What to expect when you attend SMX West. Here’s your special preview!

SMX West is every SEO and SEM’s dream. Join us March 21–23 for a tactic-packed agenda with more than 100 dynamic and authoritative speakers, keynotes, exceptional networking and more. If you’re involved in SEO, SEM, PR, social media or any other customer-facing activity, you owe it to yourself (and your company or client’s bottom line) to attend. SMX West […]

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SMX West is every SEO and SEM’s dream. Join us March 21–23 for a tactic-packed agenda with more than 100 dynamic and authoritative speakers, keynotes, exceptional networking and more. If you’re involved in SEO, SEM, PR, social media or any other customer-facing activity, you owe it to yourself (and your company or client’s bottom line) to attend.

SMX West features multiple tracks filled with sessions that cover:

  • search marketing topics including search advertising, SEO, technical SEO, analytics and more.
  • the latest actionable tactics you can immediately use to improve your campaigns.
  • all experience levels, from beginner to advanced.

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There’s something for everyone, all the time.

You’ll get actionable tactics and techniques you can put to work immediately to drive the success of your search marketing campaigns. SMX West is the ultimate survival guide to the dynamic and tumultuous world of search marketing.

If this sounds up your alley, read my complete rundown on SMX West here and register today to save $100 off on-site rates.

The brave new world of SEO

Long gone are the days when SEO was about tweaking a few on-page elements or industriously building links and patiently waiting for your rankings to improve. There’s much more to doing effective SEO today, especially given the advent of machine learning and massive algorithmic shifts. We’ve got SEO sessions designed to ensure your continued online marketing success:

  • AMP: The Next Generation
  • Speaking In Tongues: Mastering Multinational Search
  • Optimizing Content For Voice Search & Virtual Assistants
  • SEO & Social: A Match Made In Marketing Heaven
  • SEO For Google’s Mobile-First Index & Mobile-Friendly World
  • How To Use Event Tracking To Improve Marketing Performance
  • Google Tag Manager: The Marketer’s Essential Multi-Tool

Navigating the evolving SEM landscape

Paid search advertisers have plenty to keep up with — new ad formats, extensions, more sophisticated options for remarketing and retargeting and enhanced automation tools, to name just a few.

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SMX West paid search sessions cover fundamentals like creating, testing and optimizing paid search ads and dive deep into advanced topics like bidding strategies and bid modifiers. We’ll also tackle thorny SEM issues, with sessions including:

  • Thinking Outside The SEM Box
  • The Nine Billion Ads Of Search
  • The Rapidly Changing World Of Offline Targeting And Attribution
  • Fun (And Profit!) With Dynamic Ads
  • Always Be Testing To Always Be Closing
  • Using Paid Search & Social Together To Deliver The Ultimate Knock-Out Punch
  • Conversion Rates & The Law of Diminishing Astonishment
  • Maximizing Performance By Testing And Optimizing Paid Search Ads
  • Updating Your SEM Toolbox With New Shiny Tools
  • How To Find, Hack & Build Great AdWords Scripts
  • Your Mobile PPC Sucks (But It Doesn’t Have To!)

Keynote — The future of Google is now: How Google Assistant is transforming search

Google is continuously evolving to be more helpful and accessible to users, building an underlying foundation and investing in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Google Assistant allows people to have conversations with Google, get answers and get things done. But being a truly successful Assistant means connecting users across apps and services and enabling an ecosystem where developers can do so. In this keynote, Google’s Jason Douglas shares the key components of developing Google Assistant with the easy-to-use tools that are available through Actions on Google.

Tackle search marketing challenges in the brands & agency world

Brands face unique challenges when it comes to search marketing, including:

  • maintaining their brand image within restrictive headline and description requirements.
  • ensuring that testing takes into account other branding efforts.
  • following trademark guidelines and more.

Brands often work with agencies, and they must find effective ways to work together on such tasks as coordinating the ownership of keywords, content and other assets.

You’ll hear from brand SEO and SEM experts about how they handle these and other challenging issues in sessions including:

  • Taking The Brand/Agency Partnership To The Next Level
  • Brands Talk Search Marketing
  • Creating a Customer-Driven Content Strategy
  • Protecting Your Brand In The Era Of Fake News
  • Consumer-Led Change: How To Stay Relevant & Build Success

Let’s get technical!

