SEO ranking factors: What’s important, what’s not

This week, Google celebrated its 19th birthday. A lot has changed in nearly two decades. Rather than relying primarily on PageRank to evaluate the quality of web pages, Google now uses a whole array of techniques to suggest a wide range of content in response to queries, from simple direct answers to multimedia audio and video files.
With loads of guesswork and assumptions, the debate about Google ranking factors is never-ending and evolves with every algorithm update. What’s on the rise, what’s on the decline, and what still works?
At SMX East, several sessions look closely at today’s most important ranking considerations. In SEO Ranking Factors In 2017: What’s Important, What’s Not, you’ll hear the results of comprehensive studies undertaken by Searchmetrics and SEMRush, which looked at millions of sites to determine what separated winners from losers. You’ll also hear a case study from Herndon Hasty, SEO for the Container Store, which battles with formidable competition from Amazon, Walmart

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SMX East early bird rates expire Saturday. Register now!

The sun is about to set on SMX East early bird rates! Join thousands of search marketers and learn the latest SEO and SEM tactics at SMX East, October 24-26 in New York City. Act now for big savings. Here’s what’s in store:

58 sessions, keynotes and clinics featuring proven, actionable tactics on paid search advertising, SEO, analytics, mobile and social media
Panel discussions and interactive Q&As that solve complex search marketing challenges and inspire you with new ideas
Networking events where you’ll share experiences with like-minded colleagues and industry thought leaders
Demos from 30+ leading solutions providers including Google, Bing and Amazon Marketing Services that will make you a better marketer

Brands and agencies that set the standards for SEO and SEM are presenting at SMX. Here’s a look at who will be at the show:

Register today for an All Access Pass and you’ll get our early bird rate of $1,895 — a whopping $300 off on-site rates! With an All Access

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Announcing the shortlist of 2017 Search Engine Land Awards nominees

For the third consecutive year, the selection process in the Search Engine Land Awards became even more difficult, as the field of competition grew to nearly 300 worthy submissions from leading digital agencies, in-house marketing teams and individuals around the world.  
Michelle Robbins, the newly appointed SVP of content and editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, was incredibly impressed by the depth and scope of entries in this year’s competition. “As a first-time judge, having the opportunity to pull back the curtain and examine the campaigns executed by some of the top search marketers in the industry was inspiring. The work done, creativity expressed and results achieved demonstrate what a truly talented community it is that we serve.”
Robbins and Ginny Marvin, associate editor at Search Engine Land, will also co-host this year’s awards presentation.
Marvin, now in her third year of judging the growing field of applicants, added, “The consistently sophisticated, creative and inspiring quality of the campaigns submitted

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Search marketers save $400 on SMX East until this Saturday!

Your search for actionable SEM and SEO tactics stops here. Join thousands of marketers at the largest search marketing conference on the East Coast — Search Engine Land’s SMX East, October 24–26, 2017, in New York City.
Register today for an All Access Pass and pay the super early bird rate of $1,795 — that’s a whopping $400 off on-site rates! You’ll get the total SMX experience:

Industry-leading speakers
Exceptional networking
Actionable tactics you’ll immediately put to use
Vendor demos and solutions
WiFi, meals and snacks!

P.S. These are the lowest-priced tickets for SMX East you’ll ever get your hands on. Hurry, super early bird rates expire this Saturday!
The post Search marketers save $400 on SMX East until this Saturday! appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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3 days of SEO and SEM tactics at the lowest rates. SMX East prices increase next week!

Super early bird rates expire next week for SMX East, the East Coast’s largest search marketing conference. Attend for three days of actionable, cutting-edge search marketing tactics presented by experts that will leave your competition in the dust.
Here’s what to expect October 24–26 in NYC:

Actionable content: The agenda consists of 55+ expert-led sessions covering the latest in SEO and SEM topics — from the latest ranking factors to how to effectively test your campaigns.
Powerful connections: Dive into intense conversations, share tips and ideas, and establish friendships with your fellow search marketing peers through a number of networking events, including our Meet & Greet, networking lunches, expo hall reception and more!
Performance-enhancing solutions & case studies: Swing by the expo hall to meet a variety of search marketing vendors, and attend our unique “Plus Sessions” featuring inside info and training directly from Google & Bing employees and experts.
In-depth training: Add a pre-conference, full-day workshop to take your skills up a notch in SEO, PPC, social, e-commerce and analytics. Conducted by recognized thought leaders in their fields, these

