3 Key Takeaways from SMX East 2015

At SMX East last week, I was lucky enough to not only speak on a couple panels but also catch a few sessions, network with my fellow marketers, and meet new people. As always, I learned some new things and was reminded of how smart some of the folks in this industry are.

While I couldn’t catch all the panels, the ones I did attend left me with a list of actionable tactics and a few key takeaways. In no particular order, here are the three that stood out:

1. When Google Says Jump…

Google +. Image optimization. Authorship.

As Marshall Simmonds pointed out, these are all things that Google told us were must haves. And as fast as we all worked to get them implemented, they went away.

One of the things we must ask ourselves is WHY is Google recommending we do something? And more importantly, if we make those changes, is it going to help?

Simmonds went on to give great examples of poor video search results, changing knowledge graph results, and the effects SERP changes can have on traffic (you can get the full presentation here).

He also pointed to the Moz SERP Feature Graph, which will show you how often certain types of results are shown. For example, in the last 30 days, the number of HTTPS results has increased:

Mozcast

The takeaway? For me, this was an excellent reminder that when Google says jump, we don’t have to jump.

Take the time to evaluate what the change means, what the SERPs are actually showing, what resources are necessary, and if the results will be worth the effort.

2. SEO Goals Must Align with Company Goals

Unlike other areas of marketing, the SEO team relies on other departments to make the changes that will impact the site and the overall program. And unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges of an SEO program is getting other departments on board and willing to make those changes a priority.

One of my favorite presentations came from John Shehata who discussed how we as SEOs must align our goals with the overall company goals. Shehata went on to give some great tips on how to communicate more effectively and make friends within your organization (ahem #SEOdonutday).

The key here is to remember that everyone has their own things to worry about and unless you are TripAdvisor with a dedicated SEO engineer, your items likely won’t be other people’s priorities.

Learn how to communicate with them, make your goals their goals, and be sure to share success.

Note: I wrote a post on this topic over at Search Engine Land. If you’re interested in learning how to get the whole company on board, give it a read.

3. Tools Are the Key to SEO Life

It goes without saying that SEOs love their tools. It seems as if I leave every conference with at least one new tool to add to my list, and this conference was no different. Here are some of the tools that were mentioned:

The bottom line? There is a tool for just about everything and people are doing some awesome stuff with what’s out there.

Overall, it was another successful SMX East. If you were unable to attend, you can see all the presentations here and full session recaps here and here.

Also check out my presentation on Creating a Customer-Centric Keyword Strategy below:

“With little digging, you can see that KoMarketing’s team is frequently educating the SEO industry on best practices through articles, blogs and presentations. If you’re considering hiring an agency you want talented people collaborating to bring you the best search results possible – that’s what you’ll get with KoMarketing.”

— Katie Meurin, SEO Manager at Southern New Hampshire University

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