteboard Friday videos saw a
10% jump in organic traffic after losing video snippets.

A few other with video saw
dramatic increases:

The last example, the Learn SEO page, didn’t have an actual video on it, but a bug with Google caused them to display an older video thumbnail. (Several folks we’ve talked to speculate that Google removed video snippets simply to clean up their bugs in the system)

We witnessed a significant increase in traffic after losing video snippets. How did this happen? 

Did Google change the way they rank and show video pages?

It turns out that many of our URLs that contained videos also saw a significant change in the number of search
impressions at the exact same time.

According to Google, impressions for the majority of our video URLs shot up dramatically around July 14th.

Impressions for Whiteboard Friday URLs also rose 20% during this time. For Moz, most of the video URLs saw many more impressions, but for others, it appears rankings dropped.

While Moz saw video impressions rise,
other publishers saw the opposite effect.

Casey Henry, our friend at video hosting company
Wistia, reports seeing rankings drop for many video URLs that had thin or little content.

“…it’s only pages hosting video with thin content… the pages that only had video and a little bit of text went down.”


Casey Henry

For a broader perspective, we talked to
Marshall Simmonds, founder of Define Media Group, who monitors traffic to millions of daily video pageviews for large publishers. 

Marshall found that despite the fact that
most of the sites they monitor lost video snippets, they observed no visible change in either traffic or pageviews across hundreds of millions of visits.

Define Media Group also recently released its
2014 Mid-Year Digital Traffic Report which sheds fascinating light on current web traffic trends.

What does it all mean?

While we have anecdotal evidence of ranking and impression changes for video URLs on individual sites, on the grand scale across all Google search results these differences aren’t visible.

If you have video content, the evidence suggests it’s now worth more than ever to follow
video SEO best practices: (taken from video SEO expert Phil Nottingham)

  • Use a crawlable player (all the major video hosting platforms use these today)
  • Surround the video with supporting information (caption files and transcripts work great)
  • Include schema.org video markup

SEO finds a way

For the past several years web marketers competed for image and video snippets, and it’s with a sense of sadness that they’ve been taken away.

The smart strategy follows the data, which suggest that more traditional click-through rate optimization techniques and strategies could now be more effective. This means strong titles, meta descriptions, rich snippets (those that remain), brand building and traditional ranking signals.

What happened to your site when Google removed author photos and video snippets? Let us know in the comments below.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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The #MozCon 2014 Agenda is Here!

Posted by EricaMcGillivray


*drumroll* …
That’s right, friends, the MozCon 2014 Agenda is here! You can now show this to your boss to get that final approval and start making plans for how many notebooks you’ll be filling with ideas and tips.

But first, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you to buy your ticket today, as MozCon has sold out the last several years.

For the best current deal on MozCon, make sure you’re a Moz Pro subscriber. If you’re not, you can sign up for
a 30-day free trial and get the Pro subscriber MozCon price immediately. Cancel your subscription at any time if it’s not for you, and we’ll see you at MozCon 2014 either way!

Okay, let’s talk about just how great this MozCon’s going to be. We have topics ranging from technical mobile SEO and A/B testing to “big content” idea generation and getting maximum value from your PR efforts. There is truly something for every type of online marketer. We have returning MozCon favorites such as Wil Reynolds, Dr. Pete Meyers, and Nathalie Nahai, as well as new speakers like Kerry Bodine, Cindy Krum, and Jeremy Bloom. Plus, we’re trying a new format—a fireside chat—with our CEO Sarah Bird, so we can really dig into what life at Moz has been like since she and Rand switched places.

Not to mention all the photos with Roger, the wonderful swag, yummy food, and all the other MozCon trimmings you expect. And yes, we’re letting Cyrus Shepard emcee again. (I’m pretty sure it’s in his Moz employment contract.)


Wil Reynolds at MozCon 2013


The MozCon Agenda


Monday

8:00-9:00am Breakfast


Rand Fishkin

9:00-9:20am Welcome to MozCon 2014! with Rand Fishkin
As our ever-changing industry keeps us on our toes, Rand gives a look at recent changes and where he sees the future of search and online marketing going.

Rand Fishkin is the founder of Moz, and he currently serves as an individual contributor, blogging, speaking, designing tools, and helping marketers worldwide level-up their game.


