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October 16, 2007

SMX Social Media, Day One

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If you’re coming to this blog hoping to find juicy (and hilarious!) SMX Social Media session recaps, um, they’re not here. Sadly, I am not in NY covering the event (don’t worry, I’ve already been mocked), but that’s okay because it allows me actually read other people’s recaps and take things in that way. I’ll let Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land give you the play-by-play; here’s what I think is important from today’s coverage:

Writing Quality Content Is Important

Rand Fishkin and Neil Patel converged in New York this morning to discuss the Social Media Marketing Essentials. There was lots of talk about the importance of social media, how it complements search engine optimization, which sites are important, and what to do what you get there, but frankly, I’ve heard most of that before.

For me, the most interesting part of that session was Rand’s discussion on how important it is to be producing quality content. He said that it’s actually the most important factor in attracting subscribers, beating out both the popularity of the author and what it is they’re actually writing about. Hear that? The trick to being a good blogger is actually being able to write!

I think this point gets downplayed a lot in the blogging world, so I was really glad to see that Rand mentioned it in his presentation. If you take a look at who’s successful in the blogosphere, many times its not necessarily the person who has the most experience or credentials, it’s the person who’s the best at expressing themselves and telling the story. I like to think that’s what helps our blog to stand out from the rest of the search engine optimization blogs out there – the quality of our writing. Yes, we are guilty of our typos from time-to-time, but I think it’s our ability to express a splash of personality that differentiates us. Maybe I’m wrong.

Recaps: Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land

Linkbait – Chumming for Traffic on Social Media Sites

Rebecca Kelley, Brent Csutoras and Cameron Olthuis were all on hand to talk about crafting link bait, the benefits of link bait, and how to make sure your server doesn’t crash under the weight of Digg. Ah, the joys of social media.

All three panelists shared some really great information and we’re starting to see a lot more of these sessions on linkbait now that the social media bug is in full swing. One thing I’d love to hear panelists start talking about, though, is the difference between link bait and creating link worthy content. There’s a huge difference between the two and I’m not sure that search marketers always realize that. It’s one thing to create a funny list or a How To and it’s a totally different thing to create a piece of content that fills some sort of basic need that those in your industry have. It’s my hope that as this whole social media thing evolves, we’ll start to see less link "bait" and more content that is actually deserving of links.

Recaps: Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land

Playing The Social News Sites Digg

I find it very funny that although we’re constantly told not to focus solely on Digg for our social media campaign, that that’s exactly what Neil Patel, Chris Winfield and Tamar Weinberg did with their presentations. They focused 100 percent on Digg and ignored every other social news site. Dude, what gives?

Digg Golden Boy Neil Patel offered up a lot of interesting stats, saying that on average a Digg link brings 129 links and over 10,000 visitors in an hour. Think how much it would be if you tried to buy all those links. It’d be a lot of really cute boots. But I’d like to see the numbers on how many, if any, of those visitors stick around and make repeat visitors.

The most amusing part of this session seemed to be when Chris Winfield made an effort to help get audience members accustomed to "the Digg language", throwing out terms like "FTW", "I can has" and "RTFA". Hee.

I don’t have much to say about this session. I’m not a huge Digg user. I respect its power, we just haven’t had the greatest time trying to leverage it and make it useful for us. [I think this goes back to the link bait vs quality issue. Our methodology focuses on the second but Digg tends to be more the first. –Susan]

Recaps: Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land

A Marketer’s Guide to Social Bookmarking & Tagging

Out of all today’s sessions, this is the one I really would have liked to attend in person. It seems like it was a battle of the accents. You had Guillame Bouchard talking in his super sexy French accent, Michael Gray with his almost non-comprehendible New York accent and Neil Patel talking like the valley girl boy he really is. Fun times! ;)

Seriously though, the session was all about tagging, something that I think is going to become increasing more popular and increasing more important.

One key takeaway: The four social media sites actively using tagging are Technorati, Delicious, Digg and Reddit.

This showed me the rock I have been living under, as I didn’t realize Digg or Reddit even used a tagging system. I have been schooled.

Another thing I would have loved to see in person: Neil giving the audience an overview of how to use the StumbleUpon toolbar. I’d love to know what all those buttons do and mean. All I really know about SU is that it brings us a lot of traffic on the rare occasions when I post something actually interesting and/or insightful.

Recaps: Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land

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