Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West took place last week in downtown San Jose, California at the McEnery Convention Center. This was “the biggest and best SMX show ever” according to Chris Sherman, Vice President of Event Programming for SMX. I agree! This show featured honest conversation, open sharing, and interaction between experts and novices alike.
Deciding which sessions to attend was tough – there were many great options. I focused heavily on SEO, with some local search and social mixed in. Here are the top 12 takeaways I brought back to Kansas City with me.
- Bing will not trust your sitemap if you have more than 1% inaccuracy with it, meaning of 100 URLs, you can’t have more than 1 bad or broken link in it.
- REL=”publisher” and REL=”author” tags must be used on blogs, site content articles, etc. It is really important to build up author and trust rank.
- Bing doesn’t like canonical tags that point to the same page you are on. However, the consensus was that best practices include canonical tags on every page, even if it is to the same URL in the event that query string parameters are indexed, etc.
- Use the rel=”prev” and rel=”next” canonical tags – they work well and there’s no excuse not to use them for pagination.
- Rel=”alternate” is a new construct to read more about and use properly. Maile from Google covered it and did a great job. Now it is on search experts to use it properly for international or multilingual sites.
- Bing Webmaster Tools’ API includes almost all your information (they leave out a couple non-critical items)! Make good use of it. It might even integrate into Google Analytics. Duane Forrester from Bing hopes so at least.
- If you’re not already, it is time to start experimenting with rich snippets and markup if at all possible. The case studies of those who had done it all attested that it helped their rankings. This is the direction the search engines are going!
- Get Neil Walker’s slides (tweet @theukseo to request). His presentation included a ton of great CTR and other data of interest for organic search positions within the SERPs
- Bing’s brand new keyword tool supposedly rocks. Plus, it’s powered by organic search data, not paid.
- Bing’s webmaster malware include alerts both on sites that you link to or that link to you, in addition to your own site’s alerts. It doesn’t list the external websites, so you may have to do some research on your own.
- Read up on the 40 new algorithm changes Google recently made. Especially take note that anchor text isn’t a discount in the value of anchor text as a ranking factor (according to Tiffany Oberoi from Google), but she didn’t rule out it involving text around the anchor text.
- Having social buttons on a site is not cool if the buttons don’t get interaction. In fact, this could hurt your rankings if they exist but don’t ever get clicked. The absence of click data signals the search giant that the page is unpopular or unworthy of clicks. This is great insight from Rae Hoffman-Dolan (@sugarrae).