What Was Learned From SMX West 2013?

The SMX West conference has now finished, leaving marketers, website owners, and SEOs to pick apart the information that was delivered and come up with a workable and functional marketing plan. Google always have a strong presence and many of the questions tend to relate to the search engine giant. This year saw a lot of emphasis placed on Google Authorship, the importance of reputation, and mobile also got an honourable mention.

Google Authorship has graced blogs, forums, and websites over the past months and years because it is widely accepted that the search giant is moving towards a more personal ranking. Rather than ranking a web page entirely according to the authority of the domain, the number of links a page has, and on page factors, Google will start to consider the authority of the person that wrote it. They will also be looking at social ranking factors to help determine exactly which pages and which content are really causing a buzz in the real world – the real world being the likes of Facebook and Twitter in this case.

A number of factors were discussed regarding Authorship ranking, one of which was that of targeting and relevance. Authors will typically be knowledgeable in one or two areas rather than over a whole spectrum of subjects. As Google has years of experience in determining relevance it seems likely that they will use this experience to help ensure that authors only reap the rewards when writing on topics they are authoritative.

Branding and Authorship was another topic. Currently, this looks like an uneasy relationship because a single brand may have multiple social voices but the brand does not necessarily get the recognition due to each of its authors. Matt Cutts said that while a shift is required, it will happen in time, so that a person moving from one brand to another will take their authority with them. He also said that rich media sources, like video and images, will probably have some form of authorship ranking in the future but there was no timeline for this yet.

One topic that is never far away from the lips of SEO’s is that of linking and this too was covered during SMX West 2013. Again, we turn to Matt Cutts of Google, who stated that links have many years of value ahead of them. Link building techniques should be natural but Google has developed strong algorithms and continues to evolve these constantly so there is no sign, yet at least, of their use abating.

With regards to mobile, a number of industry experts put forth their opinions. The general consensus is that sites need to be optimised for mobile usage. Pages should load quickly and properly on mobile devices.

Finally, the experts agreed that SEO has changed and that rather than looking at it as a tactic, marketers and site owners should view it as being a strategy. It should be natural and it should almost certainly include mobile, social, and authorship in order to enjoy the best results possible from a search optimisation campaign.