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SMX Advanced 09 Wrap Up – My Take

WebRanking at SMXAdv09

Chris, James & Tony at SMX Advanced 09

Last Monday I made the quick trip up I-5 to Seattle for this year’s SMX Advanced.  Not only did this yearly expo provide our management team with an opportunity to meet and network with some of the search industry’s top minds, but to also attend some very informative sessions on Organic, Paid, Social and the Business side of search marketing.

Looking back at the expo, it does seem that organic optimization techniques have not seen any major changes in the past couple of years.  Links continue to be the most important aspects for organic success, followed by good onsite optimization and relevant content.  However, we are now seeing that Social marketing is an emerging avenue for promotion and something that should at least be considered as a component for a successful all around SEM plan. We are also seeing Paid Search platforms continue to advance, which provides us with more focused opportunities and a better way of getting the right ad in front of the right people. Plus analytic programs now provide a plethora of information that can utilized to in order to create better ROI’s on both Paid and Organic programs.  We are also seeing a continued increase focus on Local search, video ads and alternative resources for online promotion.

One of the highlights at this year’s expo was Microsoft’s launch of their new search engine named Bing.  More then likely you have seen some of their new ads by now (especially since they have a reported 80 to 100 million advertising budget for the launch). And while many colleagues are skeptical about its ability to challenge Google for any of its search market share, I believe it is Microsoft’s best effort to date and has some potential to gain additional users.

As Google continues to be the dominant search engine with over 70% of the search market share, the majority of the expo sessions focused on Google, their recent changes organically as well as in their paid search platform.  We found also found some excellent ideas and techniques being put forth in the Paid Search sessions, and Twitter was an extremely hot topic in the daily tracks.

This year’s expo definitely wasn’t all work and learning, as Microsoft threw a fantastic launch party for Bing, and the fine folks at SEOmoz put on a great shindig over at the Garage, a swanky bowling alley, pool hall and lounge.  Plus, the Expo provided us with the chance to catch up with some past colleagues, put actual faces (instead of avatars) to virtual friends and associates for the first time and even develop new friendships while unwinding with a beer in the hotel bar after a long day of sessions.

The Expo also proved to me that our 11 plus years of experience has given us a tremendous grasp on what it takes to be successful in today’s competitive online marketplace.  It is always nice to receive validation from industry peers that your online marketing “kung fu” is just as good, if not better in some cases, then the rest.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t more we can learn and new marketing strategies we need to develop, because in this ever changing industry there is always something new. But I am more confident then ever that we have an extremely solid foundation that continues to allow us to offer innovative solutions for bringing success to our clients online.

We look forward to next year’s expo!

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