Google’s “Farmer Update” At Search Engine Land’s SMX West Conference

Trying to get your head around Google’s “Farmer Update” that just happened, not to mention the other changes that Google’s been making recently? Search Engine Land’s got just the solution for you — our SMX West search marketing conference next week, with panels that cover these topics.

The Bad Reviews Update

It’s been an amazing few months in the SEO world, in terms of Google changes. At the end of November, there was a big New York Times feature article about a merchant, Decor My Eyes, that bragged who bad reviews helped it in Google. That wasn’t the case, but it did cause Google to roll out a snap algorithm change to help prevent merchants with bad reviews from ranking well.

To help merchants understand more about this update, we programmed a special session at our SMX West conference, Ratings, Reviews & Reputation: Their Growing Impact On Search. From our conference agenda:

Ratings, Reviews & Reputation: Their Growing Impact On Search: The Internet amplifies everything. Today, the opinion of an individual is more powerful than ever. It only takes one angry blog post or nasty review to change how people perceive your company and what the search results look like for your name.
Consumers rely heavily on the opinions of their peers, and search engines — Google, especially — appear to be placing greater value on ratings and reviews as a vital piece of business information and perhaps as a ranking signal. This session looks at the current reviews landscape and offers specific tips for business owners to understand why reviews are so important, how they influence search results, and how to use reviews — both positive and negative — to grow your bottom line.

Speakers include:

The session will be lead by Search Engine Land executive news editor Matt McGee.

The Social Update

Just over a week ago, Google integrated its social search results more deeply into its “regular” listings. Bing did the same. It continues to be that social gets more integrated into search, and the first day of SMX West kicks off with a session on this topic:

Social Signals & Search: It’s no longer theoretical. Both Google and Bing say that they factor social signals into their ranking algorithms for “regular” search results. Who you are socially, your authority, the authority of those who talk about you (or your company) all play a role. This session looks at how social signals are currently being used with search.

We’re fortunate to have the leaders of social search efforts from both Google and Bing on the panel:

  • Mike Cassidy, Director of Product Management, Search, Google
  • Paul Yiu, Principal Group Program Manager, Bing Social, Microsoft

I’ll be leading the session. We also have many other sessions that dive into the intersection of social and search. See my previous post, Socially Yours, SMX West, for a complete rundown.

The Farmer Update

Last week’s “Farmer Update” is still being analyzed and digested. Was it really going after “content farms” in general, or did it act more selectively and take out “shallow” and “low quality” content from sites across the web? This will be part of the discussion in our “Content Farms” Or The Smartest SEOs In the World? session:

“Content Farms” Or The Smartest SEOs In the World? You may not be familiar with the names, but companies like Demand Media, Seed.com and Associated Content are big businesses built on closely watching what people are searching for and creating content to match. Using cheap or free labor, these “content farms” sometimes get derided as being low quality. They disagree. A look at some of the issues, as well as lessons from publishers who think SEO from start to finish.

Speakers include:

  • Luke Beatty, Vice President & General Manager, Yahoo! Contributor Network, Yahoo!
  • Matthew Brown, Founder, AudienceWise
  • Byrne Hobart, Marketing Consultant, Blue Fountain Media
  • Gil Reich, VP of Product Management, Answers.com
  • Tim Ruder, Chief Revenue Officer, PerfectMarket

The session will be lead by Search Engine Land executive news editor Matt McGee.

The always entertaining, educational and popular Ask The SEOs session at the end of the last day of SMX West is sure to take on this topic, as well. Our veteran SEO line-up includes:

I’ll be moderating this session.

Google, Bing & Blekko Speaketh

How about hearing about algorithm changes directly from the search engines themselves? Our SMX West show has got you covered. On March 10, the last day of the event, there are two special sessions. First is The Spam Police:

The Spam Police: In addition to constantly trying to improve the user experience, search engines are engaged in an ongoing war with spammers who seek to subvert the rules and get top rankings, regardless of user experience. In this panel some of the top “spam cops” discuss how they uncover new spam tactics, how they separate the wheat from the chaff, what to do if your site is inadvertently penalized and more.

I’ll be moderating the panel, which includes these speakers:

Right after that, we go completely PowerPoint free, with Ask The Search Engines, taking questions about all aspects of SEO, with answers direct from the search engines. The line-up of speakers:

Lunch With Google & Bing

By the way, beyond the formal sessions, we also have “Birds Of A Feather” lunch tables with Google & Bing search engineers and representatives on all three days of the show. So when you register, go into our SMX Connect networking system, then book a seat with a rep for lunch, while they last.

See You Next Week!

There is much, much more going on at our SMX West show than I’ve covered about. Paid search, local search, vertical search — over 50 sessions cover all aspects of search marketing, along with some great keynotes. We guarantee you’ll be happy with the SMX experience we’ve programmed. So check out the full SMX West agenda, register, and I hope to see many of you in San Jose next week!

Related Topics: Channel: Other | SEM Industry: Conferences | SEM Industry: Search Marketing Expo - SMX | SMX & DMD Alerts

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • TeacherPaul

    Google should definitely pull out the social aspect from search until they come close to getting it right. They are far from helpful, in many cases irritating.

    Let me give you a completely laughable example that happened to me last night. I’m looking for a new grass cutter. So I googled “grass cutter reviews”. At the top of the results, below the ads of course, was a few tweets thrown in there. The tweets were from two dudes that just finished cutting their grass in Arizona.

    What do I care about these guys cutting their grass? How is that in anyway relevant. Even if they were from my home town, I would creeped out by those results. I wish I at least had the option to at least not have those come up in my results. Maybe they are just testing it out, but don’t go mainstream until you have some success.

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