SMX East 2012 Conference Coverageby Rhea Drysdale on 10/11/2012 • 5 Comments | Internet Marketing Conferences
For those of you who attended SMX East 2012, it was great to see you there! We noticed a lot of fresh faces and companies, which is encouraging–the industry is growing and there’s still a lot to do.
We certainly learned a lot, but mostly about WordPress sliders and how few good ones exist. Those technical difficulties caused a delay in our coverage, but we wanted to bring you something good and useful. Hopefully, the delay was worth it and you find at least one kernel of knowledge that can improve your Internet marketing strategies or SEO campaigns. We’re happy to have our process worked out just in time for PubCon and we’ll see you then (or on the blog).
In the meantime, check out all of the great shots, quotes, and takeaways we picked up from SMX East 2012 (as well as a fashion trend!):
SMX East 2012: Meet & Greet, Monday, October 1st
- Guy Fitzpatrick of Linklift (Left) and Devin Barry of BrightEdge (Right). Devin Barry and Guy Fitzpatrick talking about the upcoming SMX East 2012 sessions. Barry was excited to represent BrightEdge at the expo and to meet the speakers.
- Katie Haigh (Left), and Ashley Tate (Right) of SEOMoz Katie and Ashley were excited about the Analytics and Social Media Tracks, and about the possibility of finally meeting some personalities they've come to know online
- Jim Summer, SEO Specialist at JPMorgan Chase Jim attended the in-house SEO training session on the first day and loved the opportunity to network with other SEOs in a similar situation.
- Jessica Commins, VP of Operations at Copyblogger Jessica was one of our favorite attendees with a big personality and great insight. She wanted to share with our readers that Copyblogger Media recently released ScribeContent.com, content marketing software.
- Michelle Robbins (Left) of SMX and Elisabeth Osmeloski (Right) of Search Engine Land What makes SMX East 2012 a must-attend? For Michelle Robbins, it's the content, and that there are so many options. The topics can crossover and you get excellent coverage of each track. SMX East has a wider audience than SMX Advanced, but with more introductory sessions as well as advanced approaches.
- Joe Kerschbaum, Vice President at CLIX Joe likes to draw you in with a few well chosen keywords. Everyone knows that kittens and social go hand-in-hand.
- Amman Badlani, Associate Director of Online Marketing & Analytics at Planned Parenthood Amman says that what makes SMX East unique is how well it's organized, and the accessibility of the speakers. Other conferences don't make it as easy. SMX is great for networking with people you can work with and bounce ideas off of.
- Jessica Lee, Content & Media Manager at Bruce Clay Miss our liveblog coverage? Jessica did a great job over at Bruce Clay. You can find her session recap here and there are related links to the individual sessions as well. Thanks Jessica!
- Akvile Harlow of Third Door Media and Brian Harnish, Internet Marketing Specialist at BestAttorney.com Brian spoke at SMX East on how to find and succeed with an SEO agency. To identify companies that aren't on the up-and-up, Harnish recommends you get educated fast. It's been a year since Akvile's first SMX conference and she's done an incredible job maintaining the social presence of SMX while also balancing high-level, B2B client consulting. Akvile is amazing!
- Meet & Greet: sponsored by Bruce Clay & Brafton The Meet & Greet came to an end just as we were heading to dinner, but we got to meet some great attendees and speakers. Keep reading to see what happened at the conference and thank you Bruce Clay and Brafton for the great networking opportunity!
SMX East 2012: Day 1, Tuesday, October 2nd
- What SEO Performance Metrics Are Truly Important The attendees and their computers getting ready for the first session of the SEO track on the the first day of SMX East.
- Rhea Drysdale (Left) of Outspoken Media, Rob Bucci of STAT Search Analytics and Vanessa Fox of Nine by Blue Members of the panel listen as Rhea introduces the topic of SEO performance metrics. Is SEO dead? No, but rankings are!
- Rhea urges the audience to think harder about our metrics. As an industry, SEO is becoming more accountable to our work. We're growing up! Give yourselves a round of applause.
