Live from #SMX East 2014 – Day One Summit Track

By Tad Miller | Sep 30, 2014
More Articles by Tad

SMX debuted their “Summit” track at SMX West earlier this year, the Marketing Land branding part of it isn’t as apparent this time and the stage and lighting are a lot more spartan than the first Summit at SMX West, but the speaker line-up is pretty solid.

Session 1: SEO Isn’t Dead

The first Summit session features Marshall Simmonds (@mdsimmonds) with “No, SEO is Never Dead…It’s Just Trying to Be.”  Marshall is the founder and CEO of Define Media Group, Inc (he formerly did SEO with the New York Times).


Marshall wants to talk about the constant battle that SEO is always engaged in – Constant Evolution

  • Google has found over 30 trillion different URLs on the web.  Google made 530 changes to their algorithm last year.
  • Dr. Pete of Moz thinks that there were over 600 changes last year.
  • Google claims 665 “launches” of new things in search this year.

SEO is not a project.  It’s about interpreting changes.  There is no beginning middle and end.  It’s constant change with no end point.

Search Metrics studied appearance on “the One Box” in search.  Video is showing less, but it’s still showing 70-75% of the time.  Images are showing more in universal search year over year (YOY).  This is a bigger increase than video has YOY.

Personalization is very prominent in search now.  The rel=publisher tag still works and it’s a smart signal to send to Google that will get you knowledge graph results.

The best thing to happen to SEOs is Google’s constant innovation.

Search is not Dead:

  1. Define Media Group found their 125 Analytics profiles got 86% of their traffic from Google.  Yahoo and Bing are not the factor that Comscore makes them out to be.
  2. Social is very “loud” and is competition for search.  Buzzfeed says Facebook surpasses Google at an alarming rate, but Marshall says that one look at analytics would have proved this wrong.  Facebook has not overtaken Google in publishing.  Google is still delivering more traffic than Facebook.
  3. Social is getting fragmented.
  4. Search is getting hard.  Google’s releases are keeping traffic for themselves.  Image search changes are a big example with image search traffic reductions of 70%+ after Google’s changes.
    1. Adopting watermarks to offer “full-resolution” overlays on Google’s image search results can help bring back traffic.  But, image traffic hasn’t come back since the change.
  5. Log file analysis on a month’s worth of data from a large publisher shows 1.3 million requests by Google a day.  But Google Webmaster Tools says only 12,000!  Where is the trust from Google?
    1. You can use Splunk to mark up your content to see where Googlebot is going on your site.  Where Googlebot goes doesn’t correlate with what is popular or gives the most traffic.
    2. Weblog Expert and will also do log file analysis

Session 2: Search is Social

Tami Cannizzaro (@tamicann) from IBM makes a return to the Summit track with “All Search is Now Social.”  Tami is the Global Director of Marketing at IBM for Social Business.


Marketing is undergoing a hyper-transformation right now.  Social is the authentic face of your brand.  Social media policies are individualized and fragmented like a bag of marbles.

IBM leverages social advocacy.  They encourage all IBM’ers to share and advocate on social media.  They make employees advocates of the brand.

They also use influencer marketing.  It started with outreach on Twitter with influential people and expanded to social invites to events.  They built relationships with them and tried to help them get more visibility for themselves.

Search is the validation of social discovery, so relevant and consistent content is important for that validation.  More and more social signals are absolutely critical for SEO.

Tapping into cultural ethos is important today.  Starting content development around what’s timely is the first step to building a content marketing engine.  You need to build relevant and consistent content.  They do it with the newsroom.  Hiring journalists to do this works for IBM.  They have a “beat box” about what’s happening in the world that’s relevant to the brand.  They also talk about what’s happening in marketing.  They shoot for 10 pieces of content per week.  They look at analytics every week to assess engagement, but have an OK-to-fail mentality.

Outreach to clients to thank them is important for engagement.  They sent valentines on Twitter to clients and influencers.

Optimize paid, earned and owned is important.  Using social paid media on things that did well organically has worked for them.  It all helps search rankings.

Building sharable experiences is the third pillar of doing social and search well.  You need to become a trusted expert.  American Express does this well with their blog.  It works for mid-market businesses to build a community.  Mobilizing around shared experiences, events and causes is a strength of Nike to build community down to the local level.

Evoking emotion is another strategy.  Secret anti-perspirent did this with teen bullying.

Sponsoring moments of connection with TED Talks has worked well for IBM to create a meaningful connection with audiences.

Content is the fuel of your marketing engine and today all good content is social.

Session 3: Data Visualizations

Annie Cushing (@AnnieCushing)busts out her uber-Excel Skills with “Branding Your Data Visualizations.”  Annie’s approach will be on branding for this session.  Branding doesn’t always carry over to data visualizations.

Brands are spending huge money to rebrand.  Millions and even billions are being spent on just logo redesigns.

Brands are skimping on the data visualizations for their brand analytics though.

Match graph colors to the company’s brand colors.  Don’t use the standard Excel default colors for charts and graphs.

  1. Find your branded colors – use the web developer tool bar to take the colors from their website.  Google “Hex colors to RGB” to find what to use in Excel.
  2. Find complementary colors – use Colors on the Web to find them.
  3. Create a color theme – you have 5 Excel colors to use.  Save them as a custom color theme in Excel.
  4. Save custom fonts – you get two font options for heading and body
  5. Save custom themes – put custom fonts, colors and effects
  6. Create custom chart templates
  7. Create workbook templates

Presentation Tips:

  • Avoid Forever Charts – if you have to use them use annotations
  • If you use charts with a lot of data, give check boxes that allow for more customization. Also add scroll bars.
  • Clean up your data – clean out unnecessary repetitive data and remove grid lines.  Get rid of chart borders.
  • Spring load visualizations with dashboards with automatic updates.  Use drop-downs to bring filtering options into your data visualizations that can update.

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