What You Can’t Afford to Miss from SMX Virtual: December 8-9, 2020
  • December 9, 2020
  • PPC

What You Can’t Afford to Miss from SMX Virtual: December 8-9, 2020

SMX Virtual launched today in the world of pixels. With four different content tracks, an all-new agenda, and forward-thinking keynotes, Search Engine Land’s latest offering has a lot to offer as far as an actionable tactic and virtual networking.

 The first day had some great presentations, including:  

Keynote Presentation

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What The Future Holds for SEO and the SEO Community

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Areej AbuAli, Zoopia (@areej_abuali)

SMX kicked off with a discussion on a broad range of SEO topics, including the diversity in the SEO community. Arrej AbuAli, SEO Manager of Zoopia and the founder of the Women in Tech SEO Community shares essential takeaways in her “fireside chat” with Search Engine Land’s Ginny Marvin (@ginnymarvin).  AbuAli has been an advocate for women in the SEO industry, and founded her global support network to mentor, amplify, and empower the women involved in it. She encouraged the community to continue to increase diversity in the SEO community.

AbuAli covered a lot of topics in the keynote. First, there is the constant evolution of SERPs. Then, AbuAli talked about critical skills for future SEO success. Also, she emphasized the growing importance of structured data and covered new opportunities with marketing using artificial intelligence.  of SERPs and the Skills necessary for continued SEO success. Then, she tackled the “endless” Google platform and algorithm changes.

An Epic Ads Automation Debate: RSAs vs ETAs

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Brad Geddes, Adalysis (@bgTheory) and Frederick Vallaeys, Optmyzr (@SiliconVallaeys)

How you design, manage, and measure your campaigns has a lot to do with automation. Brad Geddes, Co-Founder of Adalysis, and Frederick Vallaeyes, Co-Founder and CEO of Optimyzr hosted a session this morning regarding the debate surrounding Google’s ad automation and responsive search ads (RSAs). In addition, they shared their advice for how to adapt to them to get the best response.

Geddes presentation showed some interesting facts. For example, the RSA is highest Clickthrough Rate (CTR) and the most impressions regardless of performance:

Google also usually shows RSAs the most regardless of data:

But that doesn’t mean that RSAs don’t sometimes surprise digital marketers, he suggests:

Geddes showed that ad messages that win by Cost Per Install (CPI):

Geddes says that the RSAs’ headline options are vital to success:

Quality and Relevance: Understanding The Complexity of Google’s Broad Core Algorithm Updates

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Glenn Gabe, G-Squared Interactive (@glenngabe)

Glenn Gabe, SEO consultant for G-Squared Interactive (GSQi) has been in digital marketing for over 25 years. In his current role, he helps GSQi clients with algorithm update recover, SEO for website migrations and redesigns, and technical SEO audits and SEO training.  shared his insight on PPC optimization. With moderator, Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick), the SEO Editor for Search Engine Land, Gabe shared what he knows about “broad core updates,” which occur three to four times a year, how to know if you have been affected by them, and what Google is assessing with their algorithms.

Gabe’s presentation had a few key points. First, he wanted attendees to understand what broad core updates are and how Google rolls them out throughout the year and how they could affect your results. Gabe also reviewed how he has helped other sites recover from these changes and the key takeaways that attendees could apply to their own situations. Finally, the suggested ways to minimize future core updates impacts on your sites. The following is part of his session:

Gabe also emphasized that content remains essential. He also encouraged attendees to pay attention to expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) in the content. He also thinks this concept is essential to “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) sites.

How to Generate 600+ Links in a Month

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Kevin Rowe, PureLinq (@_kevinrowe)

We all know that link building is a process that is time-consuming and often frustrating. Kevin Rowe, CEO of PureLinq, presented his scalable, link-building program that generated over 600 links in a month with fewer resources. He shared the project’s extensive details regarding workflow, resources, and the expected timeline needed for two specialists to do it, without VA support from overseas or automated email responses. He suggested that attendees could generate a 90 percent response rate after his session with their outreach efforts. This success would come from understanding the relationships you need to make link building work, knowing the necessary technical resources required, and using the specific workflows he says will optimize efficiency.

The process, shared by PureLinq (@purelinq)

  1. Identify quality: What do you want to build links to?
  2. Search your index-filter and manually review: For tools, you can sort through sites according to the niche you identified. Spreadsheets will require a manual review.
  3. Search ahrefs for unliked brand mentions: They can identify unlinked brand mentions and the opportunity to reclaim the theme.
  4. Pitch prep – create your angle: See if you can get it integrated into the targeted article.
  5. Outreach: Start making contacts. However, he warns not to do bulk pitches for multiple publishers.
  6. Reconcile: You have to measure your success. He recommends using tools like ScrapeBox or Moz, to show the number of links you have earned using the process he outlined.

