By: Karthik Vijay on 28-05-2014 in Content Strategy, Google, Link Building, Liveblog, Marketing News, Online Marketing, Search, SEO, Social Media

Welcome back to the Kwasi Blog for day 2 of SMX Sydney, Australia’s premier search marketing event. After a stellar first day, packed to the brim with expert speakers, we find ourselves set and ready for another monster day of search marketing insights.

Day 1 saw attendees presented with a keynote address from Senior Manager for SEO at Disney Interactive, Jeff Preston, who examined strategies for managing in-house SEO campaigns and sharing his expertise on big brand SEO. A keynote that was chock-full of valuable insights for all the CEOs and CMOs out there.

Succeeding Jeff Preston were a host of industry insiders who illuminated us with their wisdom across a range of topics including, Marty Weintraub, who taught us how to run an effective SEM campaign in a post encrypted search engine world, and Jon Cooper – one of the panelists mentioned in Who Do We Want to Speak at SMX Sydney 2014? – who gave us some useful pointers on how to prospect and qualify link opportunities.

But now we turn our attention to day 2…

9:00am – Sha Menz: Getting Your Head In The Penalty Game

First up to the plate is Adelaide’s own Sha Menz, a woman who lives and breathes link penalties, link removal and remediation. Sha’s presentation gave us some invaluable tips and advice on how we should go about dealing with link penalties, what we need to do to have them revoked, and how we can prepare for a successful link removal effort.


Following a host of dodgy SEO practices and the detection of vast networks of bad links, Google’s Penguin update cracked down on bad linking practice. This update works by balancing a sites ratio of good links and bad links in order to provide a ‘value’. If that value is below Google’s threshold, your site will more than likely be affected by the Penguin update.

Here’s Sha’s advice on how we should go about link removal in a post-Penguin Googlesphere:

STEP 1: AWARENESS – You need to put on your Google Hat and see the links as Google sees them

  • Identify the situation you are in and how got you there
  • You are what Google thinks you are – until you can prove otherwise – a ‘spammer’

STEP 2: RETRIBUTION: Do all you can to remove any unnatural links

  • Analyse: look at the link, the domain, and the overall profile of the site
  • If you’re a ‘bigger brand’ use your influence via social media to show Google you’re a significant player in your niche
  • You need to work hard to remove links, there is no easy fix. You have to follow the rules

STEP 3: REWARD: Link removal

  • As a result of the hard work you’ve put in at the retribution phase, Google will take into account your reconsideration request and hopefully that bad link will be removed
  • You will still need to work hard to satisfy Google in order to revoke the manual action. You must take the time to remove all unnatural links to your site

Sha’s Favourite Tools for Identifying Back-links:

Sorry guys, but there are no shortcuts. Follow the rules and your site will more than likely find itself in good standing with Google.

9:30am – Liam Walsh: Maximizing The Synergy Of Paid Search & Social

Next up was Liam Walsh, from the global software company, Kenshoo. Liam’s area of discussion was the benefits of cross-channel marketing.

Liam Walsh at SMX Sydney

With paid search and social media advertising booming, it’s become increasingly important for search marketers to understand the power of these two channels. And with more than half of online ad budgets now going towards search and social advertising its becomes of even greater importance that we understand the synergy between the two channels.

Liam is a strong advocate for cross-channel marketing, as he believes it provides a greater return on investment than single channel, as well as being more efficient. Furthermore, a business should look to strike the right balance between push and pull marketing. However, there are of course challenges to integrating online marketing into a business’ marketing mix:

Leading challenges to Marketing Integration according to US online Marketers

  • Organization Structure – 27%
  • Current Technology – 23%
  • Working with multiple vendors, agencies and specialists – 22%
  • Lack of cross-channel expertise 20%
  • All of the above – 19%
  • Currently have no challenges – 13%

The key take aways from Liam’s talk:

In recent years, social advertising has outperformed search advertising when it comes to CPC, total spend, revenue, and overall impressions. Yet, search advertising has a superior click-through rate.

According to Liam it is important for search marketers [and business leaders] to look for signals from both social & search. From there we must analyse those signals and run a cross-channel campaign in such a way that the search and social complement each other. You must find a way to harness the power of both mediums.

10:45am – Dan Petrovic: Advanced Tactics and Engagement Strategies for Google+

Succeeding Liam Walsh is Dan Petrovic, the CEO of Dejan SEO, and a well-known search engine specialist. A well-traveled and seasoned presenter, Dan brought a myriad of underutilised Google + capabilities to our attention.

