I attended SMX Advanced 2010 in Seattle this week. The venue was the Bell Harbor International Conference Center on the waterfront. After I pulled into my hotel and checked in, I decided to take a drive around the city and get my bearings a bit. Needless to say there are a TON of one way streets in Seattle, so I got lost for awhile driving, but that is the fun part in my opinion because I got to see a really cool street called 2nd Avenue. One place in particular stood out to me, Shorty’s, so I tweeted out using the SMX Advanced hashtag #SMX to inquire who would like to grab a beer and discuss SEO. Bennett Richardson of Edelman PR mentioned that we should go to Shorty’s on 2nd Ave, so I was pretty stoked to hear that as I read the Yelp review and had a chance to see it for myself. We hungout there for a few hours and talked about the usual Social Media and SEO stuff that most people in our industry do. I felt a strong buzz coming on, so decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel to hydrate for the first official day of the conference and sessions.
The first session that I sat in on was the Bing vs. Google session moderated by Danny Sullivan. Some interesting data was presented by Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz. I liked what he had to say so I stopped by his booth after to take a picture with Roger the Robot.
The next session was regarding Twitter and real-time search. They made a great point that interestingly, the IP address that is used to update your Twitter profile is tracked so if you are updating multiple Twitter accounts from the same IP address you are essentially destroying your chances of Google categorizing you as an authority account because it looks spammy. With that said you can use services like HideMyAss.com to proxy in and update your Twitter profiles or automate using Twitterfeed or something similar if you are creating tons of content. The only thing I dislike about Twitterfeed is the mandatory URL shortening, so if you are able to use the API to integrate your website directly, try to make status updates using the complete URL to ensure that juice flows to the correct places.
The next session was on link building, a topic that every SEO holds close to their hearts and you can read about the full session here, but one thing that I really liked was using allintitle searches to find other sites that have similar keywords to what you are trying to rank for in their titles. So for example, I want to help CalvinAyre.com rank better for “Karate Chop” related searches. I would go into Google and input allintitle: (keyword) and than do a search to see what sites come up. From there I can look through the websites and see where I may want to get inbound link placement into CalvinAyre.com to totally blow up on karate chop searches (my favorite link building contact from SMX was Miki, send her an @reply). You can contact the webmaster, comment using the keyword as your name and link to the place you want, there are many ways to do it. Keep in mind, Matt Cutts said specifically said during this conference that NOFOLLOW tags do not work anymore, period. The best approach is to structure your site properly and only link to sections related to the content being displayed. So when you comment and it is NOFOLLOWED, don’t worry about it, it still counts as an inbound link, though not as authoritative as an inbound link within the content of the page itself. There was also a lot of discussion about creating Infographics to acquire inbound links, I think that is a great idea and it’s used by many veteran SEOs. Anything you can do to provide value to the end user and centralize a lot of information will acquire organic inbound links.
After the Ultimate Social Media Tools session, we all got to see Danny Sullivan and Matt Cutts discuss ranking factors. It was a lot of fun, as they were pretty much taking the piss out of each other the whole time. Matt Cutts seems like a really good dude, he even eats at the same places that I do apparently. You can read the full details of what they discussed here.
Throughout the day I recorded some videos using my iPhone and uploaded them to Youtube and then shared them on Twitter. I was surprised to see that the people who execute the marketing for the Bell Harbor Center sent me an @reply to thank me for making a video about complimenting their food. That was cool and shows the true adoption of Social Media not only in the hardcore Tech space like that of the conference attendees, but also brick and mortar business’s taking advantage of the marketing medium.
Day 2 went by like a whirlwind, I attended the SEO Testing, Site Architecture, and SEO Vets sessions. All of which were great, filled with knowledge and mixed in humor to make it engaging. A couple of big takeaways from the day for me were that Google does not look at W3C validation as a ranking factor, you have to 301 redirect CAPITAL versions of your URL to the lower case ones, and Google will be putting a lot of weight on well designed and executed Video Sitemaps in the near future.
The SMX Advanced 2010 Conference went by extremely quickly and I learned a lot, but right now I’m heading out the door to the SEOmoz ‘Moz the Casbah’ closing party at Garage Billiards. Then, the last thing before I hit the bricks and head out of town… tomorrow morning is the Bruce Clay SEO Workshop which is a fantastic opportunity for anyone working in SEO to get a refresher on Traditional SEO and Site Architecture from one of the veterans in our industry.
Then, it’s back to work to try and teach Fawn and Anthony all the amazing stuff I’ve learned at SMX Advanced Seattle 2010. Fawn is really excited to see how we can start implementing ideas… Anthony is a little more challenging, because he always just stares blankly at me before saying “Sorry, I don’t speak nerd.” Then asks me how to check his voice mail… again.