Takeaways and SEO Action Items from SMX East #smx

Ever come home from a conference, start sorting through your notes and think I know I learned something, but what the heck was it? Closely following will often be: Now I remember what I learned, what can I use to help my business?

There's a lot of information in the SMX live blog recaps, a lot of which involves quick note taking and scattered thoughts. So in an effort to consolidate (in an admittedly very long post) and walk away with something helpful, here are my takeaways:


PPC Analytics

  • The better your quality score (Ad Rank  = Bid x quality score), the less you pay. So…
    • Split keywords into smaller ad groups, then sort out what works/doesn't work
    • Create relevant ad copy for each ad group (dissuade as many people from clicking as you're trying to persuade)
    • Optimize your landing pages; make sure they give your potential customer exactly what you told them they'd find in the ad
    • Experiment with matching options – don't settle for just exact
    • Don't forget about SEO (link building to your landing page, implement keywords, etc.
  • Don't forget about negative keywords – often, they can be more valuable than your positive keywords

Google Analytics

  • Site Overlay will help you…
    • Show redundant areas (links which should be removed)
    • Show successful areas (links whose real estate should be increased)
  • Top pages – which are the most successful pages on the site?
  • Funnels – what paths are people taking when they convert?
    • Helps with on-click events, and
    • WILL track PDFs, videos, and links
  • Block IP addresses using the filter manager of your designer, developer, office, etc.

Related posts:


General Info

  • Huge opportunity for video promotion and branding on YouTube
  • What do you offer that no one else does? Free shipping? Tell people: make it prominent.
  • Test, test, test. What works for someone else may not work for you.
  • Get product recommendations!
  • Watch out for duplicate content (Use canonical tag, 301 redirects, URL restructuring)

Where do you start?

  • Top landing pages
  • Pages with high bounce rate/exit rate

Category Pages

  • Think of them as landing pages
  • Add keyword rich copy below the fold

Related posts:

Local Search

What should you do to rank better locally?

  • Verified local business listings on every IYP (Internet Yellow Page) you can get your hands on
  • Off-page/off-listing criteria (LINKS to your website and business listings)
    • Links that include your business name and/or address
    • Anchor text that includes your business name and/or address
  • Customer reviews
  • Traditional on-page criteria (SEO)
    • Business name in title tag
    • All/part business name in domain

Building out & Optimizing your business profile

  • Use your main keyword phrase and complementary terms in your profile descriptions
  • Grab the long tail by including: products, services, brands you carry, locations you serve
  • Choose or create the right categories for your business
  • Create attributes but do not keyword stuff

Optimizing your website for local

  • Add your location
  • Put street address and phone number on every page of the site
  • Optimize your Contact/About pages for business name and location

Where to submit (IYPs and other hidden gems)

  • Google Maps/Local/Business Center
  • Yahoo! Local
  • City Search
  • Super Pages
  • Insider Pages
  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • BrownBook.com
  • Wire Fan
  • Mixx
  • Biz Journals
  • AreaConnect
  • MagicYellow
  • Switchboard

Other key thoughts

  • Strike a balance between optimizing for local and Google

Related posts:

Pay Per Click, PPC, and AdWords


  • Always reinforce ad message by…
    • Giving what you promised
    • Including keywords on landing page


  • Make sure your funnels, goals, and conversion metrics are set up correctly
  • Use bounce rate and time on site to show how your landing page are performing
  • Use analytics to test multiple landing pages: what works, what doesn't?
  • Use advanced segments to create custom reports
    • Create segments to make dayparting decisions: to those who arrive during a time you worry about, limit to PPC, then connect with conversions


  • Are there certain keywords that just aren't converting? Maybe they cause people to click, but do they convert? Get rid of them! (Note: make sure you use 1 year + of data before you start deleting keywords)
  • Tool mentioned more than once: Google AdWords Conversion Optimizer


  • Buy branded keywords – often they aren't expensive, don't let your competition beat you out on them

Social Media

Related posts:

Social Media

  • #1 Rule: Always add value. Give followers/friends/customers something they don't get on your website.



  • What are people talking about on Facebook?
  • Know the sites your customers visit? Get the demographics of that site with Quantcast.
  • Ads
    • Keywords are cheap
    • Segment, segment, segment by your target audience!
    • Drive people to your fan page, but not the wall; instead send to a call-to-action page. Could even be your site w/ iFrame
  • Optimize your photo albums
  • Groups
    • Make the name unique and interesting. Think: why would someone want to join this group?
    • Address a need
  • Link to your Facebook Page/Group/Event

Reputation Management

  • Best advice: the best defense is a good offense
  • Use social on social – submit tweets/social sites to social bookmarking sites (Digg, Reddit, etc.)
  • Outrank negative press with:
    • Social media profiles
    • Wikipedia submissions (related topics, brand articles, etc.)
    • Videos, images, news


  • Leveraging to get traffic
    • Give useful information (read: value)
    • Sprinkle with links to your site/blog/Facebook (or other cross-social media spaces)
  • Think about how you can use Twitter for your company with…
    • Resources
    • Fast customer service
    • Out-of-the-box techniques that work for you (e.g. contests)
  • Engage your followers
  • Join conversations (without being obtrusive)
  • 80/20 rule: 80% content about account, 20% content unrelated

Related pots:


  • What is the goal(s) of your website? Optimize to that goal(s) to increase conversions!
  • Give people what they want!
  • Test with landing pages…lots and lots of landing pages.

Related posts:

Web Marketing

Press Releases/PRWeb

  • Write about relevant topics, what people are searching for
  • Use images and video, optimize them
  • Optimize the release: title, description tag, anchor text, alt tags, URL keywords

Related posts:

Other Great Live Blogging, Notes, and Recaps from SMX East