Hi everyone. It’s Jonathan Goodman. Welcome to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. It’s great to have you with us. Today we’re going to review SMX East 2013. SMX is the Search Marketing Expo. It takes place every year in New York at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. We’re going to dedicate this entire 30-minute episode to reviewing some of the more important pieces of information that were relayed both during the sessions and during discussions that occurred throughout the three days of the event.
The event was really incredible this year. There were some fresh faces on the panels and a lot of new ideas and opinions being talked about and discussed. I had a fantastic experience of really being able speak one-on-one with a lot of authors and a lot of really top-notch people. We did see some regulars that were missing. I think that’s actually a good thing. As the industry grows, I think we need to make all the conferences a lot more accessible to new ideas and new individuals myself included. Several years ago, when these conferences were dominated by Rand Fishkin, Vanessa Fox and even Matt Cutts, they are fantastic people. I have met each of them. I’ve spoken to Rand on several occasions. But you don’t want to be going to a conferences where it’s the same people all the time and they kind of move from conference to conference and talk about the same thing at each junction because it becomes like a circuit and they’re running the circuit. So I was really happy to see that there were a lot of fresh faces and first timers.
This was my second time presenting at SMX, but I’ve been an attendee for 4 or 5 years now. I sometimes go to the advanced conference in Seattle, but I can get just as much information from the east coast one. Jacob Javits Convention Center is absolutely beautiful. It’s immense and it’s growing at a rapid pace. They’re doing construction and it’s getting bigger and bigger. It’s getting nicer and nicer all the time. Even the food was actually quite good this year. In past years, the food has been awful to horrendous. This year it was very good. I did notice one thing that was a little negative. The marketplace – the area in which the booths are set up – was much smaller this year. Google was not present. Bing was present, but their booth was much smaller than in previous years.
I’m not sure if that’s an economic thing or if what has happened – as many of you know I’m also speaking at PubCon and PubCon got a side endorsement by Forbes, which is to say they are one of the most important conferences to go to. I think SMX taking place the first week in October and PubCon taking place the last week in October might have hurt SMX a little bit in terms of the size of the audience, the number of booths and the sizes of those booths. It used to be really flashy, which also may be speaking to the industry itself. Things might be calming down.
Bing is really losing the battle for search eyeballs. So it’s understandable that putting up a booth to try to convince people to use Bing, I think they’re realizing they’re way behind. There would need to be a sociological shift away from Google and I just don’t see that happening. So I think Bing is conserving their money and putting it where they need to. It will be interesting to see whether they’re actually going to have a bigger booth at PubCon. The attendance seemed to be a little less than previous years. I could be completely wrong. I will be honest and say that much of my time was spent in the speaker’s lounge. I really did not mix and mingle with the attendees except for the attending several sessions and attending the sessions I was in or assisting with. I was QA coordinator for 2 sessions and I spoke at one session.
Let’s get into the heart of the matter, which is what was really discussed. Google has made a major algorithm change to their search engine results. It’s called Hummingbird. It is probably the first, fastest step into the semantic web that we will see from any search engine. It really does change the dynamics of what you’re going to start seeing. It’s no longer going to be okay to tell your clients that they’re on the second page for something. There is really no second page and pretty soon, there will be no listings. Now if you’re balking at that idea, let me explain to you what semantic web and what Google envisions the search engines to eventually become. Google would very much like to get to a point where you don’t actually ask a question, but information is relayed to you.
Let me back here a second. Let’s talk about keywords. Right now, your question to somebody on the street would be “Where is St. Patrick’s Cathedral”? If you’re visiting New York City, you would say “Where is St. Patrick’s Cathedral?” Or “How do I get to St. Patrick’s Cathedral?” That has been the mode of communication for thousands of years, but with search engines, we’ve gotten away from that and gotten to just typing St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the search engine. What Hummingbird is trying to do is push us sociologically back into having a conversation. They want the search engine to be an AI, and they’re very close to achieving this. But in order to achieve it, we have to be able to talk to an AI as though it were another person. As though you’re asking another person a question. We’ve been so trained to search on keywords that as a result we as Internet marketers have been training our clients that the content they write now has to be keyword specific. All of that is going to go away.
What we’re going to have is an AI search engine that can pre-predict intent. Semantic is the intent of search, right? You’re looking for something and the computer understands why you’re looking for it or understands what it is. The difference between apple the fruit and Apple the company when asking “Where is Apple?” will confuse the current search engine, but now with Hummingbird, based on your previous searches and your sphere of influence, which we’ll get into in a second, it will understand that you’re not a vegetarian looking for an apple, you’re a businessman looking for the Apple headquarters while driving to Cupertino. That is where Hummingbird is going to take us very quickly. With that, the search engine optimizers and obviously I call myself an Internet marketer. I am not an optimizer. It is an aspect of what I do, but those optimizers that were purely building content for the sake of keyword indexation are going to have a very hard time going forward and starting now.
