The MozCon 2018 Final Agenda

Posted by Trevor-Klein

MozCon 2018 is just around the corner — just over six weeks away — and we’re excited to share the final agenda with you today. There are some familiar faces, and some who’ll be on the MozCon stage for the first time, with topics ranging from the evolution of searcher intent to the increasing importance of local SEO, and from navigating bureaucracy for buy-in to cutting the noise out of your reporting.

We’re also thrilled to announce this year’s winning pitches for our six MozCon Community Speaker slots! If you’re not familiar, each year we hold several shorter speaking slots, asking you all to submit your best pitches for what you’d like to teach everyone at MozCon. The winners — all members of the Moz Community — are invited to the conference alongside all our other speakers, and are always some of the most impressive folks on the stage. Check out the details of their talks below, and congratulations to this year’s roster!

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The Agenda


Monday, July 9


8:30–9:30 am

Breakfast and registration

Doors to the conference will open at 8:00 for those looking to avoid registration lines and grab a cup of coffee (or two) before breakfast, which will be available starting at 8:30.


9:30–9:45 am

Welcome to MozCon 2018!
Sarah Bird

Moz CEO Sarah Bird will kick things off by sharing everything you need to know about your time at MozCon 2018, including conference logistics and evening events.

She’ll also set the tone for the show with an update on the state of the SEO industry, illustrating the fact that there’s more opportunity in it now than there’s ever been before.


9:50–10:20 am

The Democratization of SEO
Jono Alderson

How much time and money we collectively burn by fixing the same kinds of basic, “binary,” well-defined things over and over again (e.g., meta tags, 404s, URLs, etc), when we could be teaching others throughout our organizations not to break them in the first place?

As long as we “own” technical SEO, there’s no reason (for example) for the average developer to learn it or care — so they keep making the same mistakes. We proclaim that others are doing things wrong, but by doing so we only reinforce the line between our skills and theirs.

We need to start giving away bits of the SEO discipline, and technical SEO is probably the easiest thing for us to stop owning. We need more democratization, education, collaboration, and investment in open source projects so we can fix things once, rather than a million times.


10:20–10:50 am

Mobile-First Indexing or a Whole New Google
Cindy Krum

The emergence of voice-search and Google Assistant is forcing Google to change its model in search, to favor their own entity understanding or the world, so that questions and queries can be answered in context. Many marketers are struggling to understand how their website and their job as an SEO or SEM will change, as searches focus more on entity-understanding, context and action-oriented interaction. This shift can either provide massive opportunities, or create massive threats to your company and your job — the main determining factor is how you choose to prepare for the change.


10:50–11:20 am

AM Break


11:30–11:50 am

It Takes a Village:
2x Your Paid Search Revenue by Smashing Silos
Community speaker: Amy Hebdon

Your company’s unfair advantage to skyrocketing paid search revenue is within your reach, but it’s likely outside the control of your paid search team. Good keywords and ads are just a few cogs in the conversion machine. The truth is, the success of the entire channel depends on people who don’t touch the campaigns, and may not even know how paid search works. We’ll look at how design, analysis, UX, PM and other marketing roles can directly impact paid search performance, including the most common issues that arise, and how to immediately fix them to improve ROI and revenue growth.


11:50 am–12:10 pm

The #1 and Only Reason Your SEO Clients Keep Firing You
Community speaker: Meredith Oliver

You have a kick-ass keyword strategy. Seriously, it could launch a NASA rocket; it’s that good. You have the best 1099 local and international talent on your SEO team that working from home and an unlimited amount of free beard wax can buy. You have a super-cool animal inspired company name like Sloth or Chinchilla that no one understands, but the logo is AMAZING. You have all of this, yet, your client turnover rate is higher than Snoop Dogg’s audience on an HBO comedy special. Why? You don’t talk to your clients. As in really communicate, teach them what you know, help them get it, really get it, talk to them. How do I know? I was you. In my agency’s first five years we churned and burned through clients faster than Kim Kardashian could take selfies. My mastermind group suggested we *proactively* set up and insist upon a monthly review meeting with every single client. It was a game-changer, and we immediately adopted the practice. Ten years later we have a 90% client retention rate and more than 30 SEO clients on retainer.


12:10–12:30 pm

Why “Blog” Is a Misnomer for Our 2018 Content Strategy
Community speaker: Taylor Coil

At the end of 2017, we totally redesigned our company’s blog. Why? Because it’s not really a blog anymore – it’s an evergreen collection of traffic and revenue-generating resources. The former design catered to a time-oriented strategy surfacing consistently new posts with short half-lives. That made sense when we started our blog in 2014. Today? Not so much. In her talk, Taylor will detail how to make the perspective shift from “blog” to “collection of resources,” why that shift is relevant in 2018’s content landscape, and what changes you can make to your blog’s homepage, nav, and taxonomy that reflect this new perspective.


12:30–2:00 pm

Lunch


2:05–2:35 pm

Near Me or Far:
How Google May Be Deciding Your Local Intent For You
Rob Bucci

In August 2017, Google stated that local searches without the “near me” modifier had grown by 150% and that searchers were beginning to drop geo-modifiers — like zip code and neighborhood — from local queries altogether. But does Google still know what searchers are after?

For example: the query [best breakfast places] suggests that quality takes top priority; [breakfast places near me] indicates that close proximity is essential; and [breakfast places in Seattle] seems to cast a city-wide net; while [breakfast places] is largely ambiguous.

By comparing non-geo-modified keywords against those modified with the prepositional phrases “near me” and “in [city name]” and qualifiers like “best,” we hope to understand how Google interprets different levels of local intent and uncover patterns in the types of SERPs produced.

With a better understanding of how local SERPs behave, SEOs can refine keyword lists, tailor content, and build targeted campaigns accordingly.


