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A Look Ahead To Our Upcoming #SMX Conference & Search Marketing Expo
SMX West returns to Silicon Valley March 1-3, 2016. Here's a preview of what conference attendees can expect.
Marketing Land’s SMX West search marketing conference is returning for the sixth year in 2016 to San Jose this March 1–3.
If you are obsessed SEO and SEM, or if you are involved in marketing, PR, social media or any other customer-facing activity, you owe it to yourself (and the ultimate benefit of your company or client’s bottom line) to attend the show. Here’s why:
Constant Change, Constant Challenge, Constant New Opportunity
Online marketing continues to evolve at a breakneck pace. This creates great new opportunities for marketers, but it also suggests that there’s turbulent change afoot, with budgets, priorities, tactics and techniques changing rapidly to keep pace with burgeoning new channels and opportunities.
Now more than ever, it’s crucial for anyone involved in online marketing to keep up with this accelerating change, overcome new challenges and opportunistically embrace new approaches — and do so while maintaining an edge on your competitors.
That’s our guiding philosophy in designing and programming SMX events: Providing you with the quality content, speakers and networking opportunities to keep you up to speed with the fast pace of change and help you hone your skills and tactics to keep your competitive edge sharp.
SMX West: Something For Everyone
Whether you’re a web designer, developer, in public relations, advertising or traditional marketing, search is a crucial marketing medium. It’s imperative that you maintain your ongoing education in its ever-changing ways.
As organizations integrate online and offline marketing, it’s crucial to understand how search fits in with the “big picture,” not only contributing to enhanced brand exposure, but in many cases paying for itself via measurably improved ROI.
SMX West gives you that education, no matter your role. The show is big enough that we can offer multiple tracks filled with sessions that cover all interests and experience levels. Whether you are beginner, intermediate or advanced level, and whether you are focused on paid search, SEO or social media marketing, we’ve got plenty planned for you.
– Andon C., Mayo Clinic
The conference agenda provides an overview of everything that’s going on, complete with the ability for you to customize your own experience and have a personalized agenda emailed to you. Labels identify sessions that are focused on search engine optimization (working with “free” listings), PPC (paid search ads) and the increasingly crucial social media marketing.
SMX Boot Camp Gets You In Shape
If you’re new to search marketing, our SMX Boot Camp will get you up to speed. It happens on the first day of the show, Tuesday, March 1. Attend and you’ll learn the fundamentals in these sessions:
- Keyword Research & Copywriting For Search Success
- Link Building Fundamentals
- Paid Search Fundamentals
- Search Engine-Friendly Web Design
To encourage you to learn about search marketing, we offer all these sessions through an affordable SMX Boot Camp ticket. Boot Camp tickets include admission on the first day to the Expo Hall, networking lunch and the Expo Hall reception. After attending SMX Boot Camp, it’s easy to upgrade to a full pass, should you want to attend more sessions on the second and third day.
SMX Boot Camp is, of course, also open to anyone with a full All Access conference pass. Everyone who attends every session gets a certificate of completion.
Stepping Up To The SEO Challenge
Over the years, search engine optimization has evolved from a relatively simple process of keyword optimization and link building into an ever-changing and increasingly complex technical challenge.
- How Google Works: A Google Ranking Engineer’s Story
- All Your Google Manual Actions Questions Answered
- RankBrain: What Do We Know About Google’s New Machine-Learning System?
- Think Like A Search Engine: How Brand Queries & User Engagement Drive Organic SEO
- Optimizing Pinterest For Maximum Search Engagement
- Better Together: Search & Social
- What You Need To Know About Google App Indexing
- What You Need To Know About Apple iOS App Search & Universal Links
- Meet The SEOs
– Purna Virji, Microsoft
Paid Search For The Pros
Are you focused on paid search? Don’t worry, all that talk about SEO above doesn’t mean you’re left out. We have plenty of dedicated paid search sessions throughout the conference, including:
- Getting Creative With Ad Copy & Testing
- How Dynamic Ads Can Supercharge Your SEM Campaigns
- What Would Beyonce Do? 5 Fierce PPC Tactics To Make Your Account A Superstar
- How Email Marketing Is Revolutionizing Paid Search
- Running Global PPC Campaigns At Scale
- Mining, Refining & Minting Success With AdWords Display & Video
- Yahoogling: What’s Up With Yahoo, Google & Bing
- Mastering AdWords Scripts
- The Great Campaign Structure & Match Type Debate
- Advanced Audience Targeting
- Getting Images Right In Paid Search
- Competitive Research For SEM
- How To Care For Your Shopping Campaigns: What To Do Every Day, Every Month, Every Season
- Paid Search Roundtable
Local & Mobile Tactics
If you cater to a local clientele, local search is an essential channel. The current state of local search is messy, with many confusing options, variations and alternatives. Add to that a constantly shifting landscape where major local search providers are fiercely competitive, vying for an advantage over one another at the expense of both searchers and marketers.