Do you work with designers or developers? Are you a designer or developer? Are you an SEO who wants to be sure you’re keeping up with the latest technical aspects that can impact your online marketing efforts? We have sessions just for you!

  • Successful SEO Using Markup & Structured Data
  • What To Do When Google Can’t Understand Your JavaScript
  • Solving SEO Issues In Google’s Post-Update World
  • Future-Proofing Your SEO
  • What SEOs Need To Know About Progressive Web Apps
  • What’s New With Google Firebase App Indexing
  • The Great Debate: PWAs Or Apps?

Know thy audience

When you’re running a targeted advertising campaign, knowing what you’re doing from start to finish is essential. Do you have the right messaging, ad formats and offers in your ads? Are you reaching the right audience at the right time, maximizing exposure? Have you built high-quality landing pages to convert visitors into leads? Finally, are you properly attributing and making informed decisions on the leads you generate?

Our experts will show you new approaches to gain the maximum return from your highly targeted campaigns. Sessions include:

  • Your Retargeting Sucks (But It Doesn’t Have To!)
  • The Lowdown On Google Customer Match
  • Conquering Google Display & Gmail Ad Targeting
  • Advanced Audience Targeting
  • Google Analytics And The Rise Of (Free!) DIY Audience Marketing
  • Attribution Success In A Cross-Device World

Local & retail tactics

If you cater to local clientele, search is essential. But the current state of local search is messy, with confusing options, variations and alternatives — not to mention the chaos that algorithm updates like “Possum” create for local SEOs.

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Retailers also face unique challenges, ranging from maintaining complex sites with hundreds, thousands, or even millions of products that constantly change based on inventory, new items or models and consumer demand. Beyond maintaining and optimizing their own sites, retailers also must deal with issues like providing structured product listings to shopping and comparison search engines.

SMX West features experts who have faced all of these challenges and offer lessons learned and best practices for thriving in these complicated environments. Sessions include:

  • The Definitive Guide To Local Search Ranking Factors
  • Advertising In Maps: Unparalleled Local Context
  • Harnessing The Power Of Online Reviews
  • Getting The Most Out Of Google & Bing Shopping
  • Inside The Amazon Shopping Engine
  • Brick & Mortar’s Secret Weapon: Search Data
  • Findability & Shoppability Beyond Google

SMX Boot Camp gets you in shape

If you’re new to search marketing, SMX Boot Camp gets you up to speed. Boot Camp takes place on the first day of the show, Tuesday, March 21. Attend and 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 new search marketers to learn and grow, we offer these sessions through a low-cost SMX Boot Camp ticket. The Boot Camp ticket includes admission on the first day to Expo Hall, networking lunch and the Expo Hall reception. You can upgrade to a full pass if you want to attend more sessions on the second and third day.

SMX Boot Camp is also open to anyone with a full All Access conference pass. Everyone who attends every Boot Camp session gets a Certificate of Completion.

Exploring important search marketing issues

We all love the art and science of search marketing, the tactical aspects of optimization or bid management and the thrill of seeing analytics show successful and improving campaigns. But there are other aspects of online marketing that are often overlooked and as important. Each of the sessions below features a single speaker taking a deep dive into a topic, providing you with actionable, thought-provoking insights or offering the results of their own research you won’t want to miss out on:

  • Your Programmatic Sucks (But It Doesn’t Have To!)
  • Survive & Thrive With SMB PPC
  • Intelligent Bidding Using Non-SEM Marketing Data
  • Winning At Organic Search By Taking SERP Market Share
  • The New 1+1=3: Using Search Marketing to Amplify TV Buys
  • SEO & PPC In Trademark Law: The High Price Of What You Don’t Know

The clinics are open!

Want specific advice from experts about issues with your sites or campaigns? The doctors are in! On the second and third days of the show, our popular clinics return, covering these areas:

  • SEO Site Clinic
  • Social Media Clinic
  • Link Building Clinic
  • PPC Tune-Up Clinic With The SMX Mechanics

Ask the experts obsessed with SEO & SEM

Got a puzzling issue? Wondering about emerging trends or searching for tips and techniques? Ask the experts! During the AMA (Ask Me Anything) With Google Search panel, Webmaster Trends Analysts Gary Illyes and Mariya Moeva dive into how Google interacts with your site and content. They’ll also answer your questions about algorithms, ranking factors or other components of Google’s “black box.”

