Top 5 Things I Learned at Search Engine Expo (SMX) 2012

This is the second year I have the privilege to attend the SMX West Conference and Expo. The great thing about this industry is how fast things change. Most conferences are yearly and end up serving you the same information over and over again. This has been the case when I attend Photoshop World. Since Search changes almost daily, each time I attend the conference I get new information that helps me rise above my competition in search.

1. My Facebook Ads Suck: I knew that I was not using Facebook ads to their true potential. I know how an ad campaign should be set up but I had no idea how those ads should look and how I should target people with them. I typically use a photo that I like, type out a short catchy headline and I always struggle with the body text. I struggle because I try to make it speak to everyone. That is not the idea, the idea is to create multiple ads that are targeted to a specific person. I can create a lot of ads targeting people in different ways. Now I have new ideas on how I should make that ad look and feel.

2. I Can Target Much Better than I Thought I Could: I have been telling people for a long time that Facebook ads can be much more targeted than ads on most other networks however I had no idea just how niche I could target. Facebook knows everything about us, probably even more than we know about ourselves. They use this information to allow advertisers to market down to the very niche detail. This is cool and I will talk about how I plan to target people with ads on a very specific level in another blog.

3. Trust Symbols: I used to have logos and links to associations that I am affiliated with on my site but I removed them because I felt they were tacky. I feel that the typical way that most people display this type of information is very tacky. They either make it to visible on their website that it takes away from their content or they just mod-podge it to the footer of their site. Almost always, it looks tacky. However, if done right, tryst symbols are powerful. People who do not know me from the next guy will find trust symbols helpful in making a decision to do business with me. It shows that I am connected to other resources and that there is a two way relationship maintained. One thing I plan to do is integrate these trust symbols into my design so it looks good and feels like they should be there.

4. More Reviews = More Sales: I tell my web clients this all of the time however I end up letting my own reviews slide a bit. I have more reviews than my competition does but I could be crushing it and make it almost impossible for them to catch me if they tried. Positive reviews are a good thing. I often talk about how we use online written reviews to make important decisions even though we have no idea who the person writing the review is. It’s simple, more reviews = more sales and bad reviews are not necessarily bad as long as you attempt to mend the relationship. Make sure you do that in a way that can be seen publicly and always try to get the negative review changed to a positive one.

5. Citations: I see citations from my website all the time. A citation is when Google decides to take a snippet of text from your website and display it somewhere else. This happens a lot on Google Place Pages. At the bottom of the Maps Listing or Place Page there are some citations from your website. I always looked to see what Google was citing but I never took that information seriously. If Google decides to share something from your website, you should probably make sure that it is relevant and up to date content in the case that someone decides to visit it.

SMX is a great experience and I recommend you check out one of their conferences should you have the opportunity to attend one.

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