MozCon 2019: Takeaways, Tricks, and Treasures

Content Strategy Marketing SEO Strategy
Chris Sharpe

What We Learned at MozCon 2019

As a professional marketer and SEO, I have been dreaming of going to MozCon for a long time. I have longed for the opportunity to be part of the audience, sitting in presentations from some of the most brilliant minds in the digital marketing world. I appreciate seeing data-backed research and love it when that data comes alive with engaging stories and enthusiastic presenters.

Well, this year I was given the opportunity to attend this amazing 3-day digital marketing and SEO event, and I was not disappointed. The presentations were everything that I had hoped they would be, and I walked away with a lot of valuable data-backed knowledge, new marketing tools, and plenty of actionable insights.

One of the biggest takeaways for me was the increasing impact that proximity has on search engine results page (SERP) ranking, especially for location-based search queries. According to research from Moz’s VP of R&D, Rob Bucci, there can be up to 85% variability between SERPs across zip codes. This means that a jewelry shop that is ranking #1 for a term in one zip code might not even show up on the results page when that same term is searched from a location just down the road!

If that little tidbit of information piqued your interest, keep reading to learn about the other presentations that I found particularly informative.

Our Favorite Presentations

Rand Fishkin: Web Search in 2019: The Essential Data Marketers Need

If you have spent any time learning SEO from online resources, then chances are you have probably heard of Rand Fishkin. His eccentric style is hard to forget, but even more memorable are the data-backed insights that sometimes go against the grain of commonly-held views. One example of this is a rebuttal to the popular notion that mobile usage is killing desktop. In his presentation, Rand revealed that the hours spent on desktop/laptop have remained somewhat the same for the past 5 years, while mobile usage has simply been taking up more of our free time. This information is great to keep in mind when designing a digital experience for our target audience. Although the Google algorithm gives high importance to mobile-first designs, we can’t forget that content is still consumed on traditional devices as well.

Graph of time spent on digital devices

(Bond Internet Trends, 2019)

Wil Reynolds: 20 Years in Search & I Don’t Trust My Gut or Google

Wil Reynolds is a man who has been at the forefront of the search industry for a long time and has provided a lot of valuable insight to marketers of all levels. However, at this year’s MozCon, Wil blatantly stated that he consistently lives in hypothesis mode and challenged the audience to do the same. He enthusiastically shared how confirming everything with data oftentimes exposes the biases we have that are keeping our results in the status quo.

Andy Crestodina: Content, Rankings, and Lead Generation: A breakdown of the 1% Content Strategy

One of the pillars of digital marketing is a good content strategy, but the purpose of this, as Andy Crestodina pointed out, is frequently misunderstood. Andy is an influential figure in digital marketing and is the author of the popular book Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing. At this year’s MozCon, Andy brought to light the fact that if you want to gain quality links to your website, you need to create unique and valuable content. He also explained that the traffic you generally see going to a blog post is usually not traffic that will be converting for a sales activity, but instead, they are turning to you for information. This does not mean that blog posts and other content does not affect sales numbers, but rather the impact that these assets make is seen through thought leadership and domain authority. Andy explained that this traffic helps to build the reputation of your website and contributes to your high conversion pages’ SERP standings.

Four Tools to Add to Your Toolkit

What’s a conference without leaving with some actionable tips that you can take back to your office? Here are some of the tools speakers mentioned that we found valuable.

1. Local Falcon

With the recent increase in the effects of proximity for local and national rankings, it is important to know exactly where you stand in the rankings – down to the zip code level. With Local Falcon, you can evaluate your rankings across multiple locations. One of my favorite features is that you pay as you go, no subscription is necessary!

Learn more about Local Falcon:

2. Pixlr

In Casie Gillette’s presentation, she talked about the importance of utilizing unique and original imagery in your content. If you’re fortunate enough to have Photoshop, it’s easy to create images. However, if you are on a shoestring budget, Pixlr may be the tool you have been waiting for! Pixlr doesn’t have all of the advanced functionality of Photoshop, but it has the basic tools to help you create eye-catching imagery.

Learn more about Pixlr:


Sometimes you just need to grab a quick photo of someone, but the only photo you have is of them at a carnival. You don’t want to have rides and corn dogs in the background, so what do you do? Simply upload the photo into and violá, you have an isolated image of the person with a transparent background.

Test out at:

4. Saving Benjamin 1.0

In his presentation, Wil Reynolds stressed the importance of using data to better optimize your Google Ads – specifically determining which keywords are underperforming but may be inadvertently used in Google ads. For example, you sell turkey, but your ads are showing up for the word Turkish.

It takes a lot of time and effort to do this at scale, but Saving Benjamin makes it easy. Instead of spending hours evaluating performance indicators like clicks, cost, conversions, and search terms across ad groups, you just upload your data and wait while Saving Benjamin analyzes where you can save money on your PPC budget.

Start saving money on your PPC campaigns:

Time to Level Up

MozCon is an awesome way to learn the latest and greatest in the world of digital marketing and SEO. I am excited to put some of the cutting edge knowledge I gained to use, and I hope you are able to implement some of the ideas I talked about as well.

If you have a Moz community account, you can visit the MozCon page and download the presentations from this year’s conference. Moz also has a great round-up of their event on their blog.

Want to get started with digital marketing and SEO? We’d love to hear from you.