Is Your Writing Readable? 3 Concepts to Master for Copy That Converts

Posted by Isla_McKetta

[Estimated read time: 9 minutes]

You know you’re supposed to write scannable copy. But do you know why?

On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.
Jakob Nielsen

Nope, it’s not just that. Although the tiny fraction of attention readers have for your content is always important to keep in mind. But instead of another “write for the F-pattern reader” article, let’s dig into the psychological underpinnings of how readers process information. You’ll learn ways to make your content more memorable and how not to disenfranchise any audience members who struggle with legibility, however unintentional.

Don’t worry; you don’t have to immerse yourself in academic theories for the next three weeks. I’ve waded through those dusty tomes for you, and I’m here to report back on how readability actually works. I’ll also suggest some implications for your content. This’ll get a little wonky at times, but I hope you’ll learn something from my research. I know I did.

These are the concepts I’ll cover and where they fall on the legibility, readability, and comprehension spectrum:

  1. Chunking (readability)
  2. Word recognition (comprehension)
  3. Universal design (legibility)

1. Chunking (readability)

In the field of user-experience design, ‘chunking’ usually refers to breaking up content into small, distinct units of information (or ‘chunks’), as opposed to presenting an undifferentiated mess of atomic information items.
Kate Meyer

Chunking was first identified by George A. Miller in “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.” While the article focuses on how many items we can hold in our memory, Miller goes on to suggest that we can remember more items if that information is properly separated out for us. For example, this string of numbers (even though it only contains eight digits):

A string of numbers: 09112001

is harder to understand or remember than this unforgettable number:

A string of numbers broken up by forward slashes: 09/11/2001

Those slashes help us parse the numbers into shorter (and more recognizable) units, which makes it easier to understand and remember the information.

The span of immediate memory impose severe limitations on the amount of information that we are able to receive, process, and remember. By organizing the stimulus input simultaneously into several dimensions and successively into a sequence of chunks, we manage to break (or at least stretch) this informational bottleneck.
George A. Miller

So when you’re dividing up your web content with headers, images, bulleted lists, and short paragraphs, consider how those chunks of information are working for you. A listicle of the 100 greatest things about summer might be a lot more memorable if you subdivide that list with headers every 5–9 items. Likewise, if you write single-line-paragraph after single-line paragraph, your reader might get lost on the screen and miss something important. Instead, improve the readability of your content by varying the length of those paragraphs every so often.

2. Word recognition (comprehension)

That wasn’t too painful, was it? This next concept, an area of research into psycholinguistics called the “cohort model,” is a little harder to wade through, but since it speaks to our ability to comprehend information, I’m going to do my best to model that.

First, though, you might be thinking “psycho….what?” That’s exactly the point. We’re going to look at some incomprehensible content and then delve into how that affects readers. Then we’ll consider how we can convey whatever information we need to and still keep people reading.

Faced with a paragraph like this:

The cohort model relies on a number of concepts in the theory of lexical retrieval. The lexicon is the store of words in a person’s mind; it contains a person’s vocabulary and is similar to a mental dictionary. A lexical entry is all the information about a word and the lexical storage is the way the items are stored for peak retrieval. Lexical access is the way that an individual accesses the information in the mental lexicon. A word’s cohort is composed of all the lexical items that share an initial sequence of phonemes, and is the set of words activated by the initial phonemes of the word.
Wikipedia

All but the most dedicated linguistics nerd would be lost inside that mouthful of incomprehensible information. I know I was. Not only were the concepts foreign, but I hadn’t seen a lot of those words since college. So let me try to capture the gist:

The cohort model looks at the way we connect a spoken (or in the case of web content, written) word with meaning. The potential meanings for a word start out broad, based on the initial sound/letter. As we see or hear more of the word, the potential meanings narrow down until we can choose which word we are seeing or hearing.

We read so quickly that it’s difficult to even recognize how our own reading happens. It’s easier to think about a word we don’t encounter every day like “psycholinguistics.” The cohort model suggests our brains first pull out a list of words that start with “psy” and begin to narrow down what word we might be looking at:

Two columns of words. To the left, "See," with the word "Psycholinguistics" listed beneath, the psy underlined. To the right, "Understand," with the words "psyche, psyllium, psychotic, psychology, psychedelic, psychoanalysis, psycholinguistics" listed underneath.

As we read further into the word so that our brains have processed “psycho,” the options narrow:

Similar to the above image: "See" to the left, with "psycholinguistics" listed underneath. "Understand" to the right, with "psychotic, psychology, psychoanalysis, psycholinguistics" listed underneath.

Note that although “psycho” could have been one of the words we initially thought of, by this point in our attempt to comprehend this word, we’ve likely also taken in the fact that the word is well over five letters.

As we process letters and sounds in reading “psycholinguistics,” most of us will find that this is an unfamiliar word — that it does not match up to any word already in our lexicon — and so our brains look for alternate ways to comprehend its meaning. In this case, we’d likely break it down into the most familiar component parts: “psycho” and “linguistics.” We might still not fully comprehend the word, but we have two possible meanings: 1. something related to both psychology and linguistics, or 2. the linguistics of a psychopath. One of these is more likely than the other…

So why do you care?

Stop words

In this case, it’s easy to see how using unfamiliar terminology (or overly jargon-y terms like “terminology” when I mean “words”) slows the reader down. Using these kinds of stop words might even stop a reader entirely and lead them to close your tab and move on to the next site.

