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INTERNATIONAL: SMX Sydney 2010 Highlights

by Marc Elison, Bruce Clay Australia, May 17, 2010

In order to better serve subscribers around the world, the Bruce Clay, Inc. SEO Newsletter has partnered with Bruce Clay Australia to feature news and events from the fast-growing Internet marketing industry in Australia. Be sure to look for international news and content, which will be identified with an icon of the Australian flag.

I was recently fortunate enough to attend my second ever SMX Sydney a few weeks ago and just like the last occasion, I had a very enjoyable and productive event. There are some who say that SEO conferences have zero value and that they are not worth the investment anymore; I am definitely NOT in that camp. I was lucky enough to be liveblogging the entire conference, so I managed to be in A LOT OF sessions. I will admit that a very small minority of the presentations were a little boring, during which I found I knew the majority of the content spoken about. But many were invigorating, refreshing and even interesting.

These conferences are not only about the presentations, it's also about the networking opportunity, chances to meet your search heroes and just make some friends within the industry. Bruce Clay Australia also had a booth, which I got to man for some short periods and I had an awesome time educating and explaining to some newbies how SEO works and the benefits of it to the overall business strategy. Due to the fact that SES New York was on at the same time, we didn't get all the great speakers we had last year, no Bruce Clay was a letdown. But, there were still enough great presentations for me to make up a nice highlights package. I will mostly rely on my own hazy recollections and liveblog posts but might also pinch an insight here and there from Kalena, Silver Pistol AKA Divine Write and Conversation Media.

The biggest SMX Sydney surprise

I never thought it would happen. Nobody did. It was like a lightning bolt out of the blue. Even though it was a big shock for all attendees, it was a good bombshell, the food was actually scrumptious. I have been to a few conferences in my day and generally to food ranges from very poor to average. But this year SMX Sydney relocated from Lunar Park to the rather swankier Hilton Hotel Sydney and I think it was a change for the better, but back to the food. The banana bread had that delightful crunch when you bit into it and a second later was melting in your mouth. The butter chicken was served in the richest, almost velvet like sauce and the desserts, well I am making myself hungry right now so I will leave that to your imagination.

Titbits from the presentations

Now like any attendee I had some favourite presenters. I thought Greg Boser and Todd Friesen were excellent when paired up or even on their own. Danny Dover and Brent Payne were also great in a session, where they pushed and prodded Google Engineer, Greg Grothaus for answers to questions like "What's in the algorithm etc etc", and to his credit, Greg kept his nerve and a smile on his face. Marty Weintrub was always entertaining too. But I will try to keep unbiased and relate key information from the sessions. Here are the key highlights from the presentations of SMX Sydney 2010:

Social Media

  • Social media is huge, 1 billion users, spending 2 billion minutes a month, average person spending 16% of time on FB whilst only 5% of time on Google. It's not a trend, it's here to stay. - Chris Sherman
  • 25% of all FB users are doing so on their mobile. Between 2013 and 2014, there will be more people using internet on their mobiles than desktops. - Chris Sherman
  • "If you're not doing Facebook advertising you're goddamn negligent, and should be fired! Facebook is half the internet." - Marty Weintrub. Thanks, Matt, missed that one.


  • Create a link profile based on the 'norm' for your industry. Target the 5 best ranking competitors and map out a link acquisition strategy that mirrors these guys. One you have a strategy, look at the ways these top guys get links and use these techniques. You can even buy links, if it's within the norm for your industry. - Greg Boser (I didn't say it, Greg did.)
  • Link builders should still take no follow links, can't ignore no follow links. Having them show up may be part of a natural link profile. Offer cash to make no follows go away. - Greg Boser
    (Note that we're only reporting Greg's comments. Buying link PR transfer is link spam and it is dangerous.)
  • Over 90% of PageRank is passed through 301s. - Danny Dover

SERPs and Universal

  • 86% of all SERPs in a test we ran (I say we, as I actually did the test) included Universal search results. - Des Odell
  • 74% of all SERPs had a Universal Search result above the fold. - Des Odell
  • 36% of links on page 1 are Universal Search items. - Des Odell
  • About 20% of Australian searchers search Australian Pages. - Chris Dimmock
  • Google won't list main domain and then indent subdomain, unless you choose 100 results.
  • Google is going to start coming after shopping comparison sites. - Greg Boser
  • Sources for real time search: Facebook fan pages, Public tweets, MySpace, Friendfeed, Buzz, Jaiku and crawled Content. - Greg Grothaus
  • Results in real time within seconds of an event occurring, it takes 3 seconds from the event happening to putting it into SERPs. - Greg Grothaus
  • Indicators of relevancy for real-time search: Regular updates, Content that matters, Unique content, Points to useful links, Followers matter less than interaction and Content not # soup. - Greg Grothaus
  • The Google algorithm changed 500 times last year. - Greg Grothaus

Quick Hits

  • Facebook is not strategy, PPC is not strategy, they are tactics to implement a digital strategy.
  • Cheapest time is now to buy "brand mindshare".
  • The IIS SEO toolkit is a great place to start with people using IIS, it will allow you to get a better understanding of your site from an SEO perspective. - David Cropley
  • You should always re-write your URLs, make them SEO and people friendly so that click-throughs are improved. - Greg Boser
  • Check the text only version of the page in the cached version of Google for a more accurate view of your site. - Danny Dover
  • Bing loves microsites, if you are still using them, target them towards Bing. -Todd Friesen

So much for a top 10 list, everyone, because that's 22 (my favourite roulette number) points of SMX Sydney goodness for you. SMX Sydney had a good atmosphere this year, it seems everyone was really there to learn, help each other and in general have a good time. Thanks for a great search conference SMX Sydney.

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