Kerry Bodine

9:20-10:20am Broken Brand Promises: The Disconnect Between Marketing and Customer Experience with Kerry Bodine
Companies chase the business benefits of customer experience, but advertising and marketing communications that aren’t aligned with the true capabilities of the organization foil these efforts.

Kerry Bodine is the co-author of Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business. Her ideas, analysis, and opinions appear frequently on sites like Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, USA Today, and Advertising Age. She holds a master’s degree in human-computer interaction and has designed interfaces for websites, mobile apps, wearable devices, and robots.


10:20-10:40am AM Break


Lindsay Wassell

10:40-11:20am Improve Your SEO by Mastering These Core Principles with Lindsay Wassell
Discover how SEO tactics that win in the long run complement web-friendly business practices and core principles, and how to incorporate this approach into optimization strategies for changes in search results.

Lindsay Wassell is the CEO at 
Keyphraseology, an Inbound & Search Marketing agency. Prior to Keyphraseology, she led the Moz SEO Consulting Team.


Richard Millington

11:20am-12:00pm How to Use Social Science to Build Addictive Communities with Richard Millington
Richard will explain how you can use proven principles from community science to build highly addictive online communities for your organization.

Richard Millington is the founder of 
FeverBee, an organization which has figured out how to apply proven science to build powerful communities from any group of people.


12:00-1:30pm Lunch


Kyle Rush

1:30-2:30pm Architecting Great Experiments with Kyle Rush
A/B testing will no longer be a mystery after Kyle does a deep-dive on every part of the experimentation process.

Kyle Rush is the Head of Optimization at 
Optimizely. He uses a data-driven engineering approach to execute hundreds of A/B tests.


Cindy Krum

2:30-3:10pm Mobile SEO Geekout: Key Strategies and Concepts with Cindy Krum
Learn all the technical nuances necessary to make your websites rank and perform well in mobile and tablet search!

Cindy Krum is CEO and Founder of 
MobileMoxie, a mobile SEO consulting and tools provider based in Denver, CO. She is also author of Mobile Marketing: Finding Your Customers No Matter Where They Are, which is the first book to explain mobile SEO and gets 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.



3:10-3:30pm PM Break


Mike Ramsey

3:30-4:00pm Local Lessons from Small Town USA with Mike Ramsey
Whether your audience is in one region or thousands of major metros across the world, these small town lessons will guide you through the complex world of local search. 

Mike Ramsey is the president of 
Nifty Marketing with offices in Burley and Boise, Idaho. He is also a Partner at LocalU and has an awesome wife and 3 kids who put up with all his talk about search.


Lexi Mills

4:00-4:30pm Top 10 PR Tactics and Strategies of Successful Content and Link Building with Lexi Mills
Everyone’s had an outreach pitch rejected, but Lexi will show you that by slicing and dicing your content, you can turn those no’s into yes’s. 

Lexi Mills is a PR SEO specialist, with over eight years experience working with both small firms and big brands. She has designed and implemented integrated PR, SEO, content, and social campaigns in the UK, Europe, and USA for B2B and B2C clients.


Mike King

4:30-5:10pm Digital Body Language with Mike King
No matter your business goals, Mike will teach you how to harness the power of lead qualification and nurturing through both implicit and explicit user information. 

Currently a consultant, 
Mike King has led teams covering consumer insights, content, social strategy, and SEO for Enterprise brands. With working for brands like HSBC, SanDisk, Ralph Lauren, Johnson & Johnson, and Citibank, his breadth and depth of experience continues to fuel game-changing insights. Mike is a frequent speaker, blogger, and a published author that loves to share his insights on how to do better marketing.


7:00-9:00pm #MozCrawl
More details coming soon!


Tuesday


8:00-9:00am Breakfast


Pete Meyers

9:00-10:00am How to Never Run Out of Great Ideas with Pete Meyers
Learn how to stay afloat in the coming flood of content, as Dr. Pete provides concrete tactics for sustainably creating high-value content.

Dr. Pete Meyers is a marketing scientist for Moz, where he works with the marketing and data science teams on product research and data-driven content. He has spent the past year building research tools to monitor Google, including the 
MozCast Project, and he curates the Google Algorithm History, a chronicle of Google updates back to 2003.


Stacey Cavanagh

10:00-10:30am Scaling Creativity: Making Content Marketing More Efficient with Stacey Cavanagh
Stacey will talk you through tactics and tricks to help you scale your content marketing efforts without cutting corners on quality.

