I thought writing the ultimate SMX East agenda for in-house search marketers would be easy. Not!
The agenda is packed with sessions on any topic you need to know about, including two days specifically tailored to in-house challenges (October 7th & 8th).
Follow my “dream agenda” below and you will leave SMX with the things you need to get your in-house search marketing program moving in the right direction. Take a sneak peek at it here, or keep reading for my commentary!
Sunday, Arrival Day
My biggest advice for any conference is to not scrimp on social activities, especially when it comes to search engine marketing because it’s a field that really grew from people telling each other what works and what doesn’t. Remember that the best advice often comes in the informal discussions you have at networking events. Therefore, plan to arrive early enough to attend the Meet & Greet Reception. At this casual event, you’ll find a high ratio of speakers to non-speakers, which can mean extra great networking if you work the room! If you don’t know anyone, hunt me down. I’ll be there and will make sure you meet great people.
Monday October 5th – Day 1
My plan is to start off SMX East with the Analytics track. Especially in this economic climate, you need to know how to dig deep into your analytics and there are two sessions devoted to getting you up to speed.
For the first session, I recommend Web Analytics You Should Know. However, if you know the basics of Web Analytics and have questions on PageRank Sculpting after Google’s June announcement, then you may want to attend Revisiting PageRank Sculpting & Siloing. I suspect the PageRank session will be heavily blogged about, so if you can’t decide, attend the Analytics session and read the write-ups about the PageRank session.
For the second session, attend Actionable PPC Insights from Analytics Data. If you don’t do PPC, you may want to check out the Duplicate Content Issues: The Search Engine Edition (but note that it’s the engines speaking, so the content will be good, but filtered) or Keyword Research and Tools. When it comes to keyword research there are so many nuances that I always pick up a few good tips and tools when attending any keyword research session. Even though I have been doing SEO since 2002, I still attend a keyword research session at least once a year.
After lunch, every SEO should be in the Actionable SEO Insights from Analytics Data. The un-mined data in your analytics tool is a field of the most beautiful gems your SEO campaign could ever have! Richard Zwicky from Enquisite is one of the speakers and he’ll have some jaw-dropping, got-to-have data. I’m so passionate about this session that I’ll be in the front row feverishly taking notes.
Evening festivities abound on Monday, so make time for them! There is the Expo Hall Reception and the Internet Marketer’s Charity Party@SMX. Everyone goes to the charity party and your entire $50 donation goes to charity. It is always great fun and lends itself to meeting new people.
Also, the attendees of the In-house SEM Exchange (more on that later) will be gathering for dinner before the Internet Marketer’s Charity Party@SMX.
Tuesday October 6th – Day 2
For the first session, hit the Ecommerce Search Marketing Tactics session. The e-commerce sessions often have a few pieces of advice that can be used on any type of site. If your company is interested in social media, you may want to check out Real Time Search: Opportunity or Hype.
After lunch there are three interesting sessions. If you have SEO technical questions for the engines, attend Ask the Search Engines: Best Practices Edition. But what is getting me excited is the Pumping Up YouTube session if you do (or want to do) video SEO, and Iran & Michael Jackson: What Marketers Can Learn From How Consumers Search for Current Events. The current events session is especially good for any news portal because you will gain insights into what companies are doing, and how you can develop a strategy to be front-and-center for breaking news. Plus, Gord Hotchkiss is the moderator and I have never been disappointed when he is on stage.
For the last session I recommend Case Study: Integrating & Measuring Search As Part of the Marketing Mix. As an in-house search marketer, you need tangible case studies on how other companies are doing search marketing successfully and this session will give good examples that you can incorporate into any presentation to management on the value of search marketing.
Wednesday October 7th – Day 3: In-house Track
For in-house search marketers, this is an ideal day because it includes the In-house Track. All day, you’ll find sessions tailored to the unique needs of the in-house search marketer. By this time you will have gathered countless action items, and in the In-house Track you’ll learn how to take them back to the team, get buy-in and implement your changes smoothly.
Start off the morning with Bringing SEO In-house: How to be Successful. This session is good for anyone who is starting SEO at their company and anyone at a company whose SEO program isn’t yet running like a well-oiled machine. You’ll learn the components of a successful in-house SEO program and team. The biggest competition for this session is Diagnosing Technical SEO Issues, which is a great session from Vanessa Fox, but it will probably get more write-ups than the in-house session. Be sure to download Vanessa’s presentation even if you don’t attend the session.
For the second session, attend bringing PPC In-house: How to Be Successful. Like the SEO session, you’ll learn the components of a successful in-house PPC program.
During lunch, look for the In-house Birds of a Feather Tables(s). You’ll be able to sign up for these ahead of time on SMX Connect, the show’s social networking tool. SMX Connect will launch in mid-September.
After lunch, any medium-to-large organization should attend Managing Search Across Business Units. This is perfect if you manage multiple websites, different business units and different stakeholders. This session will show you how to manage and scale a search marketing program.
For the last session of the show, I recommend How to Solve Your Top In-house Challenges & Obstacles. We’ve allowed plenty of Q&A time to answer your in-house questions that have not yet been answered.
Sessions end at 3PM and attendees of the In-house SEM Exchange will get together for drinks after the show and talk about their big SMX East takeaways!
Thursday October 8th – In-house SEM Exchange
The In-house SEM Exchange is an add-on day for in-house search marketers only, focusing on SEO all day. There are no presentations, it’s all discussion and you have time to really dig into your specific questions and discuss how things are being done at different companies.
It’s been described as the event for advanced search marketers, who will get the most from the event because you can really get into the strategy behind the tactics. Attendees are the last event included big brands such as Microsoft, Tribune Company and eBay.
To make the most of your conference week, check out our Conference Tips for the In-house SEO.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.