2:35–3:05 pm

None of Us Is as Smart as All of Us
Lisa Myers

Success in SEO, or in any discipline, is frequently reliant on people’s ability to work together. Lisa Myers started Verve Search in 2009, and from the very beginning was convinced of the importance of building a diverse team, then developing and empowering them to find their own solutions.

In this session she’ll share her experiences and offer actionable advice on how to attract, develop, and retain the right people in order to build a truly world-class team.


3:05–3:35 pm

PM Break


3:45–4:15 pm

Search-Driven Content Strategy
Stephanie Briggs

Google’s improvements in understanding language and search intent have changed how and why content ranks. As a result, many SEOs are chasing rankings that Google has already decided are hopeless. Stephanie will cover how this should impact the way you write and optimize content for search, and will help you identify the right content opportunities. She’ll teach you how to persuade organizations to invest in content, and will share examples of strategies and tactics she has used to grow content programs by millions of visits.


4:15–4:55 pm

Ranking Is a Promise: Can You Deliver?
Dr. Pete Meyers

In our rush to rank, we put ourselves first, neglecting what searchers (and our future customers) want. Google wants to reward sites that deliver on searcher intent, and SERP features are a window into that intent. Find out how to map keywords to intent, understand how intent informs the buyer funnel, and deliver on the promise of ranking to drive results that attract clicks and customers.


7:00–10:00 pm

Kickoff Party

Networking the Mozzy way! Join us for an evening of fun on the first night of the conference (stay tuned for all the details!).



Tuesday, July 10


8:30–9:30 am

Breakfast


9:35–10:15 am

Content Marketing Is Broken
and Only Your M.O.M. Can Save You
Oli Gardner

Traditional content marketing focuses on educational value at the expense of product value, which is a broken and outdated way of thinking. We all need to sell a product, and our visitors all need a product to improve their lives, but we’re so afraid of being seen as salesy that somehow we got lost, and we forgot why our content even exists. We need our M.O.M.s! No, not your actual mother. Your Marketing Optimization Map — your guide to exploring the nuances of optimized content marketing through a product-focused lens.

In this session you’ll learn data and lessons from Oli’s biggest ever content marketing experiment, and how those lessons have changed his approach to content; a context-to-content-to-conversion strategy for big content that converts; advanced methods for creating “choose your own adventure” navigational experiences to build event-based behavioral profiles of your visitors (using GTM and GA); and innovative ways to productize and market the technology you already have, with use cases your customers had never considered.


10:15–10:45 am

Lies, Damned Lies, and Analytics
Russ Jones

Search engine optimization is a numbers game. We want some numbers to go up (links, rankings, traffic, and revenue), others to go down (bounce rate, load time, and budget). Underlying all these numbers are assumptions that can mislead, deceive, or downright ruin your campaigns. Russ will help uncover the hidden biases, distortions, and fabrications that underlie many of the metrics we have come to trust implicitly and from the ashes show you how to build metrics that make a difference.


10:45–11:15 am

AM Break


11:25–11:55 am

The Awkward State of Local
Mike Ramsey

You know it exists. You know what a citation is, and have a sense for the importance of accurate listings. But with personalization and localization playing an increasing role in every SERP, local can no longer be seen in its own silo — every search and social marketer should be honing their understanding. For that matter, it’s also time for local search marketers to broaden the scope of their work.


11:55 am–12:25 pm

The SEO Cyborg:
Connecting Search Technology and Its Users
Alexis Sanders

SEO requires a delicate balance of working for the humans you’re hoping to reach, and the machines that’ll help you reach them. To make a difference in today’s SERPs, you need to understand the engines, site configurations, and even some machine learning, in addition to the emotional, raw, authentic connections with people and their experiences. In this talk, Alexis will help marketers of all stripes walk that line.


12:25–1:55 pm

Lunch


2:00–2:30 pm

Email Unto Others:
The Golden Rules for Human-Centric Email Marketing
Justine Jordan

With the arrival of GDPR and the ease with which consumers can unsubscribe and report spam, it’s more important than ever to treat people like people instead of just leads. To understand how email marketing is changing and to identify opportunities for brands, Litmus surveyed more than 3,000 marketers worldwide. Justine will cover the biggest trends and challenges facing email today and help you put the human back in marketing’s most personal — and effective — marketing channel.


2:30–3:00 pm

Your Red-Tape Toolkit:
How to Win Trust and Get Approval for Search Work
Heather Physioc

Are your search recommendations overlooked and misunderstood? Do you feel like you hit roadblocks at every turn? Are you worried that people don’t understand the value of your work? Learn how to navigate corporate bureaucracy and cut through red tape to help clients and colleagues understand your search work — and actually get it implemented. From diagnosing client maturity to communicating where search fits into the big picture, these tools will equip you to overcome obstacles to doing your best work.


3:00–3:30 pm

PM Break


3:40–4:10 pm

The Problem with Content &
Other Things We Don’t Want to Admit
Casie Gillette

Everyone thinks they need content but they don’t think about why they need it or what they actually need to create. As a result, we are overwhelmed with poor quality content and marketers are struggling to prove the value. In this session, we’ll look at some of the key challenges facing marketers and how a data-driven strategy can help us make better decisions.


4:10–4:50 pm

Excel Is for Rookies:
Why Every Search Marketer Needs to Get Strong in BI, ASAP
Wil Reynolds

The analysts are coming for your job, not AI (at least not yet). Analysts stopped using Excel years ago; they use Tableau, Power BI, Looker! They see more data than you, and that is what is going to make them a threat to your job. They might not know search, but they know data. I’ll document my obsession with Power BI and the insights I can glean in seconds which is helping every single client at Seer at the speed of light. Search marketers must run to this opportunity, as analysts miss out on the insights because more often than not they use these tools to report. We use them to find insights.



