Digital Insights

4 Key Takeaways from SMX San Jose


Published: March 18, 2014

Search Marketing Expo wrapped up last Thursday and it was a blast. Attending SMX was a great learning experience and it was great to meet industry leaders such as, Bruce Clay, Eric Enge, Danny Sullivan and others that we only hear from when we read their blog posts. However, this time around I got meet and greet all three of them. In fact I even asked Danny Sullivan to link back to me at the John Wayne Airport and in return I would get him five PR5 links, I am only joking Matt Cutts.

A “Gentler” Panda

First takeaway, Google will soon be rolling out a gentler Panda update to help out small business owners, hmm. Is this update really designed to help out small business owners or is it to help out major brands that have not learned their lesson? Not sure, but Matt Cutts himself spoke about it during a QA with Danny Sullivan. Another question that comes to mind is if Google is truly interested in helping small business owners, then why did they roll out Not Provided? As in, “we are not going to tell you which keywords are generating traffic to your website.”

Significance of Schema

Takeaway number two is that there are a significant amount of on page factors to consider such as Facebook Open Graph, Twitter cards, NAP, video, content, reviews, images and more. One of the most important factors mentioned was Schema. As Jeff Preston from Disney Interactive explained during his presentation, Schema helps search engines understand what you want them to read on your website. However, they are not the cure all of SEO problems. Best thing about setting up Schema, Open Graph and Twitter Cards is if you have a WordPress CMS, the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast can help with Authorship, Open Graph and Twitter.

So you don’t need to be a developer or pay anyone to help get you get set up and rocking. Don’t you just love WordPress?

Google, the Swiss Army KnifeThird takeaway, Google is a Swiss Army knife and we, the publishers, are the screwdrivers and corkscrews. How about that? During Amit Singhal’s conversation with Danny Sullivan, Sullivan brought up their knowledge graph and Amit explained that it was in place to provide the quickest and most relevant results to get the job done quickly. So the next time you need a screwdriver or corkscrew don’t buy them individually, get a Swiss Army knife.

However, if you know anything about Swiss Army knives, you’ll know that they are not very useful when you have a screw that is hard to loosen up. Therefore the knowledge graph may not be able to solve all your problems or in this case your questions.

Clean Up Your Clients Back Link Profiles…Yes, All of Them

Lastly, and the most interesting takeaway, since we as an agency were doing it before the conference; cleaning up new client’s back link profile before they are hit by Penguin and get penalized by Google. I was glad to hear that since I thought that by cleaning up a back link profile before initiating a link building campaign was only going to delay our efforts.

Both Eric Enge and Bruce Clay brought up this tactic during their workshops and I proudly raised my hand when they asked if anyone in the room was using this tactic. By the way I believe I was the only person to raise my hand in one workshop.

Attending industry expos are great for learning, meeting influencers as well as confirming that we as search engine optimization professionals are on top of the learning curve. Although not all SEOs are interested in going the extra mile by following Google’s guidelines, the ones that do follow the guidelines end up getting rewarded and don’t have anything to worry about when Google unleashes another one of their fierce animals on us or our clients.

What did you learn at SMX San Jose?