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Danny Sullivan’s Preview Of Search Engine Land’s SMX East 2009 Search Marketing Conference In New York
In five weeks, our SMX East search marketing conference arrives in New York City from Oct. 5-7. The show features four to five tracks of sessions spread across three days and covers all aspects of search marketing. Below is a personal tour from me on what attendees can expect.
Our SMX Advanced conference that sells out each year is especially designed for experienced search marketers. In contrast, SMX East is one of the two “big” or “supermarket” events that we run in the United States designed for search marketers of all skill levels (the other is SMX West, which will return to California next March).
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced — interested in SEO, PPC or social media — we have so many sessions that there’s something for everyone. Hence there supermarket analogy — there’s plenty on the shelf. In fact, we’re so sure that you’ll find SMX East valuable that we are unique in the search marketing conference space by offering a satisfaction guarantee.
Before I discuss specific sessions and tracks, let me stress that while SMX East is one of our “big” shows, we still work hard to generate a strong networking environment. Before you arrive, you’ll be able to connect with people using our SMX Connect networking system. Think of it as an easy-to-use, disposable Facebook tied into just this event.
During the show itself, we offer special lunchtime “Meet & Eat” tables, where attendees can network with each other and talk about specific topics. We have a “SMX Meet & Greet” reception for attendees the evening before the show starts, and a networking reception at the end of the first day. After the reception, the now-traditional Internet Marketer’s Charity Party @ SMX will happen, allowing everyone to have fun and raise money for a good cause. Learn more about all these options by reading our SMX East In Person Networking page.
Onward to sessions. One of our two keynotes has just been announced: Ben Huh, CEO Cheezburger Network. His network’s I Can Has Cheezburger? and FAIL Blog are the best known of its more than 20 sites. I heard Ben speak about a year ago about how he’s transformed these sites from initial viral sensations to long-term businesses, and it’s a real treat to have him sharing those insights and knowledge with our SMX East audience.
For those new to search marketing, our SMX Boot Camp Track offers five sessions at the start of the show. These are designed to bring anyone up to speed on the fundamentals of search engine marketing. Plus, you get a certificate when you’ve attended them all. They include:
- SMX Boot Camp: Paid Search Fundamentals
- SMX Boot Camp: Keyword Research Tools & Techniques
- SMX Boot Camp: Copywriting For Search Success
- SMX Boot Camp: Link Building Fundamentals
- SMX Boot Camp: Search Engine Friendly Web Design
The first day also offers a special “Local & Mobile Search” track with sessions offering important tactics in both these hot areas of search, along with another session the next day in our Research & Reviews Track:
- Mobile Search Ads
- Mobile Search Apps & Opportunities
- Ranking Tactics For Local Search
- Maps, Maps, Maps!
- Proven Tactics For Targeting Local Searchers
Vertical or specialized search has continued to grow in importance, as search engines are blending different types of results such as with Google Universal Search. That’s why we have a number of other sessions that look at doing better with specialized search across the spectrum of search engines. These include:
- Ecommerce Search Marketing Tactics
- Pumping Up YouTube
- Video Search Marketing Beyond YouTube
- Universal & Blended Search Opportunities
Of course, our SMX shows always have a content about SEO, the way people generate traffic to their web sites for free via “natural” or “organic” or “unpaid” listings in the search engines (Paid Search or PPC is generating traffic from paid listings; SEM or search engine marketing is the umbrella term that compasses both SEO+PPC). For our SMX East show, we have a Technical SEO track especially designed for beginners, developers and others programmed in conjunction with Jane & Robot:
- Diagnosing Technical SEO Issues
- Dealing With Domain Names, URLs, Parameters & All That Jazz
- Pumping Up WordPress For SEO
- CSS, AJAX, Web 2.0 & SEO
Even advanced SEO people will find these sessions above interesting, but in addition, we also offer two special sessions as part of the SMX Advanced track:
In our International track, there’s a special session on SEO:
Finally, anyone of any level in SEO will find these “Ask The…” sessions offering great content:
With the “Ask The Search Engines: Best Practices Editions,” we’re doing a twist to our regular format and having the search engines do short presentations to cover commonly asked questions, so that the remaining time can be focused on higher level questions. Aside from that, the “Ask The …” sessions are entirely Q&A, all PowerPoint-free.
We get a lot out of Q&A with our SMX series because of the special way we handle questions. Each session has two moderators: a stage moderator and a Q&A moderator. The Q&A moderator reviews questions that the audience submits using an online form and selects the ones that seem most popular or interesting. Then the stage moderator works from these suggestions but is also able focus more on the answers from the panel, in order to do follow-ups. In addition, we get through lots of questions, since there’s no time wasted walking the mike around.