Dan Petrovic at SMX Sydney

Google+ is Google’s own deep web, and as Dan mentioned, it’s not just another social network. It’s actually a great platform for content sharing and promotion.

What we can do with Google+:

  • Selective sharing
  • Google+ helps organic search
  • Google+ influences search rankings
  • YouTube is part of Google+
  • Photo tagging
  • Utilise the communities feature
  • Utilise end of gallery suggestions

Dan’s tips on how we can maximise Google+

  • Post images
  • Create your own series and collections (hashtags)
  • Create a branded hangout
  • Use the ‘what’s hot’ feature to give exposure to your content
  • Share content as pages/brands rather than as an individual

If you’re looking to find out more about how you can utilise this often neglected social media platform see Dan’s presentation below:

Download the PDF file .

11:15am – James Norquay: Utilising Social for SEO & Traffic Gain

Consulting Director at Prosperity Media, James Norquay, is an expert when it comes to driving traffic and SEO benefit to websites from social media platforms. James shared his expertise and offered a bunch of actionable tips and advice for all those looking to grow their social traffic.

The key take aways from James’ talk

  • Creating unique content is the key to maximising all social platforms. As a real life example of this in action, James spoke about the time he created a USB bottle opener and sent it to a selection of top search marketing influencers, including Jon Cooper and Cyrus Shepard. These recipients loved the novelty gift so much they took pictures of the bottle opener and posted them on their blog, an action which gave James a host of high quality backlinks.
  • Use smo.knowem.com to audit your social media buttons

James’ Favourite Social Media Platforms

You can now recap James’ presentation at SMX Sydney right here.

11:45am – Ben Howden: Social Media ROI

Now for Ben Howden, Strategy Director at Inlight Media, and a man at the forefront of technological trends and digital innovation in Australia. Ben’s presentation focused on how businesses, as well as search marketers, can measure the ROI of social media beyond ‘likes’, ‘followers’, and ‘subscribers’.

Ben began by outlining the core differences between traditional & social medias:

He says that traditional media is detached, difficult to share, one to many, static, and highly promotional. On the other hand, social media is highly interactive, easy to share, many to many, and dynamic. As Ben puts it: “social media is word of mouth on steroids”.

The key take aways from Ben’s talk:

  • Australians love social media: 65% of Aussies use it [Yellow Pages, 2013]
  • 95% use social media via Face Book

Top 5 social networks in Australia (users):

  • FB – 13,200,000
  • Youtube – 12,600,000
  • Linkedin – 3,650,000
  • Twitter – 2,500,000
  • Instagram – 1,600,000

Only 51 per cent of brands measure the ROI of their social media presence, with 69 per cent of these brands measuring it by using the narrow metric of follower numbers.

However, it isn’t the amount of followers you have that’s important, it’s the value of those members. A small community of high value members is considerably more valuable than a large community of low value members.

How to create a social strategy (5 step process)

  1. Listen to your audience
  2. Plan your content and make it appropriate for your audience
  3. Grow
  4. Engage
  5. Measure

Make sure the metrics you use demonstrate value

  • Brand metrics – number of brand mentions, diversity of voices, sentiment, brand insights
  • Engagement metrics – likes, comments, tweets, engagement score, reach, engagement insights
  • Service metrics – # of enquiries, outcomes

Ben’s Favourite Tools for Social Media Monitoring and Management:

You can find Ben’s recommended social media reporting template here:

1:30pm – Jennifer Lopez: Guest Blogging Isn’t Dead, But Spammy Content Blogging Is

Direct from the US, let me introduce Jennifer Lopez. Jennifer is the Community Manager at Moz and she’s at SMX as the bearer of one key message: guest blogging is not dead.

So while Google’s tough stance on guest blogging has got many of us running scared, Jennifer suggests that guest blogging is alive and well – but only if you’re producing valuable content.