Wednesday, July 11


8:30–9:30 am

Breakfast


9:35–10:15 am

Machine Learning for SEOs
Britney Muller

People generally react to machine learning in one of two ways: either with a combination of fascination and terror brought on by the possibilities that lie ahead, or with looks of utter confusion and slight embarrassment at not really knowing much about it. With the advent of RankBrain, not even higher-ups at Google can tell us exactly how some things rank above others, and the impact of machine learning on SEO is only going to increase from here. Fear not: Moz’s own senior SEO scientist, Britney Muller, will talk you through what you need to know.


10:15–10:45 am

Shifting Toward Engagement and Reviews
Darren Shaw

With search results adding features and functionality all the time, and users increasingly finding what they need without ever leaving the SERP, we need to focus more on the forest and less on the trees. Engagement and behavioral optimization are key. In this talk, Darren will offer new data to show you just how tight the proximity radius around searchers really is, and how reviews can be your key competitive advantage, detailing new strategies and tactics to take your reivews to the next level.


10:45–11:15 am

AM Break


11:25–11:45 am

Location-Free Local SEO
Community speaker: Tom Capper

Let’s talk about local SEO without physical premises. Not the Google My Business kind — the kind of local SEO that job boards, house listing sites, and national delivery services have to reckon with. Should they have landing pages, for example, for “flower delivery in London?”

This turns out to be a surprisingly nuanced issue: In some industries, businesses are ranking for local terms without a location-specific page, and in others local pages are absolutely essential. I’ve worked with clients across several industries on why these sorts of problems exist, and how to tackle them. How should you figure out whether you need these pages, how can you scale them and incorporate them in your site architecture, and how many should you have for what location types?


11:45 am–12:05 pm

SEO without Traffic:
Community speaker: Hannah Thorpe

Answer boxes, voice search, and a reduction in the number of results displayed sometimes all result in users spending more time in the SERPs and less on our websites. But does that mean we should stop investing in SEO?

This talk will cover what metrics we should now care about, and how strategies need to change, covering everything from measuring more than just traffic and rankings to expanding your keyword research beyond just keyword volumes.


12:05–12:25 pm

Tools Change, People Don’t:
Empathy-Driven Online Marketing
Community speaker: Ashley Greene

When everyone else zags, the winners zig. As winners, while your 101+ competitors are trying to automate ’til the cows come home and split test their way to greatness‚ you’re zigging. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, you’re marketing to humans. Real people. Homo sapiens. But where is the human element in the game plan? Quite simply, it has gone missing, which provides a window of opportunity for the smartest marketers.

In this talk, Ashley will provide a framework of simple user interview and survey techniques to build customer empathy and your “voice of customer” playbook. Using real examples from companies like Slack, Pinterest, Intercom, and Airbnb, this talk will help you uncover your customers’ biggest problems and pain points; know what, when, and how your customers research (and Google!) a need you solve; and find new sources of information and influencers so you can unearth distribution channels and partnerships.


12:25–1:55 pm

Lunch


2:00–2:30 pm

You Don’t Know SEO
Michael King

Or maybe, “SEO you don’t know you don’t know.” We’ve all heard people throw jargon around in an effort to sound smart when they clearly don’t know what it means, and our industry of SEO is no exception. There are aspects of search that are acknowledged as important, but seldom actually understood. Michael will save us from awkward moments, taking complex topics like the esoteric components of information retrieval and log-file analysis, pairing them with a detailed understanding of technical implementation of common SEO recommendations, and transforming them into tools and insights we wish we’d never neglected.


2:30–3:00 pm

What All Marketers Can Do about Site Speed
Emily Grossman

At this point, we should all have some idea of how important site speed is to our performance in search. The recently announced “speed update” underscored that fact yet again. It isn’t always easy for marketers to know where to start improving their site’s speed, though, and a lot of folks mistakenly believe that site speed should only be a developer’s problem. Emily will clear that up with an actionable tour of just how much impact our own work can have on getting our sites to load quickly enough for today’s standards.


3:00–3:30 pm

PM Break


3:40–4:10 pm

Traffic vs. Signal
Dana DiTomaso

With an ever-increasing slate of options in tools like Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio, marketers of all stripes are falling prey to the habit of “I’ll collect this data because maybe I’ll need it eventually,” when in reality it’s creating a lot of noise for zero signal.

We’re still approaching our metrics from the organization’s perspective, and not from the customer’s perspective. Why, for example, are we not reporting on (or even thinking about, really) how quickly a customer can do what they need to do? Why are we still fixated on pageviews? In this talk, Dana will focus our attention on what really matters.


4:10–4:50 pm

Why Nine out of Ten Marketing Launches Suck
(And How to Be the One that Doesn’t)
Rand Fishkin

More than ever before, marketers are launching things — content, tools, resources, products — and being held responsible for how/whether they resonate with customers and earn the amplification required to perform. But this is hard. Really, really hard. Most of the projects that launch, fail. What separates the wheat from the chaff isn’t just the quality of what’s built, but the process behind it. In this presentation, Rand will present examples of dismal failures and skyrocketing successes, and dive into what separates the two. You’ll learn how anyone can make a launch perform better, and benefit from the power of being “new.”


7:00–11:30 pm

MozCon Bash

Join us at Garage Billiards to wrap up the conference with an evening of networking, billiards, bowling, and karaoke with MozCon friends new and old. Don’t forget to bring your MozCon badge and US ID or passport.



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The 7 Most Common Leadership Styles & How to Find Your Own

“A good leader should always … “

How you finish that sentence could reveal a lot about your leadership style.

Leadership is a fluid practice. We’re always changing and improving the way in which we help our direct reports and the company grow. And the longer we lead, the more likely we’ll change the way we choose to complete the sentence above.

Click here to download leadership lessons from HubSpot founder, Dharmesh Shah.

But in order to become better leaders tomorrow, we need to know where we stand today. To help you understand the impact each type of leader has on a company, I’ll explain seven of the most common types of leadership styles in play today and how effective they are.