What you’re going to see is a slow rollout. You’re not going to automatically wake up one morning and the listing of websites is gone from the search engines, but you will start to see more data being provided to you in order to try and answer a question. If you type in “Leonardo Da Vinci” right now, you will get a definition of who Leonardo was, along with several of his paintings, videos talking about Leonardo Da Vinci and a list of similar artists, similar points in history and things like that. At some point when we start talking to the Google search engine as though it were an AI, the entire page will actually result in data and information instead of bringing you to a page that has data and information. So you see that a lot of companies and optimizers can get very concerned because if a search engine is now just going to be a page of content results and not a page of listings for information that you can go see on another web site, there’s a great concern for them.
Somebody like myself, who is prepared for this change, and Halyard Consulting is prepared for this change. Not to plug my company, but we’ve seen this coming down the pike. We are realizing that the greatest indicator behind all of this was Google Plus. Believe me, prior to SMX East 2013, my Google Plus involvement was extremely limited. But all of that has radically changed now. In fact, I believe that the involvement I have equal to Facebook now needs to take place in Google Plus, and I’ll explain to you exactly why. At some point and it’s starting to happen now, the results you see in your search and the results that somebody sitting next to you sees on their computer for the same term is going to provide a completely different list and different information.
I’ll give you a perfect example. It’s already starting to happen. I’m going to England at the end of November, and I’m thinking about going to Manchester, England. If I do a search on my Chrome browser and I type in Manchester, because my previous searches throughout the several weeks were about London, Cardiff, Brighton, when I type in Manchester, the results will come up Manchester United Kingdom. It is not going to come up Manchester, New Hampshire, even though Google knows that I’m sitting in the United States. It understands that the previous searches I’ve done for cities have been about the UK. If somebody is sitting next to me and they do a search for Manchester, they’re going to get Manchester, New Hampshire because there is no indication for the past several weeks that they had any involvement or any interest in Manchester, United Kingdom.
We’re going to start seeing this on a very detailed level where it’s going to happen to everything. If I type in “pizza,” I’m going to see Stadium Pizza and Pizza Hut as being the two closest. I’m also going to see a recipe because maybe sometimes I cook or maybe I won’t see a recipe because I don’t cook. There is a whole difference of personalities in intent. That is where the first page of results is going to completely change. To say now from this point forward that your keyword is ranking number one for this term is not correct. It’s not going to matter for anything anymore. So I took a couple of notes. I wanted to just do that as an introduction. I’m going to now read my notes and talk about it a little bit.
The first point is Building Entity Values. This means that as an Internet marketing company, my company needs to position itself to help our clients improve their Entity Brand and improve the value of the brand thereby improving the content shared by that entity, which is the client. What we’re talking about here is entity search. I’m an entity. You’re an entity. Your business is an entity. We are the nodes of the entity and the connectors are the relationships that we have to each other and to the data, properties, types and topics of the semantic Web. So Jonathan Edward Goodman is an author. The book that he wrote is the World of Internet Marketing. Both Jonathan Goodman and the World of Internet Marketing are entities. The World of Internet Marketing is a book, which is a type. It’s a business book, so that is a topic. Topic is book. Type is business. It breaks down that way. So what we’re saying is that in Google Plus, the value of how you share and who you share with is critical to the engine’s results as people search for things. There are a couple of great applications that we’re going to get into in as we have move through this list of notes.
The new/old term for what we do should now be called Relational Marketing. That means it’s a new term we’re going to start using, but it’s a really very, very old term. Even though it’s an old term, it still describes what we do to a tee. Because the relationship that I have to my clients and the audience I have on Google Plus is going to be critical for the information and data that I share. So the stronger my brand is – and of course this is true with Twitter because with Twitter you can have thousands of people following you. But what we’re really talking about is that the search engine’s results are going to be primarily or partially based on your sphere of influence and what they’re interested in and what they’re promoting. What they’re G+, Plus One and sharing with Goggle Plus is going to have a very long-lasting effect on what you see in your search.
Google wants to provide a search funnel for each individual person. That could get static very easily because if I’m constantly searching for blue Honda cars and I’m getting the same type of results over and over again, they throw in something called Serendipity to make sure the results are fresh. Let’s look at a couple of Apps that are really key. We’re specifically talking about Google Plus. The first one is allmyplus.com. I believe it has to be owned by Google because there’s a lot of really specific data here that is probably on the Google side that they’re willing to provide and show to everyone. So if I go in there and take somebody’s profile and in this case, I took Danny Sullivan’s profile in Google Plus and put it in to there. Danny Sullivan is the coordinator. He heads up SMX East and advanced. He’s part of Third Door Media in Connecticut, but I believe Danny lives in California.
