SMX Advanced 2013 Recap: 32 Takeaways

After a successful three-day run, SMX Advanced 2013 has come to an end and, after saying goodbye to the Bell Harbor International Conference Center and spending the night in Sea–Tac Airport, our Bruce Clay live-bloggers have safely returned home.

In case you missed it, today’s post offers a quick-read recap of nine SMX Advanced live-blogging sessions that cover topics from PPC best practices and link acquisition, to content curation, authorship, and Schema.


32 Takeaways from 9 SMX Advanced 2013 Sessions


The Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors: 2013 Edition

  • 20130611-103359.jpgTechnical SEO is still relevant. When optimizing, remember that user intent comes first, and site speed matters.
  • Anchor text has gone down in value since last year.
  • The presence of Google+ 1 JavaScript code can cause a page to get indexed, and Google+ social sharing can make an impact on Google indexing and ranking within 4 or 5 days.
  • Social shares on Facebook also impact Google indexing and ranking, but it can take 7 to 8 days.

PPC Best Practices in an Enhanced-Campaign World

  • 20130611-120904.jpgMobile modifiers, location and time of day are available at the campaign- and ad group-level, but not the keyword level.
  • Campaigns with low desktop/tablet bids and aggressive mobile modifiers are preferable to campaigns running only mobile-preferred ads.
  • Improve your Quality Score by using mobile landing pages for mobile-referred ads, or {imobile} and {ifnotmobile} parameters within PPC URLs.

Authorship: The Deep Dive

  • Authorship versus AuthorRank — what's the difference?
    Authorship versus AuthorRank — what’s the difference?

    Google Authorship versus AuthorRank: Google Authorship refers to the system whereby authors can connect themselves to pieces of content by linking content back to their Google+ profiles. AuthorRank, on the other hand, is a more nebulous concept that supposedly uses information gathered through the Authorship program and other signals to attribute a level of authority to a writer’s body of work, which is then used as a ranking factor in the SERPs.

  • 13 percent of SERP top pages have Google Authorship markup but, overall, there has been low adoption of Authorship. Authorship is still in its infancy and understanding of how Authorship signals effect SERP position is something that is still being researched and worked on.
  • Google+ profiles, pages and communities have PageRank, and their PageRank corresponds not only to the level of Google+ engagement they receive, but also to their backlink profile from sites external to Google+. Using Authorship on authoritative sites builds the search rank power of your profile.
  • Videos, PDFs, Word documents and online PowerPoint presentations can all transfer Authorship but Google Books cannot.

Microdata, Schema, Rich Snippets

  • Google Power Search by Stephan Spencer

    Click-throughs and on-site activity are more important than ever. If a user clicks through to your site and spends 2.5 minutes looking at your article and then clicks the back button, Google will take into consideration their time on site and deliver the searcher more articles from you in future search results.

  • There are hundreds of Schema objects that can be assigned including  reviews, ratings, recipes, and person. Note: Authorship and “person” are not the same. Person is for show hosts and assigns information about the person; Google Authorship uses a rel=author tag and links to the author’s G+ profile.
  • Only .27 percent of domains are using Schema, but those sites that do use Schema markup have seen 47 percent higher rankings on average.

Getting Curation Right

  • Content Curation Panel at SMX Advanced 2013
    Content curation panel at SMX Advanced 2013

    When it comes to content curation, the wrong questions to ask are: What’s the bare minimum? How many words do I need to get by? How many keywords do I need to put in the copy?

  • Use quality images, which you can find through Flickr’s Creative Commons, Shuttershock or via your own lens. Remember, content with images is more likely to be shared on social media.
  • Types of curated content that tend to get traction: Improved versions of original posts, argumentative or controversial articles, lists, how-to articles and guides, images/memes, timelines, comparisons, offbeat or extreme posts, and videos.
  • Curating content can save time. An original blog post may take upwards of four hours, while a curated post can be compiled in two hours or less.

SMX Keynote: Gurdeep Singh Pall, Bing Corporate VP

  • 20130612-102404.jpg

    The idea of typing keywords into a search box is soon going to be outdated. Natural interaction with devices is going to be the new model and technology is catching up.

  • The keyboard and mouse are on their way out, to be replaced with conversational interfaces for apps and devices. Proactive applications that can infer what you want or are planning to do based on your interactions with technology and search engines are coming.
  • Younger people are drawn to the accessible spoken-word functionality of Bing. Research is being done to figure out if users want Bing to be like a friend, a butler, or a snarky concierge.
  • With comScore figures placing Bing at 17+ percent market share, June 2013 has been Bing’s best month ever.