The Meet the SEOs is a no-holds-barred session where veteran practitioners take any and all questions.

We know you wish you could attend every session at the conference, but have no fear! SMX West wraps up with a perpetual favorite: Best Of Show/Key SMX Takeaways. In this session, speakers and fellow attendees will share their personal highlights from SMX West.

Quality programming & speakers

All 60+ sessions I’ve described above are editorial sessions. Speakers were hand-selected because we feel they have great information to offer. And as always at SMX, no one bought their way onto a panel.

Each session is developed by a session coordinator who reviews speaking pitches and reaches out to industry experts to assemble a panel. They work with speakers to create sessions where presentations support each other, rather than overlap. Sessions are presented in several formats because different topics require different approaches. Formats can range from being lecture-style presentations with one, two or multiple people, while others are pure Q&A. That diversity is what makes SMX experience a diverse learning environment.

The entire 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 19 years and counting!

Expo hall & plus sessions

Our many SMX West sponsors and exhibitors also have great information to share with attendees. That’s why we provide several ways for attendees to hear from them.

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Plus Sessions are part of the agenda; they are produced by sponsoring companies. These companies know they are competing for your attention with our educational sessions, so they’re highly motivated to deliver great information and value.

Bing and Google each conduct full days of programming on their search advertising offerings, on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

The Expo Hall is open Tuesday, March 21, and Wednesday, the 22nd. In it, you can get information from exhibitors and sponsors about the many products and services to accelerate your business and performance.

Looking to network and visit the Expo Hall? An Expo+ Pass might be the right fit for you. Learn more.

Take a deep dive on internet marketing topics

Looking for even more advice in a smaller group setting on particular internet marketing topics? Come a day early, and you’ve got a choice of in-depth workshops and training classes to choose from:

You’ll save $200 off on-site rates by registering for an All Access + Workshop combo pass.

Networking with like-minded peers

SMX West brings together the most accomplished search marketers in the world, and we provide plenty of organized and social networking activities for you to connect.

Our SMX Facebook group page will allow you to connect with other attendees and speakers before, during and after the conference.

If you’re new to SMX, attend the SMX Orientation, where we’ll show you how to optimize your conference experience. The orientation is from 5:30–6:00 PM on Monday, March 20, just before the SMX Meet & Greet reception, in Salon III of the San Jose Marriott.

We’ll kick off the conference with the SMX Meet & Greet reception, sponsored by Bruce Clay, Inc. Arrive early, pick up your registration materials and join us on the second-floor Ballroom Foyer of the Marriott, for an informal evening reception with fellow attendees, speakers and invited guests.

During lunch, sign up for an “Obsessed With…” networking table, where you’ll network with other attendees and discuss specific topics. Being grouped with people who share a common interest is a great icebreaker.

The SMX Expo Hall Reception, sponsored by Stone Temple Consulting, takes place on Tuesday, March 21, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. The reception offers a great chance to mingle and check out the best-of-breed marketing solutions from exhibitors and sponsors.

The Expo Hall Reception is followed by the popular Janes Of Digital evening panel and group discussion event, covering topics in equity, diversity and inclusion. Join us for small bites, drinks, connecting and engaging discussion between industry leaders and the audience. Sponsored by Bing and SMX, Janes of Digital takes place just blocks away from the convention center at The GlassHouse, 2 South Market St. in downtown San Jose. All are welcome (This means you, too, men), but space is limited, and your RSVP is requested to guarantee a spot. Bring your SMX badge for entry. Register here.

Featured networking event @ Googleplex

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Our featured event is the Google Dance networking reception at the Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View. 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.

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. (Sorry, 1-day All Access Pass holders are not eligible.)

All these options can be found on our SMX West networking page. We keep SMX West intentionally intimate, so you are guaranteed to meet plenty of amazing people!

I hope you’ve found this preview useful, and that you’ll be joining us in San Jose. Register today!

— Chris Sherman, SMX Programming Chair

P.S. It’s not too late to plan to attend SMX West as a team! Sign up with three or more of your colleagues and grab significant savings! View group rates.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Chris Sherman
Chris Sherman (@CJSherman) is a Founding editor of Search Engine Land and is now retired.

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