BACK TO BASICS: What You Need to Know From SMX Advanced 2011
June kicked off with the always informative SMX Advanced in lovely Seattle, Washington. The conference, which was limited to 1200 attendees, sold out more than a month in advance. If you missed out on the incredible sessions and speakers, fear not. Just as we always do, Bruce Clay, Inc. was there to liveblog the event as it happened. You can find all the conference coverage on the Bruce Clay, Inc. Blog but here are the highlights by session.
The New Periodic Table of SEO
This session focused on the major "elements" involved in doing SEO, including many fundamentals that often suffer when marketers chase only the latest and greatest new techniques. The major takeaway from this panel that one should not confuse correlation with causation.
Important Technical Factors:
Important Content Factors:
Important Link Factors:
Things that rank well are often shared a lot on Facebook. (Further discussion outside of the panel concluded that this is likely due to the aim of both metrics being to find and share good content, not that Facebook Likes are ranking factors in and of themselves.)
Social, brand and local are all changing up the search results as well as an increased emphasis on intent. Building out good content is imperative post-Panda. Google +1 has no measurable impact now but likely will in the future.
Overlooked, Underloved and Unknown Analytics
Two important announcements from Google Analytics came out of this panel:
Tools recommended by the panel for tracking:
Overall takeaway: A click on display is not the same thing as a click on search. You need to measure your channels separately.
Yes Virginia, Tweeting is SEO
Fact: Tweets are impacting how regular search results rank. What search was in 1998, is what social is today. But one word of caution: Tweets are not a silver bullet for SEO.
Tip 1: Integrate SEO and Social into a strategy
Tip 2: Branded Links
Tip 3: Be Social! (Come out of the SEO shell)
Make website sharing easy and make sure your SEO and social teams are talking and sharing data.
Timing is everything when it comes to Tweets. Test to see when your audience is most engaged and gives you the best response. Engage with celebrities (in your space, not just typical celebrities.)
Hints from Danny Sullivan
Advanced PPC Analytics
Stick to best practices: Any broad match terms getting more traffic than their exact and phrase siblings? Any groups with just one active ad? Are you identifying loser ads on CTR or conversions? Any budget-constrained campaigns? Adjusting bids for Day of Week and Time of Day? (Requires the time of click) Are you deleting keywords with no impressions for 13 months?
An excess of data leads to a shortage of optimization. Don't get lost in your data. Instead look for trends.
Consider how your attribution model works and try for better attribution without losing sight of your goal.
SEO and Competitive Intelligence
How do you use your competitors' actions to make your marketing strategy stronger?
The Really Complicated Technical SEO Infrastructure Issues
This panel was divided into two mini-panels. The first half focused on Schema.org, which you can read about in this month's Hot Topic. Here's the highlights from part two of the panel.
International expansion best practices:
Do you have time to?
Are you expanding in language or region?
Make sure you have shareable URLs and that you provide the user the ability to navigate in their desired language. Consider tourists.
How to Use the Canonical Tag
1. You have 100 products, 10 products on each page and a "view all" page. The "view all" page CAN be the canonical page.
2. You have 100 products, 10 products on each page and no "view all" page. You CANNOT make page 1 the canonical for pages 2-10 because page 1 doesn't have the products that are on page 2-10.
Tough Love: Link Building for the Real World
Lots of amazing takeaways from these presenters. Here's seven of the most important points.
Advanced Keyword Research Tools
Obviously this session focused on many different tools. The main takeaway: No one tool is perfect, so use different tools. Don't just look at popularity, there's more to keywords than that.
Free tools (not an exhaustive list):
Use negative keywords. The more negative keywords you have the less money you will waste on unqualified traffic.
Yes, Virginia, Facebook is SEO
The question on everyone's mind for this panel was "Will Google +1 edge out the Like Button?" The panelists didn't think so, predicting that they would actually feed off each other much in the same way LinkedIn is supported by other networks.