By: Woj Kwasi on 08-10-2013 in Fun, General Business, Google, Marketing News, Online Marketing, Search, SEO, Social Media

SMX Sydney is an online marketing conference held once a year (I’ll let you guess where!) which showcases great speakers from Australia and abroad. I’ve attended three and each was unique in topic and timely content, as covered by industry experts. Here are 77 tools and tips I picked up in 2012 and a handful of insights from earlier this year (we also did a liveblog on day two  – ask me another time about why day one didn’t get covered… it’s a funny story!). Some of my personal highlights from SMX Sydney 2013 included Brian White (Search Quality Team at Google) on “Google Webspam – What are they looking for?” and the two keynotes: Rand Fishkin (moz) on “Behavioural Psychology Meets Web Marketing” and Marty Weintraub (aimClear) on “Optimising Humans! The Art of Data-Driven Social Marketing”.

Who Do We Want to Speak at SMX Sydney 2014?

One of the cool parts about the conference is that you get to meet the speakers and mingle with like-minded industry folk. I was lucky enough to meet & interview two experts: Paddy Moogan (Distilled – 2013) and Mike King (iAcquire – 2012). Both interviews are well worth a read.

You also pick up inside information that you would rarely get on any other day. There’s always a little bit of extra gold, that extra link, that snippet of information that doesn’t come across your Twitter feed and that extra little tool can become useful in your online marketing arsenal.

As for next year, the speakers have yet to be decided – or at least no announcements have been made thus far. I thought I’d see if we can collectively help generate some interest and hopefully influence the organisers to bring out some of our favourite international speakers.

Who do we want to bring to Sydney from around the world?

I’ll kick off the ideas with a list of eight people who I would love to see. If you would like to add some to the list, please add your suggestions in the comments and I will happily add them. Nominate your speakers and then we’ll conduct a poll to decide who’s coming to our fantasy SMX.

Here’s my list of the speakers that I would really love to see:

  • Dr. Pete MeyersDr. Pete Meyers (Moz)
    Do I really need an explanation here? Data Scientist to the stars… Dr Pete keeps his eyes on the SERPs like a hawk, makes a helluva lot of sense and will demonstrate why we need to behave like brands. His presentation at mozcon, “Beyond 10 Blue Links: The Future of Ranking” resonated well – check out his recent post on moz: “101 Google Answer Boxes: A Journey into the Knowledge Graph“. Oh yeah – and mozcast. Check that out.
  • Will ReynoldsWil Reynolds (SEER Interactive)
    What can I say? Australia wants you Wil… you need to be here as the keynote to share your wisdom and energy with our fellow Aussies. More than just RCS, Wil will provide knowledge to help you be a better marketer and how to win at life. Serious thought leadership right here. Plus, he was a highlight for me at mozcon!
  • Justin BriggsJustin Briggs (Briggsby)
    Super savvy in terms of the full facet of digital marketing. Worked at Real Big Fish Games and now runs his own company. Will share interesting insights on how to acquire links via making great content. Check out his recent webinar “Scrappy Content Design: Content Marketing on a Budget“.
  • Ian LurieIan Lurie (Portent, Inc.)
    Genious. Random Affinities guy. Didn’t get to meet him at mozcon but hopefully Ian likes travelling. Recently wrote How to Create a Content Strategy (In Only 652 Steps) and produced this deck: Distance From Perfect – How to Treat Customers Like People and Make Google Happy.
  • Jonathan ColemanJonathan Coleman (Facebook)
    Expert content strategist and recently joined the Content Strategy Team at Facebook. Would love to hear about how that looks from the inside and the process involved. Produces really amazing decks too – can’t pick a favourite so see ’em all!
  • Kristina HalvorsonKristina Halvorson (Brain Traffic)
    Wrote “Content Strategy for the Web” and seems quite chirpy on Twitter. She can teach us a thing or two about how important it is to have consistent messaging across all consumer touch points on the web.
  • Jon CooperJon Cooper (Point Blank SEO)
    Jon is young and really smart. Knows many clever techniques on how to build links and has even produced his own link building course. Met him at mozcon and he’s very switched-on.
  • Jason AcidreJason Acidre (Xight Interactive)
    A.k.a. Kaiser the Sage, he’s another great in the link building space and he wouldn’t have as far to travel as he’s based in the Philippines. Check out his recent moz post: “12 Scalable Link-Building Tactics“.
  • Nathalie Nahal Nathalie Nahai (The Web Psychologist)
    The more you know about your audience, the better equipped you’ll be to kick ass online. Nathalie can show us how to influence customers by understanding who we’re targeting so we can communicate persuasively and sell to them with integrity – so that they keep coming back!
  • Sha Menz Sha Menz (Rmoov)
    She’s local and her knowledge and experience when it comes to link removals, black and white animals, reconsideration requests and cookies is paramount. Yes, she bakes SEO cookies. She spoke at mozcon this year (representing Australia) and can tell you straight what needs to be done if you’ve been pinged by the big G.

