October 20, 2017

18 Must Read SMX Advanced Highlights

If you missed SMX this year, you missed a great conference. I’m really thankful that I had the opportunity to attend, and I’m looking forward to coming back in future years.

I did a lot of live-blogging during the sessions, and lots of tweeting – but I wanted to collect some of the important points here on the page. This is stuff I learned not only from sessions, but from talking to other industry veterans at the bar as well. There’s a few unique insights here that many may not be aware of.

Here’s my summary of important takeaways from SMX:

1.) Page speed is a minor factor in rankings. Unless you have noticeable problems, it’s not worth worrying about for SEO. Worry about your user experience and your SEO will be fine.

2.) If you’re worrying about bounce rates affecting SEO, stop! Worry about lowering that bounce rate because it’s costing you customers. Matt also said that bounce rate is NOT used directly in search rankings.

3.) If you change your screen resolution, Google shows less images in results to accommodate for the smaller screen size.

4.) When it comes to vertical search and trying to rank for videos, ask yourself this: is a video really the point of entry I want my customers to choose? Will it have an effect on my conversions? Ideally, you don’t want a video to show up and push down your web page that already ranks well – unless you’re a video specific niche.

5.) If you can’t get a straight answer out of Matt Cutts, judge by his reactions or whether or not he’s looking up and to the left.

6.) Pagerank DOES decay over 301 redirects. Especially if you have multiple 301 redirects chained together. I asked Matt about this in the bar with an example of a chain of 5 redirects and he said “google says that’s too many redirects.” He also hinted that most of the pagerank from links to the original URLs would be gone.

7.) If you have a 301 redirect or rel=canonical on a page, it will slow the crawl rate at which googlebot fetches your pages. This came directly from Maile. If your site is down for maintenance, use a 500 response to avoid reduced crawl frequency.

8.) When measuring page speed, Google uses the toolbar time and not the googlebot time – so javascript and things like that actually matter. The estimate given in webmaster tools is very close to what the algorithms use.

9.) Marketers talk about claims. Scientists talk about data. Are you an SEO marketer or an SEO scientist? Too many SEOs are focused on making claims rather than letting the data speak for itself. Tip: Test your shit, publish your data, open it up to peer review.

10.) According to Maile Ohye, the goal of Mayday was to make long tail results more useful to users. Remember, searches don’t think of their query as “long tail.” The goal was to remove pages that were technically not spam, but not very useful. We called these pages “weeds.” Many people speculated that this was a response to Mahalo, eHow, and Demand media, but we got an “up and to the left” look out of Matt on this one…

11.) When it comes to paid links and link farms, Google’s first attempt is to take a “scalpel” approach where they just cut those links out of the graph. There’s no use worrying about a competitor damaging your site with links.

12.) Pretty soon Google rich snippets will happen automatically – just make sure you’ve got microformats on your site.

13.) Google has the ability to determine sentiment, but it is NOT used in rankings. Google analytics data is also NOT used in rankings.

14.) Real time search rankings are calculated based on: Author Quality, Site Authority, Trust & Relevancy. In other words, it’s not about how many followers you have, it’s about how many quality followers you have.

15.) To get into bing news, email bns@microsoft.com with a request and an rss feed.

16.) Google supports video sitemaps, Bing doesn’t. Both Bing and Google support local listings.

17.) You can disable Bing’s document preview with a meta tag: meta name=msnbot content=nopreview

18.) Bing & Yahoo rankings will be exactly the same, the display and user experience will differ. Sadly, no decision was made on the future of Yahoo Site Explorer.

So there you go. I learned a lot at SMX, not just about search engines and SEO but about the SEO community as a whole. All in all, it was a very interesting time and I hope you’ve learned something from my summary. I’ve learned a few things, and I’ve even come back with a few things that I need to test a bit more. I’ll close this article by mentioning two of my favorite quotes overheard at the event:

“The SEO community is like high school” – Matt Cutts talking to me at the bar.

“Insecure High School loner seeking vampire who sparkles.” – John Lebaron in his Craigslist ad.

About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones is an SEO from Detroit. By day he works as a manager of SEO & Analytics at SapientNitro where his team performs SEO for Fortune500 clients. By night he's either playing hockey or attempting to take over the world with his own websites - which he would have already succeeded in doing had it not been for those meddling kids and their dog. The views expressed here have not been paid for and belong only to Ryan, not any of his employers or clients. Follow Ryan on Twitter at: @RyanJones, add him on Google+ or visit his personal website: www.RyanMJones.com

Comments

  1. Nice post, more or less this is all we were able to get there.

    I was very disappointed about the low quality, in general, of the SEO presentations, it was not ‘advanced’ at all.

    No real data, no real cases, more questions than answers.

  2. Can you elaborate a bit on item 16 RE local listings? Do you mean that Bing supports KML geo sitemaps?

  3. “I learned a lot at SMX, not just about search engines and SEO but about the SEO community as a whole. All in all, it was a very interesting time”

    Yes it was! Good to meet you Ryan.