Yesterday, Wednesday October 3rd, SEOmoz from Seattle put on a great online marketing event that focused on SEO, social media, conversion optimization, and more at the Harley Davidson Museum. It was a fantastic event that was kicked off with an hour of networking, drinks and appetizers, and ultimately just getting excited about actually having a major, professional industry event in Milwaukee. We (Regal Creative) organized and submitted the official nomination for SEOmoz to come to Milwaukee and host this event; however, it would not have been successful without the great support from the community, the amazing history that our city / state have behind it, and Rand’s (CEO of SEOmoz) love for the Packers – however that happened (well, I know how it happened, and if you read his blog post on “The Missing Narrative“, so will you).
So, for the thought of the “community” that is so great here in Milwaukee, we want to do a shout out to say “thank you” to all those that helped in getting this put together. That includes the entire SEOmoz team (Rand, Charlene, Jenita, Derek, Jamie, and everyone else I just left out), Savvy Panda, Orion Group, Tuna Traffic, Sue Gresham, and anyone else who was instrumental in sharing this event and getting over 250 people to attend! If it weren’t for the community involvement to support the nomination I can truly say that I believe we would not have won it; regardless of everyones accolades for us building the website and kicking it all off.
Here were the official event details:
Here’s a recap on the presenters and the topics covered:
Brittan Bright, Director of Client Strategy at iAcquire
Topic: From Mess to Success: A Case Study of Cross-Discipline Collaboration Done Right
Brittan Bright’s presentation covered a quick-launch marketing / advertising campaign she worked on at a past agency for Axe (fragrances for men). She covered how communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution were primary areas that they learned need to be focused on. And even though they didn’t always get it quite right at every turn, when you put together a great strategy, and a great product, and you execute well on it (relatively speaking – hiccups are always sure to occur), that your overall success will be seen by all.
Overall, she is an amazingly talented and intelligent individual and the presentation was an inspiration towards to the ongoing collaboration and drive that does, and should always, go into what we do as marketers.
Jamie Steven, Chief Marketing Officer at SEOmoz
Topic: Technical Skills for Marketers: Gaining the skills you need to be indispensable
I really like Jamie’s presentation – he focused on what it takes for a marketer to really succeed well in today world of e-business. Using Swiss Army Knives as a metaphor for what you should strive to be as a successful online marketer, he covered the 12 areas that make up a successful online marketer from his perspective as the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of SEOmoz:
Database & SQL, web development (HTML / CSS primarily – server-side scripting too if you can manage it), web technology, web design & UX (user experience), copywriting, analytics, forecasting & statistics (more specifically – correlations and regression analysis), excel (yes, the program), SEO, email technology (aka – MailChimp), and e-Commerce technology.
I personally felt his insights hit home as a business owner, but also as one who not only does this for his own business, but also for our clients at Regal. While I may personally not wear all the hats, such as database / SQL (yet – currently working on learning all that), but most of them I do, and it greatly improves the efficiencies of my job overall for both Regal, as well as for when we are working on client work. I can see this as directly applicable to anyone who works at an agency, firm, or in-house somewhere. Great stuff!
To learn more about what Jamie thinks is important, visit his new resource website called Technical MKTG.
Luke Summerfield, Internet Marketing Specialist at Savvy Panda
Topic: Mobile Search Skyrocketing? Let’s Optimize and Capture!
Luke is a local inbound marketer in Milwaukee and was one of three local individuals who were chosen to speak at this presentation (congrats again, Luke!). He covered mobile usage, threw in plenty of stats, and made a good point on why we should not just be focusing on UX with mobile, but also SEO for mobile.
Luke intelligently covered Microdata, Local optimization, and performance optimization as primary factors that can help or hurt your mobile efforts and visibility.
It’s topics like these that are always interesting to hear others’ points on, and I wish that there was more time given (overall) to presenters to go more than the 10-15 min. that was allotted to them to speak on. But hey, not complaining here – it was awesome that this all even happened (thanks again SEOmoz)!
Victor Drover, Owner at Anything Digital
Topic: How to SEO Optimize a CMS
Victor, to preface, is an awesome guy, extremely intelligent, and very insightful. He owns / operates a Joomla! component development company called Anything-Digital, and one of the primary components that they develop is sh404sef, a Joomla! SEO component that helps Joomla! users gain control over the SEO opportunities on their websites. So he has a lot of knowledge regarding technical SEO and what matters most in CMS optimization.
That said, I have to admit that I believe we made his job a little harder than he was hoping for by recommending that if he was selected, we try to focus on more than just Joomla! as the platform of reference, as the Milwaukee community was much bigger than just Joomla!, and so to get the best take away for everyone, it would be best to branch out. And, needless to say, Victor as always stepped up to the challenge and knocked it out of the park (at least for as much as 10-15 min. would allow him to do).
