MozCon 2023: Part One Recap – Navigating the Future of Search

This year’s MozCon was all about exploring the future of search, and it was packed with knowledge bombs, expert talks, and groundbreaking ideas. Jimmy Chan, Account Manager at Location3, was on site for this premier event last month. So, if you missed out or just want a quick recap, here’s your chance to catch up on all the action:

Welcome to MozCon 2023, where digital marketing experts from around the world gathered to explore the ever-evolving landscape of search. The theme for this year’s conference is “The Future of Search,” and day one was packed with insightful talks that shed light on the trends and strategies that will shape the future of digital marketing. Let’s dive into the highlights of day one:

Cheryl Draper Sets the Stage

MozCon 2023 kicked off with opening remarks by Cheryl Draper, who set the stage for the event. She emphasized the significance of the conference theme, “The Future of Search,” and how it reflects the rapid changes in the search landscape. From machine learning to artificial intelligence, TikTok to Google Analytics 4, the digital marketing world is evolving at an unprecedented pace.

Cheryl encouraged attendees to actively participate in the conference conversation by following #MozCon on X, making it clear that this year’s event would be a deep dive into the exciting possibilities and challenges that lie ahead.

Understanding Google’s Core Updates with Lily Ray

Lily Ray took the stage to demystify Google’s core updates and their impact on search rankings. She highlighted the reasons behind the ranking fluctuations that occur during these updates. Lily’s talk was an eye-opener for SEO professionals who often find themselves puzzled by sudden changes in search rankings.

Key takeaways from Lily’s talk included the importance of adapting to shifts in user behavior, considering world events and crises, understanding overhauls to search algorithms like EEAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), and addressing relevancy shifts and Quality Deserves Freshness (QDF). She also emphasized the critical role of catering to various user search intents in content creation.

Offensive SEO Strategies by Chris Long

Chris Long challenged SEO professionals to adopt an offensive mindset in their strategies. Drawing an analogy to chess, where offense is key to controlling the game, Chris argued that SEOs should aim to take the initiative rather than constantly defending their positions.

He outlined strategies for playing offense in SEO, including identifying new content opportunities, choosing which pages to optimize, prioritizing technical SEO, gaining buy-in for key initiatives, and conducting experiments. Chris also highlighted the growing role of artificial intelligence in SEO and how it’s changing the game for professionals in the field.

Building SEO Alliances with Jackie Chu

Jackie Chu delved into the art of building alliances within organizations to drive organic traffic and prioritize SEO projects. She stressed the importance of collaboration with legal, business owners, and engineering teams to achieve SEO goals effectively.

Jackie’s talk emphasized the need to spearhead accessibility projects with the legal team, enlist the support of business owners by demonstrating the impact on revenue, and work closely with engineering teams to address technical SEO issues. Her insights provided a roadmap for SEO professionals to navigate the complex systems within their organizations.

Scaling Search Data with Daniel Waisberg

Daniel Waisberg introduced SEOs to the power of Google Search Console bulk data exports. His talk focused on efficiently managing data at scale to gain valuable insights. Daniel’s passion for this feature was evident as he demonstrated its functionality and benefits.

He outlined a strategic approach to planning and optimizing data analysis. Key takeaways included planning data pools to avoid surprises, limiting input scans, sampling data, and using approximate functions for optimization. Daniel’s talk equipped SEO professionals with the tools they need to harness the potential of search data.

Future-Proofing Your Content Strategy with Azeem Ahmad

Azeem Ahmad, a community speaker, explored the future of content strategy by highlighting the shift from basic to advanced data analysis. He emphasized that understanding how users want content delivered is just as crucial as knowing what they want.

Azeem provided quick-fire tips for creating audio and video content that resonates with audiences. From addressing current events to sharing “things you didn’t know about,” his recommendations were a goldmine for content creators looking to diversify their strategies.

From Fear to Forward Motion: Navigating the Future of Analytics with Confidence — Brie E. Anderson

Brie E. Anderson took the stage to tackle the challenges and opportunities presented by GA4, Google Analytics’ latest iteration. She acknowledged that change can be intimidating, but it’s also inevitable in the fast-paced world of digital marketing.