And mobile isn’t just about smartphones any more — advertising (and importantly, conversions) on tablets has exploded in the past year and will soon surpass phones as the most effective way for marketers to connect with people not tied to their desktops. In our Mobile Track sessions, our speakers will be covering these trends and more with sessions like:
- Local Search AMA: A Roundtable Q&A With Top Local Experts
- Local Listings: Putting Your Business On The Virtual Map
- Getting AMPed: What You Need To Know About Accelerated Mobile Pages & Google
- Beacons: Opportunities, Limitations & How Marketers Can Use Them Today
- Search In A Multi-Device World
- Beyond Clicks: Online to Offline Tracking & Attribution
Advanced Tactics @ SMX West
This year’s advanced track will push your knowledge to the limit! Amp up your knowledge with sessions focused on technical SEO and link auditing and the all-important debate over what makes up quality content. Sessions will include:
- The Latest In Advanced Technical SEO
- Link Auditing & Cleanup For Fun & Profit
- Essential Steps For Performing An Effective SEO Audit
- Progressing Through The Search, Social & Content Marketing Maturity Curve
- Dark Search, Dark Social & Everything In-Between
Analytics & Conversion
Let’s face it — all the work you do with either SEO or paid search campaigns is effectively worthless unless you take the time to analyze and understand the effectiveness of your efforts. The Analytics & Conversion track focuses on the tools and techniques that help you refine and tune your search marketing. Sessions include:
- Attribution Beyond The Last Click
- Extreme Excel Excellence
- Understanding Your Consumer’s Journey — Using Search Science For Keyword Research
- Google Analytics Power-Reporting For SEO & SEM
- PPC Hacks, Tips, & Tricks – How To Optimize Your Time
- Content, Your Brand, and the Battle for Customers
- Professional Project Management For Paid Search Accounts
- Essential Analytics Reports That SEOs Can’t Live Without
- Brands Talk Search
- Optimizing The Paid Search Conversion Funnel
The Clinics Are Open!
Want specific advice from experts about issues with your sites or campaigns? The digital doctors are in! Our popular clinics return in these areas:
- SEO Site Clinic
- Social Media Clinic
- PPC Tune-Up With The SMX Mechanics
- Link Building Clinic
Learn With Google
Today’s constantly connected world presents digital marketers with new challenges and opportunities. Come see how Google can help you win in this new constantly connected world in our custom-built Google Classroom located across the SMX West expo hall. Stop by and enjoy some Google snacks and beverages in our micro kitchen, and stay for a session or four!
Attend Learn with Google by either registering for an All Access pass or an Expo+ pass, which is free with pre-registration until February 29.
Pre-Conference Workshops & Training
If you’ve got the time, we’ve got even more for you! Arrive a day early, and you’ve got a choice of in-depth workshops and training classes to choose from:
- Bruce Clays’ SEO Training, offering a detailed overview of the ranking and placement techniques required to overcome competition for top search engine rankings for desired keywords.
- Brad Geddes’ Advanced AdWords Training, which teaches you not only the best practices, but also advanced concepts and strategies that are based upon a decade of research and testing.
- Local Search Advantage is a deep dive on local marketing, covering all of the topics necessary to be found by buyers when they’re looking to purchase.
- In-house SEO Exchange, a closed-door event for in-house SEOs only, tackling the pressing issues facing enterprise-level SEOs through candid and open discussion with others in the trenches.
- Personal Brand Lab, where you will learn how to make a better, more enduring impression within your industry online in search results, through LinkedIn and other social channels, as well as in person at conferences and networking events.
- SEO & User Experience: Step By Step, where you will learn how to improve your website’s user experience by taking this practical, content-rich, hands-on training workshop for people with varying levels of SEO and UX skills.
Ready to register? Save now by registering for a combination All Access and workshop pass. If not, keep reading, because there is more!
All the SMX sessions I’ve described above are what we call editorial sessions. People are speaking on them because we feel they have great information to offer. In other words, no one bought their way onto a panel.
Sessions are curated by the Marketing Land and Search Engine Land editorial team, so you’ll know the content and quality will be worth the investment. We guarantee it!
