Here’s my exclusive look into SMX Advanced, only 1 week away

Search Engine Land’s SMX Advanced, the only search marketing conference designed exclusively for experienced internet marketers, is returning to Seattle June 22–23. Here’s a preview of what to expect. While All Access Passes are currently SOLD OUT, you can still add yourself to the wait list and get notified once a ticket becomes available. View […]

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Search Engine Land’s SMX Advanced, the only search marketing conference designed exclusively for experienced internet marketers, is returning to Seattle June 22–23. Here’s a preview of what to expect.

While All Access Passes are currently SOLD OUT, you can still add yourself to the wait list and get notified once a ticket becomes available. View available pass options here.

2016: New Trends, New Opportunities — And New Challenges For Online Marketers

Change is constant in search marketing. Opportunities emerge faster than they can be absorbed: new channels, machine learning displacing traditional ranking algorithms, new ad options and formats… Even veteran marketers are perpetually catching up with the possibilities.

SMX Advanced delivers cutting-edge tips and techniques you’ll put to work immediately to harness the opportunities and cope with the challenges. It’s your survival guide to the dynamic and tumultuous world of search marketing.

As I take you through the program, you’ll want to refer to the agenda at a glance to get more information on each session.

Good Chemistry: The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors, 2016 Edition

Many people think of the periodic table as a basic organizational map of the elements. It is, but it’s also much more powerful than that. By definition, a periodic table incorporates recurring trends, allowing you to make connections and deduce relationships that might not be obvious at first glance. It can also be used to predict new or undiscovered properties and trends that others may not be aware of, and that can be hugely influential in the highly competitive environment of search marketing.

That’s why The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors: 2016 Edition is one of the lead-off sessions at SMX Advanced. Our panelists are crack SEO “alchemists” who know what optimization elements are important and which ones have lost their potency. They’re also keen observers of algorithm changes and are constantly trying to determine which ranking factors are semi-permanent and which are likely to change in the future.

The Mad Scientists Of Paid Search


Google and Bing continue to launch new paid search tools, with new extensions, retargeting options — and the lines are blurring between “simple” text-based paid search and other forms of online advertising such as display, video and other formats. SMX Advanced features two full days of panels dedicated to exploring the nuances and potential of paid search, leading off with the now-infamous The Mad Scientists Of Paid Search.

While most of us spend our days toiling away in the deepest details of paid search campaigns, the mad scientists of paid search are running experiments, testing regression models and analyzing larger trends to unlock the fundamental secrets of paid search auctions, attribution, economics and search behaviors. Come hear our distinguished marketing scientists as they present their latest discoveries, insights and knowledge.

Location, Location, Location


Do you run a small business or provide search marketing services for companies that serve predominantly local customers? Then you know local search is a unique beast in its own right, requiring different approaches for organic optimization, paid search and social media marketing efforts.

At SMX Advanced, you’ll get street-savvy tips from marketers who work daily on the ground in local search marketing. They’ll offer case studies highlighting their successes and failures from working in a constantly changing landscape where both true competitors and even local search providers like Yelp and Google can derail even the most carefully implemented local search campaigns.

There are two sessions dedicated to local search issues at SMX Advanced:

  • Local Search Braintrust: Open Q&A on Local SEO & SEM
  • The 2016 Quantitative Local SEO Ranking Factors Study

One is a freewheeling Q&A with local search experts who can answer all of your questions; the other is packed with data gleaned from a rigorous study of over 100 factors on the rankings of 15,000 local businesses in a hundred different metros.

For Enterprise & In-House Marketers

Large organizations face unique challenges, ranging from multiple sites in multiple countries to a managing a wide array of stakeholder interests. In-house marketers, regardless of whether they work at a large or small company, face similar challenges. If you’re in either of these roles, you’ll want to join the camaraderie during Advanced Enterprise SEOs, Unite! In this session, our panel of big company SEOs covers some of the latest technical issues especially relevant to large enterprise implementations.