- Ryan Jones (Left) of Sapient reminds the attendees what metrics we should be focusing on. Remember, it's not PR, Alexa Rank or even Facebook interaction that should be measured. It's sales, leads or LFA (lower funnel activity). You can grab Ryan's deck here.
- Rhea Drysdale, Rob Bucci, Vanessa Fox and Ryan Jones The SEO Performance Metrics panel poses for the camera after the question and answer session. It's always important to ask why you are measuring what you're measuring!
- Michelle Moar, Global Strategies (Left), Laura Mitchell and Raechel Frick, Intel, Ken Shults, Global Strategies Moar, Mitchell, Frick and Shults were interested in the concept of bucketing, categorizing and mapping keywords on the funnel. Mitchell appreciated the actionable metrics to look at for non-ecommerce sites. Shults mentioned the difficulty of keyword tracking for enterprise-level relationship building, and found these alternative metrics helpful as well.
- Caitlin Weems (Left), Jaci Gentile, Marriott International The most interesting and actionable advice Weems and Gentile came away with was the idea of bucketing and categorizing keywords in the funnel into low funnel actions (LFAs) and high funnel actions (HFAs).
- Matt McGee (Left) and Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land, Andrew Shotland of LocalSEOGuide, Matt Booth of BIA/Kelsey, Gregg Stewart of 15miles The panel is getting ready to have an open discussion about the state of local SEO, and where it's going for 2013. Opening remarks include Apple, iOS 6 and how to manage local directory services.
- Sally Mellinger of Shideler Dermatology Sally was intrigued by how much influence Apple has over the mobile market, and what that entails for the future of local. She also asked the panel about how to stop Yelp reviews from disappearing. Answer? Network with the local Yelp Elite!
- John Kriney of Optfirst, Carrie Hill of Carrie Hill Consulting What Carrie came away with was that local is hard! That this isn't something that the mom and pop stores are going to be able to wrap their heads around by themselves. John was prompted to wonder what happens when Google Places puts your listing as "pending review" or if it drops it somehow, and how to deal with that.
- John Denny of Advanced Digital (Left) and Will Scott of Search Influence (Right) Denny on the Local Search panel: Greg Sterling is one of the smartest analysts when it comes to local search.
- Matt McGee, Executive News Editor at Search Engine Land "My favorite part of SMX is seeing friends who I haven't seen for months."
- Will Scott, Greg Sterling and Mat Siltala Three powerhouses of local SEO.
- Rhea Drysdale and Will Scott Attending the "Looking Ahead: Local Search in 2013" session where Rhea was the Q&A Moderator and Will chimed in from the audience as a ghost panelist.
- Bill Slawski (Senior SEO Consultant) and Chris Countey (Director of Consulting Services) of WebiMax Last year Chris manned the Webimax booth so he's just excited to attend the sessions. Bill is excited to catch up with SEO friends and spoke earlier on Siri. In his presentation, Bill explains that there are many different presentations of search--Siri is specific to voice search, but Google Glasses are visual with parameter-less searches like shaking your phone to see traffic ahead of you. Query-less search will be a big topic moving into 2013.
- Ross Hudgens, founder of Siege Media, Presents Minimum Viable Product Use tactics that you can understand the return on, and quickly, without too much up front investment of time - like good, relevant content. But first, you need to understand the content that people in your market are going to like - which means that you test it! Don't be afraid to put together a quick, free blog that still is branded in order to get content out there quickly.
- Erin Everhart, of 352 Media Group, presents on how to become the invisible SEO Your overstuffed title tags aren't fooling anyone! Stop keyword stuffing and do what makes sense. Include your brand, and any selling point the business may have - like "as seen on Oprah."
- Todd Friesen, of SearchFanatics, reminds us that Google will always be changing their algorithm "Can we spend five minutes on this slide and just giggle a little?" We all know what Penguin is and we should have seen it coming miles away. But how to recover?
