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Danny Sullivan’s Preview Of The SMX Advanced 2009 Search Marketing Conference
In about two months, Search Engine Land’s SMX Advanced search marketing conference returns to Seattle, running June 2 & 3. Parents are supposed to love their children equally, but I have to confess — of all our SMX events, this is my favorite one. In this post, I want to share more about why and what to expect at the event which sells out each time we offer it.
SMX Advanced is designed for the experienced search marketer. I love to welcome beginners into the search marketing space, and our SMX West and SMX East shows have sessions expressly designed to help them. But SMX Advanced is for the veterans. It offers a chance for conversations and topics about search marketing to reach a much higher level, because you’re not having to devote time to bring some people up to speed.
Every been traveling in a country where you don’t speak the language? If you’re like me, you try your best with what words you do know, slowly trying to converse. Then when you’re back “home,” you’re able to talk rapid-fire with people you know in your native language, bringing rich idioms and phrases into the conversation. SMX Advanced is like that. If you’re an experienced search marketer, it’s a “home” where everyone speaks your language fluently. There’s no need to “slow down.”
No other major search marketing conference offers a home like this for the experienced search marketing vet, and it’s a real joy to provide it. It’s also real challenge coming up with the programming that those vets will find enticing. But I think we’ve got things on the menu that people will enjoy.
2 Days Of SEO Tracks
Both days feature SEO tracks — seven sessions in all completely focused on SEO issues:
- SEO Ranking Factors In 2009 will review what are seen as the important ranking factors for pages these days. Is it all about authority, or does that H1 tag still play a role, as well?
- Duplicate Content Solutions & The Canonical Tag looks at the new canonical tag that came out during our SMX West show in February. With several months having passed since the release, how’s it going in the field? And what’s the current state of other duplicate content solutions that people should be considering.
- Flash & Search: How’s It Going These Days? looks at how life has been progressing on the Flash front since the new support Google & Yahoo gained for indexing Flash last year. Can you just leave it to the search engines now, or do you still have to help them with alternatives?
- Keyword Research Artistry devotes an entire session to the core of search marketing, understanding how people are seeking your content. Vets know the basic tools, but this session aims to open their eyes to new techniques and ideas in keyword research.
- Conducting An SEO Audit To Troubleshoot Problems & Tune-Up Performance recognizes that many SEO veterans are effectively doctors, needing to diagnose if there’s an SEO illness with an existing site or having to apply preventative medicine to keep other ones healthy. Consider this session that medical refresher you need to keep your doctor’s license current.
- Beyond The Usual Link Building recognizes that SEO still is largely influenced by links and aims to go beyond the same old advice you’ve heard on gaining links before. Where are new places to look? What are good techniques that are being overlooked?
Mega Session: SEO Vets Take All Comers caps off the SEO tracks. In the past, this has been the “Give It Up” session, where I had vets share some of their favorite tips with the audience. That was fun to do, but I thought the Mega Session would be a nice change-up for this year plus provide all that Give It Up did and more. There will be a panel of experienced SEOs in front of an audience of other experienced SEOs tossing out their most challenging questions. If this collective group — the panel and the audience combined — can’t come up with good answers, no one can!
2 Days Of Paid Search Tracks
Both days also feature paid search tracks, again, seven sessions in all:
- Writing Killer Ad Copy, The Interactive Edition looks at the importance of ad copy. So much to do with so few words! Along with advanced tips and techniques, there’s going to be audience participation, as well.
- Mythbusting PPC Urban Legends will examine some of the conventional wisdom about paid search and PPC ads to see what holds up and what doesn’t.
- Time To Think Seriously About Mobile Paid Search? drills down on mobile paid search ads. Mobile web usage keeps climbing, and the search products continue to mature — with ad programs keeping pace. It’s an area more and more need to consider.
- Proving & Improving ROI In Paid Search focuses on how to ensure you’re getting the most out of your paid search campaign. As with SEO, paid search folks also have a doctor role they play. This session tunes their check-up and diagnostic skills.
- Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me …. A Broad Match? Exact Match? Negative Match? will look at the many keyword match type options out there, to see if they’re working as advertised and the best strategies to use.