Then, I’ll show you a leadership style assessment based on this post’s opening sentence to help you figure out which leader you are.

7 Types of Leadership Styles

1. Democratic Leadership

Commonly Effective

Democratic leadership is exactly what it sounds like — the leader makes decisions based on the input of each team member. Although he or she makes the final call, each employee has an equal say on a project’s direction.

Democratic leadership is one of the most effective leadership styles because it allows lower-level employees to exercise authority they’ll need to use wisely in future positions they might hold. It also resembles how decisions can be made in company board meetings.

2. Autocratic Leadership

Rarely Effective

Autocratic leadership is the inverse of democratic leadership. In this leadership style, the leader makes decisions without taking input from anyone who reports to them. Employees are neither considered nor consulted prior to a direction, and are expected to adhere to the decision at a time and pace stipulated by the leader.

Frankly, this leadership style stinks. Most organizations today can’t sustain such a hegemonic culture without losing employees. It’s best to keep leadership more open to the intellect and perspective of the rest of the team.

3. Laissez-Faire Leadership

Sometimes Effective

If you remember your high-school French, you’ll accurately assume that laissez-faire leadership is the least intrusive form of leadership. The French term “laissez faire” literally translates to “let them do,” and leaders who embrace it afford nearly all authority to their employees.

Although laissez-faire leadership can empower employees by trusting them to work however they’d like, it can limit their development and overlook critical company growth opportunities. Therefore, it’s important that this leadership style is kept in check.

4. Strategic Leadership

Commonly Effective

Strategic leaders sit at the intersection between a company’s main operations and its growth opportunities. He or she accepts the burden of executive interests while ensuring that current working conditions remain stable for everyone else.

This is a desirable leadership style in many companies because strategic thinking supports multiple types of employees at once. However, leaders who operate this way can set a dangerous precedent with respect to how many people they can support at once, and what the best direction for the company really is if everyone is getting their way at all times.

5. Transformational Leadership

Sometimes Effective

Transformational leadership is always “transforming” and improving upon the company’s conventions. Employees might have a basic set of tasks and goals that they complete every week or month, but the leader is constantly pushing them outside of their comfort zone.

This is a highly encouraged form of leadership among growth-minded companies because it motivates employees to see what they’re capable of. But transformational leaders can risk losing sight of everyone’s individual learning curves if direct reports don’t receive the right coaching to guide them through new responsibilities.

6. Transactional Leadership

Sometimes Effective

Transactional leaders are fairly common today. These managers reward their employees for precisely the work they do. A marketing team that receives a scheduled bonus for helping generate a certain number of leads by the end of the quarter is a common example of transactional leadership.

Transactional leadership helps establish roles and responsibilities for each employee, but it can also encourage bare-minimum work if employees know how much their effort is worth all the time. This leadership style can use incentive programs to motivate employees, but they should be consistent with the company’s goals and used in addition to unscheduled gestures of appreciation.

7. Bureaucratic Leadership

Rarely Effective

Bureaucratic leaders go by the books. This style of leadership might listen and consider the input of employees — unlike autocratic leadership — but the leader tends to reject an employee’s input if it conflicts with company policy or past practices.

Employees under this leadership style might not feel as controlled as they would under autocratic leadership, but there is still a lack of freedom in how much people are able to do in their roles. This can quickly shut down innovation, and is definitely not encouraged for companies who are chasing ambitious goals and quick growth.

Leadership Style Assessment

Leaders can carry a mix of the above leadership styles depending on their industry and the obstacles they face. At the root of these styles, according to leadership experts Bill Torbert and David Rooke, are what are called “action logics.”

These action logics assess “how [leaders] interpret their surroundings and react when their power or safety is challenged.”

That’s the idea behind a popular management survey tool called the Leadership Development Profile. Created by professor Torbert and psychologist Susanne Cook-Greuter — and featured in the book, Personal and Organizational Transformations — the survey relies on a set of 36 open-ended sentence completion tasks to help researchers better understand how leaders develop and grow.

Below, we’ve outlined six action logics using open-ended sentences that help describe each one. See how much you agree with each sentence and, at the bottom, find out which leadership style you uphold based on the action logics you most agreed with.

1. Individualist

The individualist, according to Rooke and Tolbert, is self-aware, creative, and primarily focused on their own actions and development as opposed to overall organizational performance. This action logic is exceptionally driven by the desire to exceed personal goals and constantly improve their skills.

Here are some things an individualist might say:

I1. “A good leader should always trust their own intuition over established organizational processes.”

I2. “It’s important to be able to relate to others so I can easily communicate complex ideas to them.”

I3. “I’m more comfortable with progress than sustained success.”

2. Strategist

Strategists are acutely aware of the environments in which they operate. They have a deep understanding of the structures and processes that make their businesses tick, but they’re also able to consider these frameworks critically and evaluate what could be improved.

Here are some things a strategist might say:

S1. “A good leader should always be able to build a consensus in divided groups.”

S2. “It’s important to help develop the organization as a whole, as well as the growth and individual achievements of my direct reports.”

S3. “Conflict is inevitable, but I’m knowledgeable enough about my team’s personal and professional relationships to handle the friction.”

3. Alchemist

Rooke and Tolbert describe this charismatic action logic as the most highly evolved and effective at managing organizational change. What distinguishes alchemists from other action logics is their unique ability to see the big picture in everything, but also fully understand the need to take details seriously. Under an alchemist leader, no department or employee is overlooked.

Here are some things an alchemist might say:

A1. “A good leader helps their employees reach their highest potential, and possesses the necessary empathy and moral awareness to get there.”

A2. “It’s important to make a profound and positive impact on whatever I’m working on.”

A3. “I have a unique ability to balance short-term needs and long-term goals.”

4. Opportunist

Opportunist are guided by a certain level of mistrust of others, relying on a facade of control to keep their employees in line. “Opportunists tend to regard their bad behavior as legitimate in the cut and thrust of an eye-for-an-eye world,” Rooke and Tolbert write.