Session formats are varied. Sometimes we have panels with multiple people. Sometimes we have only one or two speakers. Some panels are all Q&A. Some feature presentations and some are PowerPoint-free. We don’t lock ourselves into one particular format, because different topics require different approaches. Instead, we focus on creating a great overall experience.
The editorial portion of the show is overseen by me and my co-chair, Danny Sullivan. We’ve been organizing search conferences longer than anyone in the industry — more than 15 years and counting!
Freebies: Expo Hall, SMX Theater & Plus Sessions
Our SMX West sponsors and exhibitors have great information to share with attendees. Here are several ways you can connect with them:
Our Sponsors & Partners Track features Plus Sessions, which are created and produced by the company sponsoring them.
Sponsors know they’re competing to attract your attention while you are choosing from the high-quality editorial sessions. That causes them to want to match the value and quality that our editorial sessions set. We’ll also have a handful of pre-session “Solution Spotlights” where sponsors will offer short pitches of their products or services.
The Expo Hall runs March 1–2. You’ll find innovative products and services to improve performance… it’s every search marketer’s dream!
SMX Theater Presentations are mini-sponsored sessions that run 20 minutes each at the Expo Hall. Presenters frequently cover case studies — they’re a great way to get the scoop on a company, product, service or topic.
Access the exhibit hall for free by pre-registering for an Expo+ Pass through February 29. The Expo+ Pass allows you into the Expo Hall, the SMX Theater and Plus sessions for March 1 and 2, the Expo Hall Reception and morning keynote on March 1. All Access pass holders have entry to all of these events PLUS all the editorial sessions. For a breakdown of what each pass offers, check out our pass options page.
At SMX, we don’t leave networking to chance, where you hope to randomly encounter the right people. We’re organized!
Even before you arrive, our SMX West Facebook Group allows you to connect with other attendees and speakers before, during and after the show. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative group with discussions, questions and show announcements.
The night before the show, we have our SMX Meet & Greet reception. It’s another great way to meet people before the show starts.
At the end of the first day, the SMX Expo Hall Reception offers another chance to mingle. The networking continues with a special evening event for those who RSVP in advance, Janes of Digital, hosted by Bing.
First time at an SMX conference? At SMX West, we’re also offering an informal SMX Orientation: Optimizing Your Conference Experience just before the Meet & Greet. This lets you get the scoop on accessing presentations, WiFi, power stations, amenities, networking and great content. Plus you’ll meet part of the SMX team, as well as other “first-timers,” and start making connections before the show starts. SMX Orientation is open to All Access attendees and speakers.
During lunches, we offer our unique Obsessed with… lunch tables, where attendees can network with each other and dive into topics such as SEM, SEO, mobile and more. Being grouped with people who share a common interest is a great icebreaker. Table topics are published several weeks prior to the show.
All these options can be found our networking page. You’re going to meet plenty of people! And when you’ve registered, don’t forget to tell the world that you’re making your way to SMX West using one of our I’m Attending badges.
Featured Event: Google Dance!
The good folks at Google are hosting a party for SMX West All Access attendees! Don’t miss this incredible experience affectionately known as Google Dance* at the famed Googleplex campus.
Attendance is open to the first 500 SMX West “All Access Pass” holders registered. (Sorry, 1-day All Access Pass holders are not eligible.) If you’ve already purchased a 3-day SMX West All Access Pass (or are a speaker), you’re automatically registered for Google Dance. Want to attend? Be among the first 500 people buying a 3-day All Access Pass and you’ll automatically be registered. Transportation will be provided.
As of this post, there are fewer than 50 passes left. Get yours now!
* The term “Google Dance” was coined to describe the changes in search rankings after an algorithm update. It’s also the name of an annual gathering for search marketers that Google hosted at its Googleplex headquarters from 2002 through 2008. You can learn more about Google Dance here.
Good Food, WiFi & Backpacks
A good SMX experience means no boxed lunches at our shows. You’ll get a great meal, and you’ll want to go back for more. You’ll also get refreshments and snacks during the day. People take pictures of the food we serve at our events, they’re so amazed and pleased. Honest!
We’ll also keep you connected, providing free WiFi in the conference rooms. Attendees will also come out with a handy conference backpack, which you’ll take home and use again and again.
Join Us In Silicon Valley!
I hope you’ve found this conference preview useful and are ready to attend. You’ll find more details on the SMX West web site. You can register online or by phone at (877) 242-5242. Do it by February 29 to secure low pre-conference rates.
See you in San Jose!
VP, Event Programming