Mozcon 2017: Rand Fiskin Too

Rand Fishing at Mozcon 2017

DISCLAIMER: This post is written as a live blog from Mozcon. There may be typos and grammar to make my high school English teachers weep. Please excuse those … it’s a fast-paced conference with back-to-back sessions and no time for proofing or even proper writing.

Rand Fishkin takes the stage to close out Mozcon 2017 talking about how to survive on the web. This session is not to be confusion with his opening session which you’ll find our writeup here.

He starts with a story about  They started a site listing off the net worth of celebrities. They dug into the subject, interviewed people. etc and made a good living. They got an email from Google asking if they could use their data and thanked them but said no thanks as there was no value. So Google took their data and started using it and their traffic went down over 65%.

Rand refers to this as Google Trojan Horsing.

They do this with events taking the listing info from sites and in other areas like sports and then cutting down the value to the content provider.

Rand reminds us that we let them crawl us and given them information in exchange for the credit (10 links) and Google’s been clawing back the value of the credit.

He reminds us that Google mortgage calculator sucks compared to the others yet they rank #1. This sucks for the competition and it sucks for users.

Rand then rants about Google ranking their own stuff and violating their own guidelines.

Prisoner’s Dilemma

We can give them our data and risk them taking away the traffic or we can hold back the data and risk not ranking.  In the end you may get nothing or a competitor may win.

Simple Answers – Rand notes that sometimes simple answers, even if the user wants it, is not the right thing.  Climate change is a great example. We end up in messes with people not understanding facts. This also applies to medical information, etc. being dangerously incomplete.

What’s The Solution – A 5 Point Plan

  1. An SEO strategy that segments searcher intent.
  2. Content strategy that prioritizes more complex tasks.
  3. A traffic strategy that diversifies sources.
  4. Business goals that sync with your content.
  5. Incorportation of Google’s future plan with your own.

He uses Eater as an example. They doa  great job of prioritizing complex tasks (like what to do in a city), they have diversified traffic, and they’ve synced up their business goals with their different content. They created video content to attract eyes and intent.  Thy looked at what Google might do next to kill their traffic.  To they overlayed and built their own maps o do what Google would do to them.

Redfin is another example e talks about. They do a great job of segmenting use intent (help docs separated from listening), they do a great job of helping to prioritize complex tasks by pulling in tons of data and they can estimate a listing value, they have diversified traffic and have their goals sync’d not just for buying but for selling. When they’re looking to the future they’re just focusing on things Google can’t do. Lessons, they have the ability to book tours right on the site, etc.

10 Tactical Tips

  1. Prioritize buckets of keywords w. complex task completion requirements. If something can be answered with a featured snippet, etc. then you might want to avoid them.
  2. Serve “instant answer” content while enticing the click (lists that end before the task completion, etc.).  Basically raw the click.
  3. Invest in content that Google either can’t show int he search results or that builds your brand when they do. Lyft for example will give their data because it’s branding even though Google may compete down the road. Interactive content is great for this as its hard to steal.
  4. Make your internal search and nav as good or better tan what Google can provide. Make your site highly usable. Help users complete the task. By serving conscious and unconscious needs provide a UX Google can’t compete with.
  5. Drive visitors to owned subscription channels. As long as Google offers ways to drive traffic to your site vs host content with them take it. Email and your site and the best followed by apps.
  6. Leverage RLSA to ourank Google for the searchers who matter most.
  7. Bias search suggests in your favor through linguistic branding.  We win if searchers enter brand queries. Trivago did this and te ads helped their SEO.
  8. Use influential marketing to become the brand searchers recognize. This is any type of influencer – brands, YouTubers, etc.
  9. You want your visitors to believe there’s not reason to Google something because you solve the problem to elegantly and completely. Google tends to present solutions but nerdwallet solves the problem before you know it.
  10. If Google is already in your space, find what they fail to deliver and double-down. Wunderground is a great example, for the people who want more than just the answer for weather they are compete and give an experience that Google just can’t and builds loyalty through that.

And that’s the end of Mozcon 2017. Coverage will continue in 12 months …. 🙂

You can download his slide deck here.