Think You Know Good Content? Fuggedaboutit. Here’s What Really Counts

  • Vanessa Fox and Vanessa Casavant answering questions after the session
    Vanessa Fox and Vanessa Casavant answering questions after the session

    When it comes to content, the best long-term strategy is to figure out who your audience is, what they want and how you can help solve their problem.

  • Content strategy is people strategy. Don’t think of it as a system.
  • Creating a consistent voice in different communication channels strengthens the brand online and offline.
  • Content can be political because there’s an overlap of requirements: technical, editorial and web strategy/planning.

Legit Link Acquisition

  • Further Optimization Helps Build Links & Shares
    Further optimization helps build links and shares

    Create good high-quality content and make the content available for others to embed in-full on their websites. For example, people like infographics they can feature on their sites.

  • Don’t stress about whether or not SEO is becoming inbound marketing. Do your basic SEO.
  • Make sure to keep your internal link structure updated. Internal link building still works well, and manual link outreach still drives revenue.
  • In light of Penguin, monitor your inbound anchor-text. Understand how link spam analysis works and make sure anchor text stays brand-focused (as opposed to keyword phrase focused) 50 percent of the time or more.

SMX Advanced 2013: Ask the SEOs

  • 20130612-151848.jpgIn this session SEO veterans Bruce Clay, Rae Hoffman, Greg Boser and Alex Bennert answer questions including: How do you deal with syndicated content? If your audience isn’t on Google+, should you spend time on it? When do you know when your job as an SEO is done? What’s the biggest mistake marketers are making? And our personal favorite, if you could make Matt Cutts do anything, what would it be?
  • Matt Cutts ascends the stage to drop some knowledge. Referring to the paid side of search and keyword data, Matt says that he’s only one guy and can’t push the whole organization. He mentions that he’s really pushing for security and recommends the book Little Brother and says it will inform your thinking on the topic.
  • The SEOs, Matt Cutts, and Duane Forrester, each share one item they would consider a major conference takeaway. Bruce: fix weak links. Alex: make use of data in Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. Greg: concentrate on mobile and consider responsive design that supports native apps. Rae: Avoid being generic at all costs. Matt: make something compelling and optimize the user experience. Duane: think social.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

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13 Replies to “SMX Advanced 2013 Recap: 32 Takeaways”

Excellent recap, Kristi – exactly what a busy marketer needs. Thank you!!!

You guys are the next best thing to being there. Thanks for sharing all the recaps, slide decks and takeaways.

Thank you very much, Brent :D

Interesting data regarding schema markup since only .37 percent of sites are using it? If site owners are not at least aware of schema they are already way behind. I have been experimenting with it, i.e. the Geo location markup for local and I haven’t been able to determine whether it has had an influence or not. At the same time I know it can be abused since Google does make reference of abusing schema in their guidelines. It is going to be interesting to see the impact has schema markup will have going forward.

Agreed, Greg. I attended a session on Google PLAs that I didn’t liveblog but there was a question from an audience member that is relevant to point out here – PPC pros are asking if including Schema markup on ad landing pages could influence Google’s quality evaluation of an advertiser. Makes you think.

Anthony Lepki

Thanks for the recap for those of us who could not make it out this year!
Nice to see that you are also interacting with your blog followers.

Yeah man :) It’s a service we’re happy to provide.

Andy kuiper

Great summation Kristi :-) thank you.

Kristi, you rock! Thanks.

Hi Dana!

You and Virginia wrote a flurry of AMAZING blog posts, and it was my pleasure to read (and learn) from them while sharing with the Twitter community! Thank YOU for the awesome coverage!

Until next time,

This is a great summary….but you missed the most important takeaway from my part of the “Authorship Deep Dive” panel: Google+ profiles, pages, and communities have PageRank, and their PageRank corresponds not only to the level of Google+ engagement they get, but also to their back link profile from sites external to Google+. So using Authorship on authoritative sites builds the search rank power of your profile.

Hi Mark,

Thanks for taking the time to write in! As the speaker, who knows better than you what you wanted the audience to take away? I will add your point to the post.


Kristi, you win as the Takeaway Queen! Thanks for pulling the best of our coverage. With so many rich nuggets of information shared at SMX Advanced, it’s hard to narrow it all down.

Thanks for helping Virginia and I behind the scenes. You are invaluable!


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