(Editor’s note: Skip Spoerke astutely pointed out in the comments that the phrase “stop words” generally refers to tiny words that are filtered out in processing. Here we use it to mean words that actually stop your reading. Consider how that ambiguous meaning affects your comprehension.)

Ambiguity

Ambiguous words, or those with more than one meaning, might be expected to cause difficulties in lexical processing.
Treiman et al.

That’s just another way of saying that you can slow a reader down by using words that have more than one meaning.

Two columns: "See" and "Understand." Under "See" is listed "address"; under "understand" is listed "location, orate, a dress."

Even very short words can be ambiguous.

Two columns: "see" and "understand." Under "see" is listed "lie"; under "understand" is listed "make oneself horizontal, tell a falsehood."

Context clues do help with comprehension, but if your goal is to convert a reader to a customer, there’s no reason to make them think harder than they have to about your copy. So unless you have the linguistic command of a poet and are slowing readers down on purpose, think carefully about possible misunderstandings when you use ambiguous words.

Multiple meanings

Processing a polysemous word in one of its senses can make it harder to subsequently comprehend the word in another of its senses.
Treiman et al.

“Polysemous” simply means “having multiple meanings” and it can contribute to the ambiguity we just discussed. But the point here is that if you first use a polysemous word like “bank” in one context, you should carefully consider whether and how to use that word again.

Two columns, "See" and "Understand." Under "See" is listed the word "bank." Under "Understand" is listed the nouns "financial institution, row of elevators, edge of a river, place where blood is stored," and the verbs "store for future use, have trust in."

Because we all want to be able to bank on our bank, but sometimes customers would rather throw it over a bank.

Have trouble moving from one meaning to the next in that last sentence? Me too, and I wrote it.

3. Universal design (legibility)

Legibility can feel like the one aspect of intelligibility that we writers have the least control over (at least on the web). It’s rare for us to get asked what font to use or how the color of our text should contrast with the background.

But legibility is important to accessibility. To borrow the universal design principle from architecture, if we design our sites (and our content) to be legible by all, we’re removing potential blockers for all readers.
Felicia, the tireless editor of the Moz Blog, is in talks with our UX crew about making our blog more accessible overall. Having worked at an organization that loved the look of light blue links against grey (and tiny) text, it’s something I wish more sites thought about.

Screenshot of a site that mixes link color with text color, making links difficult to discern from regular text.

I’m only picking on AIA Seattle because I was party to some of the website redesign discussions there where members mentioned this very issue. Not only is there very little contrast in color between the links and text, but the links in the left nav are gray while those on the rest of the page are blue. I’d show you their redesigned page, but now you have to hover over text to even see if it’s a link. Instead, take a quick look at the page for the national AIA:

Screenshot of a site where text and links are easily distinguished

Writers can help! As Laura Lippay wrote last week for the Moz Blog, by creating and implementing effective title tags, we can improve navigation for people with vision, memory, and mobility impairments. Properly structured headings, something we’re using for readability anyway, also help with navigation.

Screenshot of a page using proper headings

Having recently had a baby, I’m finally starting to empathize with readers who are sleep-deprived, having trouble seeing, reading in a second (or third) language, or in a screaming rush. Not to mention people who are dyslexic, grew up in crappy school districts, or are naturally much more gifted in some other area of life than reading.

I hope these investigations into readability, comprehension, and legibility can help you create better copy. Your audience is counting on you. And by creating easily intelligible content, you just might keep them around long enough to convert.

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May 29, 2016  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Here’s How I’m Using Moz Content for Mining Local Link Opportunities

Posted by David_Farkas

[Estimated read time: 8 minutes]

Creating content for local link building can be intimidating.

Sure, you know your business. You know your area, but do you know what locals want to read about?

You can always guess, and you might strike gold. My guess is you don’t have the time, resources, or budget for guesswork.

I don’t either, which is why I like to go in educated.

Enter Moz Content.

Even if you don’t have a Moz account, Moz Content allows you to audit any website and find its most popular content. You can figure out which pages and posts have the most shares, the most links, and the sort of reach each page might have.

You can go much more in-depth with the paid version of the tool, and it’s absolutely worth the money.

But this post is about using the free version to remove the intimidation factor from local-based content, so we might as well start slowly.

By the end, you should have a good idea how to create local content that resonates with your audience and attracts links.

Local links

To my mind, the best links come from relevant websites, but there are (at least) two types of relevance:

  • Industry-based
  • Local

So, for this article, let’s say you own an auto repair shop in New Haven, Conn., and you want to build links.

You’re just starting, so maybe you don’t have the time or the budget to build a fantastic piece of content about auto repair, the kind that draws links from gearhead hobbyists, dealership blogs, and parts manufacturers.

Local links should be your priority. Local links can be easier to be build and there’s not as much of a barrier to entry.

But you still must create a useful, engaging piece of content that people want to read.

You don’t have to guess, though. You can use the free version of the tool to come up with great ideas for local content, and you’ll have numbers to back it up.

For this hypothetical auto shop in New Haven, I didn’t analyze a single hypothetical competitor. Instead, I analyzed sites focused on New Haven.

I wanted to analyze three things:

  • An official city website or a reputable tourism website to see what the big dogs are doing right;
  • A popular local site or blog to see how small websites are appealing to locals;
  • Content from a big, national brand that writes area-specific content about multiple cities to see how national brands are trying to get links and shares from regional-based content.

