My Picks for SMX Advanced in Seattle 2010

May 30th, 2010

SMX Seattle 2010In just over a week, I will be heading down to Seattle to attend Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Advanced.  I decided that I am going to take the Amtrak train from Vancouver and try it out – seems like a good idea for a hassle-free commute and I can work on the computer or simply read my analytics book that I have not yet completed.

I just realized that the conference is sold out -  I’m happy that I registered early.

This conference is going to be great to learn and keep up with the best practices with search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). Of the many topics, I am looking to absorb valuable insights with regards to:

  • What has changed over the last year with regards to how the search engines spider and index (and/or rank) your site.
  • What on page elements are important for optimizing your SEO efforts and conversion funnel.
  • What are the other external contributing factors to help your SEO efforts (social media, link building etc.)
  • How search results pages are changing with blended and real-time search.
  • Insights on how other colleagues evaluate what is working and what is not.
  • Tools to make my job easier and more productive.

That being said. I checked out all the tracks that are being offered at SMX (there are many!) and here are my personal picks:

Tuesday June 8, 2010

9:00am – 10:15
SEO for Google vs Bing: How Different Are They?
Danny Sullivan, Matt Cutts, Janet Driscoll Miller, Rand Fishkin, Sasi Parasarathy
Back in the old days, some SEOs walked through the snow for eight miles and made different versions of their sites for Infoseek, AltaVista, Excite, Lycos and others. Each search engine liked different things, and so the effort was deemed worth it, by some. Then came Google, which grew and grew to the degree that for many, it was the only search engine to care about. You built a site for Google and didn’t worry about the rest. Now the times may be changing. When the Microsoft-Yahoo deal is complete — only months away now — Yahoo’s results will be powered by Bing. Suddenly, a second player with an estimated 25-35% marketshare will emerge overnight. Does it make sense to build a Bing-specific site? Is there that much of a difference between ranking factors for Bing versus Google to justify the effort? This panel explores the issues.

11:00am – 12:15pm
Targeting The Search Funnel
Greg Sterling, Babara Coll, Lulu Gephart, Michael Kahn, Siddharth Shah, Bob Tripathi
Most people don’t do a search and immediatley buy from a web site. They often research a product over days, weeks or even months, using different search terms from search session-to-session. The panel looks at the search funnel, as Google’s new tool recently renamed the sales funnel. How do you best target people at different points of the funnel using paid search and move them toward your ultimate goal of conversion.

1:45pm – 3:00pm
Pump Up Those Conversions
Chris Sherman, Scott brinker, Christine Churchill, Vic Drabicky, Scott Miller
You’ve got them to your site — that’s half the battle. Win the war. Convert, convert, convert! Convert them on the landing pages! Guide them past landing page as necessary, converting them deeper in the site. But convert! This session looks at tools, testing and techniques for the advanced search marketer to increase those conversion odds.

3:30 – 4:45pm
Test That Ad!
Matt Van Wagner, Alex Cohen, Melissa Mackey, Elizabeth Marsten
Let’s face it. The creative, when it comes to paid search ad copy, doesn’t give you a lot of room to be creative. You’ve got so little space, so little time your ad will be viewed, that it’s essential that every word counts. You’re testing religiously, right? But can you be testing better? And are there things you should be trying that you might not be aware of? This session aims to educate and surprise even the advanced paid search marketer.

Wednesday June 9, 2010

9:00 – 9:45am
Yusuf Mehdi, Senior Vice President, Online Audience Business, Microsoft, Danny Sullivan
Yusuf Mehdi has been instrumental in leading both web search and search advertising initiatives at Microsoft. He currently has revenue and market share responsibility for the Bing and MSN businesses, and before that served as Microsoft’s chief advertising strategist and led an 1,800-person engineering team to develop and launch Microsoft’s initial web search platform and Microsoft adCenter.

In this keynote Q&A with Search Engine Land editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan, he discusses the evolution of search at Microsoft, the alliance with Yahoo and future initiatives Microsoft has planned as it competes with the global goliath, Google.

10:30 – 11:45am
So You Want To Test SEO?
Vanessa Fox, Johns Andrews, Jordan LeBaron, Branko Rihtman, Conrad Saam
Trying to figure out that search algorithm, to decide which of those 200+ factors really make a difference? You might be tempted to do some experimenting — and you might end up making the wrong conclusions. Are you correcting for personalization? How are blended results having an impact? Is there a different algorithmic blend used for informational queries versus transactional ones? Are you interpreting the results correct? Do you have control groups? These are only some of the many challenges to running a valid experiment. If you’re going to test, this session aims to help you do it right. It also aims to help you judge the validity of tests run by others. Topics covered include:

  • Using the scientific method in SEO: what is a scientific method, why is it important and what parts of it are relevant to the world of SEO testing
  • Setting up a valid SEO experiment: testing keyword choice, testing site choice, experiment length, etc.
  • Identifying common errors in SEO experiments: interpreting results, statistical analysis, control groups, irrelevant data elimination, lack of parameter isolation, etc.
  • What to look for during experimentation
  • What are the benefits of testing? Examples of tests and how they affected our SEO strategy
  • How to make discoveries part of your SEO work

1:30 – 2:45pm
Search Marketing in The Facebook Zone
Danny Sullivan, Bill Parkes, Marty Weintraub, Dennis Yu, Ryan Lash
You’re traveling through another dimension. A dimension not of web pages and links but of fan pages and sharing. A journey into a mysterious land where none of the PageRank rules apply. That’s a signpost up ahead: your next stop, the Facebook Zone! Think there’s no need to go into the zone as a search marketer? Think again. Facebook generates enough internal searches to be classed as a major search engine in its own right. How’s your content ranking there? How are your ads doing? Facebook also spills out into the “real” web, with content showing up at Google and Bing. In this session, hear from advanced search marketers about their explorations of the strange new and important world of Facebook and what you should be doing there.

3:00 – 4:15pm
Amazing PPC Tactics
Aaron Putnam, Dan Soha, Matt Van Wagner, Micheal Behrens, Lulu Gephart
What’s hot and happening with paid search? This session will wow you with some new ideas for your PPC campaigns!

Keep posted, I will be compiling my favorite key take-aways from the ones I attend after the conference!

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3 Responses to “My Picks for SMX Advanced in Seattle 2010”

  1. Dana Lookadoo on May 30, 2010 6:59 pm

    Shannon, look forward to finally meeting you in person! I’ll look for you Tuesday morning for the first session. Google vs. Bing may turn into a shoot out!

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  3. Kristina Allen on June 7, 2010 6:20 am

    Hi Shannon! Thanks for including Scott’s “Pump Up Those Conversions” session in your picks! Hope you have a great time at SMX Advanced. I’m sure Scott would love if you stop by after the session and say hi! – Kristina, ion interactive

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