Published August 11, 2020

MozCon 2020 Recap

By Stephanie Smith

MozCon 2020 was like something we have never seen before; it was 100% virtual. Cogwheel Marketing uses Moz’s tools daily to research search volume, keywords, link discovery, track ranking performance and more.

We make a point to attend MozCon yearly and always walk away, or log off the virtual conference, with knowledge and insight into the ever-changing digital marketing world. Here are some of our key takeaways from 2020.

If you missed our 2019 recap, check out our MozCon 2019 Recap by Topic, not organized by presenter.

MozCon Hot Topics

This year there was a lot of discussion and insight about Automation, Entities, SERP, Localization and New & Ramping up search experiences. 

With COVID-19 pandemic on our hands, this is on the forefront of everyone’s mind and how we navigate through this world-changing pandemic. The biggest discussion was over automation: utilizing “Robot Overlords” to help save time and money as well as the shift in search-how your customers are searching for and what your customers are searching for.


Its time to start taking advice from the Ice Queen herself and “Let it Go.” What I mean by that is, stop working so hard and let the robots take over, they don’t need lunch breaks, sleep, or a salary.

Francine Rodriguez with Wordstream gave us the down-low on Google Ads Automation– If you have ever put together a Google AdWords campaign, you know from experience it is time-consuming. Inside the platform, Google has suggested automation tools for you to use to make your life not only easier, but most likely you will have a larger return on your investment as Google ultimately does what it wants.

Here is a list of some Google Adwords automation tools that can help you run effective ads:

  • Keyword Bid Simulator– Probably the best tool to start learning how to let go with. This tool shows where your current bids and offers suggestions on other bids and shows how they may change your performance on a weekly basis.

Note: Google has an alert in AdWords basically telling you if you are on manual bidding, you may see lower performance.

  • Maximize Clicks– Great for a brand new campaign or if you’re struggling to get a campaign jump-started. Utilizing bid caps in this tool will also ensure your budget does not get out of hand.
  • Target Impression Share– You get to decide which piece of SERP you want to show up in as well as what type of budget you want, however targeting impression share is pay-to-play.
  • Maximize Conversions– Set a budget and Google will try to get you the best and most conversions possible.
  • Target CPA– This is a great tool if you already have a lot of historical and accurate data.
  • Target ROAS– Best for advertisers with hundreds or thousands of conversions a month
  • Responsive Search Ad– This allows you to provide 15 different headlines and 4 different descriptions in one sitting to set up ad copy. The tool uses machine learning technology to provide the best combination of the ad for the right customer.

As Francine says, “Let the Robot Uprising Begin!” 

Keywords in Crisis

Dr. Pete from Moz was back again this year to spread his knowledge. This year, as we already mentioned, is rocking the digital marketing world as we learn how customers have changed their search habits.

Good News: 

  • According to Adobe, Year of Year eCommerce sales are up 78%
  • Up $52 billion from expectations

This shows there is interest, but they just aren’t in what we expected them to be.

He starts off by bringing up everyone’s favorite topic, Baby Yoda. The Disney/Star Wars Franchise did not anticipate baby Yoda being such a big deal. How could they have seen that coming? Dr. Pete shares how to utilize a few of those tools we are already familiar with to get ahead of the game.

Google Trends – If you scroll down you will see “related topics” and “related queries.” Export these results and you will find a list of 20 related search queries as well as a list of rising search queries.

More Trend Tools!

Think with Google- Rising Retail Categories – Scroll through the yearly trending categories to find any new trending categories that can be used to your advantage.

Boing Boing– They do a great job tracking trends. Utilize their site to see what they are selling and think “why are they doing this, what are people buying?”

Pinterest Trends– You can browse through the trends to find out what people are interested in. When clicking on the search bar they offer recommendations and show its search trend on Pinterest.

Twitter Search– Utilize twitter’s advanced search option, you can find out what is trending now and what was trending in the past.

Thought Leadership

Andy Crestondina from Orbit Media enlightened us all with what all goes into Thought Leadership and making a name for yourself in your industry. He broke it down into 3 simple aspects and how to fulfill them- thanks Andy!

  • Expert Insights
    • Create Original Research
    • Write Books
    • Share novel ideas
  • Take a stand
    • Have a strong opinion
    • Don’t shy away from controversy
    • Inspire others
  • Build a Personal Brand
    • Have a social following
    • Be cited by others
    • Be influential

Going beyond Marketing for Clients:

Flavilla Fongang walked us through how she has become so successful in keeping her customers coming back.

Spoiler alert: She doesn’t focus on the top of the funnel, she focuses on going above and beyond for her customers, even if it means doing a little extra work outside of the scope.

“Your clients don’t continue buying from you because you meet their expectations. They do it because you exceed them”

Flavilla Fongang

Flavilla challenged us to consider the following and find what makes my business remarkable, these are the things that keep your customers coming back for more:

  • Can you offer a unique experience?
  • Can you create a community?
  • Can you offer integrations?
  • Can you partner with people to bring something new?

Promoting Content

We as marketers create a ton of content, but sometimes that content is never seen. After writing a blog for his company and no one ever seeing it, Brain Dean became a master in promoting content so that would never happen to him again.

Brian spent a lot of time explaining the importance of a new term to me, The Linkerati. In a nutshell, The Linkerati is made up of bloggers and journalists in your industry. When creating content, you want to appeal to them because they are the ones that will link to your content and increase your exposure.


  1. Create Content for your niche
  2. Expand Social Media Posts: Social media wants native content, get creative with your posts by using a hook, lead summary, link and call to action
  3. Ask bloggers and journalists in your niche to share your content before your post goes live
  4. Utilize “Boost” on Facebook Posts
  5. Create content for specific subreddits
  6. Set your content up to have a “click to tweet” button making it easier for readers to share
  7. Newsletters: Create simple newsletters in plain text and 0 images (We here at Cogwheel Marketing are trying to get our heads around this one!)

Also, Brain has created an awesome website, exploding topics, I encourage you to check it out often to explore new opportunities.

Utilizing Discovery

The discovery process when taking on a new client is quite possibly the most important part of your relationship. Utilizing this process correctly helps make everyone’s life easier including the CEO of the company you were hired to help and you, the marketer.

Dana gave us some great tips on what goes into discovery.

  • Involve EVERYONE on the project and in the same room at the same time- you don’t want to spend all of this time with the team to be told later “We talked to our CEO and …”
  • Uncover their Hopes and Dreams. What does your client want to be able to answer when asked about the project, what effects their job, what information would help them do their job better than they don’t already know, etc?
  • Ask about their best day ever. Not only is this a fun activity, but you learn what really matters to them.
  • Spill the Tea. Who has access to analytics? How many people have come in and out of the marketing department?
  • Mystery Shop the company. Make sure the chat option works on their website and see how long it takes them to respond as well as how they respond and provide feedback on their process.

That was an incredible amount of information in just 2 days and we certainly cannot wait for next year!

If you have your own feedback to share from the conference, please share below!

Credits to the speakers at MozCon2020: Andy Crestodina-Co-founder/CMO Orbit Media, Brian Dean-Founder of Backlinko, Dana DiTomaso-President &Partner Kick Point, David Sottimo-Owner David Sottimo Consulting, Dr. Pete Meyers-Marketing Scientist Moz, Flavilla Fongang- Brand Strategist 3 Colours Rule, Francine Rodriguez-Manager of Customer Success WordStream, Sarah Bird- CEO Moz,

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