Here’s Your BIG SMX East Preview: Behind the Scenes Look at What to Expect
August 5, 2013 by Chris Sherman
Search Engine Land’s SMX East search marketing conference is returning to New York City on October 1-3. This is our big, once-a-year east coast event, and if you’re involved in marketing, PR, social media or any other customer-facing activity, you owe it to yourself (and your company or clients) to attend the conference.
Keep reading to find out why – then register now to qualify for Early Bird rates!
Constant Change, Challenges & Opportunities
Spending on digital marketing now exceeds print advertising, and is on pace to overtake television spending in just a few years. Budgets, priorities and tactics need to keep pace with new channels and opportunities. That’s why we design and program SMX conferences to provide you with actionable content, qualified speakers and orchestrated networking opportunities. Those ingredients ensure you are up to speed with the tactics and strategies necessary to maintain a competitive edge.
SMX East: Something For Everyone
SMX East is one of the two large Search Marketing Expo events that Search Engine Land’s publisher Third Door Media runs each year in the United States. SMX West, held in San Jose in March, is the other.
Whether you’re a web designer, developer, in public relations, advertising or traditional marketing, it’s imperative for you to maintain your ongoing education in search marketing and its ever-changing ways. And as organizations integrate online and offline marketing, it’s crucial to understand how search fits in with the “big picture,” not only contributing to enhanced brand exposure but in many cases paying for itself via measurably improved ROI.
SMX East gives you that education, no matter who you are. The conference is big enough that we can offer multiple tracks filled with sessions that cover all interests and experience levels. Advanced, intermediate or beginner — focused on paid search, SEO or social media marketing — we’ve got plenty planned for you.
Our Agenda-At-A-Glance provides an overview of everything that’s going on, complete with “ski run” icons that indicate sessions suitable for your experience level and skills. Labels identify sessions that are focused toward search engine optimization (working with “free” listings), SEM (paid search ads), or both.
SMX Boot Camp Gets You In Shape
If you’re new to search marketing, our SMX Boot Camp will get you up to speed. It happens on the first day of the show, Tuesday, October 1. Attend and you’ll learn the fundamentals in these sessions:
- Keyword Research & Copywriting For Search Success
- Link Building Fundamentals
- Paid Search Fundamentals
- Search Engine Friendly Web Design
To encourage new people to learn about search marketing, we offer all these sessions through a low-cost SMX Boot Camp ticket. That includes admission on the first day to the Expo Hall, networking lunch, evening forum and the Expo Hall reception. After attending SMX Boot Camp, it’s easy to upgrade to a full pass, should you want to attend more sessions on the second and third day. SMX Boot Camp is, of course, also open to anyone with a full All Access conference pass. Everyone who attends every session gets a certificate of completion.
SEO & Life In And Out Of The Google Zoo
Panda. Penguin. Payday. The Knowledge Graph. These and other algorithm updates are enough to make any hard-working SEO crazy. And if you’re not careful, bad things could happen to your search engine visibility. We’ve got several sessions that will help improve your rankings and keep you out of trouble:
- Penguin-proof Link Building
- Life Beyond Google: Diversifying Your SEO Efforts
- What Are The Most Important Search Ranking Factors?
Curious about Google Glass, Google’s new wearable device that provides an entirely new way to access the internet? So were we, so we’ve recruited a panel who’ve had “heads on” experience with Glass. They’ll demo cool Glass features, then have a spirited discussion about all things Glass – how it changes searcher behavior, how it might impact SEO efforts, privacy implications… and there will be plenty of time for your own questions as well.
Paid Search For The Pros
Are you focused on paid search? Don’t worry, all that talk about SEO above doesn’t mean you’re left out. In addition to paid search-related sessions throughout the conference, we also have a special Paid Search Track running on the first day of the show featuring these sessions:
- Improving Your Geographic Targeting Tactics On Google & Bing
- Google Enhanced Campaigns: What We’ve Learned So Far
- Pro-level Tips For Succeeding At Retargeting
- Improve Your PPC Results With Images, Offers & Other Ad Extensions
Dialing Into Mobile Search
Several years ago, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt predicted that mobile would grow to be one of the company’s most important (and profitable) areas of focus. His prediction is on the fast-track toward coming true, with some analysts estimating that mobile now accounts for as much as 15% of revenues, and is growing faster than any of Google’s other business units.
