The Big SMX West Preview – A Virtual Tour Of What To Expect

I am attending SMX West Search Engine Land’s SMX West search marketing conference is returning to San Jose on March 11-13, 2014. We’ve got a revamped, updated agenda, and have already confirmed more than 100 world-class speakers. SMX West is a can’t-miss event for all serious marketers, whether you’re the CMO or working to implement your key campaigns on a tactical level.

Keep reading to find out why, then register now to qualify for Early Bird rates!

At SMX West you can expect invaluable content, keynotes, networking activities and conveniences for which SMX conferences are famous. With all of the rapid changes that have been occurring with search marketing, we’ve also developed a ton of new sessions to help you keep up to speed with cutting-edge knowledge, tools and techniques.

While the primary focus of SMX West is search marketing, there’s ample content for web designers and developers, social media practitioners, public relations people, traditional marketers—anyone who’s part of a team responsible for attracting and satisfying customers through online activities. We’re also introducing our new Marketing Land Digital Marketing Summit track, which adds a new strategic “big picture” dimension to the SMX experience. More on this exciting new addition below.

Here’s a virtual tour of the show, highlighting the top reasons you should attend.

SMX West: Something For Everyone

Search is such a crucial marketing medium that you need to maintain an ongoing education about it. And as organizations continue to 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 who you are. The show is big enough that we can offer multiple tracks filled with sessions that cover all interests and experience levels. Advanced, intermediate or beginner – focused on paid search, SEO, social media marketing – we’ve got plenty planned for you.

Our Agenda-At-A-Glance provides an overview of everything that’s going on, complete with “ski run” icons that indicate sessions suitable for your experience level and skills. Labels identify sessions that are focused toward search engine optimization, SEM (paid search advertising) or both.

All New: The Marketing Land Digital Marketing Summit Track

The Marketing Land Digital Marketing Summit track adds a new strategic “big picture” dimension to the SMX experience. We designed the summit track for advanced marketers looking for cutting edge thinking. The format consists of a full day of keynote-level, TED-style solo presentations with each speaker focusing on forward-looking themes and trends in the context of their particular expertise. Summit speakers are all thought-leaders in online marketing, and their presentations will offer insights into the broader-scope issues you need to be thinking about to complement the tactical skills you use on a daily basis. The digital marketing summit track is offered on March 11 and is included in an All Access pass.

Here’s the lineup of confirmed speakers – prepare to be wowed!

Rand Fishkin, CEO & Co-Founder, Moz
The SEO Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Cindy Krum, CEO, MobileMoxie
The Coming Paradigm Shift In Mobile Marketing
Brian Clark, Founder & CEO, Copyblogger Media
From Content Marketing to Media Company
Sara Critchfield, Editorial Director, Upworthy
Why “Going Viral” Means More Than Getting Pageviews
Matt Ackley, CMO, Marin Software
Looking Forward: What’s Next for Paid Search in 2014?
Natalie Kortum, Director of Analytics, Consumer Insights, Humana
Revolutionizing Decision Making: How The Analyst Will Take Over Business
Jeffrey K. Rohrs, VP, Marketing Insights, ExactTarget
Email & The Audience Imperative
Justin Sanger, Founder & CEO, SupportLocal
Local & The Place Of Humans

Keynote: A Conversation With Google Search Chief Amit Singhal

Amit Singhal has overseen Google’s search engine ranking algorithms since 2000. From the Knowledge Graph, to Google Voice Search, to Google’s new “Hummingbird” algorithm update, no one has better insight into Google’s many methods of trying to make sense of the world’s information than Singhal. In this keynote conversation with Search Engine Land founding editor Danny Sullivan, Singhal will discuss some of Google’s recent updates and share his vision for what search might look like five years down the road.

Back To Basics With Search Marketing & Social Media Marketing Boot Camps

Search Marketing Boot Camp has been a fundamental offering of SMX shows from the beginning. Designed for newcomers to search marketing, Search Marketing Boot Camp covers all the fundamentals:

If you’re new to social media marketing, SMX Social Media Marketing Boot Camp will get you up to speed:

To encourage new people to learn about search and social media marketing, we offer all these sessions through a low-cost Search Marketing Boot Camp ticket or Social Media Marketing Boot Camp ticket. Each ticket includes admission to Expo Hall, networking lunch, Expo Hall reception and the conference keynote on March 11. You can upgrade to a full All Access pass, should you want to attend more sessions on the second and third day.

