MozCation Portsmouth At The Music Hall

SEOMoz did not disappoint.

The search engine optimization software company drew more about 200 people to Portsmouth’s historic Music Hall on Nov. 7 for a world-class seminar on SEO. Did we mention it was free? And in downtown Portsmouth?!?

The event, known as MozCation, was the culmination of a promotional contest SEOMoz ran this summer. Portsmouth was one of 18 cities nominated to host a MozCation – and one of three that actually convinced SEOMoz to visit.

MozCation Portsmouth featured an impressive lineup of speakers including SEOMoz CEO Rand Fishkin.

After an hour of cocktails and mingling with creatives and techs, a sizeable crowd gathered in the seats before the open stage. The first presenter and owner of EvolvingSEO, Dan Shure, kicked off the night talking analytics for SEO. He also used this nifty comparison to describe analytics, “Web analytics is like IKEA furniture. It’s totally useless until assembled.” See Dan’s preso on SlideShare.

Joanna Lord, VP of Growth Marketing at SEOmoz, had us rethinking customer acquisition. Among other tips to gaining loyal followers, above all, she impressed upon the importance of relaying the “story” behind the brand. “It’s all about the story,” Lord said. “If you don’t dazzle them, they’re just not going to convert the way you want them to.” She even offered her own formula: “Trust = reliability + delight.”

Portsmouth’s own Walter Elly, a Senior Business Consultant for V2 Strategic Advisors, talked about FourSquare and the inherent benefits of leveraging this social media network for local businesses. “Remember: use decals, encourage check-ins. Treat it as digital word of mouth.”

Patti Fousek, SEO & Social Media Strategist of CMS Search Marketing, shared her tips and tactical tricks to DIY SEO. “You should conduct a site audit based on panda, penguin factors,” Fousek said, elaborating that thin or duplicate content, page layout, ads above the fold, and overly optimized pages are all factors to watch.

Rand finished off the night by leading a presentation on the current state of SEO and predicting what we can expect from SEO in the future.

“It’s less about appearing at the top of results than it’s about earning clicks,” Fishkin said.

He said that even more than ranking, a searcher will often click on the link that shows up second, third, or even fourth in a search. Why? He said that author photos or including the date of publication will be enough to entice a searcher into clicking.

Fishkin repeatedly stressed the continuing merging of social media with SEO.

“Social media drives SEO and SEO drives social media,” he said simply.

If you missed last night’s presentations, don’t worry! You can view a full video of the livestreamed event yourself.

Photo provided by Portsmouth photographer Philip Case Cohen of The Daily Portsmouth.

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