Deep Dive Into SEO & SEM

Most sessions at SMX Advanced consist of panels of three or four speakers, each offering their own distinct viewpoint, tactics and tips. But sometimes you want to hear a single speaker take a deep dive into a topic. We’ve got plenty of those lined up for you this year. On the first day, they focus on more traditional SEO and SEM topics; on the second day, they cover more diverse ground. You’ll hear in-depth discussions of:

  • Thinking Big: Enterprise Ecommerce Paid Search
  • Google Analytics Power Reporting for SEM: Pro Edition
  • Your Mobile PPC Sucks (But It Doesn’t Have To!)
  • Dr. Pete’s Guide To The Changing Google SERPs
  • Lies, Damned Lies, & Search Marketing Statistics
  • Using APIs To Automate Marketing Tasks
  • Big Data’s Real Promise: Work Smarter, Not Harder
  • SEO For Ecommerce — What You Need To Know

Better Together: Search & Social

As search marketers, we’re used to operating “behind the scenes,” crafting great content and engaging in one-on-one link building efforts and other subtleties to build out a comprehensive SEO plan. Or we spend hours with our AdWords editor or other paid search tools building and managing campaigns that will touch individual searchers briefly, without revealing the complexity of our online advertising effort.

And now, in the face of overwhelming evidence, we must recognize the power of social media; we can no longer ignore it. But social is different, by its very definition. You’re exposed, you’re directly engaged, and it’s thrilling to see it work when you’ve directly connected with your customers and prospects. But there’s nowhere to hide if something misfires and communities or memes turn the tides against you.

At SMX Advanced, we have two sessions covering the marriage of search and social:

  • SEO & Social: Let’s Dance!
  • Using Paid Search & Social Together To Deliver The Ultimate Knock-Out Punch

Three Engaging Keynotes, Thrice The Insights

We share the love equally between SEO and SEM at SMX Advanced. A perennial highlight is when Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes takes on all the questions that advanced SEOs have. Gary will cover some of the most asked questions about SEO issues over the past year, with plenty of time for open questions from the audience.

The following morning, Search Engine Land’s Ginny Marvin hosts two keynote conversations, Google & SEM with Sundeep Jain, director of search ads quality, Google and Bing & SEM, with Lynne Kjolso, general manager, global search sales and service, Microsoft.

Everything Google Wants You To Know About Search Quality

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion of what Google should do. “Google should remove links to pirated content!,” cries Hollywood. “Censorship!,” cry internet activists. “Google should ban spammy websites!,” cry searchers. “Google’s unfair to my site,” respond those hit by penalties. “Google should remove certain negative results for a politician, a company, a person,” some might think, only to have others view any meddling as some type of overt bias. For every action Google might take, there might be an equally negative reaction or repercussion.

That’s why the company thinks carefully about any search policy it puts into place. The good news is that they’ve put those policies into print. In What Advanced SEOs Should Know From The Google Raters Guidelines, you’ll learn about the finer points covered in those guidelines to make sure you follow all of the rules and policies that Google applies when evaluating content.

Advanced Tactics For Online Retailers

Retailers face unique challenges as they maintain 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 such as providing structured product listings to shopping and comparison search engines.

Shopping Campaigns: Play Like Every Day Is A Holiday features experts who have faced all of these challenges and will offer lessons learned and best practices for thriving in these complicated environments.

The Crazy, Complicated Technical Issues That Completely Sabotage The Best SEO Efforts


At SMX Advanced, everyone is a master of the technical basics. But even battle-scarred veterans can run into serious challenges when they dive into website infrastructure, and they can find things get a lot more complicated. URL parameter facets + pagination + canonicalization? Mobile + hreflang + international versions? AJAX multiget calls? And if you don’t solve these issues, the fantastic content you’ve developed may never be indexed.

Need a life preserver, anyone?

Our second day of deep dive sessions into technical SEO includes:

  • What’s New With Markup & Structured Data
  • What To Do When Google Can’t Understand Your JavaScript
  • Solving Complex SEO Problems When Standard Fixes Don’t Apply
  • Big Data’s Real Promise: Work Smarter, Not Harder
  • SEO For Ecommerce — What You Need To Know

Maximizing ROI With Paid Search

With all of the new options available to advertisers, you need new approaches to gain the maximum return from your campaigns. Forget about better-than-average click and conversion rates. The only thing standing between you and breakthrough campaign success is your ads. Our experts in The Nine Billion Ads of Search and Conversion Rates & The Law of Diminishing Astonishment will show you how they write their greatest ads, how they test more quickly and effectively, and their proven secret processes for maintaining high performance day after day and month after month, even in the toughest verticals.

