My .02 on SMX East – By Wil Reynolds

by FeedFront Staff on March 18, 2009

If you can’t keep up with the conference of the month, last month SMX landed in the Big Apple. The Davits Center to be exact. Registration went smoothly, so I was off to the races and on to my first session.

It seems Internet marketing conferences sometimes struggle with balancing introductory, medium and advanced content in one event.

SMX advanced tends to lean more on the Intermediate level and that seems to fair well with most of the attendees.

That said, I still walked out of many of the sessions feeling like the 20 or so tips I gained made the cost well worth it. In fact, there is strong value there for most people.

Two speakers who really blew me away with new ideas, tools, and perspectives were Stephan Spencer of Netconcepts and Debra Mastaler of Alliance Link. As someone who has been at this for 10+ years, I often go to these events to network, but their sessions taught me a lot and gave me plenty of food for thought.

The big news of the show was the launch of SEOmoz’s Linkscape tool, which will attempt to level the playing field by providing information to Webmasters on linking. It is long overdue, as running a link search in Google might only show you 1-5% of your links. This tool’s launch was definitely the talk of SMX, but time will tell if it is a strong as it claims.

New to me were the 30-minute educational sessions in the expo hall, with hosts from Google, SEOmoz, Apogee Search, and others.

These presentations were an excellent way for exhibit hall attendees to get a condensed version of the full breakout session, which they wouldn’t typically get to experience. Topics included linking, paid search, and analytics. Since the expo hall was a bit on the small side, this was also a great attraction for those companies with booths.

Advanced and basic tracks were clearly defined and labeled, which made it easy for attendees to follow. The in-house track was also very useful. It was geared towards helping companies that manage search internally (in-house) and raised issues and solutions for their specific needs. I especially liked the panel on “How To Break Up With Your Agency.” This was a unique topic and one that I think is important for attendees to understand when structuring agreements.

One of the sessions unique to SMX is titled “Give It Up”, where the rule is you can’t blog about anything that is presented for 30 days. It provides some exclusivity on the content and makes SMX distinctive.

All in all, it was a great show. I learned a lot and got to see some of the SEO royalty.

Wil founded SEER Interactive, a Philadelphia-based SEO firm in 2002.

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