Search Marketing Expo, or SMX for short is put on by Search Engine Land, an SEO focused online publication. SMX West was held in San Jose, at the convention center this year. Since it’s not too far from my home base, I usually check it out on the free Expo Plus pass. There were some marked differences this year compared to previous years. First of all, the event was much smaller. There were only a couple dozen exhibitors, if that, whereas in years past there were at least double and maybe triple that number.
Another difference was the absence of the big players like Google and Twitter. There were no Learn with Google sessions, which was a big draw for the cheapskates like me not willing to spring 2K for the full ticket training and workshops. The primary reason is not necessarily to get information (which can easily be obtained online) but to get a feel for what the top SEO practitioners in the industry are focused on. I also like to learn about the kind of services being offered, which is a good indicator of where SEO dollars are being spent.
Link Building Through Guest Posting to Quality Websites
At least 3 of the exhibitors in this year’s SMX West were selling these link building, content production services. By creating quality content for their clients and then submitting it to high link authority online publications, they are providing a turnkey guest posting product. This is probably nothing new, but I hadn’t seen it in past conferences. It had been just content creation without the guest posting aspect.
Another theme of the conference this year was automation.
Instapage presented their “Post Click Automation” solution. Instapage seems most appropriate for larger ecommerce websites with a lot of visitors. Conversion rate is improved by showing each user only what is needed to convert them based on the ad they clicked and ongoing optimization of the landing page.
Post click automation best practices:
- Segment audience
- Create personalized page for each audience
- Optimize A/B
- Refine Segmentation
Longtail UX is trying to give the long tail, that Google so selfishly stole, back to advertisers. The expo presentation I saw was aimed at convincing the audience of the need for this by emphasizing how Google is pulling back opportunities in all areas of paid search, with the death blow being their sun-setting the support of 3rd party cookies in Google Chrome next year. Their solution automates the creating of custom ads and landing pages based on the long tail keywords that are relevant to your business.
ClickCease uses automation to reduce click fraud by detecting and blocking bad IP addresses through behavior analysis. It digs through your server logs real-time, like you wish you could, blocks the bad bots and fraudsters that drain your ad budget.
Other sessions presented by Bruce Clay of Bruce Clay, Zach Hoffman of digitalPR, and Zach Chambers of Uberall (it must be the year of the Zach) drove home the importance of not only knowing, but also implementing the basics of SEO from the ground up.
A great feature of this year’s conference were the clinics held in the Expo theater. There were a variety, but I only attended the Google Analytics clinic hosted by Samantha Barnes of Bounteous, Inc (@SamanthasData), and Colleen Harris, CDK Global, Product Manager for Business Intelligence (@cdawg2610). The session was a Q & A, with some interesting topics addressed. It was good to hear solutions from people who know Google Analytics inside and out.
Overall, not a bad conference this, however since the freebie sessions ended just after noon on the second day, I decided to play hooky and get some work done.