It immediately comes up with his image. It tells me the number of followers. It tells me the number of people he’s following, which is drastically different. Danny has 1.7 million followers. He is only following 938 people. For filtered activity between 7/12/2013 and 10/4/2013, which is about 5 months of data, he commented on 2,194 pieces of information and he Plus One’d 17, 377 articles or pieces of content. It then asked me what I’m interested in in this data. I can look at an overview, I can look at locations where he has been Plus One-ing or information that he has Plus One’d across the nation and across the world. It gives me a variety of charts and popular posts, the people he’s affiliated with and associated with, photos that he put up and all the posts that he has put up. It’s quite an extensive amount of data, and you have the ability to break it down and look at individual pieces for all this. It’s really quite incredible.
I’m going to go into “Charts.” It can show me what his posting behavior is per weekday is. He tells me that he doesn’t really post or repost on Saturday and Sunday, which is typical. The highest day is Thursday. For post behavior per hour, it looks like the afternoon is generally when he posts. He doesn’t post in the morning. So this is a lot of key data that’s really amazing. If we look at nod3x.com, there’s even more data. This is really incredible. I did this for myself and it comes with a beautiful chart of all of the interconnected people that I’m involved with and one step beyond those people where those people interact. So for instance, I’m in the center and I can see that if I follow this out that my relationship with Tim Elliott, a blogger who talks about wine who I’ve known for years, could lead me to a person named Rich Backess.
He’s one step away from my relationship with Tim Elliott. Would I want to follow him? Of course, I would. So you can see all of your connections are in green and all of the one step beyond that connection are in orange. You see different things cross-crossing and intermingling. We can take another one. Let’s take my friend Dan Whiting, who I’ve known since college. His one connection away from me is Keith Barrett, who is a technologist and social media podcaster. What’s interesting is that it’s still taking me within the realm of what I do and showing me one additional person.
Then we have Goggle Plus Ripples, which is available in each publicly shared piece of content. What I’m looking at right now is that Danny Sullivan posted Google has more audience reach than any other company. It’s a Marketing Land article about smart phones. I can see that the ripple is that Danny promoted it and Lee Smallwood and Cindy Crumb then promoted it from Danny’s promotion. As an aside, Analytical Solution, Marketing Land and Brandon Nickels, Greg Sterling and Randman Media also promoted it separately. Then Glenn Gab also promoted it and Eli Feneli saw it.
What’s great about this is that I can watch the spread on the post. So I can video see it. It starts with Greg Sterling, Than Randman Media picks it up. Analytical Solutions picks it up. Brandon Nichels picks it up, then Danny and then Gabe. Then it really shoots off from there. You can do this with each individual post that is public. You also get an amazing amount of information in that little top-right corner. You can view the post activity. You can see who Plus One-ed it. This article has been Plus One-ed 24 times and it’s been shared through Danny’s 4 times. Of course, we know it’s been shared in other arenas. Those are the three websites that I’m definitely going to get involved with.
Let me read you another point. Semantic Web values social content only. The first page of results is gone and all other pages don’t matter. If you are looking on the second page, then Google really wants you to try your search again. Semantic Web Has No Noise. Push Everything through Google Plus. You have to be open and honest about all aspects of your life on Goggle Plus. You can’t just blurt out the same message about a product. You need to look like a real human. Another point is the websites that I work with, we have been pushing aggregated content which has worked to build up a very interested, unique audience that then retweets and republishes. But I need to dial down the aggregated content that isn’t adding to the conversation and there needs to be a better ratio between real content that we’re providing and aggregated content. I think right now the ratio is probably 1 in 10. I think we’re providing real content for 1 to every 10 articles that are aggregated and we probably need to dial that back to a 1 in 4 ratio.
I used a very interesting quote. You can certainly use this quote. It went over like a lead balloon when I said it at the SMX session, but afterwards it was retweeted and it was mentioned throughout the rest of the conference.
“Content is King. That’s what we always say as optimizers and Internet marketers. However, now with Google’s algorithm update Hummingbird; Quality Content is God.” – Jonathan Goodman
We’ve been producing okay content. Google has always said provide quality content and good content isn’t going to cut it anymore. It’s just not going to work.
We’re going to start to see SEO’s shift from purely technical to include some psychological and sociological. I have a little bit of a background in sociology. To understand what your audience wants isn’t as simple as trying to figure out the keyword that they’re going to search on. It now has to do with what is your relationship to that potential consumer you want to reach? I’ll use Tide as a perfect example. Tide is now going to have to have a different conversation than it currently has with mommy bloggers compared to the environmental bloggers. They’re going to have to be unique and engaged much more. It’s going to have to ramp up and dial up. Then those mommy bloggers and the environmental bloggers – and I’m just using those two as an example – are going to have to have a very unique, quality conversation with their audience. It can’t just be regurgitated “here’s a Tide coupon for $5.” It has to really be very specific and unique within the bubble of that community.