Here are the three sites I analyzed and the content ideas they gave me:

Site #1: VisitNewHaven.com

The first site I analyzed was VisitNewHaven.com. It’s full of tourist information, meaning it probably has a good handle on why people enjoy New Haven, and it knows what they like about it.

Heck, many New Haven residents probably use it, too. It’s full of information about local events, businesses, and websites. I thought it was a good start.

So, I put the URL into Moz Content:

mozcontent1.jpg

When I scrolled down to view “popular pages,” I saw that, other than the home page, the annual events page had the most links. The dining and nightlife pages did OK, too, so we’ll file that away for later use.

We’re after links, and the annual events page has the most links, so it’s a good place to start.

I clicked on the analysis for that page:

mozcontent2.jpg

Reach isn’t great, and it doesn’t have many links, but it beats anything else on the site, so I decided it was worth a look. People like this page enough to link to a tourism website, so they’re doing something right.

Here’s what the annual events page on VisitNewHaven.com looks like:

mozcontent3.jpg

There’s little text here, but it does the job, providing relevant, up-to-date info about annual events with appropriate links.

Since there’s little here, you could make something better. If it’s good enough, you could probably even get your first link from VisitNewHaven.com, especially if you credit them for inspiring you.

Content Idea: Build a guide to local events from your point of view. You could build one for a complete year or make several and target them to winter, spring, summer, and fall tourists.

To one-up this piece of content, you’d have to write a paragraph about each event, and give local insight.

You’d already have an outreach list, too. You could email the organizers of each event you mentioned and see if they want to link to your guide.

You know people are interested in annual events, and by one-upping this page, you could generate at least five relevant, local links.

When you’re just starting, five links are an excellent bounty.

Site #2: ConnecticutLifestyles.com

Next, I did an audit for ConnecticutLifestyles.com. It has good content, and it does well in Google search results.

It’s not backed by a city government or tourism board, but it’s about as good as you’ll find for a local website that’s not a business blog.

I plugged in the URL:

mozcontent5.jpg

Next, I scrolled down to look at popular pages:

mozcontent4.jpg

I found that recipes dominated their other blog posts. They had the most shares and links, even when there weren’t many shares or links.

Clearly, Connecticut audiences are interested in authentic food.

Content Idea: Offer some recipes.

Even if you own an auto shop, you still eat food. You probably have family recipes, or you can get them from friends, family, and employees.

Content that focuses on local recipes can work for almost any local business. The recipes must come from you or your employees.

So, you could publish a few recipes, or you can make a guide to spicy Connecticut food or Connecticut desserts and link to recipes from other authentic Connecticut sites.

You could even try to replicate the food from your favorite restaurants. You might even get them in on the action.

As long as you focus on authentic recipes, coming from authentic Connecticut residents, you have a good shot at building links. People care about recipes. We have the proof. They outperform all other content on ConnecticutLifestyles.com.

Site #3: Movoto

Next, I analyzed Movoto’s New Haven section. Movoto is a real estate website, but they also pump out local-based content that strokes the egos of local residents and earns plenty of links and shares.

You’ve probably seen your friends share some of their content on Facebook. Movoto puts a lot of money into earning shares and links from locals, so I thought they were a good site to analyze.

I plunked the URL into Moz Content:

mozcontent6.jpg

Immediately, I looked at this section of Movoto’s most popular pages:

mozcontent7.jpg

And we’re not seeing many links. That’s a bummer.

But we are seeing plenty of shares on one post.

You might have guessed it, based on the previous two websites. An article about restaurants is in the lead.

Here’s what it looks like:

mozcontent9.jpg

These Movoto articles might not be getting the links they do in other cities, but knowing that a list of 15 restaurants blows everything else away might give you some ideas.

Content Idea: This piece of content features a quality photo for each restaurant. They could be stock photos, but they look authentic. It also gives each restaurant’s Yelp score, with a paragraph about the food.

And that’s it.

Chances are, you eat food every day. You might not be a food critic, but you’re qualified to talk about why you like your favorite restaurants. All you’d have to do is take photos, write something more in-depth, and keep it authentic.

Hear me out.

Restaurants write about their own food all the time, and it often comes off as salesy.

As a non-food-related, local business, you’re writing about the food you like. You’re not trying to sell it. That puts you at an advantage, because you’re inherently trustworthy.

Plus, you could likely get a link from most restaurants you write about.

This wouldn’t have to be a huge piece of content. It would just have to be better than an article that’s 15 paragraphs and 15 photos.

That’s doable.

Putting it all together

So, what’s the real reason I analyzed three websites for content ideas?

I wanted to see if I could combine three ideas into something unique.

You could find success with a single idea from any of these websites I audited, but I wanted to dig a little deeper.

So, in the VisitNewHaven audit, dining and nightlife were popular, although not as popular as annual events. With ConnecticutLifestyle and Movoto, recipes and restaurants blew away all the competition.

You could combine them all into:

  • A piece that shows New Haven’s favorite foods based on ConnecticutLifestyle’s recipes;
  • The best restaurants to find those foods in New Haven;
  • The best annual events for foodies in New Haven.

Basically, you’d make a post that highlights annual food-based events. Within the post, you’d highlight the participating restaurants and food vendors and then talk about the New Haven favorites they serve.