Stacey Cavanagh lives in Manchester, UK, and works as head of search for 
Tecmark. Stacey also blogs regularly on digital marketing, social media, and her favorite TV ads.



10:30-10:50am AM Break


10:50-12:10pm Community Speakers!
While not finalized, community speakers are one of our most popular sessions. Four speakers from our community will give 15 minute presentations on what they’re passionate about. This year, Moz’s Director of Community, Jen Lopez, will be introducing them. 



12:10pm-1:40pm Lunch


Marshall Simmonds

1:40-2:20pm Keep the Focus on the Doughnuts with Marshall Simmonds
If you’re in a time and resource crunch, Marshall will share which tactics you should implement and prioritize, from the basic to the highly technical, based on measured and quantified data from billions of page views.

Marshall Simmonds has been involved in the search industry since it began. Over the past 17 years, he’s solidified himself as one of the top consultants in publishing and enterprise audience development. Many of the tactics you continue to employ today as best practices were either developed or refined by this guy; he’s “Internet Old.”


Jeremy Bloom

2:20pm-2:50pm Dare to Fail: How the Best Lessons Come in the Form of Defeat with Jeremy Bloom
Everyone experiences failure, but Jeremy will share the lessons he’s learned from an athlete to start-up CEO in how to leverage adversity and turn it into a road-map for success.

Jeremy Bloom is a world-champion skier, a two-time Olympian, a World Cup gold medalist, and a member of the United States Skiing Hall of Fame. He played professional football in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2008, Bloom founded Wish of a Lifetime, which grants lifelong wishes to 80-, 90-, and 100+-year-old people, and in 2010, Bloom co-founded the marketing software company 
Integrate. Integrate has raised over $20M of venture capital from Comcast, Foundry Group, and Liberty Global. It was named “Best New Company” at the 2011 American Business Awards in New York.


Justin Cutroni

2:50-3:30pm Supercharging Your Digital Analytics! with Justin Cutroni
Despite having lots of analytics tools, we too often settle for the default data and reports so let’s look at a few ways that you can get more insightful, actionable data to make better decisions!

Justin Cutroni is an author, blogger, father, skier, and the Analytics Evangelist at 
Google. He is a long-time fixture in the digital analytics community and has been nominated as the most influential industry contributor for the past four years.



3:30-3:50pm PM Break


Amber Naslund

3:50-4:20pm Developing a Formidable Social Platform with Amber Naslund
Learn what makes for a compelling online presence, balance your personal and professional self, and build a system to keep yourself sane. 

Amber Naslund is a business strategist and the president of 
SideraWorks, a social business advisory firm that helps companies adapt their culture and operations to the demands of the social web. She’s the co-author of The Now Revolution, and you can find her on Twitter at @ambercadabra.


Elizabeth Marsten

4:20-4:50pm Shop ’til You Drop: Google Shopping PPC with Elizabeth Marsten
If you’re wondering what happened to Google Shopping, Elizabeth will explain all, including how to set up PPC the right way and why it matters for your overall marketing.

Elizabeth Marsten is the Vice President of Search Marketing at 
Portent, Inc. here in Seattle. She is a PPC person at heart, but also oversees the SEO, Social, Content, and Project Management teams.


Phil Nottingham

4:50-5:30pm YouTube: The Most Important Search Engine You Haven’t Optimized For with Phil Nottingham
Phil will take a deep-dive into YouTube, the world’s second biggest and most forgotten search engine, looking at the best ways to use the channel on both a strategic and tactical marketing level, no matter your budget.

Phil Nottingham is the video strategist at 
Distilled, where he works with businesses of all shapes and sizes to define their approach to video on both a creative and technical level. He joined Distilled in April 2011, after impressing the company founders with his ability to look like a serviceable pirate, following minimal costume changes, and has since spent loads of their money on cameras and lights.


7:00pm-12:00am MozCon Party at Garage Billiards (MozCon badge required!)


Wednesday


8:20-9:20am Breakfast


Wil Reynolds

9:20-10:20am You Are so Much More than an SEO with Wil Reynolds
The label’s irrelevant as you have skills, tools, and knowledge to help get rankings and so much more, and Wil will show you the marketing goldmine you’ve been sitting on.

