Highlights from SMX East 2012

I went to my first SMX East in New York City last week.  Combined with ISS on the Monday,it was a 4 day conference.  There were a lot of sessions to attend in 88 hours.  Here are some of the highlights from my time in the Big Apple.

SMX was a full three days of SMX boot camp sessions, other great SEO sessions, meeting and interviewing key professionals in the industry.


Day 1 The first day of SMX, I went to two SMX Boot camps: Keyword Research and Copywriting for Search Success  from Christine Churchill and Link Building Fundamentalsby Debra Mastaler. I was surprised to learn so much from Christine’s presentation about keyword research and the important role it plays in search marketing.  Christine talked about the reasons to do keyword research, that you need to be speaking the customer’s language so that your site has all the information the customer wants. Here is a summary of the session

  • Keyword research never ends
  • It is important to think of the keyword phrase and not a single word
  • Test keywords and review those of your competitors.  What are they doing that you are not?
  • But remember to consider seasonality of the keywords.
Link Building Fundamentals
I was fortunate to interview Debra Mastaler for State of Search as part of the US 2012 Roadshow. At her SMX bootcamp session, she went through a lot of detail about the importance of link building and how to build quality links.
Debra said link popularity is comprised of 4 main components:

  • Quantity
  • Quality
  • Relevance
  • Anchor text

Quality is determined by the authority of the host sites and the sites linking to them. The quality flows from one page/site to the next through links.  All 3 engines use a formula in organic rankings to measure and compute quality. Debra said it was important to have social links as well.  Social signals are importnat but link popularity is still the main factor. When building links, ask yourself if you really want a link from that site.  Is it a genuine site with an about us and contact us page or has it just been set up for spamming? Post content on sites with established social media profiles.


There are many link building tools to help you some are paid such as Searchmetrics, Raven Tools, Majestic SEO and SEOmoz, while others are free.  You can always get at least a 30 day trial with some of these tools. It is important to benchmark performance before you begin link building activities so you can show your clients the results from all your hard work. You should also set up all your social media profiles especially G+ and make sure you have a great copywriter to produce the engaging content.

I have written a write up from Day 2 at SMX and Day 3 at SMX on the State of Search blog.  I hope you enjoy them.

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