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SMX West 2014: The Best of the Best Takeaways - Part One


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This slide deck is a compilation of notes I gathered from day one and two at SMX West 2014 in San Jose. The focus of the information revolves around white hat internet marketing strategies. If you …

This slide deck is a compilation of notes I gathered from day one and two at SMX West 2014 in San Jose. The focus of the information revolves around white hat internet marketing strategies. If you want to learn more about search engine optimization (both organic and local SEO), mobile marketing, link building (or link earning, as it was frequently referenced), social media marketing (SMM), website design and development and content development and marketing, then this presentation is for you. You'll also find a Q&A from the keynote with Amit Singhal.

The presenters I reference in my slide are as follows:

- Christine Churchill (@ChrisChurchill)
- Debra Mastaler (@debramastaler)
- Jon Hall (@linkbuildingjon)
- Tami Cannizzaro (@tamicann)
- Rand Fishkin (@randfish)
- Cindy Krum (@suzzicks)
- Michael Martin (@mobile_martin)
- Bryson Meunier (@brysonmeunier)
- Maile Ohye (@maileohye)
- Monique Pouget (@moniquethegeek)
- Samuel Scott (@samueljscott)
- Kaila Strong (@cliquekaila)
- Ted Ives (@tedives)
- Eric Enge (@stonetemple)
- Josh Moody (@gotmoody)
- Duane Forrester (@duaneforrester)
- Ruslan Belkin (@ruslansv)
- Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan)
- Matt Cutts (@mattcutts)
- Amit Singhal (@theamitsinghal)

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  • 1. Takeaways The Part One Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 2. PLEASE BE AWARE. The information that I am about to reveal to you should not, and I repeat, SHOULD NOT, make your jaw drop with sheer amazement. Unless you’re this guy… Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 3.  Keyword Research & Copywriting for Search Success  Link Building Fundamentals  Link Building in 2014: What’s New, What’s Not  All Search Is Now Social/The SEO Revolution Will Not Be Televised  Keynote: A Conversation w/ Google Search Chief, Amit Singhal Day 1 Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 4.  Best Practices for Mobile SEO  Earning Links, Not Building Links  Life Beyond Google: Diversifying Your SEO Efforts  Social Meets Search: Where Are We Now; Where Are We Going?  Forum With Danny Sullivan Day 2 Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 5. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 6. Christine Churchill, (@ChrisChurchill); President, KeyRelevance Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 7. • Exact match keyword usage is dead • The best keywords come straight from the customer's mouth. • Keyword tools move you beyond keyword assumptions. • Use Google Hot Trends to capitalize on content marketing opportunities. • There are three types of searches: navigational, informational & transactional. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 8. • Tools recommended for keyword research:  Word Stream’s Niche Finder  Google Instant  Soovle  Ubersuggest • Remember to use synonyms and related terms to reinforce what your main content is about. • Use matrix charts to utilize target keywords on different pages to avoid cannibalization. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 9. Debra Mastaler, (@debramastaler); President, Alliance-Link Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 10. • Google is not using Twitter and Facebook likes/shares/retweet counts in their ranking algorithm. • Quantity, quality, relevance and anchor text; the four proponents you should use to judge your backlinks. • Avoid using free general directories and making directory links a large % of your backlinks. • Avoid partnering with blogs where each entry is a guest post. Stay out of networks! Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 11. • Find authors and you can find quality sources to publish your content. • Take valuable written content and turn it into a podcast and place it on iTunes. • You should be looking at your backlinks all the time, just like you would look at your rankings. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 12. Jon Ball, (@linkbuildingjon); VP of Business Development, Page One Power Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 13. • If you're looking to get better links, look at your site and ask yourself: would I want to link to these pages? • Other ways to use content to get links: create textual, photographic & video reviews of products or services. • More ways to use content to build links: write testimonials or interview industry experts. • Your links will only be as good as your site. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 14. • Five steps to make a link building plan 1. List assets (Text, videos, photos, services, features, staff, clients, friends, connections, etc…) 2. Research (Competitive analysis, associations, forums) 3. Strategize 4. Schedule 5. Adapt Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 15. • Additional link building ideas:  Blogging  Give Love  Testimonials  Interviews  Glossary  Study/Survey  Sponsoring non-profits  Give stuff away  Resource page outreach Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 16. Tami Cannizzaro, (@tamicann); VP of Marketing, IBM Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 17. • In comparing an apple to a bag of marbles; the bag of marbles has roughly 300% more surface volume. • Social advocacy gives your organization authentic reach. (Basically, let others promote your brand on your behalf.) • Content marketing is the engine that drives search rank and brand engagement. • Search, social & content are the fuel of your marketing engine. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 18. Rand Fishkin, (@randfish); Wizard, Moz Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 19. • Google's backtracking on transparency under the guise of privacy. • Content growth is exceeding query growth. • You have to do more intent matching vs. keyword matching. • “If I want some f'ing links, then you sell me some f'ing links, man..” • We need to create better expectations or our teams/client's will continue to demand the impossible. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 20. • Search growth leveling off + Google taking queries for themselves + increased competition = A need to find new opportunities. • Early adapters of new channels/tactics will earn outsize returns; more than ever, it's paying off to be on the edge. • Those who aren't building brands will struggle mightily in the years ahead. • The only logical strategy today is to be so good that Google looks bad taking you out. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 21. Amit Singhal, (@theamitsinghal); Chief of Search, Google Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 22. • With our knowledge graph, we started understanding things, and not just strings. • @dannysullivan: "You're not using social signals for rankings, right?". @theamitsinghal: "Not yet.“ • We figure out what signals bring those relevant documents high in the rankings and we use those signals. • @dannysullivan: "Will Google ever give a direct answer via knowledge graph?" @theamitsinghal: "[Insert swiss army knife analogy]" Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 23. • @dannysullivan confronts @theamitsinghal about Google scraping content. He justifies by stating @google is fulfilling needs, and that if they didn’t, people wouldn’t use them. • Good SEO is all about change • @dannysullivan: "How does Google verify accuracy of answers?" @theamitsinghal: "We point to the best source our algorithms know.“ • @dannysullivan: "Who's the boss of search?" @theamitsinghal: "As with any good company, you have to collaborate across the lines." Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 24. • You experiment with certain things and let the data speak for itself. • @dannysullivan: "Is there a competitor to @google and how does that influence you?" @theamitsinghal: "[Insert indirect response]“ Sorry folks – you’re not getting any concrete answers out of Amit... Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 25. During the live event, there was a Twitter storm brewing regarding Google providing a test change log. People were requesting it based on wanting a heads up when Google tested new search results snippets, and Matt Cutts misconstrued that as thinking people wanted updates again on what algorithmic changes Google deploys, and when. The following conversation ensued… • AJ Kohn: Yes @dannysullivan! A Google test change log would save countless inane conversations and blog posts. #smx Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 26. • Matt Cutts: @KeriMorgret @ajkohn @rustybrick except we did just that for a year, blogging all the changes we released. Eventually the world got bored. • Matt Dimock: @mattcutts Not true. I found the updates from the Google team VERY useful. • Matt Cutts: @Matt_Dimock @KeriMorgret @ajkohn @rustybrick good! Most people stopped blogging about the changes though. • Matt Dimock: @mattcutts What if I pinky promised to blog about every algo update from @google? Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 27. • Matt Cutts: @Matt_Dimock at that point, :) • Matt Dimock: @mattcutts So can I count on you for a good reference letter? :) • Matt Cutts: @Matt_Dimock :) • Matt Dimock: I'll take that as a yes, @mattcutts. So if you could just DM me on how to apply to your search quality team, that'd be greaaat.. Never heard back from him. Think it was a no.  Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 28. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 29. Cindy Krum, (@suzzicks); CEO, MobileMoxie Michael Martin, (@mobile_martin); Senior SEO Manager, Covario Bryson Meunier, (@brysonmeunier); Directory of SEO Strategy, Resolution Media Maile Ohye, (@maileohye); Senior Developer Programs Engineer, Google Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 30. • Google stated side to side scrolling is a negative experience in mobile. • No flash for mobile SEO! And focus on optimizing above the fold using JS & CSS inline. • Other mobile SEO tips: use efficient CSS selectors, deferred loading of JS & appropriate font sizes. • Utilize HTTP header vary user-agent to indicate to Google that mobile experience will vary per phone, tablet, etc. • Don't believe your developers when they say your site is as fast as it can be. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 31. • Types of broken content that won't rank well in mobile search: flash, pop ups, hover effects, tiny font sizes.. • Other types of broken content: slow pages, tiny buttons, device specific content, sideways scrolling. • Slow mobile page load slows down the speed of the crawler, which hurts crawl efficiency. Means fewer pages indexed. • Speed up mobile design w/ design for mobile first; remove unnecessary code; minimize file size; optimize load order. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 32. • Optimize load order by loading elements inline vs. using external requests. • Use Google Page Speed Insights to optimize your mobile and desktop load speeds. • UX elements may come into play for mobile SEO. i.e. screen width, font sizes & tap-target sizes. • Load time is super important for mobile SEO & usability! • Using multiple mobile solutions for different pages for your site is OK; do what's best for the end user! Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 33. • 92% of mobile searches in the auto industry are done from the web; not apps. • 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action. Over half lead to purchase. • Average person shifts attention between a smartphone, tablet and laptop 21 times an hour. • Google's Page Speed Insight tool tells you if your mobile site is fat finger friendly. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 34. • 3 basic options for mobile site designs: responsive, dynamic serving & dedicated mobile. • Google recommends you have your mobile site load in a second or less. • Increase mobile experience w/ mobile coupons, location awareness, indoor maps, click 2 call & store locator. • You have to have the right solution for situation. Sometimes it's responsive, some times it's not. • Highest importance factor within country for mobile users: relevant content. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 35. • Two parts of doing mobile SEO: the technical part & the user experience. • Metrics for mobile SEO has to be more granular. Focus on qualitative metrics vs. quantitative. • Example of qualitative metrics: focus on increasing user experience for individual user personas. • Other metrics to gauge mobile success: look at time decay per user for purchases/conversions. • Who cares about ranking if you can never convert. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 36. • Mobile SEO = start with a user persona and finish with fulfilling task completions and micro conversions. • Research tools for establishing user personas: focus on creating studies. Maybe use Bing Ad Intelligence. • I asked @maileohye if collapsing content via jQuery is OK for mobile SEO. She confirmed yes & thanked me for being so focused on being white hat. • For local search provider mobile sites: use a HUGE phone number or map w/ directions to your store vs. more content. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 37. Monique Pouget, (@moniquethegeek); Director of Content Strategy, Thunder SEO Samuel Scott, (@samueljscott); Director of SEO & Digital Marketing, The Cline Group Kaila Strong, (@cliquekaila); Director of Client Strategy, Vertical Measures Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 38. • Tools for link earning: topsy, socialmention, twtrland, quora, open site explorer & boardreader. • Look for things that are not so share worthy and bring new light to them (re: link earning). • Give away free stuff! One of the most fundamental ways to earn links, ethically. • Know your audience, create plan of attack, manage content creation efficiently & create attractive content. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 39. • When earning links, first identify your goals, and then develop your strategy. • Do something newsworthy, create something valuable, promote something shareable, or fulfill business needs. • What can you do to make you stand out from the competitor's in your industry? • Social, SEO, talking in person; just different forms of PR. • Great PR should never be fake. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 40. • SEO is a collection of best practices done right, including PR! • Compile list of outlets read by target audiences for link earning. • An ideal media list contains: publications, specific writers, social followings & online sites. • Write press releases for newsworthy stuff; NEVER for the sake of link generation! • The best way to build your brand both online and offline has been, is & always will be, PR. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 41. • Scalability = less quality, no matter what kind of content you're creating or marketing you're doing. • You can't do link earning without time, money, or the ability to create content. • Unlinked brand mentions are the lowest hanging fruit in regards to link earning - reach out and get them! • Use Fresh Web Explorer to find unlinked brand mentions! • Link building isn't hard, we just have to work smarter. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 42. • When reaching out, sound authoritative, don't use stop words, follow up, don't automate & do offer addtional info. • Use employees names to find link opportunities by using Google advanced search operators. • Q: "Do reciprocal links make sense?" A: "Ask yourself, does it provide value [to both parties]?" - @cliquekaila • "If you have to argue about whether the link is good or bad - the link is bad!” - @stonetemple Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 43. Ted Ives, (@tedives); Owner, Coconut Headphones Eric Enge, (@stonetemple); CEO, Stone Temple Consulting Joshua Moody, (@gotmoody); Lead Enterprise Digital Marketer, 97th Floor Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 44. • Marketing content; marketing channels; marketing audience = the road to content marketing success. • Expanding to different channels, traffic sources, and content types may require organizational changes. • If you rely 100% on organic traffic and you're hesitant to use data from paid search, you're crazy. • Any piece of great unique content you have, you should repurpose it in 15 different ways. 15 suggested ways are to follow… Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 45. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 46. • Reach out to the industry leader in your niche, and work on building your own authority via their site. • It's really important to have your content & social strategies aligned, otherwise you won't get that far. • Don't just assume you're doing all the right things; measure your progress via organic means. • It's only good to share content on social media when it's GOOD content! • Influencers act as an accelerant to content marketing. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 47. • Paraphrased: "[Visual elements are an essential key to increasing social shares.]” • When sharing content, make sure you're descriptive, so people are more willing to engage. • Paraphrased: "[Tailor your content & social media efforts to each platform to capitalize on engagement.]” • Even when influencers don't have as large of an audience as you, their reach does not 100% overlap with yours. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 48. • Influencers become influencers by [building relationships w/ people in the industry and giving back]. • If you want to meet an influencer, go see them present. Tell them you liked it; lie if you have to. • Paraphrased: "[Don't just measure progress by quantity, but more so by who has actually engaged.]' • Paraphrased: "[Compare yourself to competing authors on a site. If they out-share you, mimic their strategy.]' • Paraphrased: "When targeting social media sites, consider different user personas based on platform" Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 49. • With not provided data on the rise, don't be afraid. Just mitigate your risk. • Turn images into Twitter cards, so when people share that, your data always shows. • Using graphics are great because people like to reuse them. Which means images are GREAT for link building. • BuzzFeed increased total reviews of referral traffic 10% with just 40 minutes of work. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 50. • You need significantly less shares on LinkedIn to [have your image] shared on the home page. • SlideShare converts people a lot better than pretty much any other social platform. • Q: "How do I get local traffic using @SlideShare?" A:"Generate buzz just around things unique to your city.' - @gotmoody • Q: "@SlideShare account; personal or company accounts?' A: "Company accounts." - @gotmoody Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 51. Duane Forrester, (@DuaneForrester); Sr. Product Manager, Bing Ruslan Belkin, (@ruslansv); Senior Director of Engineering, Twitter Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 52. • Paraphrased: "[Using a push medium isn't enough; you have to respond and engage with customers.]” • @DuaneForester just confirmed @bing uses G+ data to serve up better search results!!! • Do not take shortcuts! Do not go to link farms, things of that nature - it's so obvious to us. You'll find they don't help your rankings and you've just wasted your time and money. • We test and we try to find the winners in [the data]. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 53. Out of context, but @DuaneForrester from @bing told me I have "lovely facial hair.", haha. #awesome • Starting up your business and launching it is NOT the end goal. The end goal, is my revenue going up? • Remember: It's all about quality; not about quantity. • It takes just ONE link to rank. • Paraphrased: "[Data for natural social signals looks like lightning bolts - there are no certain paths.] Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 54. • Any time you can get people to follow you, we're damn interested in knowing why. • @dannysullivan says, “Links are still valuable..”. @DuaneForrester from @bing jokingly interrupts, “Are they?” • @DuaneForrester says, “Imagine you're the consumer. Do you want to hear companies you hire are taking shortcuts?” RE: social media shortcuts. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 55. • Q: "Are all retweets equal?” A: "At the current time, everything gets an equal share.” - @ruslansv • @dannysullivan asks, “How do people search @twitter? Hastags, people, words?” @ruslansv says, “It's about the same.” • @dannysullivan asks, “What factors are Twitter signals?” @ruslansv says, “One is an engagement graph, called Real Graph.” • @dannysullivan says, "Oh, you guys should use Magic Recs.” Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 56. • @dannysullivan asks, “What do you want to improve?” @ruslansv says, “Our searches are up 120%, so we're doing something right.” • @dannysullivan asks, “Suggestions for getting better results in Twitter?” @ruslansv says, “Write good content or promote.” • At any one time, there are a number of front and back end experiments happening on @twitter. • Paraphrased: @ruslansv says, “[Frequency of tweets plays a part, but we look at who is following/sharing.]” Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 57. • @dannysullivan asks, “Is there an official name for @twitter's algorithm? Dickrank?” @ruslansv says, “No.” • @ruslansv states @google and @twitter had a great partnership and they mutually agreed to go separate ways. • @dannysullivan asks, “Did @TheEllenShow break @twitter?” @ruslansv says, “Yes.” • @ruslansv says, “You don't always have time to do it right but you have time to do it over?” RE: #socialmedia shortcuts. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 58. Danny Sullivan, (@dannysullivan); Founding Editor, Marketing Land & Search Engine Land Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 59. Some guy named Josh asked, "If you had $500 to spend for marketing, where'd you spend it." My advice: "Your plane ticket home.“ • Great answer to "how to spend $500 on marketing my business?" Start a $500 scholarship.“ • Create a Google+ account so you can setup authorship. Doesn't mean you have to use it. • Google may cut off keyword data for advertisers. Created by @Matt_Dimock of .
  • 60. Created by @Matt_Dimock of . Have Questions? Are you a local contractor looking to increase your leads? Call (800) 727-3920