And mobile isn’t just about smartphones any more. Advertising (and importantly, conversions) on tablets exploded in the past year, and by some accounts will soon surpass phones as the most effective way for marketers to connect with people not tied to their desktops. In our Mobile Track, speakers will be covering these trends and more:
- Trends In Mobile Search
- App Store Optimization
- How To Do Click-To-Call In An Enhanced Campaign World
- Getting Mobile SEO Right – Because Now Google Really Cares
SMX Advanced @ SMX East
SMX Advanced is our annual conference in Seattle, dedicated, as you might infer, to advanced topics in search and social media marketing. Missed the always sold-out show this year? We’ve got some of the best sessions coming to SMX East in the SMX Advanced Track, including sessions focused on social media tactics, big analytics and big data, the all important debate over what makes up quality content, and more:
- Top Social Tactics For Search Marketers
- Extreme Excel Excellence
- Leveraging Big Data In Search Marketing
- Think You Know Good Content? Fuggedaboutit. Here’s What Really Counts
Managing Your Business Issues
We all love the art and science of search marketing, the tactical aspects of optimization or bid management, the thrill of seeing analytics show successful and improving campaigns… but there’s also a business aspect that’s often overlooked but just as important. From time to time we all need to wrestle with issues such as developing and justifying budgets, hiring and developing key talent, scaling business models to handle growth and a myriad of other business-oriented tasks.
The Business Issues track at SMX East focuses on these topics and more. In this track, sessions include:
- Prioritizing Your Search Marketing Efforts
- Choosing A Digital Marketing Agency
- Scaling Your Search Marketing Efforts: Agency Edition
Local & Retail Tactics
If you cater to a local clientele, local search is an essential channel. But the current state of local search is messy, with confusing options, variations and alternatives. Add to that a constantly shifting landscape where the major local search providers are fiercely competitive, often maneuvering to gain advantage over one another at the expense of both searchers and marketers.
Retailers also face unique challenges, ranging from maintaining complex sites with hundreds, thousands or even millions of products that constantly change based on inventory, new items or models and consumer demand. Beyond maintaining and optimizing their own sites, retailers also must deal with issues like providing structured product listings to shopping and comparison search engines.
The Local & Retail Track at SMX East features experts who have faced all of these challenges and will offer lessons learned and best practices for thriving in these complicated environments. Sessions include:
- Must Have Local Search Tactics
- Maximizing Sales On Amazon & eBay
- The Holidays And PLAs
- Improve Your PPC Results With Images, Offers & Other Ad Extensions
Semantic SEO: Understanding Next-Generation Search
The reason SEO even exists is that the fundamental underlying structure of the web is largely disorganized and unstructured. SEO offers techniques for organizing information in ways that make sense to search engines, and consequently helps search engines rank well-optimized content higher than un-optimized content.
Semantic SEO is the next generation of optimization techniques. And the good news is that unlike traditional SEO, which consists largely of ad-hoc rules that are subject to the whims of search engine algorithm changes, semantic SEO is being developed with both a formal structure and set of rules that are transparent to all, making it a win-win for everyone.
The Semantic SEO track features these in-depth sessions:
- Why Structured Data & Semantic SEO Are Important
- Structured Data Superstars
- Authorship: Step-By-Step & Troubleshooting
- The Coming “Entity Search” Revolution
Scaling The Peaks @ SMX Summit
We often hear from people some of the most valuable learning they take away comes from interacting and networking with other search marketing professionals. That’s why we’ve added the SMX Summit track. These PowerPoint-free sessions feature some of the foremost experts in the world discussing and debating important topics, followed by no-holds-barred Q&A where they’ll be ready to answer any and all of your questions. The lineup for SMX Summit includes:
- Conversation: Content: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
- Conversation: Where’s SEO Going In 2014
- Conversation: Where’s Paid Search Going In 2014?
- 10 Rock-Your-World SMX Takeaways
You won’t want to miss the last session. We know that three intense days of great content can leave your head spinning. So this session summarizes the “best of the best” of SMX East, highlighting tactics you can put into play immediately.
Tools, Tools, Tools
These days, it’s virtually impossible to be a search marketer without employing numerous tools. Whether they be for keyword research, bid management, SEO assessment, conversion optimization or any of the wide array of tasks required for successful search marketing campaigns, tools are essential.
The problem is that there are so many tools, in so many different price ranges that it can be difficult to know which is best for the job and is most suitable to your own particular needs. That’s where the Tools Track at SMX East comes in. In this track, our search marketing pros show you what’s in their toolbox, and tell you why they find their tools indispensable. Sessions include:
- What’s In My SEM Toolbox?
- Google & Bing Keyword Tools: The Next Generation
- What’s In My SEO Toolbox?
Beyond Search: Exploring The Online Marketing Universe
Search marketing may be the core of what you do, but it’s inevitable that you have a hand in other marketing channels as well. Some of these are online, some offline, but integrating your search marketing efforts is an increasingly crucial success factor. The Marketing Land track examines these other conduits, and looks at ways to create synergy between them. Sessions in the Marketing Land track include:
- YouTube: Optimization Tips For The Second Most-Popular Search Engine
- Pulling It All Together: Integrating Your Marketing Campaigns
- Quick & Easy Video
- A Photo Is Worth A Thousand Links
For Enterprise & In-House Marketers
Large organizations face unique challenges, ranging from multiple sites in multiple countries to a managing a wide array of stakeholder interests. In-house marketers, regardless of whether they work at a large or small company, face similar challenges. If you’re in either of these roles, you’ll want to check out these sessions:
- Maximizing Enterprise SEO
- Maximizing Enterprise PPC
- In-House SEO And PPC: What You Can Learn From Each Other, Optimally
- In-house SEO and Social Media: How To Work Together
The Clinics Are Open!