- Ross Hudgens of Siege Media (Left), Matt McGee of Search Engine Land, Todd Friesen of SearchFanatics, Erin Everhart of 352 Media Group and Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting The panel recuperating after all the talk of penguins, pandas and penalties, (oh my!).
- Danny Sullivan, Moderator As a moderator for the SEO Beware: Black Hat Tactics To Avoid & Be Wary Of session, Danny was most excited to be able to get into the head of the black hat and better understand the angles that they take, like, "Oooh, that's why you buy old domains...."
- Kerry Dean of PMG (Left), Michael Streko of KnowEm, Rob Kerry of Ayima and Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land At the Q&A after the compelling "SEO Beware: Black Hat Tactics To Avoid & Be Wary Of" session. What did you learn today that you weren't aware of before?
- Greg Finn, Director of Marketing for Cypress North With the state of the industry in 2012, Greg is excited to see a shift away from search to social driving as much traffic as Google to one of his sites. With more than 100,000 visits from Twitter over past three weeks alone, social is here to stay. To learn more about advanced social media tactics, check out SMX Social Media Marketing 2012 in Vegas, December 5th-6th.
- Ted Ives, Marketing Strategy Consultant Ted enjoying a glass of wine and networking at the SMX Expo Hall reception.
- Outspoken Media working diligently Outspoken Media is no stranger to being the first one in and the last to leave a session. Unfortunately, we spent most of the conference battling an unforgiving WordPress slider!
Day 1 Takeaways
What SEO Performance Metrics Are Truly Important– Measure what matters to your business. When you focus your metrics on your business goals, your efforts will be more successful. Your data needs more than reporting, it needs to be analyzed in order to create actionable items. Use keyword bucketing, Lower Funnel Actions & Higher Funnel Actions.
Looking Ahead: Local Search in 2013- Local search is more than just optimizing your Place page, recognize the opportunities that are out there with other local listing sites. Many of these are necessary to increase the number of citations your business has, which will improve local rankings as much as on site optimization and link building.
Google Bought A Zoo: Surviving Penguins, Pandas & Other SEO Beasts- Just because you weren’t hit by penguin, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be hit. Be proactive and clean up your links, and diversity your search marketing efforts so that there isn’t over reliance on a single, and potentially high risk method, but rather a long term investment in branding.
SEO Beware: Black Hat Tactics To Avoid & Be Wary of- Don’t be shady. Think like a black hat SEO, but don’t be a black hat SEO. By being aware you can avoid and defend yourself against them. If you are aware of these tactics, you can run the opposite direction to something that is more long term and low risk.
SMX East 2012: Day 2, Wednesday, October 3rd
- Paul Bruemmer, Managing Partner at PB Communications Paul spoke on sending structured data through semantic markup. Protege is a free, open source ontology editor and knowledge-base framework (Protege makes it easier to see how semantic markup is structured). Try to use automation to inject semantic markup.
- Benu Aggarwal, President & Founder at Milestone Internet Marketing Benu is really passionate about the power of schema when implemented on hotel sites for areas like the hotel itself, things to do in the area, specials, event calendars, and packages.
- Jonathan Goodman, President at Halyard Consulting Jonathan comes out swinging. Literally. He has pictures of a bat and makes the point that search engines don't know the difference between a bat (animal), bat (baseline), or bat (the B movie). Schema makes it possible to distinguish between these objects. Want to use Schema for WordPress? Get Yoast's WordPress SEO plugin.
- Frank Kochenash VP of Client Services, Mercent Mercent specializes in retail software in data management space for e-commerce and retail. Frank finds schema interesting as it applies to data management, but isn't sure that having data publicly available is the best option for clients who may be better served by keeping proprietary data in something like a shopping feed.
- SMX East 2012 Fashion Alert The executive hoodie was all the rage at SMX East. SEOs were seen wearing it with t-shirts and button-ups alike. All were adorned with SEOmoz conference badges.
