SMX Live: Differentiate Or Die

Feb 29, 2012 - 4:25 pm 1 by
Filed Under SMX West 2012

Live Blogging Coverage SMXBelow is live coverage of the Differentiate Or Die panel from the SMX West 2012 conference. This coverage is provided by Avi Wilensky of Promedia Corp.

Disclaimer: The coverage is brought to you in real time, using a custom live blogging tool. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments for inclusion into the live coverage. During the live event, live notes will auto-scroll with newest entries at top. After the session is complete the archive version will have the oldest entries at the top. We ask you to please excuse any typos, as these are live notes.

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Avi Wilensky: 1:31:09 pm
For virtually every topic, product or category, you’re competing with thousands of other sites for search visibility, and searchers rarely click past the first result page. Much tactical SEO advice is practical, but won’t help at all unless you have a higher-level understanding of what might work in your category. This session looks at big picture strategies that can help you stand out, focusing on brand building, social media influence and viral techniques that go beyond the tactics that many people try (and fail) in their SEO efforts.
Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land (@dannysullivan)
Q&A Moderator: Alex Volk, Search Marketing Director, Microsoft (@alexvolk)

Rhea Drysdale, Co-Founder & CEO, Outspoken Media, Inc. (@Rhea)
Eric Enge, CEO, Stone Temple Consulting (@stonetemple)
Casie Gillette, Online Marketing Manager, Grasshopper (@casieg)
Hugo Guzman, Sr. Manager, Online Marketing, HSN (Home Shopping Network) (@hugoguzman)
Avi Wilensky: 1:31:59 pm
Danny explains the logic behind the session hashtags - has to do with day / session # of the day.
Avi Wilensky: 1:33:16 pm
This session has been brought to you by Text Broker.
Avi Wilensky: 1:35:21 pm
Eric Enge is up first. Talks about the keyword "lathe operation". How many pages do we need on the web about it?
Avi Wilensky: 1:35:30 pm
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Avi Wilensky: 1:35:45 pm
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Avi Wilensky: 1:36:06 pm
Eric greets Danny Sullivan dresses as grim reaper.
Avi Wilensky: 1:37:01 pm
42,000 results for how to make French Toast. How mant results matter. For this case, maybe 1 or 2.
Avi Wilensky: 1:37:38 pm
San Jose plumber. At the end of the day, you need 2 that are closest to you. If Google gets the rest of the results wrong does it matter?
Avi Wilensky: 1:38:09 pm
Search + Your World. Cars. 1 Result. 3 results from search + your world. 4 results above the fold. 3 come from algo that didn't exist before 1/2012.
Avi Wilensky: 1:38:32 pm
Holly Batman!!!
Avi Wilensky: 1:39:35 pm
These shifts may continue. The PC might disappear. Browser, cloud. Impact of social is so huge, push down down ads to give search plus your world above the fold.
Avi Wilensky: 1:39:44 pm
How are you going to be one of the 4?
Avi Wilensky: 1:40:45 pm
Brings up the old Seth Godin metaphor of the purple cow. Be remarkable.
Avi Wilensky: 1:41:22 pm
Old fashion SEO still matters. If it isn't machine readable, doesn't matter.
Avi Wilensky: 1:42:14 pm
Brand Searches. This is huge. If the major brands aren't showing up, the results are wrong. Brands are about trust between consumer and company. Those results need to be high in the rankings.
Avi Wilensky: 1:42:56 pm
Superior user engagement. CTR / bounce rate as measurement of rankings.
Avi Wilensky: 1:43:19 pm
High CTR is so important. Rich snippets, another potential.
Avi Wilensky: 1:43:36 pm
Best link profile still works. Amazon isn't going away. But it needs to be supported by corresponding social activity.
Avi Wilensky: 1:44:05 pm
Social activity validates link profile.
Avi Wilensky: 1:45:09 pm
Freshest content. Techcrunch is good example.
Avi Wilensky: 1:45:26 pm
Has to be your goal, top 4 results.
Avi Wilensky: 1:46:05 pm
That's the key. Great talk by Eric Enge.
Avi Wilensky: 1:46:37 pm
Rhea Drysdale from Outspoken is up.
Avi Wilensky: 1:47:21 pm
