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Notes from Days Two & Three of #SMX East 2009

8 Oct

Due to burnout, my brain being over capacity and client work I’ve had to combine days 2 & 3 into one post 🙂 Following are the most important notes and thoughts from the sessions I attended. Head over to flickr to check out my SMX set.

Day 2 at SMX East 2009 started with a Keynote: What’s Next In Search: The Bigwig Crystal Ball Panel. The panel was fun had a great amount of knowledge to share. Here are some of my notes/thoughts/and learning from the panel:

  • Asking to be followed on Facebook & Twitter creates a way to stay in front of the consumer beyond the media buy. It keeps and opens up a conversation. This is what makes Social Media so exciting for marketers: In the past, after the exposure to the ad the consumer there was noway to continue the conversation. In addition, Social Media offers opportunity in Direct Response Marketing, Awareness, and Feedback.
  • Twitter is essentially a RSS feed and and email marketing on steroids. It takes Customer Service to a whole new level.
  • Here’s a quote by Google taken totally out of context: “We are not always accurate.”
  • Something I did not know but learned from Greg Boser of 3 Dog Media: Google has a 30 minute cookie that they place on your computer and there is no way of opting out of it.
  • The Panel was in consensus that the bing and Yahoo merger is a good thing.

Ecommerce Search Marketing Tactics – This session was full of tactics for ecommerce merchants on how to do well in search results.

  • Talk to the Ecommerce Engines to see what the terms are that people search for
  • YouTube is the number two search engine with 3.5 billion searches in August 09
    • Ecommerce opportunities on YouTube:
      • There are many generic searches conducted
      • Less crowded ad space with sponsored links
      • Opportunity with long tail keyterms
  • The biggest opportunity to improve ecommerce conversions is by adding relevant copy to the product and category pages
    • Category pages are the most important pages on an ecommerce site
    • Optimizing these pagers can increase conversions by up to 23%!
  • The average conversion rate in August 2009 was 2%
  • Conduct a ecommerce PPC audit every 13 months: “Don’t ask for more budget: Reallocate!”
  • Optimize your site and product pages for SEO
The Interplay of Social Media & Paid Search – This session was very theoretical. It went over how exposure to social media has influenced search behavior
  • There has been a move from Media Delivery (Traditional Advertising) to Media Discovery (interactive: search, etc.)
  • Putting all terms (SEO, PPC, social) in silos makes sense from a tactical standpoint, but not from an interplay and analytical attribution sense
  • Search is the best direct response channel available online
  • There has been a huge shift in online behavior from the portals to social media, especially for search
    • Heavy searchers are 43% more likely to be Facebook users than the average user
  • No surprise here: Social Media Users are very desirable with their buying power
  • “Supportive social media” is growing rapidly in importance for consumers
    • “I need to know something about it”
  • The Click Through Rate for Ads are much higher if there was prior exposure to social. This is especially true for branded search terms
  • Takeaways:
    • Conversion happen in Search -> Social can influence this
    • Social will pump up branded searches
    • Slow and steady social is the best. This means no viral. Constant influence is much more beneficial than a burst or ‘sometimes’ influence.
    • Listen: Where are the gaps? What do people want to know? Provide Relevant information.
Video Search Marketing Beyond YouTube – This session looked at other types of video search marketing opportunties other than YouTube.
  • Video Marketing is becoming more and more fragmented
  • right now Video SEO is like SEO for altavista in the late 90s
  • Use YouTube for :30 to 3:00 videos. Host longer videos on your own site
  • Put all your videos on YouTube – a video is 50x more likely to show up on a Search Results PAge versus a text page
  • Filenames for videos matter
  • Include your URL in the end-slate
  • The video Thumbnail is your call to action
  • New Video Marketing Oppotunites:
    • Google Products pages
    • Google Local Listings
    • People are looking for higher quality videos
Universal & Blended Search Opportunities – This session focused on “vertical” search results is through “blended results” (Yahoo & bing) or “Universal Search” (Google): Blending mixes results from news, blogs, shopping, local search, video search, images, and more into the “regular” result page.
  • You can take up space on the results page with universal search in the search engines. This is great for reputation management!
  • How to dominate universal search:
    • PPC Ad
    • Core Listing
    • Publish / Refresh news about yourself
  • Yahoo now offers really cool “rich ads” with images and videos
  • Google reiterated as usual that it’s “all about relevance”
  • The future, according to Goggle, will be more and more local results
Check back tomorrow for my final blog post on day three and my summary of SMX. Head over to flickr to check out my SMX set.

Notes from Day One of #SMX East 2009

6 Oct


37 pages. That’s how pages of notes I took today at SMX East. Given they were small pages, but nevertheless that’s still la lot of notes – but, also a reflection upon the vast amount of knowledge that you learn at SMX. Don’t fool yourself, you better be ready to learn, A LOT, at SMX because the learning is something that never stops at SMX.

I learned about the rel=canonical tag from the search engines, local vs. organic SEO, and all about Maps. How local search and maps are evolving. And finally, I had the pleasure of sitting in a keynote by Ben Huh.


Here a few of the highlights of things that stood out to me today:


Mobile Search Ads –

  • Always send Mobile PPC ads to Mobile sites or Mobile Landing Pages.
  • Geo-target with your Mobile PPC ads
  • But, you don’t need a mobile site as you can send mobile ads to: Google Maps, Apple Appstore, Android Marketplace or YouTube.
  • The Mobile Relevance Formula has a lower relevance on Quality Score and a higher relevance on Click Through Rate
  • Click To Call Converts 10x more than Clicks
  • Test if users prefer a limited mobile or a full site



Duplicate Content Issues: The Search Engine Edition –

  • The biggest news here was that during the Q&A session Google announced that the rel=canonical tag will work across different domains
  • This means that by year’s end Yahoo and bing will use the canonical tag and Google will be ahead once again by accepting the tag across domains



Ranking Tactics for Local Search –

For a local search Connoisseur like me that was probably the most insightful panel of the day.

  • The most intriguing thing to me was the discussion of the difference between Organic and Local SEO. Without getting into this: Yes, there are major differences here
  • One thing to keep in mind is that services such as Localeze, Axiom, and infoUSA feed the search engines and feed secondary search directories. These secondary directories in turn passively feed Google.
  • There are differences across the three major search engines 



Maps, Maps, Maps! –

This was nice run-through of the three maps (Google, bing, Yahoo!) by the representatives of the actual search engines

  • Yahoo demoed their new features (very impressive!)
  • Yahoo uses localeze, USAlocal,etc to pull in data
  • bing showed off their advancements as well. The “1-click” directions stood out the most as the pre-populate directions from North, South, West, and East
  • Google reminded the audience to not keyword stuff the listings (e.g. Categories, etc.)
  • The importance of Reviews were driven home by Steve Espinosa from Cherrp: a minimum of 4 reviews are required to be in Google’s top 3



Keynote by Ben Huh, the CEO of ICANHASCHEEZBURGER network –

This keynote really made the day and was stuffed full of great quotes and insights. Among these were:

  • “To succeed you must turn other people’s dreams into reality”
  • ” It is Human Nature to admire complexity but to reward simplicity”
  • Don’t waste your time developing things created by others: spend 10% on off-the-shelf and 90% on your core
  • This means use products others have developed, such as: YouTube to host videos, JS-Kit for reviews, Google Docs, and Word press for blogging
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