My Trip to MozCon 2018 in Seattle!

Steve & Roger MozBot photoWhat a month July was! On Sunday 8th July I flew to Seattle to attend MozCon 2018, having won a VIP ticket in a competition by Moz. My submission was a short story about Roger MozBot (Moz’s brand mascot) discovering a time machine, visiting various points in Moz’s past and potential future. You can read it here! (FUN FACT: I only know of 3 people so far who have found the story’s Easter egg…)

Hightlights of my trip included:

When I got back I blogged my notes from two of the lunch discussion round-tables for a post on State of Digital.

And you can see all my tweets, notes, pics, etc. of MozCon and Seattle here.

I also did a talk at Welsh ICE (my coworking space) as part of their ICE Breaker series, which is when members of the ICE community do a 20-minute talk during Wednesday lunchtimes (formerly known as Friday ICE, which used to be held – no surprise – on Fridays). The guys at ICE videoed it and published it to Facebook Live, which I’ve embedded below! 👇

Become Cardiff SEO Meet’s Site Review Sponsor and Have Your Software Demoed to a Room of Digital Marketers…

Cardiff SEO Meet has some fantastic sponsors, including food sponsors and – as of the next event (our 8th one) – a website sponsor (website coming soon!) and a photo/video sponsor.

Recently however I realised that there’d be a great opportunity for someone to be a site review sponsor too, who’d get all the usual perks (listed below) and – if they’re an SEO software/tool provider – a really good added extra…

What is a site review? How do they work?

Our site reviews are essentially live SEO audits, where we quickly audit a volunteered website in 20-30 minutes, running it through a few different SEO tools and trying to give the website volunteer as much ‘quick win’ info as possible – whether that be related to keyword research, technical SEO, inbound link building, Google Maps optimisation, ecommerce SEO or whatever else is applicable to them/their business/their site. The volunteered site is announced privately to the Meetup group a few days before the event, giving them time to do some homework (if they want to) and come to the event prepared. We take suggestions from the audience on what might be wrong with the site and what they could be doing to get the most out of SEO.

Wanna learn more? I wrote about site reviews in more detail over on State of Digital.

We’ve run site reviews since the 2nd event, so we’ve done 6 in total so far. Only one has been filmed, which I’ve embedded below if you want to get an idea of how they go…

Notes on the video: a) you’ll have to forgive the filmed-on-an-iPhone quality; b) the first one we did was a bit clunky and we ended up veering away from SEO-specific topics in parts – they’ve run a lot more smoothly since then; c) it starts about 3 minutes and 25 seconds in

What do you mean “demoed to a room”…?

Cardiff SEO Meet Bierkeller stage photoWell usually we jump into a variety of tools: so I might run Screaming Frog, take a look at the site’s links using Majestic, etc. etc… and even get some random suggestions from the audience (the best one we’ve had to date is Keyword Shitter – LOL). There’s no particular reason why I choose these tools – I just go with what I already use and know.

But then it hit me: with the site review sponsor, we could showcase an SEO software tool for 5-10 minutes of the site review, giving it extra attention and focus during the audit. So if a technical SEO tool takes the slot then we spend longer looking at technical SEO; if a link analysis tool takes the slot then we spend longer looking at link analysis; you get the picture. And if someone takes the slot, I’ll make sure that we don’t use any of the sponsor’s direct competitors – so if it’s a link analysis tool, we won’t use any other link analysis tools – just the sponsor’s.

Click to read more!

MOM Turns 5 – A List of Thank You’s

My freelance businessMorgan Online Marketing (or MOM for short) – turned 5-years-old on Monday, as I officially took the plunge and went full-time freelance on Tuesday 7th May 2013, having left my last agency role the previous Friday. I celebrated with branded gluten-free cupcakes, like the one pictured. Yum.

When you’re self-employed, you sometimes hear that infamous “#% of businesses die in their first 5 years” statistic, which seems to vary depending on who you ask (it’s anything from 20% to 50% apparently), so I’m chuffed to have passed (survived?) this particular milestone.

I’ve posted on anniversaries before (here’s the links to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years), but this time I just wanted to say a few thank you’s to people who have helped me along the way.

Thank You’s

In (sort of?) chronological order…

Firstly, thank you to Max Minzer of Max Impact. As I was in the process of going solo, he produced some videos as part of his Max Impact series (a weekly series of Google+ Hangouts webinars, each covering different SEO/digital marketing topics) and the Choosing Clients one was massively useful. A big thank you to Lauren Hall-Stigerts and Mackenzie Fogelson for the advice that they dropped in that one. See also: Building an SEO Practice with Bill Sebald (another good one).

Thank you to GO Wales. Although I’ve never utilised them in the way that most people have (either by being a graduate getting a job, or an employer getting funding towards a hire), they also used to run Freelancer Academies, week-long workshops that gave you an intro to freelancing life. I was very lucky to go on one in my second week as a freelancer. It was extremely useful so early on.

Click to read more!

Roger MozBot & the Time Machine – My MozCon 2018 Competition Submission

Roger MozBotUpdate: I actually won!!!

For years and years, it’s been a dream of mine to attend MozCon, Moz‘s annual SEO conference.