Here are some things an opportunist might say:

O1. “A good leader should always view others as potential competition to be bested, even if it’s at the expense of their professional development.”

O2. “I reserve the right to reject the input of those who question or criticize my ideas.”

5. Diplomat

Unlike the opportunist, the diplomat isn’t concerned with competition or assuming control over situations. Instead, this action logic seeks to cause minimal impact on their organization by conforming to existing norms and completing their daily tasks with as little friction as possible.

Here are some things a diplomat might say:

D1. “A good leader should always resist change since it risks causing instability among their direct reports.”

D2. “It’s important to provide the ‘social glue’ in team situations, safely away from conflict.”

D3. “I tend to thrive in more team-oriented or supporting leadership roles.”

6. Expert

The expert is a pro in their given field, constantly striving to perfect their knowledge of a subject and perform to meet their own high expectations. Rooke and Tolbert describe the expert as a talented individual contributor and a source of knowledge for the team. But this action logic does lack something central to many good leaders: emotional intelligence.

Here are some things a diplomat might say:

E1. “A good leader should prioritize their own pursuit of knowledge over the needs of the organization and their direct reports.”

E2. “When problem solving with others in the company, my opinion tends to be the correct one.”

Which Leader Are You?

So, which action logics above felt like you? Think about each sentence for a moment … now, check out which of the seven leadership styles you embrace on the right based on the sentences you resonated with on the left.

Action Logic Sentence Leadership Style
S3 Democratic
O1, O2, E1, E2 Autocratic
D2, D3, E1 Laissez-Faire
S1, S2, A3 Strategic
I1, I2, I3, A1, A2 Transformative
D3 Transactional
D1 Bureaucratic

The more action logics you agreed with, the more likely you practice a mix of leadership styles.

For example, if you agreed with everything the strategist said — denoted S1, S2, and S3 — this would make you a 66% strategic leader and 33% democratic leader. If you agreed with just S3, but also everything the alchemist said, this would make you a 50% transformative, 25% strategic, and 25% democratic leader.

Keep in mind that these action logics are considered developmental stages, not fixed attributes — most leaders will progress through multiple types of leadership throughout their careers.

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Tougher Questions and Even Fewer Answers at Mark Zuckerberg’s European Parliament Appearance

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress last month, one of the biggest criticisms to follow it was the lack of preparedness among the lawmakers asking questions.

So when European Parliament president Antonio Tajani confirmed that Zuckerberg would be appearing before its Conference of Presidents, many took it as a sign that he would finally be forced to answer the challenging questions U.S. lawmakers failed to ask but the public was eager to hear.

After all, today’s session took place three days before the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) comes into force this Friday — a set of laws that reflect the European Union’s (EU) overall stricter nature toward consumer data privacy.

Many expected this sense of urgency to appear in today’s questions. When we asked 302 consumers in the UK — which will only remain a member of the EU until Brexit takes effect in March 2019 — if they thought members of European Parliament (MEPs) will be tougher on Mark Zuckerberg during his testimony than U.S. lawmakers were, 48% of respondents said “yes.”

UK_Do you think members of European Parliament will be tougher on Mark Zuckerberg during his testimony tomorrow than U.S. lawmakers were_302

As expected, MEPs did ask more difficult questions, ranging from GDPR compliance (Zuckerberg says it will be fully compliant by May 25) to Facebook’s perceived monopoly over the social media space. And the challenging remarks weren’t limited to questions.

One MEP, Guy Verhofstadt, implied that Zuckerberg will be remembered as “a failed genius who created a digital monster destroying our democracies” if Facebook doesn’t seriously address the recent scandals that have rocked it.

But there was a problem: The format of the session didn’t allow any time for Zuckerberg to even come close to effectively answer these questions.

Here’s why — and what some of those questions were.

Tough Questions, No Answers in Mark Zuckerberg’s European Parliament Appearance

The Session Format

Approximately 75 minutes were allotted for today’s meeting with Zuckerberg — a considerably shorter time frame than the back-to-back, five-hour hearings that were held with the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.

And while fewer MEPs were present at today’s session than there were lawmakers at last month’s congressional hearings, there was no pre-determined limit on how long each could spend on remarks and questions for Zuckerberg.

But here’s where the problems truly began: Each MEP asked his or her questions consecutively — which ended up accounting for roughly 68 minutes of the session’s time, leaving only seven minutes for Zuckerberg to answer them, and no requirements for how to do so.

The format was poorly received from most, ranging from politicians across the globe to other members of the press. “This format sucks,” tweeted Buzzfeed‘s Ryan Mac, alluding to the lack of time for Zuckerberg to answer some of the toughest questions posed to him. 

House of Commons Culture Committee chairman Damian Collins, meanwhile, called the format a “missed opportunity,” and pointed to that as one reason for Zuckerberg’s staunch resistance to appearing before members of UK Parliament (MPs).

For context, Collins issued a formal summons for Zuckerberg to appear MPs when next he travels to the UK, to which Facebook Head of Public Policy Rebecca Stimson responded with, “Mr. Zuckerberg has no plans to meet with the committee or travel to the UK at the present time.”

The Format’s Origins

But upon the session’s conclusion, some debate arose over the origin of this meeting’s format. Was it typical? Was it created by MEPs? Or, did Zuckerberg request it?

That last speculation was made by one MEP’s exclamation at the end of the testimony — “you asked for this format” — when Zuckerberg tried to leave. (President Tajani, meanwhile, also urged MEPs to end the session to end at that time, apparently, to prevent Zuckerberg from missing his flight.)

The origins of the format remained unclear, however, even after many inquired about it. During a press briefing that followed the testimony, two reporters asked Tajani whose idea it was.

