I was lucky enough to be up in Seattle yesterday to sit in on the sessions at SMX Advanced. SMX stands for Search Marketing Expo and SMX Advanced is one in a series of a half dozen conferences run around the world each year. Each of these conferences is dedicated to Search Marketing.
My favorite session of the morning was “Twitter Tactics and Search Marketing”. There were several presenters, including Michael Gray, President, Atlas Web Service and Joanna Lord, Co-Founder & CMO, TheOnlineBeat.
Michael was my favorite presenter of the show. His presentation was fast paced and insightful – very difficult to put into words. He started his presentation with “There is no right or wrong way to use Twitter. You need to determine what works for you”, which set a very down-to-Earth tone. Michael listed off what seemed like a thousand tools and tactics for twitter, but my favorite soundbite of his presentation is that “the re-tweet is Twitter gold“. He suggested that you RT (re-tweet) the most self-serving tweets of people you want to notice you.
Although Michael was a hard act to follow, Joanna definitely held her own. She offered great advice with regards to Twitter use and security. She suggested the following:
RESEARCH an application/tool BEFORE giving them your PASSWORD
Read.The.Link.Before.You.Push!!! (reference to the use of URL shorteners and re-tweeting links)
My favorite afternoon session talked about Search Engine Rank Factors (SERFs) in 2009 and had heavyweight presenters Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, Laura Lippay, Dir. Technical Marketing at Yahoo, and Marty Weintraub, President of aimClear. What I took away from the session was that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more than meta tags, inbound links, keyword density, etc. It is about being viral, creating buzz, and creating a great product. Laura suggested asking yourself “What is it going to take to outrank our top competitor?” Simple, yet profound. I don’t think many people ask themselves this question.I think fewer people are disciplined enough to follow through with the actions needed to become #1.
Besides the great educational sessions, there was an excellent vendor in conjunction with the conference. All the large players were there such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and SEOmoz. Microsoft had the most interesting booth promoting their new “Bing” search engine. I particularly liked that you could use an XBox 360 controller to control maps provided by Bing. The best swag was provided by SEOmoz, who gave away cans of “Link Juice”. The LinkJuice reminded me of the case of Brawndo that I bought off the Internet before Christmas (a reference to the movie Idiocracy, if you haven’t seen it).
Unfortunately, I had to leave the conference before the evening keynote on Day 1 due to client commitments. It looked like there were some great Day 2 sessions as well as vendor sponsored parties. I am definitely going to keep Search Marketing Expo events on my radar over the coming year.