Diary of a Novice SMX Attendee

Sarah at SMX SydneySMX Sydney was my first Search Marketing Expo and from what I am hearing, I am not the only one who was impressed. See Rand Fishkin’s blog post regarding SMX Sydney.

This year Search Engine College was one of the official sponsors and as such Kalena and I (wo)manned an exhibition stand at the Expo. As a first-timer, this provided me with the chance to meet several industry rock stars and to really get a feel for the search marketing industry. The sessions were informative, all exhibitions were well put together and the atmosphere was professional – yet relaxed and friendly.

Our stall was quite busy with plenty of interest regarding training options for emerging search engine marketing professionals. Even so, Kalena and I both managed to sneak off and attend several sessions happening downstairs throughout the two days.

In this post I want to highlight several points Ciaran Norris from Altogether Digital, made in his presentation “Copy Writing for Search”…

When writing articles, blog posts or web site copy that you wish to be easily digestible by humans and search engines alike, keep the following in mind:

Keep headlines clear and concise: Avoid metaphors and abbreviations. A reader should have a good idea about the subject of the piece they are about to read, simply by looking at the headline.

The opening sentence of the first paragraph is very important: Aim to capture the attention of your readers immediately. The first sentence of an article or blog post is often used by search engines when displaying your link in the results page for a search query (SERP). Research has shown that click through rates are greatly influenced by the two lines of text displayed under a link in the SERP.

Conduct a competitive analysis of keywords: Research which keywords or phrases achieve higher click through rates for similar articles. If you want to reach an audience outside your own region use keywords which are not region specific.

Placement of links within copy: Ciaran pointed out the difference between online and offline copy is the ability to link. When using embedded links make sure your reader has a clear idea about what they are going to find when they click through. Do not use vague link descriptions as this can frustrate and alienate your reader. Important links should be used early in your article, less important links towards the end. Links which are not directly related, but still useful to your reader, are best placed boxed-off somewhere to the right or bottom of the page. Linking can also be used to create a timeline of issues related to your subject. One of the ways to do this is to create a landing page and link to every relevant article regarding your subject.

Track people who link to you: Keep track of who links to you and build a network of industry contacts regarding your subject matter. Find blogs which are related to your niche and link to them. Establish yourself as a voice of authority. A reader who finds you through five or six different sources will recognize you as a trusted source of information regarding your subject.

Ciaran is a fabulously entertaining presenter and his session really appealed to my background in journalism. This was the first of three sessions I attended and I will include another post with notes from Jane Copeland’s session on Link Baiting shortly.

From all of us involved in the search marketing industry in this part of the world, many thanks go to Barry Smyth and Lisa Davis for organizing such a fantastic event, and also to the many international speakers who traveled so far to be with us here in the land “Down Under”.

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