- Maile Ohye, Senior Developer Programs Engineer, Google Inc. getting ready to present During her presentation Maile warns of ineffective implementation of the canonical tag such as "canonical flapping" (switching the canonical hourly/daily), using an IP address as the canonical, canonical syndication just to a .com (versus all domains that may be publishing a copy of your content). Avoid the use of rel="nofollow" when sculpting search engine access to your site. Instead, implement rel="prev" and rel="next."
- Andy Atkins-Krueger, Group CEO, WebCertain Andy has an accent to match the flair of his glasses--it's intoxicating. He has some great tips on using the rel="alternate" hreflang="[x]" tag to target the right audience for the right content. He also discussed tags like "notranslate." Everyone should get to know hreflang. Avoid machine translation and duplication.
- Bryson Meunier, Director of Content Solutions at Resolution Media Bryson is seeing less click-throughs to Wikipedia because the data is available in SERPs. Knowledge Graph increases the number of searches because they're interested in related queries. Understand the related searches and use universal results to capture the attention of surfers. Use a tool to measure ROI by keyword (BrightEdge recommendation) to verify that you aren't losing CTR, revenue, or leads.
- Matthew Brown, Founder at Audience Wise Knowledge Graph is often derived from Wikipedia and Freebase, but Matthew is seeing other sources used specifically to pull image information for queries. Knowledge Graph is still buggy and does not account for disambiguation. Make sure your results are accurate by hopping into Freebase and editing data if your site is informing them as a source. Optimize for Google+ which will be pulled for KG.
- Carlos Del Rio Carlos presented on the "Landing Pages & Conversion In A Smartphone & Tablet World" session, which we missed, but we had a chance to snap this epic shot.
Day 2 Takeaways
Getting Ahead With Google+: Google+ is a young platform, as such, if you find an interesting or innovative way to use it, or to make it work for your brand, you will be rewarded with attention. Find ways to use the tools that Google+ has that are unique to them; hangouts, and circles have great marketing possibilities, if you put the time and effort into developing a campaign that utilizes them.
Schema 201: Real World Markup for Success Get to know the data available through your site and identify opportunities to automate schema on it (plugins can help do this on certain CMS platforms). Markup will help drive rich snippets and other compelling elements for searchers and visitors alike. The search engines are looking for opportunities to display data more creatively–give it to them.
Tuning Up Your Twitter Tactics: Twitter is a community, treat it as such. Find ways to add content and have conversations, always being careful not to spam your fellow community members. If you make your twitter presence a conversation with rich takeaways for your followers, you will be successful. Outside of Twitter, make it easy to share your content on Twitter through integrated share buttons, and valuable content worth sharing.
Pagination & Canonicalization For the Pros Take advantage of the canonical tag, rel=”prev” and rel=”next,” and the hreflang=”[x]” tags to help fix complex problems like duplication, international targeting, and domain acquisitions. The search engines are offering a new way to communicate with them and it’s up to you to learn more about these opportunities and find ways to automate intelligent inclusion on your sites. Be careful though! With great tags comes great responsibility.
Getting Liked and Shared on Facebook: It is absolutely necessary to get your fans to interact with your page. As long as you have engagement, your fans will be able to see your posts, without it, you will disappear into the background. How do you get engagement? Questions, surveys, contests, promotions, pictures, Facebook is a multimedia platform–offer as much as you possibly can. Partner with your vendors, your community, and your fans to make content that is rich and engaging in visual, dynamic ways.
Direct Answers & The Knowledge Graph: Friend or Foe? The decision was split–Knowledge Graph is both a friend and a foe. It may keep searchers contained within the SERPs for informational queries, but it’s also a great way to drive more clicks for related queries. If you’re providing information to Wikipedia or Freebase, take ownership of your data to ensure that Knowledge Graph has accurate information.