Brie provided valuable insights into key sections of GA4, helping attendees understand how to use them effectively:

  • Data Stream: This is the bridge between your website and GA4, ensuring that data flows seamlessly.
  • Events: Brie emphasized the importance of tracking events to meet business and marketing goals. You can even mark specific events as conversions for better tracking.
  • Audiences: GA4 offers new features for audiences, including audience triggers and time-based audiences.
  • Data Settings: Brie recommended consulting with privacy experts to make informed data settings decisions.
  • Product Links: Utilize product links to enhance your analytics.

Brie concluded by highlighting GA4’s customizability, acknowledging that it may feel challenging initially but encouraging marketers to embrace the learning curve.

Down the Mountain — Noah Learner

Noah Learner returned to MozCon to share a framework for career growth that transcends marketing. His four-step process provides a roadmap for optimizing career development:

  • Go Wide: Build a strong skill set by embracing diverse experiences, even those that may seem challenging initially. Critical thinking is key to decision-making.
  • Go Deep: Find your “Ikigai,” your reason for being, by uncovering the common thread that ties together your passions.
  • Go Big: Network, seek mentorship, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your heroes. Overcome fears, seek therapy, and remember your purpose.
  • Give Back: Mentor others and make a positive impact in your field.

Noah’s approach to career growth is applicable across various industries, making it a valuable takeaway for professionals looking to excel in their careers.

The SERP Is Dead, Long Live the SERP — Tom Capper

Tom Capper delved into the evolution of the search engine results page (SERP) and Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE). He debunked the idea that SEO is dead by highlighting the continued interest and growth in the field.

Tom’s observations on SGE included its decreasing appearance, minimal overlap with organic results, and potential inaccuracies. He emphasized that while SGE may not always be appropriate, there are still ample opportunities for SEOs, businesses, and publishers.

Tom advised focusing on Google Business Profiles, Google Shopping, and a human-centered approach to content to navigate the changing SERP landscape effectively.

Headless SEO: I’m Sorry, But This Is Happening — Lidia Infante

Lidia Infante explored the world of headless SEO and its implications for content management systems (CMS). She discussed the pros and cons of headless CMS for SEO and provided a checklist for implementing headless SEO effectively.

Lidia’s checklist included key components such as meta tags, customizable URL slugs, XML sitemap setup, structured data integration, and validating heading hierarchies. Her insights equipped attendees with the knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of headless SEO.

Views on Views of Video SEO — Crystal Carter

Crystal Carter brought her expertise in visual search to the forefront by diving into video SEO’s significance in search results. She highlighted the growing prevalence of video content in SERPs and its appeal to users.

Crystal explained that on-page video SEO is crucial for success and differs from traditional page optimization. Her recommendations covered video content quality, platform selection (with a strong emphasis on YouTube), and webpage design best practices.

Attendees also learned about GA4’s new Organic Video channel, providing valuable insights into video performance.

The Evolution of Content & the Future of Our Industry — Ross Simmonds

Ross Simmonds closed out day one with a thought-provoking discussion on the evolution of content creation and AI’s role in content marketing. He challenged the notion that AI-written content will replace human creativity and encouraged marketers to embrace AI as a tool to enhance their skills.

Ross outlined key areas where AI can augment content efforts:

  • Research: Use AI tools like ChatGPT for summarizing and analyzing large documents.
  • Content Creation: Reverse engineer successful content and leverage AI for content ideation.
  • Distribution: Repurpose content using AI-generated summaries and tweets.
  • Optimization: Utilize AI recommendations for SEO improvements.

Ross emphasized that AI should enhance, not replace, the creative process, and encouraged marketers to experiment with AI tools.


Day one of MozCon 2023 delivered a wealth of insights and strategies for navigating the future of digital marketing. Speakers covered a wide range of topics, including analytics, career growth, the evolving SERP, headless SEO, video SEO, and the role of AI in content marketing.

The introduction of Brand Authority as a new metric for Moz Pro and Moz API customers added another layer of excitement to the event. Attendees were encouraged to embrace AI tools to enhance their marketing efforts and stay ahead in the ever-changing digital landscape.

As day one concluded, the stage was set for day two of MozCon 2023, promising even more insights and discussions on the future of digital marketing. Check out our part two recap, where we’ll continue to unravel the mysteries of the digital marketing world!

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