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February 29, 2012

SMX West - Day 1

February 29, 2012

SMX West 2012One day down, and my head is already feeling a bit full from all the information I've absorbed during the first day of Search Marketing Expo in San Jose (over 10 pages of notes!). The conference features 60 sessions on topics including search engine optimization (SEO), paid search advertising (PPC), social media marketing, local and mobile search and landing page conversions. Here's a summary of my first day at SMX:

  • Both Google and Bing are on the "personal" search results train. Each of our search results are different from one anothers, whether or not you are logged in or have personal search results turned off. Why? Because both search engines look at a variety of factors when serving up your results, including geo-location, language, context from previous queries, topicality, your preferences, patterns and social.

  • Social is a ranking factor. But it's not just about having a Facebook account or getting whoever, wherever to re-tweet your tweets. Who you connect with socially is important as well. Thousands of spammy followers won't necessarily help you. The quality of your posts and your followers is important. Quality, trust and popularity are the ranking factors for social.

  • Implement schema.org. Rel=author and rel=publisher can help you out.

  • MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS MOBILE FRIENDLY. This isn't going to change.

  • Ranking shouldn't matter. What matters is traffic and conversions.

  • Searches are questions from users. Do you provide the answer they are looking for? Your title and meta should say you have the answer in the SERP  - and your landing page had better deliver that answer, above the fold.

  • Big brands might have an advantage - as they have greater exposure in all kinds of media. You should focus on building trust, authority and quality for your brand. Google just wants to give the user what they are looking for - so give them what they want!

  • Protect yourself from algorithm changes. In addition to serving up great content, you need to think like Google. In other words, you should provide the best answer to the search query. Google's job is done when the answer is found - your result should be that answer.

  • Update your sitemaps! Your site changes over time, and the sitemap should too.

  • Every site visitor can tell you something, even if they don't do anything. Regularly reviewing your site analytic data is critical to understanding user behavior.


There you have it, the first day's summary. I'm excited to see what will be served up during the rest of the conference.

Follow Emily on twitter for periodic updates from SMX!


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