- Google Quality Score, Under The Microscope picks up from the “Up Close With Google Quality Score” session we had at SMX West, where Google reps in the room were busy taking notes from what marketers on the panel were sharing. This session steps it up even further, aiming to get so close that it hurts!
Amazing PPC Tactics comes near the end of the paid search tracks. Similar to the SEO Mega Session, this is where you have paid search vets sharing some of their top tips with the audience. It’s a session not to be missed.
SEM Business Track Returns
SMX Advanced sees the return of the popular Business Track that we held last year, with these sessions designed for those who perform search marketing on an agency or consulting basis for others:
- Where To From Here? What’s Next for the Search Engine Marketing Business?
- How Much Do I Charge For SEM, Especially Now! Search Marketing Agency Pricing Models
- How’d They Do That? Insider Accounts of Recent SEM Business Investments & Sales
New: Social Media Track
Last year we held our first Developer Day track at SMX Advanced. That returned again to SMX but at our SMX West show that was just held, which means we had room to try something different for SMX Advanced. With the continued growth of social media’s impact on search marketing, I thought doing a track on social media made sense. The common theme for all panels in the Social Media track, held on the first day, is to go beyond the standard stuff many people already know or have heard about social media. Sessions include:
- Social Media & Search Marketing: Not The Same Old Stuff
- Twitter Tactics & Search Marketing
- Proving Social Media’s Value
- Is Your Hosting Ready For Social Media Success?
Conference Programming Team & Pitching To Speak
Behind each of these sessions is a dedicated session coordinator who works to review pitches, reach out to potential speakers and assemble panels with great content that all flows together. My thanks to the session coordinators for SMX Advanced:
- Alex Bennert
- Vanessa Fox
- Rae Hoffman
- Michelle Robbins
- Jeffrey K. Rohrs
- Chris Sherman
- Greg Sterling
- Danny Sullivan
- Matt Van Wagner
Keynotes: Microsoft’s Dr. Qi Lu & Google’s Matt Cutts
Beyond the sessions, we also have two outstanding keynotes planned.
I’m thrilled to have Microsoft’s Dr. Qi Lu speaking on the second day. He’ll be six months into his new role of guiding Microsoft’s search efforts, so it’ll be great to get a progress report and see where Microsoft is heading. Microsoft is widely expected to roll out a new search brand later this year. It probably won’t be Kumo, but perhaps Lu will tell us what it will be.
Our other keynote is an SMX Advanced tradition, You&A With Matt Cutts. Google’s Matt Cutts leads Google spam detection efforts and has tons of advice for webmasters. No PowerPoint in this session, just all Matt taking questions and giving answers.
Expo Hall, Networking & Parties
Outside of sessions (everything’s on our at-a-glance guide here), there’s much more going on at SMX Advanced. We have an expo hall that runs for two days. Our SMX Connect system will go up well before the show, allowing you to meet attendees online before arriving, as well as helping you plan your session itinerary. We expect a return of our Welcoming Reception at the Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center next to the conference venue the night before the show beings. Microsoft’s is set to have a party at the end of the first day at Seattle’s nearby Olympic Sculpture Park.
Fabulous Venue & Great Food
The conference venue is wonderful, by the way. Held at the Bell Harbor conference center in Seattle, there’s a great view of Elliot Bay and the surrounding area. Seattle itself is a fascinating city to explore. There will be plenty of food to eat during breaks and at lunch — no boxed lunches! Beware the Bell Harbor’s malted milk balls. They’re addictive. For more about the other little touches we work hard on, see our The SMX Content Difference page.
SMX Advanced Sells Out — Book Now!
SMX Advanced has sold out twice in a row. The first time, it was the weekend before the conference started — you couldn’t buy a pass at the show if you turned up at the door. Last year, we sold out three weeks prior to the event. This year, sales are tracking well ahead of last year’s levels. No sales hype here — just straight-forward advice. If you want to come, buy your ticket sooner, rather than later. Not only will you save, but you’ll ensure your able to get in period!
In summary, SMX Advanced is going to be a great show. Come out, learn lots and have a great experience!