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Highlights of SMX Advanced

Posted on 6.10.2010

Below is a summary of the top sessions from this week’s two-day SMX Advanced search marketing expo in Seattle, provided by Troy Stockinger of the Findability Group.

Optimizing for Quality Score
If you are working in AdWords and just learning about quality score, you might as well stop trying to raise your score from 7 to 10. A quality score of 10 is essentially reserved for branded keywords with very high click-through-rates (CTRs), something I hadn’t known until attending this session. Also, Google rarely looks at the landing page to determine quality score. If Google doesn’t indicate a problem with the landing page within the AdWords interface, then you shouldn’t be concerned with the LP unless you are testing conversion.

Targeting Your Search Funnel
An important lesson from this one was how to use micro-conversions on broad (information gathering) keywords. These could be number of page views, whitepaper downloads or time on site, which can all help track general keyword performance. Broad, informative-type queries may not result in sales right away, but if you put the right content in front of searchers they will remember it as they move down the search funnel and revisit your site with more specific queries.

Pump Up Those Conversions
A great point was made about not limiting our focus to just one conversion — the sale — as many websites are structured to do. Yes, Internet marketers have to convert no matter whether we are B2B or B2C, but what often gets overlooked are all the other ways a site can convert besides the actual revenue-producing sale. Newsletter signups, leads and page views are all examples of important ways you can gain conversions and, ultimately, drive sales.

Test That Ad
Rather than guess at what is the best performing ad, it is important to use statistically valid data when you are split-testing. This session suggested a wonderful tool to help facilitate simple A/B ad testing, found at

Mad Scientist of Paid Search
For the last six months or so, SEOs were being told that we can’t reset quality score by creating new accounts because Google would track our keywords, ad text and URLs to ensure against it. But that theory was disproved during a test in this session. If you have an account that suffers from poor quality score, you can move it to a new account to reset the score.

Search Marketing and Facebook
Here are the top three tips for advertising on Facebook:

  • Use Facebook to build fans. Fans can be remarketed, and when your ads appear to friends of your fans, Facebook will note that “John Doe Liked This”, helping you increase your CTR.
  • Bid on a CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions). You should see a much more effective cost-per-click than if you go with the CPC (cost-per-click) option.
  • Keep your ads fresh. Depending on your vertical, you may have to update ads weekly, possibly even daily, in order to keep your CTR high and CPC down.

Amazing PPC Tactics
Here are the top three:

  • Set up a campaign to target Google Search partners. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as checking a button.
  • Stalk your customers. It’s not what you think: It’s all about getting out and talking with your customers or listening to sales calls to hear what they’re saying about your products or services. Then Use this feedback to build additional keywords.
  • Double ad serving. Although technically not allowed, companies are essentially replicating sites, modifying offers and URLs to bid on the same keywords, and taking two positions in a single search. This may not be recommended by many agencies but may be required if you are in a highly competitive space.
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