There is high correlation between engagement within Google Plus and improved search results. I think I’ve already gone through that. Use Google Plus a lot and you can outrank authors who don’t, despite how many people have them in their circles. These last couple of points are just tweets that I put out there. You can follow me on @HalyardConsult on Twitter and you can see how I was posting these during the sessions. Someone actually said this and it does make a great deal of sense, which is very similar to aggregated content from websites that don’t rank highly now. You have individual authors who really don’t have a lot of clout within Goggle Plus. Somebody comes along – let’s say for instance Danny Sullivan – above Marketing Land’s small audience. Danny Sullivan then Plus One’s something. Everybody sees it and it’s very likely that Danny will outrank the original article.
A negative is that it could at some point be possible for people who have very, very high AuthorRank to start getting paid to promote other people’s content. This is an interesting idea. I’d like to see it in effect and see if that actually works. With articles that are written by multiple authors, the individual session speaker said that the first person’s name that shows up in that article gets the Google Plus advantage and is listed as having been the author. I originally thought that she was incorrect and it had to do with the power of the individual and their Goggle profile, but Google came back and said that they actually are right and it is something that they’re working on to add multiple author capability to the search results.
Google announced that Authorship Image Search launched last week. Nobody really took notice of it and Google asked us to figure out what had changed. Somebody came up with it. It’s the Authorship Image Search. What that means is that you can start ranking for images that you’re providing in the image search. So if I just went tonight for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant and I started taking pictures of the food and put that up in my Chrome account and that wound up in Google search, I could actually be tagged as an author for that image.
It’s important to remember that rel=publisher is about the organization and rel=author is for the person. Google still feels that we seem to be getting this fact wrong. I’m pretty clear on it, but I thought I would mention it to those who are listening. I heard a new vocabulary word. It’s a very kind of business edgy vocabulary word that doesn’t really mean anything. Somebody just made it up in some business lecture and now it’s all the rage. It’s called SCRUMS. If you’re in a corporation, you probably already know what this means. It means quick meetings standing up, like a huddle.
Finally, I’ll leave you with something from my new good friend, William Leake. He provided a very interesting presentation during one of the sessions. He had two very interesting things that he’s going to start testing and see whether they work. It is: Buy AdWords and Twitter Hashtags around events that your audience attends. We’re so used to just buying AdWords for keywords about us, pointing back to us, trying to promote us, but buying Adwords and Twitter Hashtags so that you actually show up at the top for when somebody is searching for, let’s say for instance, SMX East. They type that in and they do a search. Now you’ve bought the ad space. If you bought the hashtag ad for that term, you would then be able to promote to all those people that are reading that feed during the conference. Really smart stuff. The other thing he said was Buy AdWords pointing to press releases on outside websites talking about you. This is really brilliant because take PRWeb for instance. PR Web has a much higher domain authority and will get to the top of a Google Adwords fight over a keyword much faster and cheaper than your own domain.
So Halyard Consulting might have a fairly modest domain authority. My press releases that are up on PRWeb have a much higher domain authority and therefore because of the way that Google Adwords works, they want to provide content to an audience member who has done a search for a keyword back to a very high domain authority. It’s going to be cheaper for that domain authority being included than have a pricing structure that’s cheaper than possibly the second or third Adword. I apologize. I’m fading quickly and we’re almost done. So instead of having them go to you, you can also do that. But having them go to a press release is really quite a smart, unique idea.
That’s it. It’s 10 pm here. I normally do the podcast a lot earlier. I’ve just been so bogged down. This is the first day I’ve been out of the conference. I wanted to provide you with as much information as possible as quickly as possible. I do appreciate it if you have listened all the way through to the end of this session. I look forward to speaking to you. Next week, I’m going to be at Comic Con for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So I will not be having a podcast unless I can wrangle up an interview with some superstar and do a 5-minute interview with them. If so, maybe I’ll throw that into something on Sunday.
You can follow me @HalyardConsult on Twitter. New episodes of the World of Internet Marketing can be heard every Friday. You can access the archives of my previous shows on Spreaker.com – user name Jonathan Goodman. The podcast is also available with transcription at halyardconsulting.com and geekcast.fm one week after the episode airs.
Again, this is Jonathan Goodman. Thank you all for listening to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. Don’t forget to pick up my book The World of Internet Marketing on Amazon, and if you like this podcast please share it with your network of friends and family. Have a great week.