Just over a week ago, Moz published a blog post announcing that they would offer a free ticket and accommodation to MozCon 2018 for the best example of a “unique, compelling piece of content telling [them] why you want to come to MozCon.” Examples they gave included blog posts, videos, drawings, slide decks and even songs. Straight away my brain went into overdrive and had a (ridiculous) idea: what if I were to write a story…?

I checked with the Moz team if it’d be ok to do and they gave me their blessing, so I’ve written Roger MozBot & the Time Machine, a short story involving Roger – Moz’s mascot – who discovers a time machine and visits various moments in Moz’s past and (potential) future: a total of 6 different time periods.* Parts of it act as a tribute to why I’ve admired Moz so much over the years and therefore why it’d mean so much for me to finally make it to MozCon. Expect appearances from Mozzers past and present (yes, don’t you worry, Rand is featured – a lot) and a bunch of name-drops of other SEO industry folk, too.

I wanted to do it Choose Your Own Adventure-style (inspired by a speaking gig I did years ago), but a) with only a week until the deadline, I thought it’d be too complicated to pull off effectively, and b) I think CYOA might be copyrighted anyway, so I didn’t want to imitate it too closely. Either way, the way I’ve done it means that you don’t have to do all it in chronological order – i.e. you can visit different times in different orders.

* There’s actually a 7th – but it’s hidden. Consider it the story’s Easter Egg! There’s a clue buried in one of the years, and there’s no straightforward way to get to it, so you’ll have to ‘hack’ your way to find it. The first person to find it – and to tweet me a message confirming their discovery – will win the prize of… a link. From this very blog, in all of its DA 30 glory. Because I’m an SEO through and through. (Terms & rules apply.)

If anyone wants to translate the story into another language, let me know. I’d happily update this post with links to any translations.

Oh and let’s be clear: other than blogging, I am not a writer, and I don’t think I’ve ever written fiction (outside of my school days) – except for Rorschach’s SEO Journal, which hardly counts. And we all know how messy time travel stories can get… So be kind, yeah? 😜

A big thank you to my Welsh ICE buddies Jane Oriel for editing and Josh Hicks for the illustrations.

So… Let’s get started, shall we?

> Begin the adventure! <

(For the Mozzers – my name is Steve Morgan and my email is [email redacted now that the competition is over], as per the competition’s submission rules. I’ll also leave them on the final page, just to be safe.)

[Image credit – Josh Hicks]

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of Moz or the individuals mentioned.

Cardiff SEO Meet is Back (Already)

Cardiff SEO Meet at Bierkeller (Prisma)

Well that really was a brief hiatus… 😂

Less than a month ago I blogged saying that Cardiff SEO Meet was going on hiatus until after my son’s operation. Well between then and now he’s had updated scans and the doctor thinks he no longer needs his op any more, as everything is improving nicely, which is fantastic news. It means that I can carry on with Cardiff SEO Meet without the worry that I may have to cancel/reschedule the meetups to fit around the op.

(Also, sorry for being so open about all this, as I know it makes people uncomfortable… I just wanted to explain my reasoning in case anyone thought I was postponing events and taking a break from it for weak or unimportant reasons.)

Anyway… with that in mind, I’ve gone ahead and booked the next three dates at Cardiff Bierkeller, which is where we were for the last event. Here they are:

  • Cardiff SEO Meet #8 – Thursday 19th July
  • Cardiff SEO Meet #9 – Thursday 20th September*
  • Cardiff SEO Meet #10 – Thursday 22nd November

* For this event we’ll be in a different area of Bierkeller to usual, as our usual room is unavailable for this night. I’ll post more about this on the event’s dedicated Meetup page when the time comes.

There’s also a few minor/subtle changes that are being made going ahead:

  • You’ll notice above that the dates are 2 months apart instead of 3, which is something that I floated in the hiatus post. It means that we’ll be running 6 events a year going forward instead of 4. I also have some really exciting speakers in mind for the next few events (including an international keynote speaker)!
  • Instead of RSVPs on Meetup being open 2 weeks before the event date, RSVPs will open straight away, as soon as the event page goes live (usually 4-6 weeks before the event). I just think this’ll make it easier for people – I liked the idea of having a scheduled ‘ticket release’ time/date, but I always worry that the people who see the Meetup page as soon as it goes live forget about it by the time the RSVPs open, and therefore that we’re missing out on potential attendees.
  • Site reviews are continuing to happen, however whereas they used to be free for the site ‘volunteer’, I’ll now be asking for a fee – this is only because I’ve been messed around a few times in the past, with people cancelling last-minute or not having their website ready in time (e.g. if it was going through a launch or redesign). It’s £100, however half of it is a deposit that you get back after the event (so £50 really), and the money goes to charity as a donation. Want to be considered? There’s a bit of a waiting list but feel free to email me expressing interest. A few rules and terms apply though, so I can’t promise that you’ll be accepted (it’ll make more sense when we discuss it).

So keep an eye out for the Meetup event pages for each one in due course. Want to make sure you’re kept updated? Join the Meetup group and follow @CardiffSEOMeet on Twitter.