Rowe had many other useful tips about his link-building workflow. First, he says that building relationships is important. For example, reaching out about a broken link during a technical audit can create a value proposition. Also, Rowe shared that Buzzstream software, which allows users to store a list of all contact and other notes or metrics for your campaign, can help manage that effort. Moreover, he said that in a standard link building program, list building, custom emails, and developing content (meaning infographics or whitepaper), and outreach is the most time-consuming part of the process.

To see a slide share from a Webinar hosted by the Search Engine Journal in October, please click here.

Day 2 was another great day on online to learn more about Search and digital marketing. Here’s a few sessions we thought were excellent.

Where Search Marketing Goes From Here

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Michael King, iPullRank (@ipullrank)

We have seen a lot of changes to Search Marketing in 2020, from personas to the importance of structured data. What hasn’t changed as much is how marketers are still working out how SEO and paid advertising work together, and how Google changes the platform and algorithms constantly. However, as Michael King, Founder and Managing Director of iPullRank, pointed out in his Keynote presentation Wednesday morning, change presents new opportunities, too.

One area that King says is an opportunity is at the intersection of AI and marketing. He talked about what digital marketers should be capitalizing on to improve search and how to innovate as we move into 2021. He also discussed solutions to combine paid campaigns with SEO.

Here are some key ideas we picked up from this one:

  • Consumers are more willing to do things online that they might not have been before, from buying online to telehealth appointments with medical professionals.
  • Brands invest in lower funnel aspects of search despite a decrease in upper funnel spending.
  • Companies that have funds to keep investing in the market are benefitting; there are always opportunities in chaos if you can maneuver to take advantage of them.
  • If you haven’t changed your personas in your segmentation to capitalize on these changes/opportunities, you could be missing out; in other words, whomever you were targeting doesn’t exist anymore; they have new motivations.
  • Cookies are going away; Apple killed it with ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention); He says that we can kiss our data integrity goodbye—and that it never really was all that accurate anyway.
  • As data continues to erode, you need to create segments in your analytics for future browsers that are ITP-enabled and keep adding to them to keep up with changes in Google Chrome.
  • Annotate your analytics for the update releases and compare the segments in cohort analysis.
  • You need to move to a world where you have your data to rely upon; first-party data sources is the future.

Lots of great insight in this keynote. If you can, see if you can watch it to get it all.

Maximizing Your PPC Budget By Blocking Click Fraud

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Alex Goldfarb, ClickCease (@ClickCease)

Click Fraud is just part of the deal when you advertise on Google.  Or maybe not, per Alex Goldfarb, Direct of Sales, ClickCease. Goldfarb says that one out of every five clicks is not real and will never convert. It’s frustrating but most marketers think it’s not something they can change.

Goldfarb disagrees. His session was designed to help attendees understand the prevalence and the differences between the types of click fraud. He also sought to teach advertisers to know they are being attacked by fraudulent clicks (which is you, let’s be real here). Goldfarb also explained the difference between malicious and non-malicious click fraud so you can recognize it. Finally, he had tips to stop the attacks and protect the PPC budget.

Here are few great things we learned during this session:

  • Goldfarb’s research shows that one out of every five clicks (20%) is click fraud.
  • Click Fraud occurs when someone clicks with no intent to convert.
  • Malicious Click Fraud is when someone is trying to deplete your PPC budget intentionally.
  • Non-malicious Click Fraud is not aggressive or intentional, but could still depletes the budget.
  • Google has measures in place to control this activity, but it tends to be broad and not enough for your individual business.
  • Instead, you would be well-served to come up with customized rules that eliminate some of the click fraud activities that occur (and ClickCease can do that for you through the Google Ads account).
  • During the pandemic, there has been a huge uptick in click fraud from all types and sizes of businesses

Local Services Ads: Ranking in The Local ‘Trust Pack’

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Justin Sanger, OMG National, @justinsanger

Justin Sanger, CRO at OMG National, an Internet Marketing Products Company, says now is the golden age of Local Services Ads (LSAs). For marketers and advertisers in core local service categories, Googles new intention is excellent and these business would be wise to master them.

Sanger says that the use of trust indicators (meaning Google Guaranteed) makes them engaging for users, and, as a result more engaging. For Google, Local is a long game that requires patience and planning, as well as deep understanding of the unique value chains for the Customer Experience in local. LSA is the solution. Sanger says that all marketers need to understand how LSAs work and what makes them different.

Some excellent key points to remember from this session:

Per Sanger, Google is not a search engine anymore; it is a service marketplace with search as the lens by which the marketplace is viewed.

There are two areas of LSA: Home Services and Professional Services. There are two programs from Google: Google Guarantee and Google Screened. Google is using these programs to respond to consumers’ concerns in these areas. Google Guarantee is associated with Home Services, while Google Screened corresponds to professional services.

There are things you can and can’t control. Accept these truths and manage what you can and you will have more success in this area, per Sanger.

All in all, it was a great virtual event. Wish you hadn’t missed it? No worries. You can attend SMX Report, February 23, 2021, from the comfort of your own sofa. Why wait, find out more today?

Next up? You can attend SMX Report, February 23, 2021, from the comfort of your own sofa. Why wait, find out more today?

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by Terri Lively