By Brunner Marketing Team8/24/2023

MozCon 2023: Our SEO Team’s Top 5 Takeaways

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Our SEO team had the privilege to attend this year’s MozCon virtually, hearing from SEO professionals from all over, gaining insights into the ever-changing world of search engine optimization.   

MozCon is an annual conference to explore the future of search, gain insights into trends and connect with fellow marketing professionals in the SEO space. It brings speakers from all over the world who understand SEO initiatives and strategies and provide unique perspectives from their experiences.  

MozCon Trends

During this year’s conference, there were a few key themes that directly correlate with the future of search. Below are the ones our team found the most relevant, alongside our POV. 

1. Importance of E-E-A-T   

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. E-E-A-T plays a significant role in Google’s Search Quality Rater guidelines, which are used by Google to evaluate the quality of search results. More than ever, it’s important to create helpful content across your site. In recent updates, Google has increased attention to this type of content, particularly when it comes to sectors like health and finance, where the accuracy and reliability of the content are crucial to searchers. These topics are considered part of the Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) category where the information on those pages could potentially impact a person’s life directly in terms of health, safety, financial stability or even happiness.  

2. Core Updates and How They Shift to Better Understand Intent  

As an SEO professional, you get used to the ever-changing Google landscape and most importantly, how Google’s Core Updates affect your clients’ websites and rankings. Google regularly releases core updates, which are significant changes to its algorithm that can directly affect how web pages are ranked.  

Lily Ray, Senior Director of SEO & Head of Organic Research at Amsive Digital, and MozCon speaker, focused on relevancy shifts and intent switching in Google’s Core Updates. SEOs typically categorize intent in 3 ways: transactional, navigational, and informational. However, Ray focused on the idea of intent is much more pluralistic including intents like seeing pictures, researching reputation, defining a word or phrase, fact checking and more.  

Ray also discussed relevancy shifts and QDF, or query deserves freshness, a piece of Google’s core algorithm that decides which search requests deserve up-to-date search results. With QDF, Google uses time-relevancy factors with the goal of giving the user recent events or results related to that query. Ray used the example of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” movie, which was released earlier this year. Prior to this movie coming out, when ‘Barbie’ was searched, Google returned e-commerce and shopping results. After the movie’s debut, the SERPs changed to articles about the movie and cast. 

Core updates refine results to better align with search intent and more clear understanding of that intent. During its core updates, Google can also determine if changes in user behavior mean a keyword has new intent and requires new rankings. Considering intent can not only help you understand rank changes, but also get out ahead of shifting rank factors. 

Ray, L. & Amsive Digital. (2023, August 7). Google’s just not that into you: Intent switches during core updates. MozCon 2023.

3. How AI is Changing the SERP

First there was ChatGPT, then Bard, now Search Generative Experience (SGE). Since the announcement of ChatGPT, many SEOs have been fretting about the way AI will change search. AI is changing the search landscape by providing more comprehensive and personalized results, making it easier for users to find the information they need. However, the future of these models is still unclear. Despite featuring more personalized results, these AI models have pitfalls including attribution, design, and accuracy. While AI is changing how people search, general SEO principles still apply. Having helpful, E-E-A-T content can help your brand rank in AI results.  

4. Using Multimedia to Your Advantage

Primarily in search, we focus on text and forget about the benefits of using other multimedia to tell our story. With searchers using multiple devices at once now, it’s more important than ever to use multimedia across channels. Using a combination of text, audio, video, Reels, Shorts, TikTok, podcasts, images, and knowledge graphs helps you put your brand in front of the eyes of consumers at different touchpoints. This is also a good time to show off your brand creatively – something we keep top of mind at Brunner, working with our creative team to craft viral content to support our clients.  

5. Working Outside the Google Box  

The way people search is changing. In fact, there is a generational difference in how people search, with Gen Z preferring platforms like TikTok over traditional Google Search. Speaker Carrie Rose, the Founder and CEO of Rise at Seven agency, said, “brands are seeing search volumes decline. And it’s not always because demand is declining, they’re just now searching on other channels.”  

At Brunner, we believe in a cross-channel strategy and use search, SEO, social, PR, and influencer marketing to reach our clients’ customers where they are and how they are searching. With more people searching across more platforms than Google, it’s important to be thinking about how to drive traffic and engagement to your site from non-traditional platforms.

“The way people search is changing. In fact, there is a generational difference in how people search, with Gen Z preferring platforms like TikTok over traditional Google Search.”

Looking Towards the Future

In search today, customers trust brand marketers less because they want real people’s perspectives. This is part of the reason why there is now a divergence in channels being leveraged to gather information and why brand search volumes are declining on Google. To counteract this, Google is focusing on the importance of E-E-A-T and shifting intent, trying to get users back to the traditional search experience. In this new age, following these tips can make or break your brand.  

At Brunner, we follow changes in the search landscape closely and work cross-channel to ensure that everything is working together. If you need assistance parsing through the changing search landscape, we’re here to help.