#SMX Advanced 2015 & My 8-Year Seattle Love Affair

SMX Advanced, Third Door Media’s annual search marketing conclave in Seattle, sells out every year with good reason. Advanced is one of the most exclusive digital marketing conferences on earth. To attend is a luxury. Speaking at Advanced is an honor to respect and covet.


I’m humbled to be presenting again at SMX Advanced for the eight straight year. Count em’ man… EIGHT. Reflecting upon these wonderful years visiting Seattle, my career developed in extraordinary ways. I pissed off some of the most notorious marketers in the world, tore up the podium next to my heroes and learned so much… Man, we’ve learned together, year after year after year. They call it “Advanced” for a reason, in mind and spirit.


Seattle is personal to me. In Seattle I found forever love, made long-time professional acquaintances, explored exquisite neighborhoods, ate marvelous food, biked Alki beach, and found peaceful reverie on one-of-a-kind Bainbridge Island. Hello Seattle. I love your people, waterfront, seafood, sounds, salmon, vibe, skyline, hills, pathways, coffee shops, markets, beaches and oysters.


Having just turned open the agenda for this year’s SMX Advanced, we have to say it is very well crafted. In some cases, choosing which sessions to attend, which track to focus on, is virtually impossible. #SRSLY


Favorite Anticipated 2015 SMX Advanced Sessions
Now I’m not one to rave much publicly about a conference agenda but, Danny, Chris, TDM, Monica, Matt, please — exactly how the hell does an attendee choose which sessions to take in? Jeez TDM, you’re killing me!

Let’s highlight some of this year’s SMX Advanced offerings, attempt and make some sensible agenda decisions here day-by-day.


Day One, 9AM – 10:15AM: The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors: 2015 Edition (#smx #11A)
SMX Advanced traditionally kicks off the SEO track with a deep-dive study of search ranking factors which influence organic results. Don’t miss it. Which ranking factors are on the rise; which are on the decline; what still works? Panelists will parse the data and focus on crucial elements, separate correlation from causation and suggest which attributes will deliver predictable SEO success over coming months and in the hereafter.

marcusMarcus Tober, Founder & CTO of SearchMetrics, is one of AIMCLEAR‘s favorite speakers in the entire world. We’re choosing to attend his session (over an awesome “Mad Scientist Of Search”) because Marcus rocks ass. Eric Enge, CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, is plenty deep himself and a longtime friend of aC. Cyrus Shepard, Director of Audience Moz, has a wonderful reputation and we’re looking forward to experiencing his mojo. I’m speaking at mozCon in July so this is a preview.


10:15AM -11:00AM: The Future of Search Signals (#smx #12A3)
Reality is that Seattle is Rand Fishkin’s city. He and his mom Gillian founded SEOmoz in SEA-town.

rand-fishkinRand’s 2005 writings inspired me to take the business leap and found AIMCLEAR. For God’s sake — he was only a kid. Since then Rand and I have sat on podiums together from Sydney to San Francisco, Duluth to… yes… Seattle.

When Rand Fishkin discusses the future of SEO… you best listen. There are other good options in this time slot. We’re telling which session to choose.

smx-advanced-attendees-wigsSome search engine ranking factors are obvious — keywords, links, content, etc. But there are black box signals which marketers can only speculate about, sometimes clarified by data and personal conviction. In this classic session, Rand will deconstruct speculative ranking factors, have a look at evidence, and provide insight into what Google and Bing really might actually use to rank modern results.

Moderator Chris Sherman (@CJSherman, VP of Event Editorial, Third Door Media, Inc.) is AIMCLEAR‘s social media muse. In 2006, I attended SES Chicago for the expressed purpose of taking in Chris’ social media track. The panels I’ve spoken on with Chris were each career highlights.

ChrisSherman-lgFavorite memories include the storied SMX Advanced 2008 “Give It Up” panel, the SMX Sydney 2008 Futurist panel, SMX London 2011 and welcoming Chris to AIMCLEAR‘s Duluth office in 2012. Chris was a search expert when many of today’s best-known social media experts were in elementary school. Don’t miss this session.

Day Two, 10:45AM-Noon: Getting Creative With Ad Copy & Testing (#smx #21B)
It will be thrilling for me to sit down and speak again with our good friends, Brad Geddes and Steven Hammer, President of RankHammer. This is a panel I’ve wanted to contribute to for years, since writing Chapter Seven of “Killer Facebook Ads.”

stephen-hammerCreating effective ads used to be as easy as composing a great headline and a couple lines of text. Now with so many extensions, device adaptations, dynamic text and other components, building ads can seem more like an engineering experiment than a creative one. In this session, we’ll show you how to develop terrific ads that are equal parts creative lightning and technical genius — and provide results via testing.

Day Two’s 3:00PM – 4:25PM time slot presents an impossible choice. Both options are fantastic. Greg Boser, Todd Friesen, Cindy Crum and Carolyn Shelby are all each classic clinicians. This annual Q&A is classic every year.


The Paid Search Track — “Ask The SEMs” — will likely prove provocative as well. Brad, Elisabeth Marsten and Fred Vallaeys are friends and colleagues of AIMCLEAR. We’ve heard great things about Maria Corcoran, so look for a spirited session. It’s not likely that any prisoners will be taken whilst shredding audience questions surrounding paid Google, Bing and other conspirators.

social-psychographic-display-intensiveThere is a “day after” SMX Advanced each year, where some of the hottest practitioners in the world offer focused full-day workshops. This year again, AIMCLEAR‘s (our very own) Merry Morud, Manny Rivas, and myself will tender the Social Psychographic Display Intensive.

Previous trainees have included Dell, Amazon, Travelocity, Macy’s, eBay, GoDaddy, Humana, Eurail, and numerous other B2B and B2C brands of all sizes. Many have returned multiple times. Attendees will take away tactics to:

  • Implement razor-sharp, internet-wide psychographic targeting. Define and cultivate audiences, inject them deep into your sales funnel, and convert them to customers.
  • Generate more attributable conversions faster and at a lower cost
  • Spawn links and social signals crucial for successful SEO
  • Drive awareness from influencers (journalist, bloggers, prominent community members), enhancing your PR effectiveness
  • Earn social followers from relevant psychographic audiences
  • Prove the value of branding activities, including socialization
  • Conduct multivariate social voice testing, much the way SEOs use search PPC to improve SEO funnels
  • Execute advanced visitor data management, merging “first hop” targeting (including search keywords) with filtered psychographic retargeting & RSLA remarketing to build curated “Follow” lists segmented by audiences


Of course, we’ve only touched on a handful of sessions, which comprise SMX Advanced 2015. There’s much more at hand. SMX Advanced Seattle sells out every year for a reason. We hope to see you there.

If you’re not at SMX Advanced 2015… trust me, I’ll be missing you personally while watching the keynotes, hanging in the elevator and hotel lobby, yelp cruising, riding on the ferry, jamming along the waterfront, partaking in multivariate oyster testing and sipping gorgeous Chardonnay at Elliot’s.

If you’re jetting towards Seattle as we speak, safe travels all. <3



Header Image Copyright: Iriana Shiyan, Carlos Arguelles

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