Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing and SEO Highlights from SMX East

By Jason Poulos (@TheSaganaki)

I just got back from the search marketing expo conference up in New York City and I wanted to share some of what I learned. The conference was great and I learned a lot, a ton of info got covered and my brain still hurts from the education overload. Here are some key points and highlights from the courses I attended.


The State of Digital Marketing

  • As we come out of the recession ad spend seems to be growing exponentially. Google ad spend for 2013 is looking to have a significant jump compare to the last few years. Ad words campaigns have been expanded out to include branded terms. When times are good, brand awareness spend goes up and the focus on conversions lighten up.
  • Ad retargeting is an effective marketing tactic and should be deployed
  • Opportunity exists with video marketing, only 40% of businesses surveyed use video marketing tactics
  • Allocate 5-10 % of budget for experimentation and testing
  • Always have a measurable action on a website even if you aren’t selling product. Have a download form sign up etc
  • Average cost per acquisition- $10 – Google lead, $4 Facebook lead, $2 Ad retargeting
  • Television advertising only has a 4-6 week influence on paid search

SEO and the future of SEO

  • SEO is an investment and needs to incubate
  • A #1 ranking site in Google is like having a billboard in Times Square
  • More marketers are getting involved in SEO. The 2012 search marketing expo was the largest to date
  • SEO is a legit marketing tactic and not a gimmick or form of spam. A good SEO/agency will understand PR, marketing and social as well as have an understanding of content and technical SEO skills
  • SEO isn’t dead, crappy, spammy manipulative SEO is dead
  • SEO is a great channel for brand awareness
  • Search is still really basic right now, the future of search will get better at indexing image, video and voice recognition
  • Responsive design is the future, m. domains will no longer be supported in Bing
  • Social and search will continue to grow and evolve together. Social is a great validation technique but links are still the #1 signal to a search engine

Google Penguin/Panda Issues

  • If your rankings and site traffic has been hit by penguin or panda don’t contact Google and request the site back in for inclusion. Fix everything first, go through the site thoroughly and give Google full disclosure on what happened. Create a document that covers history and tactics used on the site. This document should contain a list of links, methods of content, dates of outreach for link removal and any links that have been removed


  • Links are still the back bone of Google. Even with modern advances Google’s core is still relevancy and popularity
  • Anchor text on back links needs to be evenly distributed between brand terms, keywords and general phrases. Needs to look natural
  • Building quality links back to a website is tough and don’t be discouraged if you aggressively go after sites and don’t get a lot of back links
  • Call the author instead of e-mailing when requesting a back link
  • Plan for link building: List website assets, Research, Strategize, Schedule, Adapt
  • Linkable content ideas: testimonials, product history museum, complete guide, glossary, badge/widgets, reviews
  • Don’t: buy links, use article submission sites, link directories, reciprocal links, spin articles or link exchanges

Development and Markup

  • Only about 1.5% of all sites on the internet are utilizing micro data/rich snippets. Using micro data will help provide a stronger semantic mark up for a search engine and give detailed info about your page that can get processed by a computer
  • Micro data examples: Reviews, things to do, events, recipes, specials
  • Site speed will influence conversion and UX on your website. Conversion rate goes up with a quicker site and bounce rate will go down. Slow site lose business
  • Fast loading site formula: Good hosting, use a content delivery network, use some form of cache, have a low number of requests
  • 1.0 – 1.5 seconds load time is ideal for a website


  • Keyword discovery is an ongoing aspect of site optimization and not a one-time deal
  • Look at your AdWords search query data to discover keywords
  • 3 buckets of keywords that a site should have: informational, navigational and transactional
  • 4 levels to a well-rounded keyword strategy: must haves, business relative, industry relevant, broad

A lot more got covered and I can definitely write a bunch more but I just wanted to provide some basic snippets of what I thought might be valuable to other marketers out there.

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About Jason Poulos:

With a degree in communication design from VCU as well as experience in web development and digital marketing, Jason brings a unique blend of assets to PadillaCRT. In 2012 Jason helped win 4 awards for his SEO work on Outside of his digital work, Jason enjoys brewing his own beer and restoring his1970 Chevrolet Nova. Jason is a new father and enjoys spending time with his family and his 150-pound English Mastiff.

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