SMX East 2019 Recap: SEO and SEM Insight We Knew You Wouldn’t Want to Miss
  • November 22, 2019
  • PPC

SMX East 2019 Recap: SEO and SEM Insight We Knew You Wouldn’t Want to Miss

SMX East was in New York, NY, last week. The conference had lots to offer digital marketing experts as far as where the market is today as well as where it will be in the next few months. From using AI to improve Customer Experiences to dealing with Google’s move from middleman to a competitor to using structured data for SEO success, there were plenty of excellent resources that we knew you wouldn’t want to miss.


Smarter Customer Journeys: The ABCs of CX (Customer Experience)

Christi Olson, Microsoft’s Head of Evangelism, presented on the future of marketing and how it is changing today. Marketers focused on the marketing funnel in the past. They would seek to reach the right person with the right advertising right before the time of purchase and then convert to a sale. However, Olson suggests that marketers abandon that tried and true strategy and instead adopt a “flywheel approach” focused on the Customer Experience marketing to draw in sales.


Olson suggested in her keynote that marketers need to understand how a customer’s digital footprint looks today and how to use technology to encourage brand engagement with them. Technology will automate many of the experiences customers have with your brand, so marketers need to use creativity to create value with customers. Microsoft will release some AI technology solutions (Dynamics 365 AI) that provide data insights that marketers can then combine with other data to automate and integrate actions for sales, customer service, and marketing teams to use to help in that effort.


One of the innovations that Olson talked about was using “personalization at scale.” The idea behind this was that people would act when given the right information at the right time and place. For example, when customers are using their devices at the retail location, Olson said that retailers should respond with personalized information that anticipates their customer needs. To do this, marketers need to know their customers, empower employees, re-imagine the supply chain for excellent agility, and reinvent the retail business model working from the customer backward.


She also talked about innovations in Microsoft products. Microsoft Edge and Bing for business are designed to help unite the internet and intranet to improve employees’ productivity. Also, Microsoft Advertising refreshed its user interface to work better with the latest Google Ads update.


Personalization at scale using AI was a theme Olson continued. The intelligent audience solution feature of Microsoft Advertising enhanced targeting and personalization for marketers by adding AI-driven targeting capabilities for things like age, gender, and location, as well as pilots for LinkedIn Profile targeting and plans for more detailed targeting capabilities. Intelligent Search, which provides search solutions for retailers, is another area that will help retailers by pushing personalized product recommendations to customers that work with data collected about how customers behave right before they buy.


To read in more detail what Microsoft revealed at SMX East, please click here.


Google: From Everyone’s Search Engine to Everyone’s Competitor 


Rand Fishkin, Co-founder & CEO, SparkToro, revealed how Google has begun transitioning from the search engine you use to the biggest competitor for your organic traffic. For topics like weather, travel, sports scores, and more, many of Google’s SERP pages are designed to give searchers the information they need right there rather than encouraging searchers to click through to the site to get the data where it was published.


Fishkin’s presentation was designed to help digital marketers spend their clients’ budgets and focus the marketing on competing with Google “in a game they control.” One way Fishkin promoted was what he calls, “on SERP SEO.” By designing your content with Google’s bias for answering searcher questions on the SERP page, you can brand your content by the attribution they get. Is it as great as a click-through? No, but it might be a way to brand your content, which is better than nothing. He also believes that buying ads will help increase your visibility as well.


In addition to his on SERP SEO strategy, Fishkin recommends offline brand campaigns, meaning the traditional advertising vehicles of radio and TV ads, billboards, magazines, etc., to influence searcher’s behavior. When people know who you are, they are more likely to seek you out online. Furthermore, Fishkin suggested investing in reputation management, as well.


To read about Fishkin’s presentation in more detail, please click here.


In addition to keynote speakers, breakout sessions were also excellent resources for new insight. In particular, we invite you to read about the following:


Schema and Structured Data: “Hidden Gold for SEOs”


Aleyda Solis, an international SEO consultant for Orainti, and Chris Long, Architectural SEO Manager for Go Fish Digital, presented together on Thursday, November 15th. They covered the tactics you should use to ensure your content is accessible by search engines to keep your ranks high. They also included how to implement, test, and validate your structured data, as well as how to future-proof your content by optimizing it for voice search. Click here to read more.


Advance Your Omnichannel Strategy for the Holiday Season and Beyond


Zack Bailey, Head of Omnichannel Solution for Google, along with Irem Erkaya, Global Product Lead at Google, presented on how machine learning and automation can help your omnichannel success. They shared a statistic that 76 percent of holiday shoppers will search on three or more channels before buying anything this holiday season. The channels refer to online locations, like a retailer website, a marketplace, and social networks. From featuring shopping ads on Google Image search to shopping ads on YouTube to Local Inventory Ads that push customers to retail locations, the presentation was full of tactics that can enhance the effectiveness of campaigns this holiday season and well into the New Year. Click here to read more.


These were just a few highlights from the conference, which had a lot of great information and insight. Are you feeling a little sorry you missed SMX East? No worries, you can attend SMX West is coming up February 19-20 in 2020 at the San Jose Convention Center.


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Peterson, Taylor. “Microsoft Advertising talks intelligence, UI Updates, Audience solution in SMX keynote.” 14 November 2019. Web. 21 November 2019. <


Nguyen, George. “Rand Fishkin on optimizing for and against Google.” 14 November 2019. Web. 21 November 2019. <>.


Nguyen, George. “A framework for SEO Success with structured data.” 15 November 2019. Web. 21 November 2019. <>.


Peterson, Taylor. “Google on building a better holiday omnichannel strategy.” 15 November 2019. Web. 21 November 2019. <>.

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by albert somlith
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Albert Somlith

Co-Founder of PPC Ad Editor. I am a leader in digital marketing, specializing in strategic planning, implementation, and optimization.