The Boot Camp sessions are also open to anyone with a full All Access conference pass. Everyone who attends all four of the search or social media boot camp sessions gets a certificate of completion.

Surviving & Thriving In The Brave New World Of SEO

It’s no secret that SEOs live in a world of constant flux, and need to keep up with search engine algorithm changes and new features, the loss of critical data such as referrer keywords, and cope with new techniques used by others to maintain top organic search engine visibility. That’s why we’ve got two full days of sessions covering SEO at SMX West. You’ll hear in-depth analysis of recent developments, and proven tactics maintain and boost your competitive advantage. In the SEO Tracks, you’ll hear top SEOs (and survivors) discuss:

Be sure to bring your questions to the two PowerPoint-free sessions where you can interact directly with the experts:

Paid Search For Fun & Profit

Are you focused on paid search? In addition to paid search-related sessions throughout the conference, we also have two full days focusing on some of the key areas search advertisers need to maintain an edge.

Talk to any world-class athlete, musician or other professional and they’ll all tell you that you have to continuously work on the fundamentals – especially in a world where change is constant. Keeping Your Edge Sharp: Revisiting Fundamentals Of Paid Search revisits the essentials of successful paid search campaigns, including writing compelling ads, how to test them, and how to analyze results for ads, landing pages and bids.

Going beyond basic ads, extensions are used to spice up your ads for Bing and Google with images, locations, phone numbers and more. Google also uses extensions to calculate your ad’s position. Speakers on the Improve Your PPC Results With Call, Images & Other Ad Extensions will demonstrate how to use extensions for each device and search engine to acquire more customers from your PPC campaigns.

While Google gets most of the attention of marketers, Bing is a significant source of traffic (and conversions), and Best Practices With Bing Ads shows you how to take advantage of this Google alternative. And Creating, Testing And Optimizing Paid Search Ads gets into the crucial details of how to make your search advertising as effective as possible.

Other sessions in the Paid Search Tracks include:

Evening Forum With Danny Sullivan

On Wednesday, March 12 join us for the dynamic and engaging Evening Forum. Search Engine Land founding editor Danny Sullivan will moderate this unique session in which the audience is the panel and shapes the agenda. Come and share your thoughts, ideas, knowledge and passion for search marketing!

Mobile, Mobile Everywhere

In her annual 2013 Internet Trends presentation, Kleiner Perkins analyst Mary Meeker noted that mobile traffic is growing 1.5 times more quickly than overall internet traffic, and predicted that the trend will likely continue, if not accelerate. And not only is mobile traffic exploding, people have started using their mobile devices at the same time they are connected on other devices. That means marketers need to connect with people regardless of how they’re accessing the internet.

How to best take advantage of these trends? In the Mobile Search Track, sessions will cover both mobile SEO and paid advertising opportunities:

Tools, Tools, Tools!

Search marketing has grown so complex it’s virtually impossible to do the work without a top-rate set of tools. But are the tools you’re using the right ones for the job? Which tools are best for your needs? How do you select tools that give you the most bang for the buck? Which tools are the favorites of other top search marketers?

The Tools Track has the answers to these and other questions when it comes to automating your efforts. Sessions include:

Exploring Important Issues

Online marketing keeps growing and developing, with new options emerging almost daily. At SMX West, we’re featuring two tracks with sessions covering a number of these key issues that don’t fit neatly into any of the other tracks at SMX West. Come sample the delicious fare offered up by our panelists in these sessions:

Big Company/Big Brand Success Case Studies Big companies and brands have big advantages, e.g. large budgets, staffs and data resources. They also have big challenges, like coordinating the assets of big departments with ownership of various marketing disciplines. In this session, you’ll hear success stories from marketers who’ve managed integrated cross-channel campaigns, leveraging knowledge from SEO, SEM, social, email and analytics groups within their organizations.