Heck, you could even link to recipes for those foods.

That post seems like a win in my book.

You’d have a big list of restaurants, food vendors, event sites, tourism sites, and lifestyle blogs to contact for links as well.

Creating content for local link building need not be overwhelming or scary. With just an hour or two of extra research, you can find out what people in your area are reading about.

Then, no matter your industry, you can come up with an idea for local content that kills the competition.

I always advocate starting small. I recently wrote a post about building links at the neighborhood level and working your way up. You can use Moz Content for local link building at any level.

If you start small, armed with the knowledge of what a local audience wants, you’ll be creating bigger and better content in no time.

You have the tools. They’re free and at your disposal. You simply have to get started.

What about you? Have you tried Moz Content yet? Do you have other tools/workflows you’d recommend?

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May 28, 2016  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

How to Research the Path to Customer Purchase – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Moving your customers down the funnel from awareness to conversion can make for a winding and treacherous road. Until you fully research and understand the buying process inside and out, it’s far too easy to make a misstep. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand steps back to take a higher-level look at the path to customer purchase, recommending workflows and tools to help you forge your own way.

How to Research the Path to Customer Purchase Whiteboard

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about the path to customer purchase and how to research that path. The reason this is so critical is because we have to understand a few things like our content and conversion strategy around where do we need to be, what content we need to create, how to position ourselves, our product, our brand, and how to convert people. We can’t know this stuff until we truly understand the buying process.

We’ve done a lot of Whiteboard Fridays that involve very, very tactically specific items in one of the steps in these, like: how to understand the awareness funnel and how to build your social media audience; or how to get into the consideration process and understand how you compare against your competition; or how to convert people at the very end of the buying cycle on a landing page.

But I want to take a step back because, as I’ve talked to a lot of you out there and heard comments from you, I think that this bigger picture of, “How do I understand this research process,” is something we need to address.

Buyers: Who are they?

So let’s start with: How do we understand who our buyers actually are, and what’s the research process we can use for that? My general sense is that we need to start with interviews with a few people, with salespeople if you’re working with a team that has sales, with customer service, especially if you’re working with a team that has customer service folks who talk to lots of their audience, and potentially with your target demographic and psychographic audience. Demographic audience would be like: Where are they, what gender are they, and what age group are they? Psychographics would be things around their interest levels in certain things and what they consume and how they behave, all of that type of stuff.

For example, let’s say we’re going to go target Scotch whisky drinkers. Now, I am personally among that set of Scotch whisky drinkers. I’m big fan of a number of scotches, as are many Mozzers. In fact, I have a bottle of Ardbeg — I think it’s the Uigeadail — in my office here at Moz.

So I might go, “Well, let’s see. Let’s talk to the people who sell whisky at stores. Let’s talk to the people who sell it online. Let’s talk to the customer service folks. Let’s do interviews with people who are likely Scotch buyers, which are both male and female, perhaps slightly more demographically skewed male, tend to be in a slightly wealthier, maybe middle income and up income bracket, tend to be people who live in cities more than people who live in urban and rural areas, tend to also have interests around things like fashion and maybe automobiles and maybe beer and other forms of alcohol.” So we can figure out all that stuff and then we can do those interviews.

What we’re trying to get to is a customer profile or several customer profiles.

A lot of folks call this a “customer persona,” and they’ll name the persona. I think that’s a fine approach, but you can have a more abstract customer profile as well.

Then once you have that, you can use a tool like Facebook, through their advertising audience system, to research the quantity of people who have the particular attributes or affiliations that you’re seeking out. From there, you can expand again by using Facebook and Twitter. You could use Followerwonk, for example in Twitter specifically, to figure out: What are these people following? Who are their influencers? What are the brands they pay attention to? What are the media outlets? What are the individuals? What are the blogs or content creators that they follow?

You can also do this with a few other tools. For example, if you’re searching out just content in general, you might use Google Search. You could do this on Instagram or Pinterest or LinkedIn for additional networks.

There’s a very cool tool called FullContact, which has an API that essentially let’s you plug in let’s say you have a set of email addresses from your interview process. You can plug that into FullContact and you can see the profiles that all of those email addresses have across all these social networks.

Now I can start to do this type of work, and I can go plug things into Followerwonk. I can go plug them into Facebook, and I can actually see specifically who those groups follow. Now I can start to build a true idea of who these people are and who they follow.

What needs do they have?

Now that I’ve researched that, I need to know what needs those folks actually have. I understand my audience at least a little bit, but now I need to understand what they want. Again, I go back to that interview process. It’s very, very powerful. It is time-intensive. It will not be a time-saving activity. Interviews take a long time and a lot of effort and require a tremendous amount of resources, but you also get deep, deep empathy and understanding from an interview process.

Surveys are another good way to go, but you get much less deep information from them. You can however get good broad information, and I’ve really enjoyed those. If you don’t already have an audience, you can start with something like SurveyMonkey Audience or Google Surveys, which let you target a broad group, and both of those are reasonable if you’re targeting the right sorts of broad enough demographics or psychographics.

The other thing I want to do here is some awareness stage keyword research. I want to understand that this awareness phase. As people are just understanding they have a problem, what do they search for? Keyword research on this can start from the highest level.