Even so, Tajani remained ambiguous, suggesting that the Conference of Presidents decided on the format and pointing to the voluntary nature of Zuckerberg’s appearance. Subsequent claims from MEPs countered that, including one from Verhofstadt.

According to The Verge‘s Casey Newton, a Facebook spokesperson denied any involvement from the company or Zuckerberg in the format decision, remarking, “No, the format was President Tajani’s design.”

Tajani defended the format during the press briefing, again emphasizing that Zuckerberg was under no obligation to make today’s appearance, and suggesting that it was the most efficient way to handle questioning in a condensed time period.

“It could have been longer,” he said at one point, but didn’t elaborate on why it wasn’t.

The Questions and (Non) Answers

One of the leading (and most crucial) questions posed to Zuckerberg today concerned the fallout from revelations that consulting and vote profiling firm Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained and compromised the personal data of 87 million Facebook users. 

Although Facebook claims it has removed 200 apps that might be guilty of the same mishandling — European People’s Party chair and MEP Manfred Weber asked, “Can you guarantee to Europeans that another scandal will not take place in six … months time?”

Weber also pressed Zuckerberg on Facebook’s monopolistic nature, asking if its portfolio of companies — including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger — should be broken up into separate entities. In the U.S., a six-figure digital ad campaign called “Freedom from Facebook” launched on Monday in efforts to convince the Federal Trade Commission to do just that.

In response to the question regarding the potential for future data misuse, Zuckerberg — in his seven-minute window to answer — largely alluded to the actions Facebook has taken to audit any apps on its platform that had access to personal user data.

It was something of a repetition of what Facebook has said in official statements and announcements over the past two months, such as results from its inaugural Community Standards Enforcement Report and many of the new requirements it’s making of advertisers.

On the topic of a possible monopoly, Zuckerberg has repeatedly said that Facebook does, in fact, have competition, citing a statistic that the average online user has eight core apps to communicate with personal networks. He floated that number to Congress last month and repeated it today, but as Bloomberg‘s Sarah Frier notes, the origin of that statistic is unknown.

Verhofstadt challenged those claims today, likening them to a (hypothetical) car company that says it doesn’t have a monopoly since airplanes and bikes also exist as modes of transportation.

Verhofstadt remains one of Zuckerberg’s most vocal opponents and was one of the first to voice his dissent of the original decision to make today’s testimony a closed-door one. (It wasn’t until Monday that Tajani announced the session would be live-streamed.)

“I will not attend the meeting with Mr. Zuckerberg if it’s held behind closed doors,” he tweeted last week. “It must be a public hearing.”

He was also one of the most visibly frustrated MEPs with the outcome of today’s session — particularly the vague nature of Zuckerberg’s answers and the abbreviated amount of time he spent answering them. At one point, Zuckerberg seemed to escape from having to verbally respond to the questions any longer, saying that he wanted to be cognizant of the allotted time — which Tajani eventually acquiesced.

But he wasn’t alone in his outrage, with MEP Philippe Lamberts telling Zuckerberg at the session’s conclusion, “I asked you six yes-and-no questions. I got not a single answer.”

“And of course, well, you asked for this format,” he continued, “for a reason.” 

What Happens Next

The combination of the difficult nature of these questions and the format used by Congress could create a force to be reckoned with: a situation where Mark Zuckerberg cannot selectively choose which questions to answer, and the officials asking them are prepared and well-versed in the crucial issues concerning Facebook.

And as Collins suggested, that’s exactly what would happen were Zuckerberg to appear before UK Parliament, and is likely the reason for the resistance to doing so. But the public demand is there, too, despite the refusal — for instance, here’s what 302 UK consumers said when we asked them to weigh in.

39f012c3-9b57-42f3-b66b-bc34ef9133da

Zuckerberg verbally committed to following up on questions — those from Lamberts, in particular, after his closing remarks. He also noted that “someone” would appear again to more technically answer questions, though that is likely not to be Zuckerberg himself.

Tajani confirmed this yet-to-be-scheduled secondary session with another Facebook representative during the press briefing.

While many found the outcome disappointing, some were unsurprised by it, pointing to the pattern of Facebook’s appearances and public communication since the scandals around its role in election interference and personal data misuse began.

“Zuckerberg is doing these apology tours to absolutely minimize any regulation specifically focused on Facebook,” says Henry Franco, HubSpot’s Social Media Editor. “He knows that he might not be able to get a good word in, but as long as he can keep Facebook specifically from being regulated, it’s a good outcome for him and the company.”

And really, says Franco — at this point, that might be all lawmakers can or should expect.

“What outcome can MEPs, Senators, and Representatives really want here?” he asks. “They want their opinions on the subject to be heard.”

Featured image credit: “Mark Zuckerberg F8 2018 Keynote” by Anthony Quintano, used under CC BY / Cropped from original

GDPR Is Here … Are You Ready?

There’s been a lot of chatter about GDPR recently and how it will have a big impact on marketers, in particular, those doing business within the EU, and those companies outside the EU marketing to EU citizens. We’ve seen a lot of confusion in the North American market so let’s run through all the GDPR basics to get you up to speed.

What is GDPR?

For reference we first blogged about GDPR back in September 2017 – New Rules For Collecting Inbound Leads And Data From EU CitizensGDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation and it’s being brought in by the EU to replace the UK Data Protection Act of 1998.

Why is it being introduced?

GDPR is being introduced for two key reasons. Firstly, to update an older law which was created before a massive increase in the usage of Internet and cloud services. Secondly, GDPR is designed to give the EU an identical set of laws for every member state.

Who does it effect and when?

Originally, the law actually came into force on 24/05/2016 but businesses were given a two year period to comply (until 25/05/2018). It will affect both businesses (controllers of data) and IT processors (such as software companies).

GDPR will apply to all parties, even those outside of the EU, if they deal with EU residents’ data.

A Comprehensive Guide to Kerning in Typography

I’m willing to bet you already know what kerning is — you just don’t realize it.