Want specific advice from experts about issues with your sites or campaigns? The doctors are in! Get personalized treatment for your internet marketing ailments at these clinics:
Pre-Conference Workshops & Training
Looking for even more advice in a smaller group setting on particular topics? Arrive a day early, and you’ve got a choice of in-depth workshops and training classes to choose from:
- In House SEO Exchange
- Bruce Clay SEO Training
- Local University Advanced
- International Search Summit
- Advanced AdWords Training
- Social Content Distribution for SEO: The New Link Building
Save by registering for a combination All Access and Workshop pass.
I’ve covered most of the show, which has over 50 editorial session in all. Now, some info about producing those sessions.
All the SMX sessions I’ve described above are what we call editorial sessions. People are speaking on them because we feel they have great information to offer. No one bought their way onto a panel.
Each session is developed by a “session coordinator” who reviews speaking pitches and reaches out to knowledgeable people to assemble a panel. The session coordinator works with the speakers to create a session where presentations support each other, rather than overlap. In most cases, the session coordinator is also the session moderator.
Formats also vary. Sometimes we have panels with multiple people. Sometimes we have only one or two speakers. Some panels are all Q&A. Some feature presentations. We don’t lock ourselves into one particular format, because different topics require different approaches. Instead, we focus on creating a great overall experience.
The entire editorial portion of the show is overseen by me and my co-chair Danny Sullivan. We’ve been organizing search conferences longer than anyone in the industry – more than 15 years and counting!
Freebies: Expo Hall, SMX Theater & Plus Sessions
Of course, our many SMX East sponsors & exhibitors do have great information to share with SMX attendees. That’s why we provide several ways for attendees to hear from them.
On the first two days of the show, we have Plus Sessions Tracks. Unlike our editorial sessions, these are created and produced by the company sponsoring them. That’s why we mark them as “Plus Sessions.”
Sponsored Plus Sessions have lots of great information too. Sponsors know they’re competing to attract attendees who are also considering high quality editorial sessions. That causes them to want to match the high bar that our editorial sessions set. Participating companies so far include Google, Covario, Page One Power and Quantcast.
The Expo Hall runs October 1-2. In it, you can get information from the exhibitors and sponsors about the many products and services available to search marketers.
On the Expo Hall floor, SMX Theater Presentations are mini-sponsored sessions that run 20 minutes each. Presenters frequently cover case studies – they’re a great way to learn quickly about a company, product, service or topic.
The Expo Hall is free for anyone, as long as you register in advance. The Expo+ Pass allows you into the Expo Hall, the SMX Theater and Plus sessions for October 1-2; the Expo Hall Reception and Evening Forum with Danny Sullivan on October 1, and the morning keynote on October 2. Of course, those with full conference passes have access to all of these events plus all the editorial sessions. For a breakdown of what each pass offers, check out our pass options page.
At SMX, we don’t leave networking to chance, where you hope to randomly encounter the right people. We’re organized!
Even before you arrive, our SMX East Facebook Group allows you to connect with other attendees and speakers before, during and after the show. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in collaborative group with discussions, questions and show announcements.
The night before the show, we have our SMX Meet & Greet reception. It’s another great way to meet people before the show starts. At the end of the first day, the SMX Expo Hall Reception offers another chance to mingle.
First time at an SMX conference? At SMX East, we’re also offering an informal SMX Orientation: Optimizing Your Conference Experience just before the Meet & Greet. This lets you get the scoop on accessing presentations, WiFi, power, food, networking and great content. Plus you’ll meet part of the SMX team as well as other “first-timers” and start making connections before the show starts. SMX Orientation is open to All Access attendees and speakers.
During lunches, we offer our unique Birds-Of-A-Feather lunch tables, where attendees can network with each other and discuss specific topics. Being grouped with people who share a common interest is a great icebreaker. Table topics are published several weeks prior to the show.
Good Food, WiFi & Backpacks
A good SMX experience means no boxed lunches at our shows. You’ll get a great meal, on a real plate, and you’ll want to go back for more. You’ll also get refreshments and snacks during the day. People take pictures of the food we serve at our events, they’re so amazed and pleased. Honest!
We’ll also keep you connected, providing free WiFi in the conference rooms. Also among the little touches, we’ll also give you a conference backpack. It’s a real backpack, one that you’ll take home and use again and again.
Join Us In New York City!
I hope you’ve found this preview useful and are ready to attend. You’ll find more details on the SMX East web site, including the Agenda-At-A-Glance. You can register online or by phone at (877) 242-5242. The Early Bird Rate expires this August 24 so be sure to register today!
See you in New York City!