So if I’m targeting Scotch, I might search for just Scotch by itself. If I plug that into a tool like Keyword Explorer or Keyword Planner or KeywordTool.io, I can see suggestions like, “What’s the best Scotch under ?” When I see that, I start to gain an understanding of, “Oh, wait a minute. People are looking for quality. They also care about price.” Then I might see other things like, “Gosh, a lot of people search for ‘Islay versus Speyside.’ Oh, that’s interesting. They want to know which regions are different.” Or they search for “Japanese whisky versus Scotch whisky.” Aha, another interesting point at the awareness stage.

From there, I can determine the search terms that are getting used at awareness stage. I can go to consideration. I can go to comparison. I can go to conversion points. That really helps me understand the journey that searchers are taking down this path.

It’s not just search, though. Any time I have a search term or phase, I want to go plug that into places like Facebook. I want to plug it into something like Twitter search. I want to understand the influencers on the networks that I know my audience is in. That could be Instagram. It could be Pinterest. It could be LinkedIn. It could be any variety of networks. It could be Google News, maybe, if I’m seeing that they pay attention to a lot of media.

Then once I have these search terms and awareness through the funnel, now I’ve got to understand: How do they get to that conversation point?

Once I get there, what I’m really seeking out is: What are the reasons people bought? What are the things they considered? What are the objections that kept some of them from buying?

Creating a content & conversion strategy.

If I have this, what I essentially have now is the who and the what they’re seeking out at each phase of this journey. That’s an incredibly powerful thing that I can then go apply to…

Where do I need to be?

“Where do I need to be” means things like: What keywords do I need to target? What social platforms do I need to be on? Where do I need to be in media? Who do I need to influence who’s influencing my audience?

It tells me what content I need to create.

I know what articles or videos or visuals or podcasts or data my audience is interested in and what helps compel them further and further down that funnel.

It tells me a little bit about how to position myself in terms of things like style and UI/UX.

It also tells me about benefits versus features and some of the prototypical users. Who are the prototypical users? Who should I showcase? What kinds of testimonials are going to be valuable because people say, “Ah, this person, who is like me, liked this product and uses it. Therefore it must be a good product for me.”

Lastly, it tells me about how we can convert our target audience.

Then it also tells us lastly, finally, through those objections and the reasons people bought, the landing page content, the testimonials to feature and what should be in those. It tells me about the conversion path and how I should expect people to flow through that: whether they have to come back many times or they make the purchase right away. Who they’re going to compare me against in terms of competitors. And finally the purchase dynamics: How do I want to sell? Do I need a refund policy? Do I need to have things like free shipping? Should this be on a subscription basis? Should I have a high upfront payment or a low upfront payment with ballooning costs over time, and all that type of stuff?

This research process is not super simple. I certainly haven’t dived deep on every one of these aspects. But you can use this as a fundamental architecture to shape how you answer these questions in all of the web marketing channels you might pursue. Before you go pursue any one given channel, you might want to try and identify some of the holes you have in this.

If you have questions about how to do this, go through and do this research first. You’ll have far better results at the end.

All right, everyone. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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May 27, 2016  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

​Preview the MozCon 2016 Agenda (and Other Exciting News!)

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

Like the talking mice to Cinderella, we’re already working hard on MozCon and crafting Roger one heck of a ball gown. (And letting our metaphors get out of control in the meantime.) Which means I’m here to share with all of you the current MozCon 2016 Agenda and a ton of other preview goodies.

If you’re suddenly like “Oh snap, I haven’t bought my ticket(s)!”, I’ll pause while you:

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!

Roger hugs at MozCon

New emcees: we’re mixing it up!

As some of you know, Cyrus won’t be emceeing MozCon this year. (We still adore him, and I’m sure his face will make it into a few slide decks.) So we decided to take this opportunity to shake it up.

Emceeing MozCon is a hard job. We want each and every speaker to feel supported by our stage and have the emcee warm up the audience for their talk. Instead of having one emcee for three days, we’re having three different emcees, one each day.

Please congratulate them!

Jen Sable Lopez

Jen Sable Lopez

Sr. Director of Community and Audience Development at Moz

@jennita

Leading our community and audience development efforts here at Moz, Jen Sable Lopez’s the biggest fan of you: our community. She’s deeply invested in being TAGFEE and bringing educational content and community love to you. Jen also does a great Grumpy Cat impression, serves as Moz gif maker, and loves traveling and her family.

Ronell Smith

Ronell Smith

Strategist at RS Consulting

@ronellsmith

Ronell Smith is a business strategist with a passion for helping brands create a user experience their customers will recognize, appreciate, and reward them for with their business.

Zeph Snapp

Zeph Snapp

CEO at Altura Interactive

@zephsnapp

A bilingual, bicultural marketer, Zeph Snapp helps international companies reach Spanish speakers in the US and Latin America. If you want him to go on a rant, ask him about machine learning as it relates to translation and content.

The sneak peek MozCon 2016 Agenda

Because we’re releasing this earlier than ever, there’s still a few TBD spots and topics. I can’t thank our speakers enough for being so gracious and super hard-working to settle on their topics.

Wil on the stage

You’ll also notice that community speakers are still forthcoming. That’s right — they’re coming soon (keep an eye out for the submission post!), and we wanted to give you a head start to noodle on your potential topic.

Monday


08:00–09:00am
Breakfast


Rand Fishkin

09:00–09:20am
Welcome to MozCon 2016! with Rand Fishkin

Wizard of Moz
@randfish

Rand Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.org. Rand’s an unsaveable addict of all things content, search, and social on the web.


