Wil Reynolds at Mozcon 2016

Mozcon 2016: Wil Reynolds

This content is 5 years old. Please, read this page keeping its age in mind as SEO changes rapidly and while the past is useful to remember and reference, it often doesn't provide the best strategies to apply today.

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.

Wil Reynolds from SEER Interactive closes out day two.  He’s talking about feelings and start by pointing out that Domain Authority is not a number n the real world.  He then moves on to pointing out that we all try to shame people on our sites.  We try to convince them that they will not have friends or will not have a great life, etc if we don’t buy or do what the site is there to promote.

We need to remember that people bring their emotional baggage.  He uses the following commercial as an example:

So if you want to make sure you’re not alienating your visitors what can you do?

  • Chat logs
  • Individual interviews
  • Sit on sales calls
  • Having people “Google” a solution
  • Video what they think vs your opinion

Sometimes people tell you amazing things that you couldn’t get from keywords.  How do you solve problems people don’t know to look for like where “ethnic beauty products” get placed in a store.

He uses his wine example.  Given the same wine the pleasure centers of the brain light up when the person drinking it is told it’s $90/bottle vs $10.

He moves on to talking about high-volume keywords.  He laughs at people targeting the highest volume keywords as you’re targeting the same thing as everyone else.  He then mocks gated content.  The “give me something before I give you something” mentality.  It should die if Wil has his way.


He brings up Reddit and a thread helping people find a laptop.  The laptop became so inundated with marketers they had to create a policy about affiliate links.

We love it when a company makes our problem their problems …

Airlines tend to believe that once you’ve bought a ticket you’re done.  One company did not …


Next he’s chatting about misspellings and the habit of targeting a page for them.  Do you want to start the interaction with your brand targeting misspellings?  The answer is obviously no as you can’t undo that negative association.

Any interaction with your site either builds, reinforces or destroys your brand.

He references the Staple’s Easy button (that does nothing) vs the Tide Button that when pushed has new pods ordered.  It delivers on it’s promise.

Amazon also delivers on the promise – they are trusted and provide convenience, returns are easy and they let you know if there’s a delay  And because so many people have Prime, even if something is cheaper at Walmart people won’t buy it.  He also mentions that that trust means people don’t search Google for products, they go straight to Amazon.

Thought – remove friction.  If you look at landing pages for pages people land on on your site you’ll see how to remove friction.

Wil then directs us to an awesome tool for finding out what people are looking for related or a subject or company.  It’s a very cool tool and you’ll find it at http://answerthepublic.com/.

You should also be solving problems.  If your title and description doesn’t help solve the searchers problem you won’t get the click.

So how do you turn solving problems into building trust and money?

Use your own data to pitch revenue (like current ranking vs revenue from it or use SEMrush).  This brings us to the steps in the gathering stage:

  1. Proof – give an example where you have done what needs to be done.
  2. Value – give a three year valuation on the great content you want to develop and create content that will last years.
  3. Assists – next we need to look as assisted conversions to put a proper value of something.

Next comes the pitch:

  1. After you  pull your current data and positions you need to put a value to it.
  2. Then factor in assists
  3. Then create a worse case scenario like being 50% off to make sure they are realistic.

After this you need to protect your client/boss from the future.

Brand growth

When Wil want to measure brand growth he uses:

He moves on to discussing knowing your target.  He uses Chinese-Americans buying a home as an example.  If it isn’t Feng Sui then they are less likely to buy.  A huge cost to realtors who don’t know.

So ask – as I solving the problem for that user?

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