Wil Reynolds founded 
SEER Interactive in 2002, which now employs over 70 people and is among the 100 fastest growing companies in Philadelphia. In addition to digital marketing, Wil is also passionate about giving back to the community and sits on the advisory board of Covenant House.


Paddy Moogan

10:20-10:50am Beyond SEO – Tactics for Delivering an Integrated Marketing Campaign with Paddy Moogan
Everyone talks about the need for SEOs to diversify, but Paddy will give you actionable tips to go away and do it, no matter what your current role is.

Paddy Moogan is Head of Growth Markets at 
Distilled, working in their London office. He is a comic book geek and loves Aston Martins. His heart lives with the Hobbits in New Zealand.



10:50-11:10am AM Break


Sarah Bird and John Cook

11:10-11:40am A Mozzy View with Sarah Bird and John Cook
Moz CEO Sarah Bird sits down with GeekWire’s John Cook for a candid discussion about risk-taking, thriving with constant change, and the future of Moz.

Sarah Bird serves as CEO and as a member of Moz’s board. She loves and welcomes conversations on inbound marketing, business models, entrepreneurship, productivity tips, women in tech, and fostering inspiring company culture. Sarah’s sharp business acumen is always paired with her passionate belief in TAGFEE, Moz’s core values.

John Cook is the co-founder of 
GeekWire, a leading technology news site and community based in Seattle. A long-time tech journalist, John has covered hundreds of startup companies over the years, everything from aQuantive to Zillow.


Richard Baxter

11:40am-12:20pm Developing Your Own Great Interactive Content – What You’ll Need to Know with Richard Baxter
Even if you’re not a technical genius when it comes to interactive front-end web development projects, Richard will show you how to make something the Internet loves from ideation and conceptualization to rapid prototyping, launch, and huge coverage.

Richard Baxter is founder and CEO of 
SEOgadget, a digital marketing agency specializing in conversion rate optimization, large scale SEO, keyword research, technical strategy, and link building in high competition industries, with offices in London and San Francisco. He is a regular SEO industry commentator and proud Moz Associate.



12:20-1:50pm Lunch


Annie Cushing

1:50-2:30pm Demystifying Data Visualization for Marketers with Annie Cushing
We’ve all been frustrated with not knowing how to corral data into cool, sexy visualizations, but Annie Cushing will pull back the curtain and provide tips, tricks, and hacks to transform raw marketing data into works of art in plain English.

Annie blogs at 
annielytics.com, teaching marketers how to scavenge for marketing data and then make it sexy.


Dana DiTomaso

2:30-3:10pm Prove Your Value with Dana DiTomaso
Dana will show you how to report so there’s no doubt in your client’s mind that they’d be lost without you.

Whether at a conference, on the radio, or in a meeting, Dana DiTomaso likes to impart wisdom to help you turn a lot of marketing BS into real strategies to grow your business. After 10+ years, she’s seen (almost) everything. It’s true, Dana will meet with you and teach you the ways of the digital world, but she is also a fan of the random fact. 
Kick Point often celebrates “Watershed Wednesday” because of Dana’s diverse work and education background. In her spare time, Dana drinks tea and yells at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.



3:10-3:30pm PM Break


Nathalie Nahai

3:30-4:10pm The Psychology of Persuasive Content for “Boring” Industries with Nathalie Nahai
If your content needs a jolt of life, Nathalie will show you how to apply targeted persuasion through psychology.

Nathalie Nahai, also known as 
The Web Psychologist, is a best-selling author, consultant, and international speaker who specializes on the psychology of online persuasion. With a background in psychology, web design, and digital strategy, Nathalie coined the term “web psychology” in 2011, defining it as “the empirical study of how our online environments influence our attitudes and behaviours.”


Rand Fishkin

4:10-5:10pm Mad Science Experiments in SEO & Social Media with Rand Fishkin
Whether it’s anchor text or sharing on Google+ instead of Facebook, Rand’s spent the last few months formulating hypotheses and running tests, and now he’ll share these fascinating results to help you.

Rand Fishkin is the founder of Moz, and he currently serves as an individual contributor, blogging, speaking, designing tools, and generally trying to be helpful to marketers worldwide.


Now, are you ready to buy your ticket? 🙂 We’ll see you there!

Get Your MozCon Tickets

Dr. Pete, Aleyda, and Gianluca

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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