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Search marketers plan to attend SMX East to become martech trailblazers

We get it. Marketing is now a software-powered discipline that blends the art of creative and science of data. New technologies are deeply interwoven into marketing operations and strategy. Effectively harnessing them demands new capabilities, talent and management.
Scott will offer insights and tactics in his keynote at SMX East including:

the evolution of marketing from the “arts and crafts department” to a results-producing, software-driven dynamo,
how organizations are reinventing their operations and institutional metabolism to cope with the always-on and multichannel world,
and why search marketers are uniquely qualified to lead in the new “martech era.”

Meet Scott at SMX East
Register for SMX East to meet Scott and other expert SEOs and SEMs making an impact in the search marketing community. For only $1,795, you’ll learn fresh tactics to improve your search marketing campaigns, have unlimited expo hall access, networking, WiFi, meals, snacks and more! Register today and save $400 compared to on-site rates.
P.S. Add a full day pre-conference workshop for a deep dive into advanced SEO, AdWords, Social Media Advertising,

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What I learned from the Danny Sullivan/Gary Illyes keynote at SMX Advanced

On June 13, 2017, in Seattle, Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan sat down with Google’s Gary Illyes to talk about all things Google. You can read live blog coverage from the session here. In this post, I’ve organized the content of this session into topical groups and added my own analysis.
Note: The questions and answers appearing herein are not direct quotes. I am paraphrasing Sullivan’s questions and Illyes’ answers, as well as providing my interpretation of what was said (and including additional context where appropriate). I’ve also omitted some content from the session.
The featured snippet discussion
Danny Sullivan asked: Are we going to keep getting more featured snippets?
Illyes has no idea about that, but he notes that featured snippets are very important to Google. They want the quality to be really high, and one consideration people don’t normally think about is that, in some cases (e.g., voice search results), the answers may be read out loud.
This example is one of my

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Want To Speak At SMX East? Here’s How

The agenda for our upcoming SMX East show is live and we’ve opened up our “speaking pitch” form for select sessions for the show, taking place on October 24 – 26 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.
To increase the odds of being selected, be sure to read the agenda. Understand what the sessions are about. Ensure that your pitch is on target to the show’s audience and the session. Please also be very specific about what you intend to cover. Also, if you do not see a particular session listed, this is because there are no openings for that session. Use this form to submit your request.
PLEASE NOTE: Many sessions have already been filled and are not open for pitches. If a session does not appear on the pitch form, it is closed, even if no speakers are appearing on the agenda yet.
As you might guess, interest is high in speaking

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A winning process yields winning results: Conversion optimization tips from SMX Advanced

Earlier this month, keeping with the traditions of a welcoming summer, Seattle opened its doors to data junkies, optimization nerds and the search-obsessed in celebration of yet another SMX Advanced.
Not speaking this year, I had more flexibility to sit in on some of the many useful presentations. Among the most compelling was a session led by Jeremy Epperson of 3Q Digital and Khalid Saleh of Invesp titled, “Conversion Optimization: Turning Quick Wins into Winning.”
In my role at Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine, my primary responsibility is to help North American companies succeed in Russia. Russia is a top 7 Internet Audience in the world, so I’m frequently approached by North American CMOs with a desire to “test the market.” Of course, my initial reaction is, “фантастика!” (“Fantastic!”) In today’s digital petri dish, let the data determine direction — testing is always a good start.
Both Epperson and Saleh not only communicated the value of testing, but also emphasized the

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What does it mean to win a Search Engine Land Award?

When we decided to launch our search marketing industry awards program three years ago, the guiding principle was have the honors be truly meaningful. That’s why it’s no small task to enter the competition- we ask for a lot of supporting data and information so our editorial staff and industry judges can effectively measure outstanding results and reward innovation in search marketing.
Year after year, we’ve seen the level of competition rise, and fully expect 2017 to showcase some amazing examples of successful search marketers. And for many finalists, there really is satisfaction in being added to the short list, and we agree – it’s incredibly difficult to name just one winner in every category.
While earning a finalist title would have been enough after a win the previous year, Katy Tonkin of Point It was pleasantly surprised to take home a trophy in 2016 for an enterprise SEM campaign they ran for Microsoft Store.
We were up against some impressive brands: AARP, Catalyst for

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