Cara Harshman

09:25–10:10am
Uplevel Your A/B Testing Skills with Cara Harshman

Content Marketing Manager at Optimizely
@caraharshman

A/B testing is bread and butter for anyone who aspires to be a data-driven marketer. Cara will share stories about how testers, from one-person agencies to dedicated testing teams, are doing it, and how you can develop your own A/B testing expertise.

Cara Harshman just celebrated her four-year anniversary at Optimizely. Besides managing content strategy, customer case studies, and the blog, she has been known to spend a lot of time writing parody songs for company all-hands meetings.


10:10–10:30am
AM Break


Lauren Vaccarello

10:35–11:05am
TBD with Lauren Vaccarello

VP of Marketing at Box
@laurenv

Lauren Vaccarello is a best-selling author and currently runs corporate and field marketing at Box.


11:05–11:35am
TBD


11:35am–12:05pm
TBD


12:05–01:35pm
Lunch


Joe Hall

01:40–02:10pm
Rethinking Information Architecture for SEO and Content Marketing with Joe Hall

SEO Consultant at Hall Analysis LLC
@joehall

Information Architecture (IA) shapes the way we organize data, think about complex ideas, and build web sites. Joe will provide a new approach to IA for SEO and Content Marketing, based on actionable insights, that SEOs can extract from their own data sets.

Joe Hall is an executive SEO consultant focused on analyzing and informing the digital marketing strategies of select clients through high-level data analysis and SEO audits.


Talia Wolf

02:10–02:40pm
Breaking Patterns: How to Rewrite the CRO Playbook with Mobile Optimization with Talia Wolf

CMO at Banana Splash
@Taliagw

Best practices lie. Talia shares how to build a mobile conversion optimization strategy and how to turn more mobile visitors into customers based on A/B testing their emotions, decision making process, and behavior.

As CMO at Banana-Splash and Founder of Conversioner, Talia Wolf helps businesses optimize their sites using emotional targeting, consumer psychology, and real-time data to generate more revenues, leads, and sales. Talia is a keynote speaker, author, and Harry Potter fan.


02:40–03:10pm
TBD


03:10–03:30pm
PM Break


Ross Simmonds

03:35–04:05pm
TBD with Ross Simmonds

Co-Founder at Crate
@TheCoolestCool

Ross Simmonds is a digital marketing consultant and entrepreneur. He’s worked with both startups and Fortune 500 companies and is the co-founder of two startups: Crate and Hustle & Grind.


Dana DiTomaso

04:05–4:50pm
TBD with Dana DiTomaso

Partner at Kick Point
@danaditomaso

Dana DiTomaso is a partner at Kick Point, where she applies marketing into strategies to grow clients’ businesses, in particular to ensure that digital and traditional play well together — separating real solutions from wastes of time (and budget).


Tuesday


08:00–09:00am
Breakfast


Dr. Pete Meyers

09:05–09:50am
You Can’t Type a Concept: Why Keywords Still Matter with Dr. Pete Meyers

Marketing Scientist at Moz
@dr_pete

Google is getting better every day at understanding intent and natural language, and the path between typing a search and getting a result is getting more winding. How often are queries interpreted, and how do we do keyword research for search engines that are beginning to understand concepts?

Dr. Pete Meyers is Marketing Scientist for Seattle-based Moz, where he works with marketing and data science on product research and data-driven content. He has spent the past four years building research tools to monitor Google, including the MozCast project.


Joanna Wiebe

09:50–10:20am
How to Be Specific: From-The-Trenches Lessons in High-Converting Copy with Joanna Wiebe

Creator and Copywriter at Wiebe Marketing Ltd
@copyhackers

Abstracted benefits, summarized value, and promise-free landing pages keep marketers safe — and conversion rates low. Joanna shares how and why your copy needs to get specific to move people to act.

The original conversion copywriter, Joanna Wiebe is the founder of Copy Hackers and Airstory. She’s optimized copy for Wistia, Buffer, Crazy Egg, Bounce Exchange, and Rainmaker, among others, and spoken at CTA Conf, Business of Software… and now MozCon.


10:20–10:40am
AM Break


10:45am–12:05pm
Community Speakers


12:05–01:35pm
Lunch


Mike Ramsey

01:40–02:25pm
Local Projects to Boost Your Company and Career with Mike Ramsey

President at Nifty Marketing
@mikeramsey

Mike will walk through the projects that his individual team members took on to improve how they handled local links, reviews, reports, and lots of areas in between.

Mike Ramsey is the President of Nifty Marketing, which works with big brands and small businesses on digital marketing. He talks about running agencies, local search, and Idaho a lot.


Kristen Craft

02:25–02:55pm
Reimagining Customer Retention and Evangelism with Kristen Craft

Director of Business Development at Wistia
@thecrafty

As Director of Business Development at Wistia, Kristen Craft loves working with Wistia’s partner community, building connections with other companies that care about video marketing. Kristen holds degrees in business and education from MIT and Harvard.


02:55–03:15pm
PM Break


Rebekah Cancino

03:25–03:55pm
TBD with Rebekah Cancino

Co-Founder and Content Strategy Consultant at Onward
@rebekahcancino

Rebekah Cancino spent the last decade helping clients, like Aetna and United Way, overcome some of their toughest content problems. Her consultancy offers workshops and training for in-house teams that bridge the gap between content, design, and technical SEO.