While you might not recognize when kerning is done well, you certainly see it when it’s done poorly.

Here’s an example of bad kerning: M a rk e t i ng .

Kerning is adjusting the space between letters, and either increasing or decreasing the distance to ensure better readability or appearance.

Interestingly, it’s not always best to have equal spacing between each letter. Each letter has different shapes and curves, so sometimes kerning actually helps the letters look less conspicuous. For instance, a “cl” can sometimes appear to be a “d”, so you might use kerning to space them further apart.

No matter what your job title, it’s important to understand the power of kerning. Kerning can help you create better designs, produce more visually appealing copy, or construct better presentations. Kerning is one of those actions that can push your deliverables from ordinary to exceptional.

If you don’t know how kerning works, don’t worry. Here, we’ll show you how to use kerning in Photoshop, Word, and Illustrator. Plus, we’ll provide examples of bad kerning, so you know what to avoid when using kerning for your own text.

Kerning in Photoshop

Kerning in Photoshop is incredibly easy, once you figure out where the “Kerning” tool is. If you’re designing a presentation or email template in Photoshop, and your words look a little sloppy, this is an easy way to clean up your text to improve the appearance.

1. First, ensure your cursor is in between two letters. Next, select the “Character” panel, as highlighted by the red arrow below (If you can’t find it, try searching “Character” within the Photoshop search tool).

3. Within the “Character” panel, you’ll see a V/A (with a little arrow below the A). That’s the “Kerning” tool. It’s automatically set to “Optical”. Click the down arrow to see your options for kerning.

4. For instance, I chose the number “75”. If you’re unsure how much space you want between your letters, test out a few different options. The negative numbers make your letters closer together, and the positive numbers create more space between the letters.

5. Now, there’s a nice “75” point space between my “K” and “E” (of course, this is probably an example of bad kerning … ).

Important note: There’s a quicker option to use the “Kerning” tool in Photoshop. If you click in between two letters, you can hit “Option” and then hit the “Right” arrow. This will create more distance between letters.

Kerning in Word

If your writing copy in Microsoft Word, or using Word to design a poster, you might want to use kerning, especially if your font is bigger and the letters look awkward.

Fortunately, it’s easy to do.

  1. Within a Word document, go to “Format” and then click “Font”. FYI, I left my cursor in between the “K” and the “e” in the document, because that’s the space to which I wanted to apply kerning.

2. Next, click “Advanced” within the Font panel.

3. Under the “Advanced” section, you’ll see “Kerning for fonts” with an empty box to the left of it. Check that box. Then, input a number (I put “20”, which you’ll see circled). The number you choose will depend on how much space you want between the letters.

4. There’s now “20” points of kerning in between the “K” and the “e”.

Kerning in Illustrator

Finally, let’s take a look at kerning in Illustrator. Since many designers and marketers use Illustrator for clients or for personal projects, it’s important to know how to apply kerning to your letters.

Kerning in Illustrator is an almost identical process to how you’d do it in Photoshop (which makes sense, since they’re both Adobe products). Nonetheless, here’s how you do it.

  1. First, click the “Text” tool and put your cursor in between two letters — I put mine in between the “K” and the “E”. Then, find your “Characters” panel.

2. Similar to Photoshop, there will be a “V/A” tool, with a little arrow underneath the “A”. That’s the kerning tool. With your cursor placed between two letters, increase or decrease the number beside the kerning tool — as you can see, I set mine to “200”.

3. Now, I have a (admittedly, very ugly) space between my “K” and my “E”.

Examples of bad kerning

I’ve probably already shown you plenty of bad kerning examples throughout this piece, with my own attempts at kerning on various software.

But if you’d like to see more, don’t worry — we’ve got some hilarious real world examples, to show you just how important (good) kerning is.

Here are a couple examples of bad kerning:

1. Bus sign gone wrong.

2. What’s up with this spacing? 

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 1.53.18 PM

3. I think fixing this sign would be worth the investment.

4. Watch out for bad kerning, too. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 1.56.18 PM

5. This gives me a headache.

Where’s Video Going? 10 Trends to Watch [Infographic]

Once upon a time, a focal point in the family room was a sizable, heavy box that delivered picture shows into our lives. Families arranged the furniture so you could see its magical screen while listening to its simple little speaker.

When you turned it on entertainment and information came a-flickering into your life.

You controlled this thing called the television by twisting its dial. If you didn’t like the program, you had the option to watch what was playing on another channel. You might have had up to three or four choices.

Of course, if you fast-forward to 2018, you can control the signals with remote controls, smart phones and your voice. But far more importantly, you now control:

  • When you want to watch
  • Where your want to watch
  • On what device you want to watch
  • And above all, what you want to watch

Speaking to the last point above, consumers can now find and enjoy content about any subject — free, or paid, or both.

The definition of “television” you’ll find in the dictionary isn’t inaccurate today, however, what we consume now is more often described as “video.”

A new form of freedom has kicked in. We care mostly about the content and enjoy insane new levels of choice for controlling how and when we consume it.

“Where’s video going” is a far more interesting question than “Where’s TV going.” And so I explored the topic by collaborating with my friends at Uscreen.tv where a new generation of video content creators go to sell lessons and programs about everything from learning magic, to mixing music, to training dogs and everything else you might image.

This development, OTT, or “over the top,” where content providers sell media directly to the consumer over the Internet (think Netflix), is just one of ten trends marking the rapid evolution of video. All of the trends have interesting implications for marketers, sellers, trainers, content creators, and consumers.

Let’s have a look at 10 trends streaming across the online video landscape.

Video-infographic-UPDATED600pixel-01 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backlink Blindspots: The State of Robots.txt

Posted by rjonesx.

Here at Moz we have committed to making Link Explorer as similar to Google as possible, specifically in the way we crawl the web. I have discussed in previous articles some metrics we use to ascertain that performance, but today I wanted to spend a little bit of time talking about the impact of robots.txt and crawling the web.

