SMX West Session Coverage – Key Takeaways

Besides speaking in a session entitled “Reputation Monitoring & Management Through Search” at this week’s SMX West conference, I also helped in the live blogging efforts for Search Engine Roundtable. I stuck to a pretty light schedule seeing that I have my lovely wife, daughter and new grandson with me on this trip. I was able to attend all three keynotes (although I didn’t cover them) and live-blogged four sessions in total.

They are as follows:

I thought I’d put together a short list of key takeaways I received from these four sessions.

1. While web sites are digital properties and search marketing campaigns involve increasing visibility when specific keywords and phrases are searched for, we must remember that we are still dealing with real people. This is where personas play a key role in knowing the personality and behavior traits of those we wish to target.

2. The common assumption would be to think everyone is different. However, we are more alike than we are different. Understanding the similarities in people will help simplify the persona process.

3. Searchers have very limited short term memory. Therefore when searching, a searcher really only considers 4-5 things at a time. This is why is is so important to have visibility above the fold.

4. Subtle things matter when they are the things your customers care about.

5. In trying to determine how your customers might behave, surveys tell you what people “think they would do,” not “what they really do.”

6.The best way to defend paid search budgets against new advertising fads is to understand that paid search goes beyond text ads on search results pages. There is contextual ads, ads within YouTube (Google AdWords), Google Maps, video ads and much more.

7. Rand Fishkin talks really fast (due to his excitement) and as such, it is difficult to live blog his presentations, especially when you type with 3-4 fingers like myself. I discovered that by sitting in front of video screen, having a good camera and taking photos of screen shots, it allows me to helpsme to clean up and complete my notes before sending them off.

8. I got to peek behind the SEOmoz PRO subscriber section of their site and man do they have a lot of stuff – knowledge base, tips and tricks, video tutorials guides and a boatload of tools.

9. In running a growing SEM business, having a good attorney is crucial in helping to establish contracts that protect both the SEM and the client.

10. Listening to Fionn Downhill, Damian Finley, and Lisa Williams experiences in hiring new employees, it seems like the best option is to hire inexperienced, but motivated people who you can train yourself.

11. Finally, a good tactic to score new clients is to speak at conferences that have nothing to do with search but at the same time are related to business. For example, if you get a slot to speak to a bunch of local business people, you may be the only person there representing search marketing. Unlike a SMX event, you have no competition and can easily garner the interest of all in attendance.

David Wallace

David Wallace, co-founder and CEO of SearchRank, is a recognized expert in the industry of search and social media marketing. Since 1997, David has been involved in developing successful search engine and social media marketing campaigns for large and small businesses. Follow +David Wallace on Google + as well as Twitter.

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