There are always a ton of informative presentations and resources presented at SMX Advanced each year. As a six year veteran [I had lost track until seeing a birthday cake for Bing, the year they announced Live Search was re-branding to Bing was the second year I attended], I’ve sat through many presentations and each year get some tidbits and share-able content.

This year, we’ll focus on the presentations I attended and links that I took note of over the two days. My schedule follows (full agenda):

Day One

The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors: 2014 Edition

SEO Success Factors Presentation Matthew BrownMatthew Brown provided a bit of caution on his old position of “Mark up ALL THE THINGS?”. You may not want all of your result types to show up depending on what stage searchers are in. For example, video snippets showing up when people are ready to buy and don’t want to learn more about a product can kill Click-Through-Rate (CTR). Top reference from MJB’s preso was to AJ Kohn’s post on Knowledge Graph Optimization: Notorious KGO: Mo’ Entities, Mo’ Traffic.

25 Social Media Ideas For The Advanced Search Marketer

Lisa Williams SMX AdvancedAnother SEMpdx Advisory Board member Lisa Williams (check the Joan Holloway style gloves) kicked off this Mad Men themed session, complete with one of my favorite Mad Men quotes:

“If you don’t like what is being said, change the conversation.” — Don Draper

All four presenters provided quality presentations chalk full of good resources. Mike King shared some good social listening tools including IceRocket, Topsy, Social Mention as free options and Radian6, Sprinklr and Sysomos as paid tools in his Social SEO Tactics presentation.

Maximizing The Synergy Of Paid Search & Social

Paid search folks don’t like to share links quite as freely as the SEO and content marketers…imagine that (plus I was a slacker in this presentation and didn’t take notes, sorry). So, just for the fun of it check out Marty’s presentation and try to follow it w/o him screaming at to you…good luck.

25 Link Acquisition & Auditing Issues For The Advanced SEO

A lot of time was spent by this group talking about how to find, remove and/or disavow bad links, as well as some good ideas of where to find new quality links. It was the first mention of “Negative SEO” in the presentations that I attended. Übersuggest was mentioned by Prashant Puri as a good keyword research tool for link building. Link Research Tools and Link Detox got a few mentions as well for people to use to see what negative links they may have and how to start getting them removed.

Mike Rosenberg Matt Cutts SMXYou&A With Matt Cutts

As usual this session featured a few Google announcements and a Q&A hosted by Search Engine Land Editor Danny Sullivan and answered by Google’s webspam killer Matt Cutts. Nothing really groundbreaking this year…Matt uses Google+ still (I think the audience probably makes up about half of G+’s active user base), neither Matt or Danny are particularly skilled at throwing stuffed hummingbirds and Google on an android phone can follow a conversational search string via voice commands.

Actually if you want a nice recap, I was sitting near Sugarrae and she was furiously tweeting and taking notes, so go read her post.

That was the end of day one and Matt got swarmed on his way out…but I guess he doesn’t mind.

Day Two

Creating Blockbuster Content

I began my day with two solid presentations by Brent Csutoras and Arnie Kuenn talking content.

A few of Brent’s top take-aways for types of content to create:
  1. Be resourceful, helpful, interesting…
  2. Create “How-To” guides, Infographics
  3. Develop long form content
How to get ideas for content:
  1. Focus on what sells and what’s profitable
  2. What converts in AdWords
  3. Do keyword research
  4. Look at social media tags (Twitter, Facebook, G+, #hashtags, blog tags/categories)
  5. Search for the “greatest XYZ”, the best abc, or top 10 efg
  6. Examine old content that has been successful (engagement, links) and emulate
  7. Include everyone in brainstorming/ideation sessions (adding beer helps too…at least for a while)
  1. Determine what works — via tracking and testing
  2. Find balance — between top 10, best of, short-form, long-form, infographic
  3. Be a resource — answer a question, solve a problem
  4. Don’t discredit the value of the influencer — a share/endorsement from the right source/person is very valuable
  5. It can always be better — does it relate to current events, add a quote or reference
  6. Format is important — link below in final session review
  7. Remove roadblocks — no audio, pop-ups or ads
  8. Provide useful information and you WIN!

Arnie Kuenn - BaseballWow, there were a lot of great ideas for creating content.

In the second presentation Arnie Kuenn used a baseball analogy that makes a lot of sense. Basically don’t swing for the fences every time, take a solid swing and pile up the hits and you’ll hit a few out of the park.