Most of you are familiar with robots.txt as the method by which webmasters can direct Google and other bots to visit only certain pages on the site. Webmasters can be selective, allowing certain bots to visit some pages while denying other bots access to the same. This presents a problem for companies like Moz, Majestic, and Ahrefs: we try to crawl the web like Google, but certain websites deny access to our bots while allowing that access to Googlebot. So, why exactly does this matter?

Why does it matter?

Graph showing how crawlers hop from one link to another

As we crawl the web, if a bot encounters a robots.txt file, they’re blocked from crawling specific content. We can see the links that point to the site, but we’re blind regarding the content of the site itself. We can’t see the outbound links from that site. This leads to an immediate deficiency in the link graph, at least in terms of being similar to Google (if Googlebot is not similarly blocked).

But that isn’t the only issue. There is a cascading failure caused by bots being blocked by robots.txt in the form of crawl prioritization. As a bot crawls the web, it discovers links and has to prioritize which links to crawl next. Let’s say Google finds 100 links and prioritizes the top 50 to crawl. However, a different bot finds those same 100 links, but is blocked by robots.txt from crawling 10 of the top 50 pages. Instead, they’re forced to crawl around those, making them choose a different 50 pages to crawl. This different set of crawled pages will return, of course, a different set of links. In this next round of crawling, Google will not only have a different set they’re allowed to crawl, the set itself will differ because they crawled different pages in the first place.

Long story short, much like the proverbial butterfly that flaps its wings eventually leading to a hurricane, small changes in robots.txt which prevent some bots and allow others ultimately leads to very different results compared to what Google actually sees.

So, how are we doing?

You know I wasn’t going to leave you hanging. Let’s do some research. Let’s analyze the top 1,000,000 websites on the Internet according to Quantcast and determine which bots are blocked, how frequently, and what impact that might have.

Methodology

The methodology is fairly straightforward.

  1. Download the Quantcast Top Million
  2. Download the robots.txt if available from all top million sites
  3. Parse the robots.txt to determine whether the home page and other pages are available
  4. Collect link data related to blocked sites
  5. Collect total pages on-site related to blocked sites.
  6. Report the differences among crawlers.

Total sites blocked

The first and easiest metric to report is the number of sites which block individual crawlers (Moz, Majestic, Ahrefs) while allowing Google. Most site that block one of the major SEO crawlers block them all. They simply formulate robots.txt to allow major search engines while blocking other bot traffic. Lower is better.

Bar graph showing number of sites blocking each SEO tool in robots.txt

Of the sites analyzed, 27,123 blocked MJ12Bot (Majestic), 32,982 blocked Ahrefs, and 25,427 blocked Moz. This means that among the major industry crawlers, Moz is the least likely to be turned away from a site that allows Googlebot. But what does this really mean?

Total RLDs blocked

As discussed previously, one big issue with disparate robots.txt entries is that it stops the flow of PageRank. If Google can see a site, they can pass link equity from referring domains through the site’s outbound domains on to other sites. If a site is blocked by robots.txt, it’s as though the outbound lanes of traffic on all the roads going into the site are blocked. By counting all the inbound lanes of traffic, we can get an idea of the total impact on the link graph. Lower is better.

According to our research, Majestic ran into dead ends on 17,787,118 referring domains, Ahrefs on 20,072,690 and Moz on 16,598,365. Once again, Moz’s robots.txt profile was most similar to that of Google’s. But referring domains isn’t the only issue with which we should be concerned.

Total pages blocked

Most pages on the web only have internal links. Google isn’t interested in creating a link graph — they’re interested in creating a search engine. Thus, a bot designed to act like Google needs to be just as concerned about pages that only receive internal links as they are those that receive external links. Another metric we can measure is the total number of pages that are blocked by using Google’s site: query to estimate the number of pages Google has access to that a different crawler does not. So, how do the competing industry crawlers perform? Lower is better.

Once again, Moz shines on this metric. It’s not just that Moz is blocked by fewer sites— Moz is blocked by less important and smaller sites. Majestic misses the opportunity to crawl 675,381,982 pages, Ahrefs misses 732,871,714 and Moz misses 658,015,885. There’s almost an 80 million-page difference between Ahrefs and Moz just in the top million sites on the web.

Unique sites blocked

Most of the robots.txt disallows facing Moz, Majestic, and Ahrefs are simply blanket blocks of all bots that don’t represent major search engines. However, we can isolate the times when specific bots are named deliberately for exclusion while competitors remain. For example, how many times is Moz blocked while Ahrefs and Majestic are allowed? Which bot is singled out the most? Lower is better.

Ahrefs is singled out by 1201 sites, Majestic by 7152 and Moz by 904. It is understandable that Majestic has been singled out, given that they have been operating a very large link index for many years, a decade or more. It took Moz 10 years to accumulate 904 individual robots.txt blocks, and took Ahrefs 7 years to accumulate 1204. But let me give some examples of why this is important.

If you care about links from name.com, hypermart.net, or eclipse.org, you can’t rely solely on Majestic.

If you care about links from popsugar.com, dict.cc, or bookcrossing.com, you can’t rely solely on Moz.

If you care about links from dailymail.co.uk, patch.com, or getty.edu, you can’t rely solely on Ahrefs.

And regardless of what you do or which provider you use, you can’t links from yelp.com, who.int, or findarticles.com.

Conclusions

While Moz’s crawler DotBot clearly enjoys the closest robots.txt profile to Google among the three major link indexes, there’s still a lot of work to be done. We work very hard on crawler politeness to ensure that we’re not a burden to webmasters, which allows us to crawl the web in a manner more like Google. We will continue to work more to improve our performance across the web and bring to you the best backlink index possible.

Thanks to Dejan SEO for the beautiful link graph used in the header image and Mapt for the initial image used in the diagrams.

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