It also solves the problem some conferences encounter when you get that one person who just keeps asking and asking away at their particular problem. Of course, we also go live to the audience as it makes sense.
Want some specific help with a particular problem? If the Ask The… sessions aren’t enough, we also have two SEO Site Clinic sessions that will run, and we expect to announce two or three other clinic sessions to cover other topics.
Our New York show draws plenty of people interested paid search issues, so there’s plenty of content about that. An entire track is devoted to it on the third day, along with a second day look at international issues. Topics include:
- Search Meet Display; Display Meet Search
- The PPC Buying Cycle & “Head” Versus “Tail” Terms
- Ask The Paid Search Buyers
- Ask The Paid Search Reps
- Paid Search & International Issues
On the first day, those advanced in paid search will also appreciate these session in the SMX Advanced track specifically designed for them:
Because we’re in New York, we also have our special focus on ad agencies and how they can get more out of search marketing. Our Ad Agencies track includes:
- Search Marketing & The Ad Agency
- Case Study: Integrating & Measuring Search As Part Of The Marketing Mix
- The Cross Media Attribution Battle
Getting traffic from search engines is great, but more and more, people are realizing they need to make sure they’re converting visitors that arrive. To help, we have an Analytics & Conversion track with these topics:
- Web Analytics You Should Know
- Actionable PPC Insights From Analytics Data
- Actionable SEO Insights From Analytics Data
- Increasing Conversions Through Better Usability
With much interest in real time search, we’ve got two special sessions that look at this area as part of our Real Time Search track:
- Real Time Search: Opportunity Or Hype?
- Iran & Michael Jackson: What Marketers Can Learn From How Consumers Search For Current Events
Those interested in social media and search will find plenty on the third day of the show, in our Social Media track, which features:
- Facebook Marketing Tactics
- Twitter Marketing Tactics
- Social Media, Search & Reputation Management
- Analytics For Social Media
As always, SMX East works hard to serve the growing contingent of search marketers who do work in house, for their own companies. We have a special In House track with sessions programmed by In-House SEM Exchange on the third day of the show:
- Bringing SEO In House: How To Be Successful!
- Bringing PPC In House: How To Be Successful!
- Managing Search Across Business Units
- How To Solve Your Top In House Challenges & Obstacles
For those wanting even more, you can stay in New York for an additional day, when In House SEM Exchange happens on the Oct. 8. There’s a discount if you purchase tickets to both events.
Also happening on Oct. 8 is the Bruce Clay, Inc. SEO Training Course, a limited-space event for those looking for more hands-on focus on SEO issues. Jane & Robot is also planning a technical SEO workshop that day, and more details will be up about that soon.
All the SMX sessions above are editorial sessions, which means people are speaking because we feel they have great information to offer. In other words, no one is speaking because they’ve bought their way onto a panel. We think that’s a crucial component of what makes our conferences great.
This is a good time to mention the programming team. Each session has a “session coordinator” who is responsible for reviewing speaking pitches that have come in or reaching out to knowledgeable people and inviting them to participate. The session coordinator then works with all the speaking finalists to program a session where presentations support each other, rather than overlap. In most cases, the session coordinator is also the session moderator. My thanks to all those who are coordinating sessions or moderating at SMX East. The entire team:
- Jessica Bowman
- Christine Churchill
- Allan Dick
- Vanessa Fox
- Sara Holoubek
- Gordon Hotchkiss
- Disa Johnson
- Misty Locke
- Elisabeth Osmeloski
- Jeffrey K. Rohrs
- Chris Sherman
- Greg Sterling
- Danny Sullivan
- Matt Van Wagner
Our SMX East sponsors and exhibitors do have great information to share with attendees, of course. That’s why we offer two unique ways to hear from them in addition to taking in two days-worth of exhibits on the expo hall floor.
The first through our SMX Theater Presentations. This allows anyone with a expo-hall only pass (as well as full conference attendees) to attend short presentations held within the expo hall. The second is through sessions that are part of the Sponsored Workshop Track on the first day of the show. Everyone, including expo-only passholders, can attend this. At the moment, sessions include:
- Bing.com Sponsored Workshop
Remember that when you come out to SMX East, you’ll be well fed. That’s part of the conference experience we aim for: great networking, great programming and food on plates, plenty to go around.
Ready to attend? I hope so! All the sessions above are listed on our easy-to-read At-A-Glance agenda. It even includes ski-run style codes about whether a session is designed for beginners, intermediate or advanced people.
Register online or by phone at (877) 242-5242 before the conference and you will save $200 off the on-site rate!
See you in New York!
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.