Jennifer Lopez speaking at SMX

First of all, She suggests that we need to change our mentality, and stop guest blogging simply for the sake of the link. There are actually many benefits to guest blogging including:

  • They help build your brand
  • They allow you to become an authority
  • They increase traffic
  • They allow you to stand out in the crowd
  • They’re good for community building
  • They can help develop your Google+ authorship

Jennifer’s tips on how to be a better guest blogger:

  • Stop thinking about links
  • Get to know the community you want to associate with
  • Read the guidelines of the website
  • Create something of value – did you know Mike King‘s first guest post got rejected by Moz
  • Have someone proof read your blogs
  • You must be the author – don’t guest blog without an author bio
  • Know your end goal – branding, authority, community, authorship
  • Be sure to measure its success

Jennifer also gave some tips on how to set guidelines for guest bloggers on your site:

  • Ensure the author is a real person
  • Check whether they are active in the community
  • Ask yourself, do you really want to endorse this person and their website?
  • Check the links, and then check them again
  • Check their G+ authorship
  • Do not let the author edit the post after publication

Jennifer’s slides from her presentation at SMX Sydney are available here for future reference.

2:00pm – Edmund Pelgen: A Practical Content Marketing Framework You Can sell to Agency Clients and Management that actually gets results.

Up next we had Edmund Pelgen, an online marketer with specific skills in SEO & Content Marketing.

Edmund’s presentation focused on producing a ‘content marketing framework’, and how search marketers should adopt a practical, data driven approach to content marketing.

Edmund Pelgen at SMX 2014

With more and more businesses investing in content marketing, Edmund cringes at the way content marketing is referred to as the new link building. After all, the definition of content marketing does not include any mention of “links”. In reality content marketing is much broader than just link building.

Edmund’s Three Content Types

  • Link attraction content
  • Conversion content
  • Trust and Influence content

Characteristics of link attraction content:

  • It is created to get links
  • It’s proven to get links – “Fail Proof Content” (@pointblankSEO)
  • It needs to have innate citability
  • It’s typically evergreen


Characteristics of conversion content:

  • Produced in order to gain customers
  • Shows you understand the customer’s needs

Characteristics of trust and influence content:

  • Help build community eg: Moz, Hubspot
  • Shows authority on a subject, thus reliability and truth
  • Affects ideas and actions

The key take away from Edmund’s talk:

  • Short Term – Link attraction content is for link earning
  • Medium Term – Conversion content is designed to generate leads
  • Long Term – Trust & influence content is produced to benefit brand perception

Edmund’s deck can be found on slideshare, but we’ve brought it one click closer to you:

2:30pm – Richard Baxter: Data Driven Content Strategy and Outreach

The last solo speaker of SMX Sydney 2014, Richard Baxter, founder and Director of Builtvisible, a digital marketing agency based in London and San Francisco proved a worthy headliner. Richard’s presentation was all about targeting content. As search marketers we can all too easily find ourselves senselessly pounding the ground with outreach emails to second-rate link prospects, but as Richard points out this is a fools way of operating.

Search marketers need to employ data driven content & outreach strategies, as this is the only way you can truly target your content.

A typical content marketing project involves these steps

  • Technical set-up
  • Idea generation
  • Feasibility
  • Client review / sign off
  • Preliminary outreach
  • Client feedback

However, this is not the process Richard uses at Builtvisible. Richard’s more targeted process can be mapped like this:

Discovery —> Creative Planning —> stakeholder Recruitment —> Production —> Launch

Before you proceed with a content and outreach strategy, you will need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Which publishers should I be targeting?
  • What content do they like to share?
  • Which tools should I use to gather data?

Identifying potential link sources for content & outreach targeting:

  • Look at who’s already linking to the client
  • Look at who’s linking to the client’s competitors
  • Look at who’s mentioned in the twitter bio of someone who follows the client
  • Look at who’s mentioned in the twitter bio of someone who follows the client’s competitors

Richard’s easy win tip #1:

  • Gather info relating to the twitter profiles of those who follow your client’s competitors
  • Cross reference this with your client’s followers
  • Find the industry influencers & target them
  • Find the top domains shared by your client’s followers, the ones that don’t currently link to their site
  • Look at what these people are sharing. What type of content? What medium? Photos, infographics, slide shares etc

Richard’s Favourite Tools for Social Media Monitoring and Management:

You can review Richard’s presentation below for additional information on what he spoke about at SMX today.

4:45pm – The SMX Site Clinic – Jon Quinton, Mike Motherwell, Greg Boser, Cyrus Shepard, Chris Sherman & Jeff Preston

To finish off proceedings SMX held a “site clinic” – a forum for six lucky attendees to have their websites reviewed by a panel of experts including: Jon Quinton, Mike Motherwell, Greg Boser, Cyrus Shepard, Chris Sherman and Jeff Preston.

SMX Site Clinic

For those that missed out on SMX Sydney 2014’s Day 1 activities, we’ve got you covered. Catch up on what the experts had to say with our coverage of SMX Day 1.