Ask The Experts

SMX Advanced wraps up with two perpetual favorites: Ask The SEOs and Ask The SEMs. Both sessions are open-ended forums where you can ask panelists anything — about the conference, about specific tactics or techniques, about industry trends — it’s entirely up to you.

Pre-Conference Workshops & Training

Looking for a hands-on discussions on particular SEO & SEM topics? Come a day early, and you’ve got a choice of in-depth workshops to choose from:

Register today for a pre-conference workshop!

An SMX Hallmark: Quality Programming & Speakers


I’ve covered most of the show, which has over 30 editorial sessions in all. Now, some words about producing those sessions.

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. No one bought their way onto a panel.

Each session is developed by a “session coordinator” who reviews speaking pitches and reaches out to knowledgeable people to assemble a panel. The session coordinator works with the speakers to create a session where presentations support each other rather than overlap. In most cases, the session coordinator is also the session moderator.

Formats also vary. Sometimes we have panels with multiple people. Sometimes we have only one or two speakers. Some panels are all Q&A. Some feature presentations. 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 entire editorial portion of the show is overseen by my co-chair, Danny Sullivan, and me. We’ve been organizing search conferences longer than anyone in the industry — more than 18 years and counting!

Expo Hall & Plus Sessions

Our many SMX Advanced sponsors and exhibitors also have great information to share with SMX attendees. That’s why we provide several ways for attendees to hear from Premier Sponsors Bing and Google, Gold Sponsors Bruce Clay, Inc., Jumpshot and Yext, and many others.

As part of the agenda, we have a Plus Session Track. Unlike our editorial sessions, these are created and produced by the company sponsoring them. Because these sessions compete with high-quality editorial sessions, the companies producing Plus Sessions make sure that plenty of great information is offered. You’ll definitely want to check them out, both on Wednesday, when you’ll hear from several sponsors, and Thursday, which features an all-day Learn With Google track taught by Google employees.

The Expo Hall runs for both days of the show. In it, you can get information from exhibitors and sponsors about the many products and services available to search marketers.

Interested in just visiting the exhibitors? A Networking Pass may be the right fit.

Invaluable, Organized Networking

SMX Advanced brings together the most accomplished search marketers in the world, and we provide plenty of organized and social networking activities where you can connect with your peers.

Even before you arrive, our SMX Advanced Facebook event group will allow you to connect with other attendees and speakers before, during and after the show.

We kick off the conference with the SMX Meet & Greet reception, sponsored by Bruce Clay, Inc., DialogTech, Page Zero Media and BazaarVoice. The informal reception on the top of the Bell Harbor building offers spectacular views of both downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay and plenty of engaging conversations with your fellow attendees and speakers.

The Meet & Greet is followed by the popular Janes Of Digital evening panel and group discussion event, sponsored by Bing and SMX. Join us for small bites, drinks, connecting and engaging discussion between industry leaders and the audience. Our speakers will be discussing how to create safe and inclusive environments, whether at home, at work or in your community, and we’d love you to add your strong voice to the conversation. It’s just a short waterfront walk from the Bell Harbor to the Olympic Sculpture Park, and it takes place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. All are welcome — men are also encouraged to actively participate in the program, but register now, space is limited.

The SMX Expo Hall Reception, on Wednesday, June 22, offers another chance to mingle and check out the best-of-breed marketing solutions from our exhibitors and sponsors.

During lunch, we offer our unique “Obsessed With” networking tables, where attendees can network with each other and discuss specific topics. Being grouped with people who share a common interest is a great icebreaker.

You won’t want to miss SMX After Dark at the Seattle Aquarium on June 22, sponsored by Bing. There’ll be music, drinks, munchies and great conversations while watching more than 800 fish swimming nearby. And make sure to wrap up your SMX Advanced experience by attending the Closing Night Bash on June 23, including billiards, bowling and more networking, sponsored by Moz.

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

I hope you’ve found this preview useful, and while All Access Passes are SOLD OUT, you can add yourself to the wait list and will be notified once a ticket becomes available. 

See you in Seattle!

— Chris Sherman, SMX Advanced Program Chair

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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