His presentation covered the current, heavily-weighted on-page factors that are needing to be recognized by site managers and optimized for. He then dissected the three major open-source platforms—Joomla!, Drupal, and WordPress, and discussed how each one handles allowing users to optimize for those factors. Each platform had strengths, each had weaknesses.
We can say that from personal experience, we would rank the SEO capabilities of the platforms with their plugins in order from best to worst: WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal. That said, we have not worked with Drupal too much, and in no way professionally (and prefer to keep it that way if at all possible).
Overall, if there were any content managers, in-house SEO’s, etc. present at the conference, this was a great topic for them to take stuff away from, and hopefully made a good case for open-source overall (though that was not the focus).
Tom Snyder, Owner at Trivera Interactive
Topic: How Social Media Impacts Your SEO
Tom the owner of a local agency (a direct competitor of ours ;) ) and was chosen to speak on the topic of Social Media, and how it Impact Your SEO. Tom overall is a very good speaker, but it ran a bit long (around 25-30 min.). The key take aways on this one are that companies (and agencies hired by them) should be focusing, not on the buzz words (see my previous post on getting your marketing right) that so often engulf our industry and those that we work with. People hear “you need links to rank well” and so all they think about is “build links build links build links build links”…
But that’s not what’s important. Nor is metadata, or title tag optimization, or collecting information for downloads, or tweeting back and forth with people. No, those facets of marketing are definitely instrumental in the overall success of one’s marketing, but not the foci. You need to focus on doing real marketing, for real people, and as Tom put it very well, the rest will come.
The links will be given, the social sharing and engagement will proceed to happen, and you will become famous (well, in his example of becoming famous from it all, he referred to an unnamed attorney that they had as a client who took on an unnamed client themselves (aka – Wesley Snipes), and he became nationally famous because of him as the client, and Tom and his agency used that to their advantage; however, that apparently was no long-term benefit by his explanation of it, and he referred to said unnamed client needing to get more famous clients to continue is fame. We’ll see how that pans out ;) ).
Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz
The Future of SEO The Big Picture of CRO
Rand, of course, had the best presentation of all. He is a seasoned veteran, insightful, engaging, intelligent, and a supreme joy to watch speak. Rand – you’re awesome. No, this is not a guy-crush… Okay, well, maybe. But seriously, not really.
Rand gave the audience the choice to choose between his initially prepared speech, “The Future of SEO” or a new presentation he put together, “The Big Picture of CRO”. From the title above (being stricken out), you can see that it was probably close to a unanimous decision to go with the latter; and boy, I’m glad we did!
The presentation started out with referencing his own personal blog (http://moz.com/rand/) as a point of reference to goals he wanted to set for himself (aka – “I want more subscribers to my blog”) and spinning out into something bigger. Much, much bigger. And it was great. He got into, more or less, the basic view of a sales funnel, and explained how that fits with CRO.
Personally, I can’t really do great justice to his presentation overall (or anyone else’s for that matter) and so I would encourage you to view his slides here: http://www.slideshare.net/randfish/big-picture-cro.
I also strongly encourage anyone working in the SEO / online marketing field to signup at SEOmoz, and use their tools in your everyday work. They’re great. We do, and they are essential to our success (well, we could do it without the tools, but it would take a little longer… And time is money, right?!).
Chiaryn Miranda, Helpster of Awesome (aka Customer Service Expert) at SEOmoz
Of course, this whole thing could not have gone as amazingly well as it did with the presentations without the fantastic skill of Chiaryn. She rocked the mic like no ones business!
So the best part of this entire conference, besides the drinks and appetizers and presentations of course, was Rand’s opening on how he loves the narrative behind Milwaukee, the Packers, and Harley Davidson. And it’s his narrative, of that narrative, that made this presentation simply a blow out. Here’s something that I left with from his opener that I would like all of you to leave with as well, and strive to do for yourself:
Here’s the amazing thing: through the darkest days of Harley Davidson’s history, the diehard bikers maintained their loyalty to the brand, and despite a superior product from the motorcycle makers of Japan, bumper stickers began to pop up across the US:
“I’d rather push my Harley than ride your Honda.”
I would love to see more businesses, both big and small, starting building a brand that gives them customers like Harley. Make your customers, clients, and users want to push your service and wade through a ton of crap, pain and strife, than to go to your competitors. That’s a brand. That’s real. And as Will Reynolds so eloquently put it, that’s #RCS.
We’ll be putting all of the pictures that we have up in this post tomorrow – so stay tuned!