Opens up with sea cucumbers. It found a way to survive even though it shouldn't. Throws up to prevent being eaten and grosses out the honey badger!
Avi Wilensky: 1:47:32 pm
In order to survive we must EVOLVE.
Avi Wilensky: 1:48:09 pm
He still evolved moving slowly, and being ugly. If the Sea Cucumber can do it, so can you.
Avi Wilensky: 1:48:26 pm
Trends: Personalisation, social integration, freshness, blended.
Avi Wilensky: 1:48:37 pm
Challenge is to focus on one area and be the best at getting in there.
Avi Wilensky: 1:48:52 pm
1/3 of the world are visual learners.
Avi Wilensky: 1:49:12 pm
Even if not, most of us are visual people.
Avi Wilensky: 1:49:52 pm
Shows picture of what SERPs used to look like compared to today. Freshness within news, images, authority, results in the SERPs.
Avi Wilensky: 1:51:09 pm
Shows example of Google vs. Bing, and where Google made the connection and Bing didn't. Search engines are getting smarted. Brands are being recommended. Making these connections. Search results within search results.
Avi Wilensky: 1:51:21 pm
SEOMoz shows history of algo changes.
Avi Wilensky: 1:51:30 pm
What can YOU do today?
Avi Wilensky: 1:51:58 pm
Quick content wins: Do you meet user and query intent?
Avi Wilensky: 1:53:43 pm
Image optimization - optimize the content around images. Crawl-able. Want it to stand out to help CTR.
Avi Wilensky: 1:54:21 pm
Video - White House always live streams but doesn't publish them and people go to CSPAN.
Avi Wilensky: 1:54:56 pm
Don't have to be mainstream - SEL, SER, SEW all appear in Google news.
Avi Wilensky: 1:56:05 pm
Personalized search. Work way into search results through social and G+.
Avi Wilensky: 1:56:53 pm
More difficult - schema,org, rel=author - markup your pages.
Avi Wilensky: 1:57:55 pm
Reviews, Sitelinks are a brand indicator. Richsnippets. G+ now allows brands to appear in results.
Avi Wilensky: 1:58:42 pm
Read Greg Finn's article on Direct Connect.
Avi Wilensky: 1:58:59 pm
Advanced image optimization.
Avi Wilensky: 2:00:08 pm
Rel Author - shows results page. (Says trust's Barry of SER more than Joost!)
Avi Wilensky: 2:00:44 pm
Casie Gilette from is up now.
Avi Wilensky: 2:01:01 pm
It's all about sharing, interactions.
Avi Wilensky: 2:01:30 pm
Grasshoper is a virtual phone system, products are very similar and pricing to competitors. Tough vertical. Competitor to Google Voice.
Avi Wilensky: 2:01:51 pm
3 things to be different. Create for market and not product. Give customers something to talk about. Make new friends.
Avi Wilensky: 2:02:02 pm
We like to talk, most common word is I.
Avi Wilensky: 2:02:31 pm
Be Your Audience. Once you know that stuff, you can build campaigns around it.
Avi Wilensky: 2:03:37 pm
Developed 3 different videos over years. Non commercial. Focused on entrepreneurialism. Only mention brand name at end. 2.2 million views on the videos. 130 press mentions with links. 3 year old video still comes in through tweets.
Avi Wilensky: 2:04:59 pm
Hand written notes. Took 500 customers, sent Starbucks gift cards, and handwritten notes. Got blog posts, tweets. People sharing this stuff.
Avi Wilensky: 2:05:52 pm
Actual customers are now brand advocates. Invaluable. Can't ask for anything more. Went through list of customers and looked for their social profiles.
Avi Wilensky: 2:06:19 pm
Find the ones with influence. The ones likely to share. Reach out to people you have relationships with. Can't force people but can increase chances.
Avi Wilensky: 2:07:21 pm
Make new friends - focused on co-marketing. Promote with other companies. Be friends with other similar companies.
Avi Wilensky: 2:08:55 pm
Sponsorships. All aware of it. But Grasshopper is small. Teamed up with Mailchimp and Woofoo and came up with Barcamp Tour and sponsored things like drinks or parties. Not putting name on banners. Have a presence. Interact with them.
Avi Wilensky: 2:10:43 pm
Their 2 biggest drivers of conversions are search and WOM. In 2009, 90k visits on brand searches. 2011 - 250k. In those 2 years, getting people to talk about them tripled # people searching for brand.
Avi Wilensky: 2:11:27 pm
And that is all.

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