Thoughts from the experts

I asked some expert online marketers from around Australia to share their thoughts and here they are!

Bespoke’s Jason Mun

  • Martin MacdonaldMartin Macdonald (Expedia)
    Think in-house SEO, Martin comes to mind. It would be totally awesome to have Martin talk/discuss about SEO from an in-house perspective. He is opinionated and not afraid to speak his mind, would be great to see him in the flesh.
  • Justin BriggsJustin Briggs (Briggsby)
    Justin in my mind is one of the best in the industry, his approach to SEO and content marketing is great. His experience from being in an agency, in-house and most recently running his own business, definitely puts him on the list of speakers that I would like to see at SMX next year.
  • Richard BaxterRichard Baxter (SEO Gadget)
    I saw Richard and shared a drink with him at SMX Melbourne. When it comes to actionable takeaways from conferences, Rich is great at that (anyone from SEOgadget for that matter). Every single one of his presentations provide exceptional depth and detail which is exactly what conference attendees love.
  • Wil ReynoldsWil Reynolds (SEER Interactive)
    The MAN behind #RCS. It would be amazing to have Will present all things #RCS at SMX next year. I think businesses and marketers would benefit from getting showered with some #RCS love. SEO is so much more than “link building”, I think Will would do a great job at communicating that.
  • Matt CuttsMatt Cutts (Google)
    2013 has been a crazy year of updates/changes. It would be awesome if Matt can make an appearance, in a Q&A style segment at SMX next year. I think there a lot of SEO’s and marketers in Australia who have questions and are constantly seeking advice. Be nice to get all of these queries answered/debunked by the man himself.

Web Site Advantage’s Tony McCreath

  • David AmerlandDavid Amerland
    Semantic Search is all the fashion and he wrote a book on it.
  • Mark TraphagenMark Traphagen (Virante)
    Google Authorship is also in fashion.
  • Duane ForresterDuane Forrester (Bing)
    Entertaining and gives us an inside search engine view – and Bing may find out there are people outside the USA.
  • Mike BlumenthalMike Blumenthal (Blumenthals)
    I’m into local search and he’s the man. He may find it interesting how it is different here.
  • Matt CuttsMatt Cutts (Google)
    He wants to meet me.

Dejan SEO’s Dan Petrovic

  • John Mueller (Google)John Mueller (Google)
    He spends a lot of time helping webmasters with search related issues. Being a webmaster trends analyst he really knows what’s up in the SEO community.
  • Alistair Lattimore (The Mantra Group)Alistair Lattimore (The Mantra Group)
    He’s usually at SMX, rolling his eyes at how basic the content is. This guy is a knowledge vault and best of all he’s a local!
  • Jon Cooper (Point Blank SEO)Jon Cooper (Point Blank SEO)
    Jon is the author of the most comprehensive guide to link building ever to exist. He knows a few things about link building.
  • Matthew InmanMatthew Inman (The Oatmeal)
    He’s is the man behind the raging success that is The Oatmeal. He can share his experience of making content go viral.
  • Dr. Pete Meyers (Moz)Dr. Pete Meyers (Moz)
    Pete spends a lot of time looking at data. What SMX needs is more data-driven SEO content with some fresh insights.

Also, don’t forget to check out Dan’s epic wishlist he shared on Google+.

Online Marketing Company’s James Norquay

  • Wil ReynoldsWil Reynolds (SEER Interactive)
    Wil is one of the top link builders and he is a fantastic presenter, and usually does key note presentations.
  • Aleyda SolisAleyda Solis (SEER Interactive)
    Aleyda works with Wil at SEER, would be great too see a presentation on international search from Aleyda.
  • Martin MacdonaldMartin Macdonald (Expedia)
    Martin Macdonald is a veteran SEO and he has done a whole bunch of presentations around the world. It would be good too see him live.
  • Neil PatelNeil Patel (Entrepreneur)
    Neil Patel is a great business person, blogger and Entrepreneur, would be great too see him live.
  • Arianna HuffingtonArianna Huffington (Huffington Post)
    As the founder of Huffington Post, she did a fantastic presentation at INBOUND conference.