Wil Reynolds

03:55–04:40pm
TBD with Wil Reynolds

CEO/Founder at Seer Interactive
@wilreynolds

Wil Reynolds — Director of Strategy, Seer Interactive — founded Seer with a focus on doing great things for its clients, team, and the community. His passion for driving and analyzing the impact that a site’s traffic has on the company’s bottom line has shaped the SEO and digital marketing industries. Wil also actively supports the Covenant House.


Wednesday


09:00–10:00am
Breakfast


Kindra Hall

10:05–10:35am
The Irresistible Power of Strategic Storytelling with Kindra Hall

Strategic Storytelling Advisor at Kindra Hall
@kindramhall

Whoever tells the best story, wins. In marketing, in business, in life. Going beyond buzzwords, Kindra will reveal specific storytelling strategies to create great content and win customers without a fight.

Kindra Hall is a speaker, author, and storytelling advisor. She works with individuals and brands to help them capture attention by telling better stories.


Mike Arnesen

10:35–11:20am
29 Advanced Google Tag Manager Tips Every Marketer Should Know with Mike Arnesen

Founder and CEO at UpBuild
@mike_arnesen

Google Tag Manager is an incredibly powerful tool and one you’re likely not using to its full potential. Mike will deliver 29 rapid-fire tips that’ll empower you to overcome the tracking challenges of dynamic web apps, build user segments based on website interactions, scale the implementation of structured data, analyze the consumption of rich media, and much more.

Mike Arnesen has been driven by his passion for technical SEO, semantic search, website optimization, and company culture for over a decade. He is the Founder and CEO of UpBuild, a technical marketing agency focusing on SEO, analytics, and CRO.


11:20–11:40am
AM Break


Tara Reed

11:45am–12:15pm
Engineering-As-Marketing for Non-Engineers with Tara Reed

CEO at AppsWithoutCode.com
@TaraReed_

Tara shares how to build useful tools like calculators, widgets, and micro-apps to acquire millions of new users, without writing a single line of code.

Tara Reed is a Detroit-based entrepreneur and founder of AppsWithoutCode.com. As a non-technical founder, she builds her own apps, widgets, and algorithms without writing a single line of code.


12:15–12:45pm
TBD


12:45–02:15pm
Lunch


Cindy Krum

02:20–03:05pm
Indexing on Fire: Google Firebase Native and Web App Indexing with Cindy Krum

CEO and Founder at MobileMoxie, LLC
@suzzicks

In the future, app and web content will be indistinguishable, and Google’s new Firebase platform allows developers to use the same resources to build, market, and maintain apps on all devices, in one place. Cindy will outline how digital marketers can use Firebase to help drive indexing of native and web app content, including Deep Links, Dynamic Links, and Angular JS web apps.

Cindy Krum is the CEO and Founder of MobileMoxie, LLC, and author of Mobile Marketing: Finding Your Customers No Matter Where They Are. She brings fresh and creative ideas to her clients, and regularly speaks at US and international digital marketing events.


Sarah Weise

03:05–03:35pm
Mind Games: Craft Killer Experiences with 7 Lessons from Cognitive Psychology with Sarah Weise

UX Director at Booz Allen Digital Interactive
@weisesarah

Sarah Weise is UX Director at Booz Allen Digital Interactive. She has crafted experiences for hundreds of websites, apps, and products. Over the past decade, she has specialized in creative, lean ways to connect with customers and build experiences that matter.


03:35–03:55pm
PM Break


Rand Fishkin

04:00–04:45pm
Earning, Nudging, and (Indirectly) Buying the Links You Still Need to Rank with Rand Fishkin

Wizard of Moz
@randfish

Links still move the needle — on rankings, traffic, reputation, and referrals. Yet, some SEOs have come to believe that if we “create great content,” links will just appear (and rankings will follow). Rand will dispel this myth and focus on how to build the architecture for a link strategy, alongside some hot new tools and tactics for link acquisition in 2016.

Rand Fishkin is the founder and former CEO of Moz, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.org. Rand’s an un-save-able addict of all things content, search, and social on the web.


Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!

Don’t worry, we’ve got your MozCon evenings covered!

After a day of learning and possibly discovering a brand-new city, I know I sometimes struggle with what to do after the conference closes for the day. At MozCon, we work to bring you three evening events where you can chill, network, make new friends, and grab some food and drinks. (We will also have a post in late August or early September with a ton of great recommendations for things to do and food to eat in Seattle!)

Monday’s MozCrawl from 7–10pm

The best part of our MozCrawl is being able to explore a neighborhood in Seattle. Bring your walking shoes (or load your favorite rideshare app), and get to know a little about the flavor of Seattle. While the locations are still TBD, Moz and our MozCon partners will each host a bar with light appetizers and drinks.

MozCrawl

To ensure you see as much of Seattle as possible, each bar will have a scavenger hunt element. Our sweet, bar-hosting partners:

(We also have two other partners, STAT and Wistia, who will be keeping a low profile that night.)

Tuesday’s MozCon Ignite from 7–10pm

In my completely biased opinion, this is my favorite MozCon evening event. For those who’ve never been to an Ignite-style talk, they are 5 minute talks with auto-advancing slides. Because we’re learning all day at MozCon about online marketing, our Ignite talks are 100% not about marketing or business. They are passion projects, hobbies, and interests.

