SMX East 2018: Here’s What You Need To Know


Saffron Edge


Nov 2, 2018


5 min read

SMX EAST 2018 Even if you have a fleeting interest in SEO, you’d already know what ‘Search Marketing Expo (SMX)’ is. If you live under a rock and don’t exactly know what it is, don’t worry we’ll give you a brief before diving deep into what this special event had in store. So, what exactly is ‘SMX’? SMX is the brainchild of the most authoritative and respected voices in the SEO & SEM industry - Search Engine Land & Marketing Land (which is just Search Engine Land themselves but focusing entirely on SEM). We all know how dynamic the SEO industry is and how confusing it can be for marketers to figure out, with little to no direction from Google, the exact strategies that will land them on the top of search engine results. ‘The SMX Conference’ was created to change all that in 2007. It is an year-long series of events held at different venues with an aim to bring the best of the best in SEO & SEM together and share their views about the future of this dynamic industry with deep insights you’ll not be able to see or hear anywhere else. It is undoubtedly the best place to go for some fresh search engine marketing wisdom to tackle the search engine challenges you face every day in your business life.

We just loved it!

And we dig SMX! Our co-founder and Business Head, Gaurav Sabharwal, recently went to attend the ‘SMX East’ event in Manhattan, New York at ‘Jacob K. Javits Convention Center’ (23rd October to 25th October) and came back a lot wiser when it comes to understanding the latest in SEO & SEM and the whole marketing industry in general. Here’s what he had to say about it - ‘“It was my 2nd time going to an SMX event and it just gets better with each passing year! The industry insights I got to hear, the expos I attended, the industry leaders I personally met and the overall networking experience there doesn’t even come close to other SEO events and conferences and every bit of information I soaked in at the SMX East will definitely help us serve our clients a lot better in the time to come”

Top Highlights

Out of a bunch of industry leading keynotes, here are a few top highlights of the event that you should definitely have a look at as they will greatly help you plan your SEO strategy for 2019 -

Bing is going to be more important than ever for SEO

Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, had organized two opening keynotes on 24th October about their future plans for SEO (featuring Christi Olson & Frederic Dubut)  & SEM (featuring David Pann, general manager of global search business at Microsoft). Microsoft’s search engine


Talking about the SEO-related keynote first, the search experience Bing is striving to provide us is intelligent, personalized, pervasive, predictive and conversational. And the primary interface they are focusing on is voice. With the help of their digital assistant Cortana, they plan on increasing their search engine capabilities marginally and help searchers in new ways that no one has ever tried before, not even Google. You can read more about this keynote here. David Pann


On the other hand, the SEM related keynote which was presented by David Pann was huge. With Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Linkedin, they are trying to make use of the massive social professional networking platform by letting marketers target three attributes from Linkedin in their Bing search Ad campaigns. The three attributes being company, job function & industry. Considering the fact that the user base of Linkedin in 550+ million strong, this new roll-out will put the 26.2 billion acquisition to good use and give a lot of advertising and targeting advantage to bing marketers. Also, Bing is actively working on an AI-driven solution called Bing Advisor designed specifically to give valuable insights to marketers that would help them greatly in planning their marketing campaigns. You can read more about this keynote here. Jon Diorio


The opening keynote on 25th October was of the other search engine - Google, presented by Jon Diorio, group product manager for Google Ads. In the keynote, Jon Diorio talked about a lot of upcoming updates that would make advertising via Google Ads a lot easier but impactful for advertisers. The updates are as follows -

Click-to-message Ads updates

  • Texts that users send from click-to-message ads can now be delivered directly to advertisers via email. This would kill the need for advertisers to provide their phone number in order to use message extensions.
  • Advertisers can now set up automatic replies to respond to users immediately with preset messages.

Store Visits in Google Analytics out of beta

To enable marketers to track the offline impact of their marketing efforts on other digital channels beyond Google Ads, Store Visits data will be rolling out in Google Analytics in a coming few weeks to all eligible advertisers. Along with that, Google is also releasing a few store visits tools with the help of Data-driven attribution and Smart Bidding that would help them greatly in determining what is bringing them the most foot traffic. For more information, you can read the keynote here. Ali Brenner


No SEO event is complete without talking about probably the most important ranking factor for Google - Backlinks. The next highlight is all about that and a lot more. In a keynote presented by a panel of experts including Ali Brenner (Senior SEO Manager, Sapient Razorfish), Lisa Baron (CMO, Overit) and Paddy Morgan (Co-founder, Aira), they talked about writing the type of content that attracts links and each one of them had their own 2 cents to share. Here are the types of content that people love to link to, according to Ali and Lisa -
  • Evergreen Content
  • Content with exclusive data
  • Content with engaging videos, images or comparison
  • Content that has a story behind it
  • Content with actionable insights
  • Content with simple words & catchy structure with hooks
To know more about what they had to say about link-building, you can read the story here. For Gaurav, ‘SMX East’ was truly a remarkable and refreshing experience and we would suggest you to go attend it once if you are dead serious about learning something meaningful in the SEO & SEM industry, you’ll get to know stuff that actually works and not just noise! If you can not make such type of commitment, we would suggest you follow their Youtube channel because there’s a lot that is yet to come. Interested to know more about what happened at the ‘SMX East’ event? You can have a look at their agenda to know exactly what happened when and who made it happen.

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