MozCon Local 2017: What I Took From It

For those wondering, #MozCon Local info can be found here. It’s a new marketing conference hosted in Seattle, WA by Moz.com every year since 2016 and is a local focused version of the main MozCon event hosted from July 17–19, 2017 this year.

MozCon Local 2017 Logo

Now that I’ve explained what it is, here’s my perception going into MozCon Local and my perception once I arrived home in Portland.

Before MozCon

I’ve been in website development and SEO since Jan 4th of 2010, right after I was laid off from UPS. During the first few years, I got deep into niche marketing and built thousands of simple, yet profitable, websites for entrepreneurs and myself.

Sometime around 2014 everything started shifting drastically in Google. Instead of niche websites ranking for terms like “black dining tables”, websites like Amazon, Ikea, Sears, Google, etc. started dominating the SERPs.

Thankfully I had a backup and had started consulting businesses but the niche industry changed forever killing hundreds of my websites traffic (the majority of my visitors came from Google Search). Instead of developing websites for niche marketers, I started working with local businesses.

Going into MozCon Local 2017

I had been speculating heavily in my head whether or not the value of a website for local businesses is going to be at the forefront for much longer. My theory was that Google Home Services (GHS is found by searching for plumbers in San Francisco) was a starting point for Google to take over the local search market entirely (GHS doesn’t even list a website, because it doesn’t need to).

Google Home Services result for “Plumbers San Fran”

Even Willys DeVoll, of Google My Business, stated that GHS was one of Google’s most ambitious projects (it’s being tested in cities like San Fran, San Diego and Los Angeles).

What appears in Google Home Services after you click “See profile”

The results bring back exactly what a user is looking for. Everyone is on the same playing field (excluding the ad spend) and there’s no confusion of a websites design or structure. They immediately express the most important elements; ie, what services they provide, if they can provide those services to the searcher, and if so, how to get in contact with them using either phone/email.

It’s simple. It’s clean. It just works.

How can you deny that this is how the internet should be formatted? The only thing missing from the results are photos and videos.

Which leads me into noting the points expressed by Rand Fishkin during his keynote. Google receives the largest search engine queries at 59%. Google Images is the 2nd largest “search engine” at 27%, wow. And lastly, YouTube is the 3rd largest pulling in 4%.

What does this mean?

Text, images, & video.

Simply put, they’re the most important elements to a searcher and Google has all 3 in mass. My belief is that Google is slowly going to grasp this market and the homepage for most businesses at this point will be a Google search result. Maybe even a link to goo.gl/moz (used as an example, it’s not real) which shows something that looks like this…

Example of a Moz search result being the homepage of Moz.

I put this together in about 10 minutes, using inspect element, so it’s not my precise theory but it’s close. Note that the objective is for Google to keep you on their site. The links don’t open.. links. Instead they open pages like goo.gl/moz/about/ or a lightbox.

GMB + GHS = Beautiful.. just sayin’

Add in the same elements that are in GHS (Google Home Services for reference again) and change the business to a service provider, local shop, etc. and they’ve completely dominated the space.. but in a way that, again, puts everyone on the same playing field. A business would no longer have to rely on a website developer, graphic designer, search engine optimization service, etc. (to an extent). Instead, their services, pictures & videos of their work, along with reviews, would be the key differences ultimately giving businesses that DESERVE to be in the forefront that ability.

It’s a scary thought, but I truly believe (even after the conference) it would be more beneficial to the world, at least for local businesses, and a way to highlight those businesses that truly do good work.

So, all of this leads me to my new perception.

After MozCon

If you’ve read this far, you understand, to a degree, my previous theory. But after speaking and listening to Willys DeVoll, Rand Fishkin, Aaron Weiche, Kate Morris, Mike Blumenthal, Ashley Berman Hale, Darren Shaw, George Freitag, Mary Bowling, Cindy Krum, and Greg Gifford, my thoughts have changed quite a bit.

I’m still evaluating exactly what I learned from MozCon Local 2017, but I can say without a doubt there are a few key areas (that we can be apart of) I really feel will have a huge impact on the industry now and going forward.

These include:

  • Photography (photographer at MozCon, Turk Photos)
  • Video Production (Fresh Level Productions)
  • Consulting & Advertising (Nifty Marketing)
  • Website Development (I still feel this matters, as the website is the core of Google’s current setup, we provide this but so do thousands of other companies or freelancers worldwide)
  • Any Sort of Automation or Analytics (Tidings Company, Moz or STAT SearchAnalytics)
  • Search Engine Optimization (this is and will be, in my opinion, the most valuable piece of marketing/conversion a business owner will have)

And… the area I’d like our company to get more involved in, which was an idea that I had expressed to both Darren Shaw and Aaron Weiche.

Reviews & Reputation Management

We’re working on something similar to Whitespark’s review handout but with a twist and a bit more feature-rich. It’s been in my mind for quite some time and our team had already started working on it in 2015. So I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to speak directly with Darren Shaw about the idea and hope to see that it could benefit companies like Get Five Stars with Mike Blumenthal and Aaron Weiche.

My mind is much more clear after my conversations with these amazing people. I’d like to seriously thank Britney Muller as she tweeted a bit over a month ago about MozCon Local 2017 and caught my eye. It’s because of her that I attended this event and I am extremely grateful, especially given my admiration for Rand Fishkin and many of the other wonderful presenters (and attendees) at this event. Lastly, Megan Singley, I wasn’t able to meet but I know she had a hand in helping during the conference, great job!

And now…

Photos :)

Before you go, here’s a video by 1SEO to get a recap (not affiliated, just a cool vid)

P.S. I have to point this out. Notice that for people on Medium, I actually tagged them using the @ symbol, but for people who weren’t or businesses that weren’t, I shot them a direct link. Interesting..

P.P.S. Goodbye MozCon Local 2017 and MozCon Local 2018, here I come!

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