SMX East 2012: Day 3, Thursday, October 4th
- Conversation: Is There Really Advanced Link Building? Roger Montti- Owner, MartiniBuster Rae Hoffman, CEO PushFire Adam Audette, President, RKG Debra Mastaler, President, Alliance-link Wil Reynolds, Founder, SEER Interactive
- Wil Reynolds, Founder SEER Interactive Cultivate your inner journalist. Wil suggests pulling a writer list from a publication, dropping in to followerwonk and comparing it with who is already following you. You want to make those that are not following you a priority. Court journalists and publications to find sources for content constantly, not just when you are looking to pitch.
- Rae Hoffman, CEO PushFire Rae suggests that you do not need to be a fortune 500 brand, but you need to be a brand. You don’t have to outrank Walmart- you just need to be heard in the community you are targeting. Focus your efforts in a smart way.
- The New Killer Content Heather Lloyd, David Waterman, and Will Duderstadt speak to new trends in content, and ways they've successfuly utilized them.
- Embrace the content! Write unique, creative content and you won't have to worry about Panda.
- David Waterman – Director, Search Engine Optimization, The Search Agency David urged the audience that the industry needs to put back on our marketing and journalist hats. We need to focus our energies on all of our content: Evergreen + Brand+ Industry
- Heather Lloyd- Martin-President and CEO Success Works Search Marketing Heather offered tips for content: Tip 1: Find your voice You will connect with your readers faster Tip 2: Help your sales pages make more money- test your content Placing the CTA below the fold increased conversion rates 20 percent Tip 3: Create content for your customers (not google!) Tip 4: Maximize your first opportunity for conversion Better performing title tags & descriptions- write titles as you would write headlines Tip 5: Repurpose existing content Create a plan/editorial calendar Tip 6: Find an SEO Content Champion
- Will Duderstadt-Duke of Data MCLA Will explained how the MCLA found success in focusing outward. Figure out what your audience is looking for. MCLA built out sections of their site that their audience was going elsewhere for: player comparisons, forums, etc. "If you give them what they want, they don't have to go someplace else."
- Dawn Kargbo MAC Group Webmaster Dawn said Pagination and Canonicalization for the Pros was a favorite. In her webmaster role, she deals with a lot of troubleshooting, it was great to hear someone confirming that the issues she has are common, and that there are solutions. Meile was a huge help, as a senior employee in her department, sometimes the answer to the questions she is looking for is something that she needs to find out in the community, SMX offered those answers, or access to someone who has them.
- Youngsoo Park LG CNS- On Tech Team Youngsoo's favorite session so far was Maximizing Enterprise Level SEO, "It was great to see the guys from Intel sharing their expertise." As an employee with another enterprise level company the takeaways were useful. LG CNS has a global SEO partner that gives them concepts they find the execution for. Youngsoo travelled from South Korea, and has been visiting the city for a whole week. Has been to SMX East once before, and found it valuable enough to make the trip a second time.
- How to Use Search Marketing As A Force For Positive Social Change Chrysi Philalithes, Chief Digital Officer for (RED) and David Burgess, SEO Consultant for Ayima, breakdown what goes into the optimization of a successful charity campaign.
- Chrysi Philalithes, Chief Digital Officer (RED) RED’s goal: Every generation is known for something. Let’s be the one that delivers an AIDS free generation.
- How do they approach content? Participation not promotion. Dialogue not Monologue. Empowering not excluding. Inspiring not forcing. Innovating not following.
Day 3 Takeaways
Conversation: Is There Really Advanced Link Building? Short answer- No. Long answer- No there are no specific tricks that will make you an advanced link builder, instead there is just better marketing. Advanced Link Building is all about thinking like a journalist, finding a story and an audience, and pairing the two. You need to be adaptable to the situation, find the right content, the right source, and the right pitch.
The New Killer Content: Focus, first and foremost, on your readers. What are they looking for on your site, and on other sites? Offer up something that they aren’t finding elsewhere, and you will have successful content. Make sure that your content extends to your title tags and meta descriptions, don’t let any opportunity to create a headline pass you by.
How to Use Search Marketing as a Force for Positive Social Change: How does (RED) approach search marketing? They tell a story, with content that’s about those they help, not the organization itself. They engage people by using pictures that make an emotional impact.