MozCon 2019: An education-focused recap

8319d14fdf895c07e6a243c5c23179c5?s=50&d=mm&r=g Olivia Blazevic
Content Marketing Manager

MozCon 2019 was packed to the absolute brim with topics covering Google tools, SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), link building and much more, with an abundance of insights revealed by the very best experts in digital marketing.

Amber, our Digital Product Manager, and myself were lucky enough to attend MozCon on behalf of Candlefox this year – and it certainly did not disappoint!

If you are unfamiliar with MozCon, it is a 3-day conference for Marketing and SEO professionals hosted by Seattle-based software and service company Moz.

Across the wealth of valuable information presented by each speaker, one thing was made crystal clear:

Search is never stagnant.

With the guiding theme of deep sea diving, we were ready to submerge ourselves in the pools of data that we SEOs find ourselves wrapped up in every day.

A quick Google search may find you a breakdown on each speaker’s presentation at MozCon, however, we wanted to take our findings one step further and really delve into how these points apply to the higher education industry.

We’ve categorised these into two main topics:

  • Local Search
  • Rich Content

Read on for our top takeaways from MozCon 2019, and how these fit into the higher education industry.

1) Local Search

According to several speakers at MozCon, it is clear that the future is local.

Our Key Takeaways:

  • 70% of local business conversions occur in Google
  • Google My Business signals increased 32.14% from 2017 to 2018
  • Across a dataset of 1.2 million SERPs, 73% contained some kind of local feature

Local Search Marketing is essentially anything on the web that advertises a physical business – if an organisation is able to deal with its clients or customers face-to-face, it can be labelled as a ‘local business’. Local businesses are able to take advantage of specific techniques and other SEO methods specific to increasing local visibility online.

One Local Search Marketing factor that local businesses should be prioritising is optimising their ‘Google My Business’ (GMB) account.

Google My Business is a free tool that allows verified organisations to manage their online presence across Google, with features such as maps, operating information, reviews, posts and more.

This feature appears on the right-hand side on the first page of the SERPs.

Screen Shot 2019 07 24 at 1.11.05 pm

GMB is the modern-day homepage; it is often the first touch point when a searcher is looking for your business, so it’s crucial to make a great first impression if you want to convert students.

According to ahrefs, ‘46% of all Google searches are local, yet 56% of local retailers haven’t even claimed their GMB listing.’

So, how can you boost your local brand’s digital presence?

Here are some quick wins to boost your local brand after claiming your GMB listing:

  • Make sure your details are up-to-date and clear (name, address, contact information, website, description, etc)
  • Personalise your listing – include a profile photo, cover photo and curate other user-generated content – think about what content students want to see and make sure it is visible
  • Interact with potential students and maintain your online reputation

A GMB Tip:

Google Q&A is a feature that sits inside your GMB listing. This overlooked component is where potential students often go to ask questions with the expectation that the education provider will provide them with a prompt answer.

But this isn’t always the case.

Many providers do not know about this feature, which can lead to questions going unanswered, or worse, answered by everyday people who offer less-than-helpful, troll-like responses.

A great tip that Local SEO expert, Mary Bowling, uncovered, is that you can create your own FAQs, meaning that you can pre-populate your own FAQ feature with a collection of answers that you know students commonly ask.

Chances are your competitors haven’t thought to do this, so you’ll be ahead of the curve. Adding custom Q&As makes your GMB listing valuable to those researching your service, as it will already be filled with the questions and answers that prospective students generally seek before signing up for a course.

GMB Q&A can also be a great source of often missed sales opportunities, so it is well worth investing in!

2) Rich Content

This comes as no surprise: content is still king when it comes to marketing and SEO.

Our Key Takeaways:

  • Always be testing!
  • Create premium quality content for people, not for Google’s bots
  • Remix your content – take your top-performing assets and mould them into different formats

When it comes to content creation, it is crucial that we are always refreshing our ideas and concepts, with education marketing being no exception.

We know, it’s much easier said than done – constantly coming up with content solely based around keyword research can become really old, really quickly.

Luckily, digital marketing strategist and entrepreneur and MozCon speaker, Ross Simmonds, has come up with the perfect mantra to avoid this stagnation:

  • Research

    Understand the audience you’re trying to connect with by studying the channels they’re visiting… or understand the channels you’re using by studying the way content is being received by users.

  • Rethink

    Let the discovery process take you elsewhere when undertaking content creation. Visit communities. Browse groups. Look at the SERP. Now rethink the way you deliver content to your audience and the content itself.

  • Remix

    Don’t just steal ideas. That’s a one way street to the average of the means. Instead, remix the content you know will work and ensure that the content you create is better than what exists today.

By asking the right questions, we can uncover content ideas that are worth chasing; we just need to take it that one step further, rather than falling back into what we are comfortable in producing. Explore communities such as Reddit or Facebook Groups for further insight into where your audience is spending time.

For Example:

If you’re an education provider that offers courses in Early Childhood Education and Care, check out the ‘Early Childhood Education: Preschool Teacher Forum subreddit‘. Even by skimming the top results, we can see threads that cover ‘Monday Fresh Starts’ and career change advice (fresh content ideas!).

Once a successful piece of content is create, we marketers often fail to consider unique ways that we can leverage this success to create additional content that we can scale.

Using the above again as an example, let’s say we have created a successful article about a career change into Early Childhood Education and Care that has steady traction.

Instead of leaving it to simply chug along, think about how you can use its contents to:

  • Create an infographic
  • A short video
  • A podcast
  • A case study
  • A graph with related data

It’s all about squeezing as much potential out of your thriving content.

Working in education marketing can often prompt the excuse: ‘We work in a boring industry.’

A quote that resonated with us from the conference:

There’s no such thing as a boring industry, only boring people

Take this new approach and refresh stale perspectives; look at more attractive industries and apply these innovative ideas to your own space.

These themes are the very tip of the iceberg, but I hope that these fresh concepts prompt you to go ahead, test a new idea and break out of the confines of the higher ed industry’s status quo.

We are beyond stoked to have attended MozCon 2019, and can’t wait to get our ideas flowing!

8319d14fdf895c07e6a243c5c23179c5?s=100&d=mm&r=g Olivia Blazevic
Content Marketing Manager

Olivia is a dedicated and creative content marketing professional with expertise in digital content, strategy development and data analysis — all within the education marketing scope. She is also a devoted over-user of em dashes — seriously, someone needs to stop her.

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