MozCon Ignite

Last year, our 16 talks ranged from a touching tale about helping a terminally ill child musician record an album, to how to love opera, to how to make frosting. You can sit back, relax, laugh, and cry. Plus, beforehand, there are networking opportunities to chat with your fellow attendees.

If this sounds like something you’d want to speak at, we’ll be opening up pitches in early July. Our venue is currently TBD.

Wednesday’s MozCon Bash at the Garage from 7pm–12am

MozCon Bash

Make sure to book your flight home the day after MozCon so you can join us at our annual MozCon Bash to celebrate another great year of learning. Put on your bowling shoes and see if you can out-turkey your new friends! Or play a round of pool, or sing your heart out with some karaoke. Food and drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are on us. You’ll take home even more memories and some photobooth mementos to look back on.

Grab your ticket today — we’ve sold out for the last 5 years.

Buy your MozCon 2016 ticket!

If you have any questions about MozCon programming, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments.

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!


Moz Blog

May 26, 2016  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

5 Actionable Talks from Conversion Experts

Posted by christinew603

[Estimated read time: 5 minutes]

As marketers, we can’t turn a corner without hearing about how to generate leads with existing content. But CRO [Conversion Rate Optimization] is about so much more than just leveraging content in different ways; optimization is really the process of finding out and testing how to convert people on your site pages, landing pages, blog posts, and marketing efforts.

Don’t know where to start? Listen to these five actionable talks from a few of today’s top conversion experts. Hear directly from the landing page, copywriting, mobile, and conversion design experts on how to optimize your marketing for lead conversion. (And save your spot in a live Google Hangout with these experts and HubSpot on June 1st!)


1. Peep Laja – How to Turn Data into Insights & Customers

Bio via ConversionXL:

As ConversionXL founder, Peep is an entrepreneur and conversion optimization expert with 10+ years of global experience. He has extensive experience across verticals: in the past he’s run a software company in Europe, an SEO agency in Panama, a real estate portal in Dubai, and worked for an international non-profit.

In this talk from TractionConf, Peep covers:

  • 6 steps to thinking of conversion optimization as a process and not tactics
  • Why “best practices” aren’t necessarily the best ways to optimize your own blog posts and landing pages
  • Digging into the formula for conversion success (hint: it starts with the number of tests run, the percentage of winning tests, and impact per successful experiment)
  • Getting better data, not more
  • Gathering qualitative and quantitative data to find out if your ideas are actually good
  • Identifying problems and holes for conversion on your site

2. Oli Gardner – 4 Corners of Conversion

Bio via Inbound.org:

Unbounce’s legendary Oli Gardner has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. His disdain for marketers who send campaign traffic to their homepage is legendary. He is a prolific webinar guest and writer, and speaks internationally about conversion-centered design where he is consistently ranked as the top speaker.

In this presentation from INBOUND15, you’ll learn:

  • Bull sh*t marketing and how to spot it on your own landing pages
  • Conversion-centered design and utilizing psychology for conversion
  • How to apply the 4 corners of conversion — copy, design, interaction, and psychology — in all forms of your marketing, not just landing pages
  • Utilizing information hierarchy and ensuring your copy comes before design

3. Joanna Wiebe – 3 Undeniably Real Test-Proof Truths That Will Shake What You Know About Copywriting

Bio via Inbound.org:

As copywriter and creator of Copy Hackers, Joanna helps startups use their words so people fall in love with them, flood them in cash, tell all their friends about them, and name their firstborn after them. (“Buffer Anastasia McGillicuddy. That’s got a nice ring to it.”)

In this particular talk from CallToAction Conference 2014, she covers:

  • How to approach “clever” copy and learning to write for conversion
  • How to lead a headline: what we’ve learned from the advertising world of David Ogilvy and modernizing those ideas
  • What color your buttons should actually be
  • How to break patterns in language and copy when you’re stuck
  • Ideas for new tests to run on your pages

4. Tim Ash – Mobile Conversion Strategies

Bio via SiteTuners:

Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book, Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization.

At INBOUND15, Tim covered:

  • Top 10 things to stop doing on your mobile pages
  • How to manage navigation on mobile and prioritize content
  • Setting expectations for your mobile users and acknowledging their attention spans

5. Angie Schottmuller – 7 Secrets to Drive Epic Conversion with Hero Shot Images

Bio via LinkedIn:

Angie is an inbound marketing thought leader skilled at wielding magnetic content optimized for search, social, conversion, and mobile. With over seventeen years in multichannel B2B and B2C experience in both agency and corporation settings leading successful marketing technology projects for brands like Nestle USA, Gerber, Red Wing Shoes, Andersen Windows, The Home Depot, and more, she’s adept at harnessing online and emerging technologies to drive tangible results for improving business — social engagement, lead generation, sales conversion, customer loyalty, and brand advocacy.

At Conversionista Conference, Angie talks about:

  • 7 hero shot persuasion factors to learn and test from
  • How to say more in a visual than header text
  • Connecting hero images in your marketing
  • How to persuade through credible imagery and encourage prospects
  • Staying away from “fancy” brand images and gearing hero shots for conversion

Want to see some of these experts in action? Learn all about how to increase your lead conversion in a live Google Hangout on June 1st!

Save me a seat!

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!


Moz Blog

May 25, 2016  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments



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