Lost Press Marketing’s David Iwanow

Who would you like to see speak at SMX Sydney 2014?

Leave your speaker suggestions in the comments below. I’ll then tally up a leader board and we can create a poll with the most popular speakers. Now’s your chance to have a say – do it!

Here’s what people are saying so far…

  • James Norquay

    Ciaran Norris is based in Sydney now so it should not be hard to get him to attend. Would be great if Wil Reynolds would attend, I would pay for the conference based on seeing him live alone.

  • Daylan Pearce

    Matthew Inman is a great speaker. Saw him do a talk about a year ago, and although not about search, this guy is a content master. Dharmesh Shah would be pretty great to see too i reckon.

  • Woj Kwasi

    Yes – they would all be great. Dharmesh was pretty good at mozcon 🙂

  • James Norquay

    Also I think you have the wrong Michael Jones listed lol, the SEO guy based in Melbourne by that name used this Twitter that is probably the same guy David is referring too I am guessing –

  • Woj Kwasi

    Fixed – I think lol. Will do pics later

  • Woj Kwasi

    Yep – maybe we’ll get Rand too 🙂 Since he’s Wil this week:

  • dodonnell

    Cutts, Kaushik, Cutroni, Sugarrae, Fishkin, Lurie, Halvorson, Forrester, Patel, Moogan – any or all them!

  • Sha Menz

    So I just managed to climb back up off the floor after seeing that I was included in your list Woj…Wow. Thank you!

    I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that my first choice is Matt Cutts 😉

    I definitely endorse the inclusion of the incomparable Dr Pete Meyers, Ian Lurie, Justin Briggs, Jonathon Coleman, Wil Reynolds, Martin McDonald, Duane Forrester and Rand Fishkin, but before anyone starts to think I’m just going with the crowd, let me add four more people I just can’t have left off this list:

    Brittan Bright @BrittanBright (Dir. of Client Strategy for iAcquire) is breathtaking – she’ll make you think twice about every relationship you have as a marketer, but when Brittan speaks she brings a double whammy to the game! If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to hold an audience in the palm of your hand as a speaker, don’t miss an opportunity to hear her speak…and if you want to get a taste for the effect she can have on an audience, head over to her personal blog and read her recent post Sunrise Sky!

    Annie Cushing @AnnieCushing ( – What can I say about Annie, but I’m quite certain she could convince my mother that data is sexy and my mother pretty much doesn’t know (or care) what data is! There are innumerable other things to love about hearing Annie speak, not least of which is discovering what awesome shoes she will break out for the occasion!

    Will Critchlow @willcritchlow (Founder & CMO, distilled) should be an auto inclusion for every major conference list. There is no one else I know with the same ability to channel the future of the internet. If you want to know where your industry will be in twelve months time, ask Will to speak!

    Allison Urban @allisonurban (Software Engineer at Mailchimp) will open your eyes to the real world rewards of building an irresistible UX! What more can I say but get her on the SMX speaker list. Now!


  • Woj Kwasi

    Woah.. epic comment is epic!

    Yep – they were all great at mozcon. Hope Will’s phone’s ok!

  • Annie Cushing

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sha! What’s your mom’s number? Challenge. Accepted. 😀

  • Sha Menz

    LOL! I think you’ll really need to come on down to Australia and talk to her in person…she’s no pushover, but I still say my money’s on you 😉

  • Annie Cushing

    Lulz! 🙂

  • James Norquay

    Moogan was at SMX Sydney last year.

  • David O’Donnell

    Encore, encore!

  • Woj Kwasi

    He’s good value to have again 🙂

  • Jamie Press

    Be great to see Jon Cooper, bought his link building course last year, absolute gun.

  • Barry Smyth

    Hi Everyone,

    This is a great post & Woj should make it an annual event, we love to get this sort of pre-event feedback.

    Just so you know, we are very close to finalising the agenda overview for SMX Sydney that on May 27/28 and we have invited and spoken to many of the experts that are listed in this post.

    Whilst we make every effort to get the experts to Australia we are a long way from the US for many of these people. US events, families & other things get in people’s way.

    I’ll announce the list of International Guest speakers soon and there are some great speakers heading to our fine shores in May.


  • Nick Morris

    Fun fact: Ramsay Taplin is actually a local Adelaidian. He’d be a good candidate to speak at an Adelaide SEO meetup @WojKwasi:disqus

  • Woj Kwasi

    Whaddaya say Ramsay? @BlogTyrant – would be great to have you at one of our meetups 🙂

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