Small Company; Big Results Small businesses have always faced unique challenges when it comes to online success. That’s even truer today, when the marketing landscape often seems to be friendlier to big brands. But creative small enterprises use agility to create opportunities leveraging search marketing, social media, email marketing and other disciplines. In this session, you’ll hear about the strategies and tactics that small companies have used to find big success online.

Top Social Tactics For The Search Marketer Integrating your search and social media efforts can dramatically improve your marketing results, but where do you start? Speakers in this “speed-round” session will share their favorite authority-building social tips for search, including using Facebook, Open Graph technology, Google+, Twitter and more.

Social Meets Search: Where Are We Now; Were Are We Going? In this panel, representatives from search engines and social networks will discuss how social signals and data impact ranking and new sources of content. We’ll also discuss how consumers make use of search engines devoted to social content. Learn how social is influencing search, becoming part of search and how marketers can ride the social wave for SEO success.

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 again in these areas:

Pre-Conference Workshops & Training

Looking for even more advice in a smaller group setting on particular topics? Come a day early on March 10th and you’ve got a choice of in-depth workshops and training classes to choose from:

Save by registering for both the SMX West pre-conference workshops and All Access pass combo.

Quality Programming

I’ve covered most of the show, which has over 55 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 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!

The attention to programming is part of what we call the SMX Content Difference, and it’s why we’re able to guarantee the quality of our events.

Freebies: Expo Hall, SMX Theater & Plus Sessions

Of course, our SMX West sponsors & exhibitors do have great information to share with SMX attendees. That’s why we provide several ways for attendees to hear from them.

On the first two days of the show, we have a Plus Session Track. Unlike our editorial sessions, these are created and produced by the company sponsoring them.

Although sponsored, these sessions offer plenty of terrific information, as the producers know they’re competing to attract attendees who are also considering high quality editorial sessions. That causes them to want to match the high bar that our editorial sessions set. Before some editorial sessions, we’ll also have a few very short “Solutions Spotlights” that briefly highlight a sponsoring company.

The Expo Hall runs Tuesday, March 11 and Wednesday, March 12, and provides you with opportunity to get information from exhibitors and sponsors about the many products and services available to search marketers.

On the Expo Hall floor, SMX Theater Presentations are mini-sponsored sessions that run 20 minutes each. Presenters frequently cover case studies – they’re a great way to learn quickly about a company, product, service or topic.

An Expo Hall pass is free for anyone, as long as you register in advance. The Expo+ Pass allows you into the Expo Hall, the SMX Theater and Plus sessions for March 11-12, the Expo Hall Reception and Evening Keynote on March 11 and the Evening Forum with Danny Sullivan on March 12. Of course, those with full All Access conference passes have access to all of these events plus all the editorial sessions and additional networking opportunities. For a breakdown of what each pass offers, check out our pass options page.

Organized Networking

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, All Access attendees can join the official SMX West Facebook event group. This attendee only group will allow you to easily interact with other attendees and speakers before, during and after the show. It’s a great opportunity to participate in discussions, questions and show announcements prior to arriving on site!

The night before the show, we have our SMX Meet & Greet Reception. It’s another easy 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.

During lunches, we offer our unique Birds-Of-A-Feather lunch 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. Attendees will receive an email when sign-ups open for BOF tables – usually a few weeks prior to the conference.

All these options can be found on our networking page. You’re going to meet plenty of people! And when you’ve registered, don’t forget to tell the world using one of our I’m Going badges.

Good Food, WiFi & Backpacks

A good SMX experience means no boxed lunches at our shows. You’ll get a great meal, on a real plate, 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. Also among the little touches, we’ll also give you a conference backpack. It’s a real backpack, one that you’ll take home and use again and again.

Join Us In San Jose!

I hope you’ve found this preview useful and are ready to attend. You’ll find more details on the SMX West web site, including the Agenda-At-A-Glance. You can register online, by phone at (877) 242-5242 or email us at registration[at] Sign up by February 1 to secure the Early Bird rate on your ticket.

See you in San Jose!