One of the problems with having been doing this (SEO and SEM) for a while and with having a head for search trivia like me is that I have found myself increasingly disinterested in most search conference sessions.
If I have to sit through one more "Links are important" session I'll scream. At this point, my interest in the conferences is meeting up with old and new friends, networking, and learning little nuggets of info after hours over a beer.
But SMX Advanced is different. For the first time in more than 3 years, I've actually attended sessions because I felt they were interesting and I could learn something. It's a wonderful feeling. I'm a natural student by nature, and I love learning new things.
Some interesting things I learned today:
- I've been doing PPC on the content network wrong. HUGE kudos to David Szetela of Clix Marketing for giving me a "lightbulb moment" that I can't believe I'd missed. Insight: The keywords for the content network need to be different from the keywords in a search campaign. You need to choose keywords that would appear on the types of pages that you want the ad to show up on, not the search terms people looking for your products would type in. If you sell trucks, on the search network, you would target "trucks" and related terms, but for the content network you are targeting the buyer in a more general sense (ie an outdoorsy guy, for example), so you would on things like "hunting", "offroading", etc. Totally makes sense, and I totally missed it.
- Part of the Quality score is the CTR. One interesting strategy is to bid high (even on the content network) in order to get a high CTR. Then when you get a high resulting QS, you can lower your bids and still keep the same position. Think of it as a QS jumpstart. Cool.
- The term "dotscale" (.scale), referring to sites/technologies that naturally get better as they get bigger and used more. Social media like Facebook is a good example of this. It's useless unless your friends are all on it, too.
- MS is beta testing a new offline tool for PPC (like the Adwords Editor). Nice.
- Google now recommends the "First Click Free" approach to membership content.