Highlights from Arnie’s ideation tips:
  1. Use site search
  2. Ask your staff — what do you get asked all the time?
  3. Ask customers — what make you trust us, what info is provided on contact forms, etc.
  4. Keyword research (Google suggest, related searches, YouTube, Yahoo, Quora,, ubersuggest)
  5. Search for content titles once you have them to see competition
  6. Use LinkedIn Groups for b2b, Quora
  7. Open Site Explorer — top pages of competitors (what content are they creating)

Arnie also provide a link to the Vertical Measures Content Calendar Template and gave a few more good suggestions:

  • Use free guides, case studies and white papers — these have long lasting value and can drive leads for a long time.
  • It takes time for Content Marketing to produce results — typically at least 5-6 months (agencies should avoid “trial accounts”).
  • Treat your content like a movie release — promote it everywhere!

Executing A Flawless Content Marketing Strategy

Chris Bennett of 97th Floor started off telling us to rethink how we approach digital marketing and to get away from checklists, trying to do too many things at once and be everything to everyone…with a Digital Underground reference. His main takeaway was to do something original…could be with content that already exists, but you can rework or re-purpose it — think MacGyver or my favorite MacGruber.

Then Purna Virji‘s petastic presentation (she works for a pet insurance company) was the cutest of the day.

In addition to cuteness she had some solid takeaways including:
  • Find content you already have that is “media worthy” and already exists, things like:
    • Lesser-known facts
    • Answers to FAQs
    • Add a new & improved spin on stories that have already been covered
    • What posts are popular, pitch them again
  • Pitch in time for National ____ Day
  • Pitch seasonal timely content
  • Develop industry related stories
Getting the media’s attention:
  • If you don’t have a PR or Communications team, your Community Manager, SEO folks or writers can reach out
  • You may have friends of friends at media outlets…connect via LinkedIn or Facebook
    • Be brief, personalize, compliment, add value
  • Run ads targeted at your audience before the pitch for a couple weeks
  • Even use snail mail for top targets
How to create awesome (or pawesome in this case) pitches:
  • Personalize, emphasize value to THEIR audience, be creative
    • Consider providing a “first look” instead of exclusive rights to a story
  • Build and nurture relationships with the media

Lastly Dave Roth from shared their methodology and success in building content via celebrity real estate sales/news. A few tips:

  1. Cast a wide net for potential stories, then pick the top 1-3 with the most potential
  2. Consider the influence of your topic
  3. Find relevant target markets based on supporting subjects
    • e.g. Gilbert Arenas (NBA player) sold home with shark tank; target Shark Week enthusiasts
  4. Leverage paid content syndication to gain traction and buy relevant keywords
  5. Show positive results to get more resources from management/clients

Ask The SEOs

The final session for me featured a panel of SEO experts that included Marshall Simmonds, Greg Boser, Rae Hoffman, Jeff Preston and added guest Ellen White of the Ford Motor Co. There weren’t any formal presentations or PowerPoints, just questions from the audience.

A few specifics:

When rewriting URLs, be sure to check internal links too, 301 redirects should capture, but you will lose a bit of authority—aka link juice—if you don’t (RH).

Internet is littered with great content that no one knows about. It is not enough to create great content, you must market it too (GB).

Check out Buffer’s The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post (MS).

Site speed is important, especially mobile  site speed, which may mean responsive is not always the way to go.

photo 4Extra credit:

Best meal: this is tough as all three dinners were almost epic…and not in the get together at the Spaghetti Factory and call it an #EpicDinner type of way ;^D

Our crew hit Palace Kitchen on Tuesday, Black Bottle Wednesday (thanks to Rand’s guide) and Quinn’s Pub (sorry Mike Arnesen, in retrospect they had NOTHING remotely vegan) before the Moz party on Thursday.

Black Bottle takes the prize for me! Tons of options to share and very accommodating to a group of 16 at the last minute.

Bonus links:

Pearls Of Wisdom: Our 30 Favorite Tweets From #SMX Advanced 2014

The decks from SMX Advanced 2014

Personas: The Art and Science of Understanding the Person Behind the Visit

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Mike Rosenberg
CEO at Veracity
Mike Rosenberg is CEO at Veracity. He brings experience and passion from two distinct, yet similar, career paths in sports business marketing and online marketing. Mike shares his marketing expertise as an Advisory Board Member and Past President of SEMpdx, a professional business organization for the digital marketing industry.